So a while back, in fact quite a while back the good folks at CEP sent me a pair of their new compression shorts to review. If you have been following this blog for anytime you’ll know that I am a big fan of compression clothing, there is some ongoing discussion about the benefit of compression clothing while training and for recovery for a good list of the literature check out Joe Friel’s post here. Personally I used various items; sock, sleeves, shorts and tights while training and for my last three or four races I have worn a pair of compression shorts and I firmly believe in the benefits of it for recovery. So with this is mind I welcomed their arrival and set out to put them through their paces. But first some info from CEP:
The CEP Compression Tri Shorts represents a unique new version of what you've known as triathlon racing apparel. The shorts feature a compressive knit in the leg section which absorbs less than 3% moisture and dries very quickly. Constructed with an upper and lower section, the compression Tri shorts offer an incredible amount of compression for the quads and hamstrings for a truly new experience in muscle oscillation dampening.
Simply put, your muscle are free to perform the task at hand without flying all over the place, wasting energy and increasing fatigue. The upper, or brief section, is made with POWER material which offers additional support for the buttocks and hip flexors without causing discomfort in the aero position. 3-D fit further promotes muscle support and as close to a perfect fit as you are going to find. Rear ventilation mesh panels and a secure rear pocket for personal items. Forget what you thought you knew about top notch triathlon racing apparel. The CEP Compression Tri Shorts will open your eyes to an exciting new world of PR's and race finishes.
* Running is the exact same without the padding for Triathlon (Chamois)
In terms of their trial I have worn them outside, inside (with a few odd looks, whatever people) mostly while running and also while cross training during the forefoot transition which involved the elliptical, lot’s stretching, jump rope, lunges, skipping and plyometric work so they have been put through their paces although I would say I have yet to put any real long runs on them.
As the description above states they are made of two sections and of two distinct materials. The upper material, fits around the waist and hips down to the top of the thighs. Made from a thinner material it is less compressing than the lower section. There are multiple panels that allow the shorts to become sculptured to your body, the panels are connected by super flat seams and I had no issues with chaffing, for preference I wear Asics Transistors underneath. There is a small flap over pocket (no zip) which is larger enough for a gel or a key in the back just below the ventilation strip which helps with the breathability. The legs have two panels and again have super flat seams. I had a size IV which equates to a Large, the sizing is based on the circumference around your thigh and for my height (6’1”) they are plenty long enough reaching down to the top of my knee comfortably. The material in these sections is considerably thicker and this is where the shorts have the most compression and as a result are their most snuggiest and of course this makes total sense as this is around your quads and upper hamstrings.
So how to they perform, well the first thing is getting them on. Not that I have ever put a wet suit on (yet…I do have one in a box under my bed!) but I know there is some risk of putting your fingers through the neoprene and there feels a similar risk because these shorts are tight, tight, tight but with a bit of wriggling it’s all good, you have to actually feel like you are pulling them up a bit too high to let them settle down! Now with tightness comes effectiveness, and these shorts are effective, that being said I have not put major mileage on them in terms of distance but I have comfortably worn them for several hours at a time, the comfort level is high; the chaffing is zero. The wicking is effective and they dry well. Overall these are comfortable and effective in helping with the percussion on the muscles…and that is really the point right. Now I get it that some of it might be psychological but I have to say that some of it really is physiological and that combination is pretty powerful…after all how many pairs of compression socks have you seen in the last few seasons and expect to see more this year ? Compression Shorts and their big brother Compression Tights are only a step away.
Available in Black, the are gender specific and come in five sizes; XS through XL. Pricewise they are all over the map and a quick Google shopping search online found them from $90 all the way up to $214! These shorts are also available as a Tri Short for a similar price.
If you’re interested in any of my other reviews on compression clothing you can follow the links in the right hand list to the review.