Gear Review: Performance Leggings for High-Impact Sports
Tights that boast the ability to help an athlete move “stronger and longer” are unquestionably alluring. What runner, skier, hiker, or pursuer of any sport wouldn’t want the capability of continued movement with less fatigue and improved performance? The KNEE-Tec Tight from Opedix promises to provide all these aspects and more.
According to the creators, the key to enhanced movement lies in realigning the body’s kinetic chain, or the interrelatedness of all the muscles and bones in your body that promotes movement. When it comes to sports with a heavy focus on the lower body (like running), the kinetic chain involves body parts like the hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, knees, calves, and ankles. When one piece of the “chain” is off kilter, it’s likely that you’ll feel pain or discomfort somewhere else. That’s why when runners complain about pain in their knees the cause is usually pinpointed by assessing the strength of other muscles like the quads or hamstrings.
The KNEE-Tec Tights’ sturdy structure was designed to correct these kinds of imbalances by offering extra joint support and helping to counter the forces that come along with high-impact sports. The first time I put them on I was immediately able to feel the specific areas (especially around my knees and hips) where additional reinforcement is provided.
While the compression aspect of the tights felt nice on my muscles, I initially worried that they wouldn’t be flexible enough to run in. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite. The tights are supportive but supple and despite their snug fit, they’re extremely easy to move in. About 3 years ago I injured my left hamstring. Since then it has healed, but towards the end of long runs I can sometimes feel an uncomfortable twinge around the area where I strained the muscle. However, I was pretty astonished to find that wearing the KNEE-Tec tights during my endurance workouts helped to eliminate that feeling and also reduce overall fatigue.
These tights won’t heal injuries on their own, but they may help aid the process, and after a few weeks of putting them to the test they certainly proved most of the claims on their tag to be true. A few of the other features that almost any athlete can appreciate include a zippered back pocket, an elastic draw cord at the waist, and breathable, moisture-wicking material. The only drawback I found is that the elaborate seams and intricately snug fit make it a bit of project to put the tights on and take them off. Although the material is breathable, it’s still fairly thick which works fine for chilly weather workouts, but for warmer weather I’d probably opt for the Opedix CORE-Tec Shorts.
When purchasing a pair of KNEE-Tec tights, it’s important to consider size because it’s imperative that the knee-support area of the pant leg aligns directly over the knee cap. Opedix recommends sizing down one size. I’m short (5 feet tall), but I have a muscular build, so I was hesitant about opting for an extra small. Because of my short stature the length ended up being just right though, and the other areas (waist, hips, pant legs) fit well too.