Fortunately, with so many holiday gift cards, I had the latter and decided to take a chance on some 3/4-length tights. Primarily I wanted something that got me through the cooler Arizona mornings but also something that was functional and compression-related. I have some compression socks and am already a fan (for the record though, I don't think socks improve race-day performance but they do aid in recovery).
Meet the CW-X Stabilyx 3/ length tights...
Sold as-is or used as a base layer (for the more modest), these tights are one of my best purchases to date. I honestly love them. They are expensive, but well worth it.
While I was less-than-thrilled about the blue stitching and fairly obvious paneling throughout the garment, I put that aside once I actually wore them.
They run true to size based on the manufacturer's sizing chart. I ordered a small and while they are snug, that is the intent with a compression-based garment like this.
Getting them on the first time took some work - again, they are snug. There is a gap in the compression paneling where your knee goes and unless you strategically position it there, I don't think you'll get the true benefits of this product.
Speaking of the paneling - you might think it's a gimmick. Trust me, it's not.
I had not run for over a week when I first wore these. Even when I'm training, I always experience some fatigue and pounding in my legs for the first 2-3 miles while my legs 'remember' what it's like to run. Wearing these, I felt nothing except the smoothness of the road and the cool air against my thighs. After 8 miles (including hills), it felt like I hadn't even run at all. Even the next day, my quads felt great and I was able to do back-to-back runs without soreness or stiffness.
If I had to quantify the benefits I would say:
- Improved run performance by 100% - I felt like I could go double any distance just by wearing these.
- Improved recovery by 100% - With zero post-run fatigue, I could go out the next day and do the same distance again.
- Warmth - increased core warmth by 50%. The 3/4 length allows the calves to remain cool and keep the temperature of my legs balanced.
- Comfort - long in the torso but extremely comfortable for any distance run. The waistband folds over nicely if you need to ensure a snug fit in the crotch (otherwise, the crotch hangs and rubs)
At almost $90, these are well worth the money. They have been the best addition to my gear so far and I plan on wearing them whenever I get a chance. I did not shop around so you may find some that are less expensive but my preferred vendor is Backcountry.com - they have a great range of products and a superb return policy.
Thanks for reading and happy running!