By CHELSEY GRIBBON
When I am training or competing in a race, I don’t know if it’s the idea of having muscles tight and contained or my secret obsession with Cat Woman. But when I am running and really trying to go fast, I like to be black, sleek and (maybe even) sexy. In last month’s Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race, where I raced on Team GearJunkie.com, I tested the CW-X Pro Tights, a product of Wacoal Sports Science sold at www.cw-x.com.
On the race’s initial 40-mile trek, I wore normal tights. After that effort, my knees, IT bands and hip flexors were toasted. On the second big trek — a three-day push through Chile’s Darwin Mountain Range — I pulled on the Pro Tights from CW-X before heading uphill and into the woods.
The tights, which cost about $97, have a unique design, including straps and elasticized fabric swaths that support muscles and joints. They are touted to fight muscle fatigue and aid in supporting knees and tendons. The company says the tights have a “suspension system for the hamstrings and quadriceps.”
Although they didn’t pick my legs up for me, I could feel a difference between wearing them and being without. At first, the compression was a bit much. I felt like it was more work to hike up the hills than before. But after a few hours on the trek, the CW-X tights started to feel like a second protective layer of skin. My knees, IT bands and hips felt secure and safe in the supported compression web.
By the 30th hour of the trek — it was a long way! — the tights were having issues. The sizing was off, and the tights felt a bit too large. I had to repeatedly stop and pull the tights back up and over my hips. They kept slipping down, and this got a little annoying. (I wore the size XS tights; CW-X doesn’t make ‘em any smaller.)
Other than having to stop every once and a while to readjust, the tights did indeed seem to provide some muscular support. The bands on the tights wrapped with my anatomy, naturally beefing up the support system my body already has in place. On the long trek, the tights reduced impact and load to the legs, which in turn reduced fatigue and helped me to keep going, mile after mile, in the Patagonian outback.
A final point: Across a range of temps, I never felt too hot or too cold in the tights. They did a good job wicking away my sweat, which kept me dry. I am excited to add these to my race and training wardrobe — especially if the company can fix my sizing concern.
Overall, I loved the tights’ performance and would recommend them to novice and serious athletes alike. When it comes down to it, your legs — as well as your inner Cat Woman — might thank you for the extra support.
—Chelsey Gribbon is a member of the YogaSlackers.