Although I’ve been running for almost six years, I only discovered the wonders of compression gear on my excruciating long-haul flight after the Spartan Beast last year. Since then, compression has been helpful especially for my calves which have been hit hard by the change in my running style – switching from heel striking (cushioned shoe) to the more natural mid-foot striking (minimal shoe).
With the Spartan Winter Sprint coming up I knew I needed a pair of thermal tights so it only made sense to opt for thermal compression tights. But with all major brands offering them at high prices, I was vary of which tights would be worth the investment. Which ones would be best at keeping me warm in snowy mountains in a single layer of fabric?
Well, I’m pleased to report that the 2XU Hyoptik tights I opted for did a smashing job! In the weeks leading up to the race, I wore these tights for all of my outdoor runs (2-3x/week) and my legs felt great after every run. That extra calf and glute support really does make a difference when you’re new to minimal running.
However, UK winters aren’t that cold, so the real test had yet to take place…
With the winter race now behind me, let’s look at the pros and cons of the Hyoptik thermal compression tights:
- Very warm. Before the race started, I had to stand around in snow at -5 Celsius degrees, and whilst my feet and hands were going numb, I didn’t feel any cold in my legs. Once I started running, I didn’t overheat or get sweaty-wet either (like my hands did in their ski gloves).
- Dry super quickly. They dry while you’re wearing them, it’s amazing. Although I did over 100 burpees in the snow and crawled in mud under the barbed wire, my tights were dry within 20 minutes of the race. By the time we’d walked back to our hotel (which was a short walk from the venue), all of the wet stains were gone from my grey tights. Speaking of stains, I did make the mistake of wearing these to the gym one day – whilst good for weight-lifting, these are definitely not suitable for gym cardio. I was too hot in them and–thankfully–unaware of horribly placed sweat stains pronounced on the grey fabric until after I’d finished my workout. Once again though, the stains were dry before I could get home and share my shame with others.
- Luxurious but durable fabric. These tights are very soft to touch so I was worried how they would fare in an obstacle course race. The barb wire especially was very muddy as the snow had been rubbed off by the hundreds of people who had completed the obstacle before me. I shouldn’t have been fooled by the luxy feel of the fabric – these survived all sorts of rolling and dragging during the race, and the muddy stains washed off easily.
- Compression that works. On the threadmill, outdoors and in a race, I haven’t had a bad run in these. As I’ve mentioned before, I definitely feel these give my calves an extra boost compared to my other tights. I didn’t experience chafing either.
- Cool reflective logos. Least important of all, but still a delightful feature – these tights have a reflective logo down one side and on the back of one calf. Not only does it look awesome, it’s added safety for me when I run in the evenings. (I’ve been hit by a cyclist before, so keen to avoid it happening again.)
- Need pulling up occasionally. Yep, like every other compression pant out there, these too need pulling up now and then. They feel more secure and stable on my hips than my other compression tights, so it’s not like I have to pull them up all the time but I did readjust them once every half hour or more.
Overall, I’m thrilled with these tights. They were love from the first try-on and although I don’t have any more winter races on my schedule for now, I enjoy running and training in them outside. I’m just glad I now know to take “thermal” in their name seriously and not wear them to the gym again.
*Although this product was given to us for free by its manufacturer, our review is 100% honest and not sponsored. In the context of obstacle course racing, we tested this product out thoroughly with different gear and in both training as well as racing conditions. As ever, we’re dedicated to bringing you only the best news and advice to help you become a champion in your next OCR–so stay tuned and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any feedback or questions.