Review of Skins A400 and RY400 Compression Tights
Before I get started:
1. feel free to ask questions in the comments
2. there is an image gallery at the bottom of this post.
After some mix ups with my local run shop I finally put in for a pair via the Skins website and they arrived at the moment I was out for my longest training run in preparation for my first ultramarathon.
I returned to my in-laws after almost 6 hours out in some light winter rain. My body ached, my knees hurt, my quads were fried and my calves shredded.
The family was about to sit down for lunch, there was a nice fire going and I opted to skip the shower and sit down for lunch first. I washed up a bit and, excited to have the new gear, decided to toss on the A400 full tights and see how they felt. Little did I know what I was in for.
Lets just say that compression tights work. After a few minutes the tendon pain and ache in my knees were gone; my quads felt solid, the soreness was gone and I actually felt human rather quickly.
I have put approximately 80 hours of running into these tights. I have had running tights in the past but these compression tights are another story. They are much tighter than normal tights and actually change the way your muscles feel. My legs felt more solid and less achey during the maybe 100 hours I have used them.
They have flat-lock stitching inside so they are very comfortable. I wear the tights ‘au-naturel’ and have had zero chaffing issues at all, even at the end of the 75km I completed in January.
Comparing them to my CW-X compression tights, the Skins seem to compress in all directions; there is no loose bit that you can slide around when applying shear stress with your fingers.
The material of the Skins is also much thinner than the CW-X, which feel thicker then your normal tight. While my CW-X tights were better than normal tights, they don’t compress as completely as the Skins and the pair that I have don’t have flat-lock stitching.
As for breath-ability, my skin actually feels cooler with the Skins on. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but if you put them on and just sit around in them, you’ll notice that your legs feel a little chill.
One last bit, I have used the Skins A400 tights at the gym for some of my more demanding leg workouts when I was already carrying some soreness. This worked out well. As they breath so well I wore a pair of training pants over-top of the tights.
The RY400 Recovery tights
Truth be told I have been wearing these almost every day under my jeans since my wife surprised me with them for Christmas.
They don’t appear to be much different then the A400′s in the cut and paneling, but they are not quite as tight and perhaps more flexible around the joints; this makes them easy to wear underneath other pants. They work; they simply leave you feeling more solid after beating yourself down during long runs and high volume weeks.
The most shocking thing I have seen from these tights, though, was upon returning to our hotel after I dnf’d my first ultrarun. My wife dropped me off and headed out to the finish line to pick up my gear bag, including my tights.
I hopped in the shower, shivering and cold. Despite staying in there for some time, legs up and the water nice and hot, I was still shivering when I got out. I crawled into bed and snuggled with the hot tortilla sandwich we had ordered from the hotel.
My wife returned with the gear about 15 minutes later and I was still shivering. I changed into some compression socks and the recovery tights and bam, stopped shivering.
A believer in compression, a believer in Skins
Both of these products have been fantastic. Washing is easy, hang and they dry quickly. One interesting thing to note is that they are cooler than other tights I have had; they seem to breathe very well.
Also worth noting, the RY400′s are not as tight as the A400′s. I imagine this allows some extra movement, and this is useful when wearing the RY400′s under a pair of jeans.
Lastly, after a recent training camp where I was recovering from a virus and with a cold, I put in record training volume. In the last two days my legs were feeling the volume, and thinking that maybe the extra squeeze of the A400′s would make a difference, I switched from using the RY400′s for recovery to using the A400′s (which I wasn’t running in due to the 30+ heat). This worked. The second to last day I was thinking about resting, but the A400′s had my legs feeling good. That mental boost of my legs feeling good helped me to get out and put in another 4 hours over the last two days. That is priceless.
So that’s about it. Be sure to check out the image gallery below. Looking forward, my wife has surprised me with a full sleeve Ice Top which I will use for the AAUT. Next up will be to get some shorter tights for the race!
Skins A400 and RY400 image gallery
The photos below were done with my iPhone outside on a sunny day; the tights are actually black and charcoal in color.