Skins A400 Long Tights
Peter Duffy, January 24, 2011
Since their formation in 1996, Skins have fronted the development of compression sports products. Now market leaders in this field, Skins set themselves apart from other undergarment competitors with their compression garments that aim to improve performance and recovery through aiding blood circulation, rather than merely focusing on temperature regulation. Their unique technology not only transfers moisture away from the skin to regulate body temperature, but also compresses muscles to accelerate blood flow and limit the build up of lactic acid in muscle fibres. Increased blood flow means increased oxygenation that not only raises performance endurance, but reduces recovery times after exercise.
The idea behind Skins compression technology and how it works left me a little sceptical as to how it would work when it came to testing. I had read all of Skins blurb about how the technology was breakthrough and that athletes worldwide were reaping the benefits of Skins, but was I really going to notice a difference in my recovery and even more importantly to me, my performance? And of course, were the A400 Long Tights worth their considerable asking price?
I threw myself into the deep end with the A400 Compression Long Tight and went for several long runs in icy conditions over the Christmas period. The A400 line includes several different styles and as a versatile garment, it is designed to match the requirements for many sports. As a runner and rower, the A400 long tight really made sense to me, especially after a 90 minute jog and a successful product test.
The first thing you notice with the A400 Long Tight is just how light and comfortable a compression product can be. Beyond this, the leggings kept me extremely warm on a couple of freezing mornings and what’s more, they worked well at evaporating the sweat away from my skin. Although I felt no immediate improvement in my performance on the run, the recovery side of the garment really paid dividends. I’d imagine that through repeated use, the combination of the recovery and performance features would work together to create a great training legging.
As any runner will know, freezing conditions are a nightmare in terms of injuries and pulling muscles, but I was extremely glad and, admittedly, impressed with how my legs felt after such long, hard road runs. Usually I get very tight calves after prolonged road running, and even though the Skins may not have eradicated this problem entirely, they certainly helped. That stiff ‘morning after’ feeling that many runners get was definitely improved by the Skins, and this meant that it was much easier to get back out on the road the next day.
To justify the pricing of the Skins technology, it’s important to point out their unique compression technology. Being the market leader in these products allows Skins to be more ambitious with their pricing, especially as they have worked hard to develop the best possible product with the materials available, instead of settling for lesser garments that are cheaper to produce and easier to research. Even if the product is on the expensive side and replacing your running or sports kit isn’t feasible, I would certainly recommend buying a set for prolonged endurance training, when quick recovery is essential. The Skins are not wonder garments; stretching and a good warm up will always be vital to reducing recovery times and fatigue, but they will make a noticeable difference in how your muscles feel after exercise. The right fit and sizing are essential to ensuring that the compression technology works properly, but overall if you’re into regular, prolonged training, the Skins garments are worth the investment.
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