De Soto Sport Liftfoil – Product Review

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Back in April of 2013 I ordered the De Soto Sport Liftfoil Speedsuit to be used in all of the races I had scheduled for that season. It was my first full year back racing triathlons after a 20 year hiatus and man oh man had the technology changed. Not only was my Kestrel 2000 (circa 1989) with Dura-Ace 7 Speed out of date, but I didn’t see too many “Speedo’s” out on the courses either. And the one’s I did see, I wish I could have unseen 🙂 But alas, seasons change and so shall trends. Thankfully for me, and countless other triathletes, swimmers, cyclists, and runners, De Soto Sport had been connecting advances in technology with style and comfort to develop the best gear available on the market for the previous 23 years! (Happy 25th Anniversary De Soto Sport! Keep up the impeccable work!)

Upon receiving the Liftfoil I was so excited, I put it on and went for a ride. The compression material was awesome. It fit like a glove but still allowed for unrestricted movement, and the 5mm Float Pad (Integral Non-Absorbent Cycling Chamois – see picture below, new 7mm Float Pad shown) was super comfortable.
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My first big race where I used the Liftfoil was the Wildflower Triathlon – Olympic Distance. This was a race that I had not completed since 1988 (as a 14 year old). It was a windy day, but I finished the race with the help of my new De Soto Sport Gear. I thought the pictures that were taken at the race were decent so I sent them to De Soto Sport. They must have like them too since they later used them online to promote this trisuit. I didn’t even know about it until one of my friends sent me a link, and there I was wearing the Speedsuit, Compression Leg Sleeves, Skin Cooler Run Cap, and Race Belt!
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Such a cool gesture on their part! I was and still am surprised that those pictures are up today at https://www.desotosport.com/collections/forza/products/riviera-mens-liftfoil-w-7mm-ceramico-pad. Thank you De Soto Sport for recognizing some of the age-groupers in the sport. Your products help us all to be the best the we can be while we train and on race day. I love wearing your gear and look forward to upgrading the arsenal for this year’s race schedule!

Infact I like wearing the Liftfoil so much that it is my primary outfit for training as well as racing and has remained so for the last 2 years. After wearing this trisuit well over 200 times I can report that it has held together beautifully. The flatlock-stitching has kept the panels together and the float pad in place with only minor thread breakage. The float pad has also remained comfortable and has not broken down due to the heavy use it has received. It has never become waterlogged and has kept me virtually rash free as it’s design intended. I look forward to using the remaining life out of this trisuit and upgrading to the new model in the next few months. Maybe before the next Wildflower as I attempt the Long Course this time? Who knows?

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Here is the info from De Soto Sport on the 2015 Model:
The 2015 Liftfoil has the Patent Pending Integrated 7mm Ceramico™ Pad.
USAT approved, WTC Legal and now with coldblack®

WHY BUY THIS PRODUCT?

This suit will help you swim faster in triathlons that do not permit wetsuits. Unlike similar “swimskins” that require you to remove them after the swim portion, the Liftfoil, with its Floatpad™, is designed so that you can swim, then bike, then run, all in complete comfort and without having to change. This pad floats and stretches which means it can be used as a race piece in a triathlon. On the bike, the pad stretches with the short and follows your skin as it moves with every pedal stroke, eliminating the friction that can cause irritation or rashes. It has no pockets and is ideal for shorter triathlons where you do not need pockets, and where you ultimate goal is to finish faster without ever changing. It also works well for longer triathlons that do not permit the use of wetsuits. In this case, we suggest the use of a fuelbelt, or changing from swim to bike to run given that the time required to change is minimal compared to the rest of the race.

This speedsuit has no rubberized material, no polyurethane, and no neoprene. It abides to WTC’s recent ruling on swimskins, speedskins, swim apparel…whatever WTC wants to call it.

The Liftfoil has no pockets and no lining. It is designed to help you swim faster during non-wetsuit swims. Designed with a front zipper (16-inch YKK® zipper) which allows you to ventilate by unzipping during the run. Our front-zipper design for men swims better and faster than rear zipper suits. We are the only company that has figured out how to do this so we are the only company with a front-zipper Speedsuit. Hydrolinear™ seamlines hug your body while allowing for maximum reach and glide in your stroke, with no friction against your skin.

Our tests have shown varied improvements of swim times of about 2-4 seconds per 100 meters, depending on the individual, over a conventional swimsuit. This translates to 1’00” for 1500 meters and 2’40” for a swim of 4000 meters. Of course, as with all our products, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Test it for yourself. If you do not find it performs to your expectations, you may return it for a complete refund.

