Kiwami pt 1 - Amphibian
article & images by Nick Salazar
Aug 1, 2010
The Amphibian is Kiwami's purpose-built sprint suit. Kiwami makes bold claims about the fabric in this particular suit, saying that it is lighter and sheds water better than anything else out there. And they're not kidding. This stuff is incredible. It's insanely light, yet feels quite durable. And the way it repels water is magic. As soon as we put the suit on, we proceeded to dump an entire water bottle onto one spot on the leg of the suit. It all bounced off as if the suit were made of glass. Actually, that's not quite right; glass would probably still have some beads of water left over. The Amphibian had nothing. The water just slid right off.
Despite its next-generation fabric, this suit isn't for everyone. It's built for sprint tris, and nothing much longer than that. It has no pockets, no padding, and it's a rear-zip design.
The good part about the rear-zip construction means that there's nothing in the front squishing into your skin while you're in aero. The suit sits flush and comfortable. It grips your body differently than a front-zip suit. Not necessarily in a bad way or a good way, just a little different. Normally, a rear-zip suit is a compromise, because it means you can't unzip the suit at all during a race to modulate your temperature. But that's not a problem here, because the Amphibian's fabric is more breathable than standard lycra.
But why leave out the pockets? Pockets on trisuits are as easy as an extra strip of fabric, and we can't see why Kiwami wouldn't just throw one or two flaps onto the suit to make it more usable. Well, the answer is that the lack of pockets makes the suit faster in the water, and the athletes for whom this suit was designed are looking for every last second. Creature comforts aren't on the agenda. If you're doing a race long enough to require nutrition in the middle, you'll have to find other storage solutions, or look at a different suit.
Overall, this is a suit that excels at its intended purpose, but may not be ideal for other uses.
Best suit on the market for sprints, not ideal for anything longer