Right & Wrong On Running Tights


1. For those who are fond of using those expensive running tights, please don’t get offended with this post. I really don’t care if such tights looks good on you or they treat your injury or they help you in your recovery or they make you run faster, I just want to voice out my opinion and observation.

2. Don’t get me wrong. I have a CW-X running tights which I bought last year in the US but up to this time, I have not used it even if I was recovering from an injury. I used to have running tights which carried the name of the famous triathlete, Scott Tinley, during the 80’s and the 90’s but I only used them when I was visiting or staying in the United States during winter time.

3.  The following articles or posts were copied from CW-X, 2XU and Skins websites explaining the advantages of using their running compression tights:

From the CW-X website:

Running: Extensive studies show that wearing CW-X tights results in 26% less energy expenditure than running in regular tights and 36% less energy than running in shorts. CW-X’s patented Support Web brings the hips, knees and ankles into proper alignment, reducing impact and load to the legs. The Support Web™ also provides a suspension system for the hamstrings and quadriceps, reducing workload in both the pull and push phase of the running motion. With more efficient strides, your muscles don’t have to work as hard over time and your legs will feel fresher.

Snow Sports: CW-X’s patented Support Web™ bands muscles and ligaments together to support and stabilize the knees, quadriceps and core. The result: increased power output in turns and decreased vibrations for greater edge control. The Support Web also provides targeted compression to key circulation areas to improve blood flow, keeping muscles warm and speeding up recovery, so that your 4pm run feels more like a 2pm run.

Yoga/Pilates: The middle of the body is vital for balance and stability, two things that are very important in yoga and pilates. The CW-X Support Web™ offers optimum support to the core and lower back while also stabilizing the hip flexors and gluteal muscles, so you can perform more strenuous poses with greater ease.

Recovery: After strenuous activity, CW-X tights can hasten recovery thanks to the anatomically designed Support Web™. By providing extra compression in key circulation areas, the Support Web increases circulation for reduced muscle fatigue and quicker recovery.

From the 2XU Website:

 

Building on 2XU’s market leading compression tight, 2XU’s elite tights are for the athlete who wants even more. Combining a new generation 70 denier fabric with our existing high power 50 denier fabric, 2XU elite compression tights offer superior compression to enable greater muscle stability and injury prevention. The new generation 70 denier fabric, with 15% more support and 25% more power than the 50 denier fabric, has been designed to support the calves and hamstring muscles – areas which are particularly prone to fatigue, injury and muscle soreness. From SKINS Website:
 Skins™ BioAcceleration Technology™ has been developed over years of scientific research. Ongoing testing of elite athletes have proven that Skins™ BioAcceleration Technology™ creates marked improvements in reducing the build-up of lactic acid immediately after periods of sustained exercise (2hrs and 15 mins up to 37% ), and allows for more rapid return to normal levels (up to 38% at 20 minutes). You experience less fatigue, minimise soreness and recover faster.Skins™ is body-moulded compression performance equipment manufactured from the finest Lycra and Meryl Microfibre, scientifically engineered to provide support and muscle alignment to the smart-fabric covered area of your body. Skins™ will definitely change the way that you train and play as well as speed your recovery. You will feel fresher after heavy bouts of exercise and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) will be minimised.

4. I have yet to experience wearing one of these running compression tights during my running workouts and races. Moreso, I have yet to find out or read from the runner-bloggers about their “honest-to-goodness” review on the running tights they are using. But from the conversation and first-hand experience from my brother, General Samuel and nephew, Lemuel, they gave me a positive review of the CW-X Compression Tights. This could be the reason why they comfortably finished the Subic International Marathon and their first BDM 50K Test Run, their first ultra run distance, without any issues or injuries.

5. Maybe, I am with the “old-school” in running as I prefer to run with the “old-fashioned” running shorts in full marathon and ultra running distances. In the lesser distance races, I usually use those compression shorts like CW-X, NIKE, and Adidas.

6. The following are my insights about running compression tights:

a) These compression (full) tights are better if used in temperate/cooler countries. There are tights made for warmer countries like “ventilators” that releases warm temperature of the legs and at the same time provides ventilation for the air to enter through the tights or fabric. Running in tights is like running with “arm warmers”. Is it possible that runners are using tights because they don’t want their legs to be “sunburned”? On the other hand, I am still wondering why runners in a tropical country like us are using those “arm warmers” popularized by Moeben. Are they being used as “arm warmers” or protection from being “sunburned”? Since I perspire a lot, the running tights would make me perspire some more!

b) I find male runners in tights as “gayish”. Sorry, guys! If you can have those long legs and ballet/dancing prowess of Rudolf Nureyev, maybe, it would be nice to see you on such tights. However, if your legs are short, I think wearing running shorts would be better to look at.

Nureyev & Fonteyn In A Ballet Performance (Source: Wikipedia)

c) I’ve never seen top elite athletes and any “record-breaker” in marathon races using running tights. In short, champions in road races are not seen in running tights during their competitive races. I have yet to see Haile, Tergat, Wanjiru, Paula Radcliffe, Kara Goucher, Ryan Hall or Grete Waitz using running tights while they are crossing the Finish Line.

d) A compression tights is heavier than a running shorts. Comparing these two after they get wet from your perspiration and sprinkle of cold water to your head, the compressions tights becomes heavier than a wet running shorts. In running, the lighter you are, the faster your finish time is.

7. In the end, if you have the money to splurge and have the “guts” to wear these running compression tights, go ahead, get all the colors available in the market and proudly wear them during your workouts and competitive races. Wearing one is a “head-turner” and a “fashion statement”!

8. I hope to use my CW-X running tights for my “adventure run” to Baguio City in the near future to prove their advertisement. We will see.