Product Review: CW-X Compression Tights

As promised, here is my review of the CW-X compression tights. So that the SEC doesn’t come after me, you should know that I bought these with the money my job pays me to do a competent job. They weren’t free. I did get a really good deal, but they were not free.

Anyway… I’ve heard of the CW-X tights before but I mostly though that they were really weird looking and that there was no way they actually work. Plus, last year I went through this weird macho phase where I decided that “real” runners only wear shorts and I refused to wear tights. I think it’s because that’s what Alberto always says and obviously if he told me to dye my hair blue, I would but after my positive experience with compression socks, I figured I’d give them a try.

Anyway, CW-X makes a variety of compression tights, socks and tops designed to support what ails you. Meaning, there are a  few different types and you should choose the kind of support you want based on your issues. There are different models for people with IT band pain, knee pain, core issues, etc. The company claims that they “form an exoskeleton for more support” and increase blood circulation. The company claims that, “In a study in Montpelier, France, differences in fatigue in runners wearing shorts, regular spandex tights, and CW-X® Conditioning tights were measured comparing VO2 oxygen uptake levels over 15 minutes of running at 80% of maximal effort. When wearing CW-X® tights the results showed 26% and 36% lower oxygen usage compared to regular tights and shorts respectively, indicating lower energy expenditure in CW-X® tights.” I was pretty skeptical, but whatever.

I chose the capri CW-X pro capri length tights in size small. I was in the “gray area” for the sizing chart but ordered a small since I’m fairly compact for my weight. If that makes any sense. Well, I got the tights and freaked out. They looked like something a small child would wear and didn’t seem very stretchy. I thought that there was no way I was getting in them but decided to try them on anyway just for comedy. Well, to my surprise they actually fit! The pro tights are designed to give your core and back some support so they come up rather high (still below the belly button but just barely) and are definitely tight, but they do fit. For those of you who swam they are kind of like putting on a fastskin or paper suit– start slow and work your way up.

The tights also come in “ventilator” and “insulator” materials which is cool– you can go warmer or colder depending on where you are.

I took them for a spin over a hilly-ish route I run (it’s one street in Sac that has 2 hills that I run back and forth about 4 times. I’m sure the people living there love me) the next morning. I was pleasantly surprised that my quads and back didn’t feel as beat up with the tights on. Now, I’ve been trying to run a lot of hills so I could just be getting better at them, but it did seem like the tights were pushing my legs along and helping me hold my posture. And normally I feel pretty tight the day after, but I didn’t. Plus, I feel like my ass and legs looked good in them and that’s really what it’s about, right?

I also wore the tights to breakfast after my 21 miler with Aron last week. (side note: we saw a LOT of CW-X tights on the trail. Like, a lot) I was a little funky after the run but definitely not sore. The tights also have the added benefit of being like Spanx. I put my “taper only” jeans on and they were loser with the tights on. Now, I’m not wearing running tights under my jeans but it’s proof to me that they’re compressing something you know?

I do have two criticisms of the tights. The first is that they are wacky looking. Mine are all black so it’s not as bad, but a lot of them have the exo skeleton in a contrasting color that I think is just heinous. In fact, I picked the “support” I wanted because those came a) in capri and b) all black. I am not wearing tights with a weird design on them. Pass.

See? These are funky looking

The second is that they are so expensive. 90 bucks for tights (which I did not pay) is a LOT. I love me some running clothes, but 90 bucks is pretty steep.

Overall, I think they’re a great product. My legs feel good in them and I definitely notice that they feel fresher when I wear them. I’m slowly converting to compression stuff even though it kind of feels like cheating. I don’t know that I’d pay 90 bucks for them, but considering I dropped 50 bucks on my compression socks and don’t regret it, so maybe I would.

Taper update: I’m running, slowly and not very much. I did some speedwork yesterday and it was fine. I was kind of bored of it so it wasn’t spectacular but whatever. It kind of doesn’t matter now. I’m also eating and sleeping a lot so I’m taking that as a sign that my body is healing itself from all the training. My it band and glute still hurt like hell but I’m goign to the ART tomorrow, so that’ll be good.

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9 responses to “Product Review: CW-X Compression Tights

  1. Glad the capris feel good! Personally, I am def. a fan of compression socks!

    And that design is totally funky. I’d look like I was DNA running in those. Weird.

  2. Those are some weird lookin’ tights! But if they help I am a sucker for buying them! Hmmm….$90 bucks – I will have to think about it. Or you can let me in on secret of where you got your screamin’ deal!
    Enjoy taper and all the extra sleep! You deserve it! 😉

  3. i haven’t ever thought about buying these because they are *quite* funny looking. all black may be better but the seams may still bug me 😉

    after your review though… i dunno, may have to swipe the amex! 🙂

  4. I bought some 2XU ones a while ago and yes they seemed TINY and I was worried that my legs would look like sausages bursting out of their skins. They kind of do but hey ho it DOES make you feel better running in them – I think they work. Trust me – those puppies cost MORE over here.

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  7. Got myself a pair of CW-X pro tights a couple of months for marathon. The stuff is pretty tight as the name goes and the wacky design makes you feel different. It’s kinda superhero feeling only
    to minus away the strength and awesome power I suppose.
    Bottom line : the legs seem fresher, fatigue reduced and you really consider doing another 42 clicks.

    • Charles van der Horst

      Hi David, I am signed up for the NYC Marathon in 2 weeks and fly back over for my work in Africa that night. I am also having some hamstring issues which may make everything moot. But, did you have issues with chafing when you did the marathon? Did you wear anything underneath them? Would you suggest I keep them on for the flight to Africa (funky as that sounds)? Finally, your post was in April, do you still like them? Charlie

  8. I call my Cw-X capris and tights my XENA pants because I feel like a complete superhero dorkus when I wear them, HOWEVER, they work.
    I will continue to look like a dorkus 🙂

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