Compression clothing is designed to improve your sporting performance and to speed up your recovery afterwards, and it has really taken hold over the past couple of years. Now, you might think it’s just the latest fad and be sceptical about the claims, but there’s an increasing amount of research to back them up...
Research suggests there are several key beneﬁts, mainly – but not exclusively – due to improved blood ﬂow caused by the clothes’ squeezing of your limbs. These include increased oxygen delivery to muscles, a reduction in the build-up of lactic acid, lower energy expenditure during exercise and less muscle damage and soreness. Studies also show an improvement in recovery time.
The Skins tights aren’t bike-speciﬁc – there’s no chamois insert – but all the seams are ﬂat-lock stitched and they’re positioned well so there’s no chaﬁng. Stirrups stop them from riding up around the ankles, while the elasticated waistband is comfortable enough up top but it doesn’t hold them in place as well as a bib.
The nylon/spandex fabric does a good job of wicking sweat away from your body and it doesn’t retain odours after washing but, inevitably, you get warmer than when wearing shorts alone, which can be an issue in hot weather.
The tights are best used after a hard ride, though, to aid recovery. Put them on for several hours when you get home or even wear them overnight to speed up the repair process.
You’ll notice that you’re less achy than usual, muscle soreness doesn’t last as long, and you feel like getting back on the bike sooner. The differences are subtle, but the beneﬁts are certainly there. You’ll get this with compression clothing from many brands but what sets Skins apart from the crowd is the excellent quality and massive range of sizes available. Fit is critical for compression clothing to be effective, so make sure you choose the right size
We’ve also used Skins’ long sleeve top (£49.99) and short sleeve top (£44.99) which are made to similarly high standards. They’re based on the same principles and Skins reckons they help with posture and breathing too, but for cycling the beneﬁts are more limited.