Competitive swimmers will know all about that distinctive black and white tick logo that comes with all FINA-approved swimwear.
It's a seal of approval from swimming's governing body that the race suit is legal for any FINA-affiliated competition. To become FINA-approved, the swimwear must meet strict regulations.
You may recognise the logo, but do you know exactly what requirements are needed for a FINA-approved suit? Probably not, if you don't fancy reading pages and pages of guidelines and specifications on the FINA website.
Essentially, the rules are in place to make sure human performance and athletic ability is not outshone by swimsuit technology.
Remember the crazy 2009 World Championships in Italy, when world records were being smashed all over the place? It was the famous meeting when full body suits were used to such incredible effect.
While those world records stood, the race suits didn't. FINA outlawed them soon after the championships, and have been constantly reviewing and refining their regulations since then.
To give you a basic overview of what FINA are looking for in a race suit, we've highlighted three key areas - design, material and construction.
The below rules relate to swimsuits for the pool and open water swimming competitions where the water temperature is above 18°C. There are separate FINA rules for wetsuits.
Design of racing swimsuits
FINA-approved racing swimsuits must not extend below the knee. In addition, a men's suit must not extend above the navel, while a women's suit should not cover the neck or extend past the shoulders.
These rules apply to swimming pool competitions. Open water swimming suits must not cover the neck, extend past the shoulder or extend below the ankle.
Before approving a competition swimsuit, FINA will also judge it on decency. Rules state that the wearing of a swimsuit "shall not offend morality and good taste" and specifically reference the cut of the suit and the exposure of body parts.
Men's swimsuits must be in one piece, however women's suits are permitted as one or two-piece providing the decency criteria above is met. There are no regulations on colours.
Material rules for FINA approved swimwear
FINA regulations state that only 'textile fabrics' can be used for racing swimsuits.
Certain materials are permitted to be added to the surface of the race suit providing they don't close the overall open mesh structure of the textile fabric.
Any treated materials must also comply with all requirements in regard to thickness, permeability and flexibility. Surface treatment rules do not apply to permitted seams, markings or labels.
FINA rules state that total material thickness must not exceed 0.8mm. Racing swimsuits must not have a buoyancy effect above 0.5 Newton, and materials used must have a permeability value of more than 80 l/m2/second.
Construction of racing swimwear
Zippers or any other fastening systems are forbidden. Seams are limited to functional systems and must not create outside shapes.
What are the best FINA approved racing swimsuits?
We have hundreds of FINA-approved competition swimsuits in stock, so there is an extensive range to choose from.
By the very nature of having that FINA-approved logo, you know that the race suit is going to be high-end and made using the very latest swimsuit technology.
The Arena R-EVO ONE and Speedo LZR Racer X ranges are both cutting edge and seriously competitive, while the new FINIS Rival tech suit has been developed in partnership with international swimmers including James Guy and Olivia Smoliga.
Why not browse our full range of FINA-approved swimwear which features the pinnacle of tech suits from all the top brands including Speedo, Arena, Jaked, FINIS, Nike, Adidas, Maru and more.