To summarize:

  • 1. Swim faster in it and use it either as a speedsuit or a trisuit in triathlons.
  • 2. Swim, bike and run it it.
  • 3. Made for races that do not allow wetsuits.
  • 4. No rubberized material, no polyurethane, no neoprene.
  • 5. Now offered with coldblack® cooling and UV protection technology!
  • 6. 100% satisfaction guarantee!
  • 7. Approved for all USAT sanctioned races, and WTC legal for all Ironman and 70.3 races.

This garment is not designed for repeated use as a swimsuit in a chlorinated pool.

coldblack®: Sun Reflector – UV Protector

Dark colors heat up stronger when exposed to direct sunlight compared to light colors. This no longer needs to happen! Now there is coldblack®, a special finishing technology for textiles which reduces heat build-up and provides reliable protection from UV rays.

coldblack® technology offers two innovative benefits:

1. Effective heat management

Light colored textiles reflect both visible and invisible rays of sunlight, meaning both heat and light. Dark colored textiles absorb both types of rays and therefore absorb heat. coldblack® reduces this absorption of heat rays, particularly in the case of darker colors, and in all types of textiles. The result is tangibly better heat management. Because textiles finished with coldblack® heat up less in all colors compared with material without a coldblack® finish.

2. Reliable protection from UV rays

The coldblack® technology guarantees a minimum UPF 30 protection (blocks 70% of UV rays) when applied to any textile in any color without affecting the look or feel of the product. As a result, textiles with coldblack® can make an effective contribution to protecting against harmful UV rays.

Riviera Ceramico™ Pad Dimensions:

     Max Thickness: 7 mm (0.275 in)

     Min Thickness: 1.25 mm (0.05 in)

     Total Length: 28.5cm (11.25 in)

     Front Max Width: 11.5cm (4.5 in)

     Waist Width – most narrow point: 8.5cm (3.5 in)

     Back Max Width: 16.5cm (6.5 in)

Inseam lengths:

     Small: 10″ (25.5cm)

     Medium: 10.5″ (26.75cm)

     Large: 11″ (28cm)

     XLarge: 11.5″ (29.25cm)

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Its Getting Cold Out There!

You can feel it in the air. Something is changing. It’s just not as warm as it used to be. It is simple chemistry. The air gets colder, the water temperature cools, muscles get tighter faster, and swim times go own. Looks like it is time to bust out the wetsuit for the races. But if you are going to use a wetsuit for the swim in a triathlon, believe me you don’t want to dust off that old surfing or diving wetsuit. Trying to take off one of these quickly in T1 is going to leave you sitting behind many a bike I can assure you. When I was a teenager,  before they came out with swim specific wetsuits for the public, we cut the sleeves off of our O’neill’s and cut the ankles up to our calves for easier disrobing. Now there are wetsuits specifically designed for swimming in triathlons. The rubber or neoprene is more pliable and easier to slip past your heel on removal. Also the geometry of the wetsuits are designed with swimming specifically in mind so that optimal swim position expends less energy. And just like with bikes, you can spend a little or a lot on your wetsuit of choice! And by a lot, I mean like $1200 a lot. TYR produced a wetsuit called the Hurricane Freak of Nature made from 100% Yamamoto 40 Cell Neoprene. I have not tried this wetsuit out, but judging from it’s price, I imagine it must be pretty amazing and all but complete the swim portion of the triathlon for you! TYR also has other Hurricane models ranging in price from $260 to $625 (See link for full line below). Seeing as budget might be a factor, there are wetsuits put out by De Soto Sport that have made me a big fan without even trying one out. Here is the manufacturer’s information on the De Soto Sport T1 First Wave Wetsuits that got me all excited for the cold season:

“The First Wave is simply the best wetsuit in the world and we challenge it against any other more expensive brands to the test. Our high-end suit is lined with 4-way stretch Nylon Lycra® to minimize chafing. All seams are glued and blind-stitched, making them stronger than the rubber itself. All wetsuit models feature sleek graphics and are sold as separates for a more customized fit.

Flexible 2mm body and arms with a lower neckline.

BIO-STROKE design puts your arms into a forward rotated shoulder position for a more efficient swim stroke.

YKK® Custom Zipper is the smallest and lightest and makes removal easier than ever.

GreenGoma™ #9 Rubber with Super Composite Skin makes the First Wave the warmest, fastest, most durable, flexible, and buoyant, and the most comfortable wetsuit in the world today.

