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Review - SKINS A200 Compression Tights

  • Sunday, February 22 2015 @ 01:37 AM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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I usually do at least 1 or 2 runs per week in the morning before the sun comes up. This winter has been on the cold side so I bought a set of SKINS A200 compression tights and shorts (combo pack) from The Clymb at steep discount. As I was taking a picture of the garments, my wife commented "nobody wants to read about your underwear." I generally agree with this statement. However, people *might* wish to read about my experiences with the A200 compression tights.

David Laney advises "wear pants" if the temps are under 50 degrees (http://davidlaneyrunning.com/tag/elite-marathon/) and I tend to follow this advice unless I am racing.

And some days are just meant for purple shorts and a sock monkey hat:

The photo above shows the "shorts over tights" mode of attire, which is either completely appropriate or a fashion faux pas, depending on whom you ask. When making this decision for yourself you should be aware that compression tights are definitely more revealing than standard running tights. Running tights (the kind that tend to come with a pocket in the back for gels and zippers at the bottom by the feet openings) tend to be a little thicker and not quite as revealing in the crotch area. The first time my wife noticed me in my compression tights she laughed and then asked "Did you wear those in public?"

Yes. Yes, I did. But I did try to research the "proper" way to wear them first. Apparently men in tights are offensive to some people. So basically, just dress however you feel comfortable.

Now, to cover the specifics of the A200 Compression tights I will quote from my own training log (a 9 mile run):
"First run in Skins A200 compression tights. These will probably only come out on cold and dark situations. They are a bit more revealing than true running tights and I had to keep pulling them up for the first half of the run (the waist kept riding down). However, they kept me quite comfortable, not too hot or cold, on this morning in the low 40s. Generally felt good this morning."

I definitely feel sportier in compression tights than sweat pants (aka jogging pants). I am not sure that I buy into the claims that compression gear provides benefits such as "less lactic acid build up, more muscle oxygenation -- and better circulation" (from the SKINS faq http://www.skins.net/ch_en/faqs/), but I do know that I welcomed having these tights for those cold early morning runs.

I had some of my best marathon training runs while wearing my SKINS.

The A200 SKINS have a small key pocket along the rear waistband. They do not have a drawstring or zippers.

My only real gripe is this problem of the tights sliding down. For the first few minutes they slide down in the back. I pull them up and after a few minutes they slide down again. If I didn't intervene I would be exposing certain features of my backside that are better left unmentioned. This sliding down and pulling up continues until I get a sweat going and then they seem to "stick" in place.

I think compression gear is niche apparel and is normally accompanied by a high price tag. I don't know if I would pay full price for any piece of compression gear. However, at a discount this kind of clothing can be a nice addition to one's fitness apparel choices. SKINS would probably also make good tights to wear under normal clothing as a thermal layer for exceptionally cold days or to "speed recovery" after a training session (as the marketing materials would indicate).

This first foray into compression gear has also given me an appreciation for compression sleeves. Sleeves would provide similar benefits of tights (be they the "special" features of compression or simply a layer for added warmth) but allow regular running shorts to be worn.

My SKINS usage pattern can be summarized by the following...

They mostly come out at night. Mostly.

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