As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting a lot lately, due partly (but not entirely) to the fact that I'm three days into a murder trial and haven't had a lot of free time. Fortunately, my wife Emily has agreed to step in and write a guest review for the blog. Enjoy!
Hi Everyone! I'm John's wife, Emily. The other day John and I were talking about his blog, and he suggested I step in from time to time with a review specifically for women. I'm super excited about this, because I really really love shopping for, trying on, buying and wearing new clothes. I'm a thrift store junkie, but I do buy a lot of my running clothes new too. Let's face it girls, when it comes to running clothes, being comfortable AND looking cute are both non-optional. This means finding pieces that are high quality, fit smoothly to the body, and (if at all possible) look nice enough to make a trip to the grocery store after finishing your run. I'll work to find these essential pieces and when I do, I'll let you know about them!
About a year and a half ago (in February of 2011) I tore my popliteal muscle, which is embedded deeply behind the knee, above the calf, but just below the hamstring. My doctor said it wasn't an important muscle in humans, and that I should be back running shortly. He said I could even do my race that weekend if I ran slowly, and could hack the pain. Then he said, "Emily, you are going to need a good pair of compression tights. It's going to hurt when you start running again, and other weird muscles are going to start hurting too. I recommend checking out what CW-X has."
Well, the doctor was right on all counts. I WAS able to run the 5k, albeit very slowly. And I DID have a very rough recovery afterwards. I was able to resume training within a week of the injury, but I had a great deal of scar tissue built up behind my knee that pulled and ached with every step. My hip muscles started tightening in on themselves in such a way that made stepping difficult. And my IT band started to flare up, which had never happened before. I took his advice, went to the CW-X website, and after quite a bit of research, ordered the Stabilyx Reflective Tights. The CW-X website is chock-full of information on their tights to help you decide which ones would work the best for your needs. They have a tight selector tool (which I used to decide which ones I wanted), or you can sort by activity, or by the part of the body where you need compression the most. I also checked out the Amazon reviews for this model, and they were all pretty positive.
When I brought them home from the post office, I immediately sat down on the floor in our living room and started to try to put them on. John was there, and he stood over me, laughing at me as I struggled to even get my feet through the foot holes! Had I gotten the wrong size? As a side note, when someone as funny as John is cracking jokes to you while you are trying to put on a really tight pair of running tights, the task becomes exponentially more difficult.
After about 3 minutes of flailing about and struggling, I had them on. I was nervous how ridiculous I might look in them, ran to our mirror, and was shocked at how flattering they were! Ladies, these tights are better than Spanx. I thought I looked like Catwoman, but John, well, he thought I looked like Rogue from X-Men. I'm OK with that.
|Pictured: me (or Rogue--I get us confused)|
I headed out the door for my run, relishing the feeling of compression over my injured knee. I ran 6 miles without even noticing it. It never tightened up on me. My hip didn't spasm either. The tights really were doing the trick. They delivered on what the CW-X advertising had promised and I was happily running again with spasm-free muscles.
I don't use them for a regular cold weather gear because, as I said, they can be hard to put on. I do use them right away though if anything from my knee up feels the slightest bit grouchy. They are also an awesome recovery tight for long runs. I have put them on after challenging runs and felt the compression work the lactic acid out of my muscles like a dream.
Sizing: As far as the fit goes, they were not too small. I am 61 inches tall and weigh 120 pounds. According to the CW-X sizing guide (which is very user friendly), I was supposed to be an extra small. To be on the safe side, and because I have never been an extra small in anything, I ordered a small. Aside from the initial surprise at the difficulty of pulling them on, I have never been anything but delighted with the fit. The knee compression panels fit right over my knee, and nothing pulls or tugs. They are none too large either. I recommend going up to the next size if you are on the outer edge of the size for your height and weight according to their chart.
Pros: I love that I look like Catwoman. Or Rogue. I'll take either. They make any potentially achy body part feel better while I run, and aid post-run recovery. I also love that they are so flattering and sit low and flat across my hips.
Cons: Hard to get on and off. That's not really a fair criticism though because they are compression tights and have built in compression banding. But tell that to my bladder after drinking an entire hydration pack or two of water. Also, the foot holes seem really tight at first, and it can take some doing to get your foot threaded through the tiny opening. It is important to note that the holes don't pinch my ankles once the tights are on.
If you are in the market for an awesome pair of compression tights, you can't go wrong with this model. While they have a little too much structure for me to wear as an everyday tight, I highly recommend these to runners who feel that a little bit of compression will be just what they need to get them over the hump of injury or soreness to have them running in the clear again.