Amidst all this cycling I am going to stick in a review of a running item, but with the caveat that it can be used as a tool for cycling too!
The good folks at Opedix sent me a pair of their KNEE-Tec Tights to try. At a basic level beyond the obvious benefits of warmth during the winter, yes (rolls eyes) we even have a winter in Southern California, Opedix have combined two recent game changers into the sports industry; compression clothing and Kinsio Tape, well to be honest the latter has been around for a while but has only really come to prominence in the last few years with KTTape and Rock Tape leading the charge…but I digress!
So from the Opedix Website;
“Every style of Opedix tights incorporate our patented knee support and have scientifically designed tensioning systems within a comfortable, form-fitting base layer to enhance the kinetic functioning of your body. Working like a muscle, the scientific design uses a combination of fabric tensions to anatomically correct the body's inside forces and reconnected joints to harmoniously function in a kinetic chain.
Scientifically Designed and Tested to Reduce: Destructive Knee Forces, Quadricep Fatigue, Knee Pain and Improve: Dynamic Balance
Opedix KNEE-Tec™ Tights and CORE-Tec™ Shorts have scientifically designed tensioning systems built within a comfortable, form-fitting base layer to enhance the kinetic functioning of your body. Working like an external muscle, a combination of fabric tensions help direct the body’s internal forces and optimize harmonious joint function in the body’s kinetic chain.”
As you may have noticed since my bike crash my training has shifted away from Ironman St George and onto the bike but prior to that end I was putting in 3-4 runs a week and the later night or earlier morning runs were perfect for putting these tights through their paces. I was sent a Black pair with contrasting orange stitching, they are also available in Black with contrasting Gray panels. They could do with some reflective qualities for those night runs!
So out of the box the tights are nice and durable they defiantly have a quality feel to them. There are two distinct fabrics; the webbing part that provides the tensioning system and the regular fabric that surrounds it.
You can see in these photos how the webbing is sculptured around the leg to support the main muscle groups and knee it the sections that look light Black/Gray. I borrowed these images from their website….you do not want to see me in tights!
I should point out that I was initially sent a size Medium, this was based on my waist size, height and weight (32”, 6’1 and 175lb) I struggled to get them over my thighs (a problem I have with regular jeans and chinos too) so I exchanged them for a size Large and these were a much better fit. Something to consider if when you order a pair. They sit comfortable at the waist with a nice wide waistband. There is a drawstring to avoid the ever attractive saggy crotch! Length wise, as per the picture above, they don’t reach my socks but that’s fine. There is a handy small pocket on the back, big enough for a key, gel or Credit Card but too small for a phone unless it is a flip phone. They are not overly logo’d a couple of discreet mentions on the thigh and calf.
So onto the road test. As you would expect the fit is…well tight! Not overly so though it does take some getting used to the webbing material. At first the webbing feels a little restrictive but once you get into your stride you soon become adjusted and you can feel the “rebound” effect. They are very supportive and I can only describe the effect of the webbing as feeling like there a rubber bands tensioning your muscles to contract as you move. The only caveat is I did find that when I was running faster i.e. when doing fartleks or striders etc they did feel a little tighter which I expect is due to the greater range of motion needed, rather than my usual shuffle!
For post runs I wore them a couple of times to recover in and also I have worn them post ride. The benefits of compression are much more widely accepted for recovery than during exercise so this seemed like a great time to try them too. Around the house they were fine, sitting at a dining table chair is ok, you wouldn’t want a 3 course meal in them though as that much bend in the knee makes them a little too tight but for feet up in front the TV there are great.
I could go on about the Science and all the reasons why these are great but Opedix created a short video that does a much better job than I can!
Looking after them is easy, cold wash and air dry! No shrinkage and after several months no real signs of any wear, fading, unraveling stitching etc. They are made in the US so that keeps jobs Stateside too which is a bonus in this economy. Talking of economy one benefit these have over Tape is that Tape wears out and falls off, so long term this is a more cost effective solution!
So all in all a quality product that does what it says it does. Should you buy a pair, well that’s for you to decide but if you have the need for cold weather gear (did someone say Polar Vortex), and functionally supportive pair of tights then these could be good for you! If you’re rehabing an injury or a prone to something these are well worth looking at, prevention is always better then a cure.
You can also use them for skiing, I don’t ski but a couple of reviewers have tried them for that and also when cycling. The weather here is too mild cold tights on the bike with the exception of few days (sorry World) but I can see the benefits rolling across lots of sports!
Available through their website they retail for $225 which may seem like a lot and well it is but these are a lot more that your basic cold weather tights and are in the same ball-park as what you would pay for the other similar offerings from CEP and CW-X.