Kit Review of Zone 3 Versa Swimrun Wetsuit
The Zone 3 Versa swimrun wetsuit is an entry-level swimrun wetsuit at a very affordable price of £169.
First impressions and indeed our opinion after much use is that it is a well-made wetsuit for this price range and it has a couple of nice features that can be found in suits of a more expensive price range.
The outside of the wetsuit is a combination of smooth neoprene, or nylon coated neoprene, which gives an extra toughness and will not rip if snagged on rocks or thorns.
The shoulders, back and rib sections are nylon coasted and will allow you to sweat and your skin breathe when you're running, which is very important.
This wet suit comes with detachable arms which is a great feature for this price range.
The chest and stomach panels are smooth neoprene, which we assume is for speed through the water.
The key difference between a swimrun wetsuit and a triathlon suit is that the rule differ in that swimrun suits are not designed to enhance performance, and thus they are a lot thinner of more flexible, plus the zip can be found on the front in a swim run suit.
This allows you to open the front panel as soon as you start the run sections, exposing the chest in order to take in cooler air and cool off during the runs, which can often be 8km+.
In swimrun, you swim and run in the same gear and there are no transition stops/gear drops or anything like in triathlons.
The zip is very well built and sturdy, however it would have been nice if Zone 3 could have included a whistle on the zip pull like many other brands do so that you do not have to carry this as a piece of extra kit. (A whistle is mandatory kit).
Inside the wetsuit around about the rib area are two open topped pockets which can be used for gels/kit. However the positioning of these pockets (on this and other models/brands) is dubious because they are just under the ribs and thus cannot be packed too full else it restricts your breathing.
In fact, items in the pocket are often difficult to get out forcing you to stop. We find it is just as easy and just as secure to stuff things inside the wetsuit around the same area without the need for the pockets.
This wetsuit does have an exterior pocket, which is a very nice feature for this price range. It is found on the rear in the small of the back and the zipper fastens in a downwards direction. it's a great feature but we wish the zip was a little heavier as we have experienced situations where the zipper has been jolted upwards during running and the contents have dropped out of the pocket. Not often but it has happened.
The leg sections are a kind of rougher neoprene which has been cut specifically to allow extra leg movement for running, which we found to be very very comfortable for running long distances.
The only flaw with the wetsuit design in our opinion is the area between the thighs and crotch which zone 3 decided not to coat with a nylon surface. This means that smooth neoprene is rubbing against smooth neoprene at the top of the inner thighs and within three runs we had worn our suit through completely.
This is a major design flaw in our opinion and many other brands even ones at the same price have nylon coating between the legs.
Our solution was to just wear a pair of tight running shorts during training over the wet suit, but of course this adds to resistance when swimming, so it is not suitable for competitions.
Apart from that, the bottom half of the suit is very sturdy and we have not experienced any other problems.
The Versa is a shorty wetsuit but does have slightly extended legs that cover the knees. We have mixed feelings about this, sometimes it's nice to cover the knees when you have to go under something and need to go on your hands and knees, but other times we like the flexibility of having exposed knees.
All in all though we feel this wetsuit is a really good starter wetsuit and apart from the inner thigh/crotch area it has performed extremely well during some long, tough training and competitions in our first year of swimrun.
You can watch the full video review below....