Chlorine resistant treatment, but not recommend for repeated use in chlorinated water.
Lighter zipper weighs 30% less with same tensile strength and, lower neckline.

All T1 Wetsuits are made of GreenGoma™ a limestone rubber…bye-bye petroleum wetsuits. Until recently all triathlon wetsuits have been made of petroleum. First in the industry to introduce limestone rubber into our wetsuits, all T1 Wetsuits incorporate this amazing GreenGoma™ technology.

So what does this all mean to you?

GreenGoma™ rubber offers better stretch, buoyancy, durability, and insulation with a more closed-cell injected construction thus making it 98.9% water impermeable. So it is lighter, it dries quicker, and lasts longer. The only part of the rubber that gets wet is the new stretch liner that is now made of recycled post consumer products.

We offer two types of GreenGoma™ rubber:

1. GreenGoma™ #8 Rubber that replaces Yamamoto #38 rubber

2. GreenGoma™ #9 Rubber that replaces Yamamoto #39 rubber

Both GreenGoma™ #8 and #9 are laminated at the Yamamoto factory with Yamamoto SCS Super Composite Skin.

So is this rubber environmentally friendly? Is it a “green” wetsuit?

We have seamlessly replaced one rubber with another that is better, more buoyant, helps you swim faster, and lasts longer. If nothing else were to change, you will have a better-performing product with less detriment to the environment, which is always our goal.

Please allow us to be perfectly upfront. There are a handful of companies that are manufacturing wetsuits out of limestone rubber and then marketing them as environmentally-friendly. Currently, wetsuit rubber is either made of petroleum, which begins with oil exploration and drilling, or, in the alternative, made of limestone, which begins with mining. Both petroleum and limestone have taken hundreds of thousands of years to produce and both are nonrenewable resources; both are in limited supply on our earth, require heat, and create pollution and waste to refine into a finished product. So for one to claim that a limestone wetsuit is “green” is just not true, at least not yet.

It is apparent in light of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that limestone is cleaner when one considers the risk of environmental disasters. The factory that makes our GreenGoma™ uses much less heat to refine it as compared to its petroleum counterpart. This is a step in the right direction.

In order for us to step away from limestone in the future, we need to first step away from petroleum and look for other “greener” options. The idea of trying to create a green wetsuit has inspired us to change to recycled internal fabrics with no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) dyes. The use of non-toxic laminates and adhesives during the assembly process are additional steps in our goal. We are getting closer to finding water-based adhesives that are stronger and more flexible. Finally we are working with YKK on developing a wetsuit zipper made of recycled materials.

As for recyclability and sustainability, no wetsuit rubber in the world is recyclable. Yes, old triathlon wetsuits can and should be re-used for other sports, or can be cut up and used as potholders, used for insulation and even be turned into beer and soft drink koozies. For now, the most obvious form of sustainability is simply that we have created a wetsuit that will last longer, so you will not have to replace it as soon.

Before any of us can swim 2.4 miles, we first need to get across the length of a pool. When it comes to making a greener wetsuit, we are the first to dive in!”

Now doesn’t that just sound like this company has their act together? Thinking about using “Greener” materials as a replacement for petroleum based wetsuits is awesome! And the performance of the product is better than what it is replacing? Perfect! Sign me up!  Oh yeah, and right now De Soto Sport 2012 models are all on sale!

One of the greatest things about the DeSoto Sport Wetsuit is that it comes in separate tops and bottoms. This is wonderful, because not everyone is built the same way. So if you have a longer upper torso and shorter inseam like me, you can purchase two different size upper and lower portions and you have an instant custom fit. Here are the pieces that I recommend purchasing to allow you the greatest flexibility depending on the water temperature:

First Wave Concept 5 Pullover 

 First Wave BibJohn

Speed Tube 5

Speed Vest

For an example of putting them together, these are what the Speed Tube and Speed Vest look like as an ensemble:

Or the First Wave BibJohn with Concept 5 Pullover:

I think now you get the point!

I don’t know how long the sale will be going on, so I would hurry and get your set today! DeSoto also has two other lines that offer their wetsuits at a lower price point, the Black Pearl and the T1 Espresso are also good choices for someone just getting into triathlons who may not want to invest so much before jumping in the water for the first time!

Happy Racing!

Here are links to TYR and DeSoto Sport if you would like to look into the information further:

http://www.tyr.com/shop/sport/triathlon-49/triathlon-wetsuits.html

http://www.desotosport.com/products/wetsuits/index.php