Quit slouching! That’s the idea behind “posture enhancing” athletic wear from Intelliskin of Newport Beach, Calif. The company’s $95 tops are said to improve the way you “look, feel, perform and live” — tall claims for a shirt, if you ask me. Indeed, well before the product arrived on my step, I’d decided it was more than likely a gimmick. Here are a few things I learned about Intelliskin during my test. —T.C. Worley
Tight Fit. It’s a wrestling match to get into these shirts. But that very snug fit is essential to allowing the product to work. In fact, there’s even a video on the company’s site to reveal the correct way to get dressed! It will feel uncomfortable until you start moving — then you’ll likely forget the discomfort and feel the intended athletic affects.
Straight Back. The shirt does what it claims for posture. You’ll feel your shoulders pressed back and your chest opened up into a heroic, athletic position. Do you tend to droop and slouch as you fatigue? If so, I can see this product being appealing.
Weird Rubs. With a fit so tight there’s bound to be some subtle anatomical incompatibilities. For me, it was the armpits. The shirt was too tight under my arms, and because of this I preferred the company’s sleeveless tank over the shirts.
Injury Prevention? Better posture during activity can be helpful in preventing injuries. That is the theory Intelliskin lives on, and we at GearJunkie are not capable of confirming or debunking it. But Intelliskin founder Dr. Tim Brown has been working in this area of sports medicine for decades.
A-List Endorsers. From surfer Kelly Slater to Major League Baseball players, the company has some serious people backing its brand. Whether they are getting big bucks to appear on the “ambassadors” page we’re not sure. Heck, even Glenn Frey, a musician with The Eagles, is an Intelliskin wearer! “I feel ten years younger after training with Peter and wearing the Intelliskin shirt,” he said.
Tech Aesthetic. Styling and materials are definitely on the techy side. This is not for the “I jog in a t-shirt” crowd. Intelliskin tops are Lycra-based shirts with a racy fit. Contrasting stitching on the shirts’ many, many panels give them a sharp, sporty look. Pair these tops with some tights and you’re going to look faster than you feel.
My Take. While I didn’t notice a significant jump in my performance when wearing Intelliskin, I do think that there are advantages. The shirts keep you upright and in a focused posture. They are not restrictive to breathing, and in fact may open you up so breathing is a bit more efficient. The company touts things like “optimal muscular balance,” alignment, and improved “sensory motor function.” Those items are harder to sense. But in these shirts you no doubt feel fast and ready for action. That mental benefit was not lost on me as I ran, chest out, down the trail in this tight-fitting, “intelligent” athletic top.
—T.C. Worley is a contributing editor.