Compression apparel is not a new thing but it was something I had never tried before. Luckily, I got the opportunity to test out two products the month leading up to the Chicago Marathon – what perfect timing for tapering am I right?
First up, the Skins Compression A400 Capris. These. Things. Are. Magical. Smooth like butter and so thin yet supportive, you almost feel like you are running naked (which I legitimately thought the first time I wore them until I looked down and saw them on my legs). It truly surprised me how much work they did for my legs even though they were so lightweight and that all has to do with the technology behind the material.
Built with fabric that is warp knitted and containing elastic to move with your body yet also maintain their structure, the main purpose of the A400s is to boost your natural performance by increasing the circulation, therefore providing more blood to your muscles and reducing the build up of lactate. With the strategic placement of the seams to be anchor points and offer focused support and stability to major muscle groups, muscle vibration is reduced, therefore reducing the risk of injury.
The crazy part is that you can actually feel the fabric going to work while you are running. At first, it was a weird sensation – somewhere between a deep massage and a cramp but shortly after I could tell the material was really going to work leaving my legs looser and stronger. The next day, I was not nearly as sore as usual post-long run.
Another positive of the A400s is that they actually keep you cool. The past few weeks have been unseasonably hot so I was nervous to wear capris while running but the material stayed cool and dry even through 90 degree runs.
My one gripe with these capris are the fact that they didn’t have a pocket or zipper for storage. On a daily basis I don’t use the pockets in my activewear but there’s always that off-hand chance that I want to stick a credit card or my house key in there. I was informed that the shorts have a pocket but I am unsure about the pants.
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Secondly, I got to test out the TIUX compression socks. I always see runners with compression socks but never thought to buy myself a pair, mainly because I didn’t understand the point. Then I wore them on one of my runs and immediately got it.
Very similar to the compression capris, the sole purpose is to increase blood flow to stimulate your muscles, thus avoiding burnout. These socks were no different than the capris – at first, it was a strange mix between a deep massage and a cramp, then I could feel the blood flowing through my calves and my legs loosening. These socks were perfect for my neighborhood with all of the hills, helping me to push through them more than usual and lessen the recovery time.
My biggest concern with the socks was that I would get too hot while wearing them and they would itch or bother my skin since it’s pretty sensitive. However, they were extremely thin and quickly wicked away the sweat, leaving my feet dry and blister-free, with no itches or rashes. Huge bonus points in my book considering the issues we know I have with my feet (actually the smelliest).