Review: SKINS 2016 Compression Range
When it comes to compression gear (or baselayer garments) Australian company SKINS is the gold standard. Here is our World Exclusive look a two of the firm’s latest offerings.
The official compression gear of the Australian national rugby team, The Wallabies, and endorsed by USA rugby co-captain Blaine Scully, SKINS has been a longtime favorite among soccer and rugby players, triathletes, CrossFitters and runners. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve be trying out their brand new DNAmic Sleeveless Top and RY400 Compression Long Tights for Recovery.
What are they?
In a nutshell, SKINS garments are designed to offer the athlete muscle support via calculated amounts of pressure. They also aid in blood circulation and the removal of lactic acid (the by-product of muscles burning energy that builds up in them and make you sore) and are made of quick-drying fabrics.
Both products look good on and off the body. The DNAmic Sleeveless Top is in the basic black with Aussie gold that SKINs have often favored. The boomerang-shaped flashes of gold on the front and similar ones in gray on the back of the shirt make it stand out among other similar gear. A couple of other nice touches are two-colored stitching on one of the golden flashes on each side of the shirt and the text “IT’S EQUIPMENT, NOT CLOTHING” on the waistband.
The RY400 Tights are extremely good-looking for a garment that may not be seen much on its own. Nevertheless, SKINS designers have put together a brilliant piece that tempts you to wear it to training with a pair of shorts or long shirt over it. Made of several functional pieces, its use of different colors and pronounced stitching highlight the fact that this is the “equipment” of a serious athlete. If you’re on the modest side you can still wear your pants low and show off the shiny SKINS-branded waistband of the tights.
Our tester usually wears size Large tops and size Medium bottoms. That is what he wore for the SKINS product test. Both pieces fit perfectly and as expected. Therefore, we believe that SKINS is true to size. However, we suggest that you check the SKINS Sizing Chart to determine what size is ideal for you. It is well put together and will tell you exactly which size you need to get for your height and weight.
SKINS DNAmic Sleeveless Top
Featuring the latest technology from SKINS, the DNAmic Sleeveless Top is an excellent compression shirt for training in warmer temperatures. It does come is a short and long sleeved versions for cool times. However, the sleeveless version is the best of the lot for when you’re faced with extreme heat.
We tried the shirt out during soccer training, running and weight training. It impressed in every workout! Its standout features were:
• Muscle Support
The SKINS DNAmic Sleeveless Top provides a very supportive fit that keeps your inner back, chest and core muscles steady and seemingly vibration-free when you’re on the move or pushing weights. The feeling that you get can best be described as one of augmented upper body stabilization. With everything from the waist up taken care of we were able to focus on our performance on the pitch or the gym.
• Low Weight
SKINS shirts are always low in weight despite the fact that they are built to last. The SKINS DNAmic Sleeveless Top is no exception. Coupled with its open back, lack of sleeves and open neckline, its lightness can make you even forget that you’re wearing a top. This is exactly how you want to feel when in the midst of anything athletic.
The SKINS DNAmic Sleeveless Top uses the firm’s advanced moisture management fabrics. These are among the fastest drying one the market today. On average we found that the shirt dried within five minutes of pulling sweat from our testers’ skin. The side of the top features full length mesh panels for extra ventilation. Lastly, the very open back of the shirt lets the skin in that area have direct exposure to air. This is a great cooling characteristic as long as your back isn’t exposed to the hot sun.
• Gripping Waistline
A key feature of most SKINS tops, the waistline of the SKINS DNAmic Sleeveless Top is fitted and looks the shirt to your waistline. This is brilliant since it keeps the top in place to maximize its compression effect and avoid the dreaded bunching up of fabric that can occur during movement.
SKINS RY400 Compression Long Tights for Recovery
Chock full of technology designed to get you back in action quickly, the SKINS RY400 is intended for athletes to wear for a least three hours (preferably longer) after exercise. Its purpose is to reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and soft tissue damage so that you can be as close to 100% fitness as soon as possible.
We put the SKINS RY400 through a couple of tests. The first was wearing them got an entire night after a leg weightlifting routine. The second was wearing them for the entire day and night following a ninety minute soccer matched played on artificial grass at 10 AM in the morning in very hot conditions.
In both cases we found the RY400 to live up to its promise. After the weight lifting workout our tester said that his legs were at least 25% less fatigued than they normally would be the day following the training session. The results after the soccer match were more impressive however.
If you’ve ever played an intense match you can relate to the tired legs and soreness that you’ll feel for at least 36 hours after the fame. Our tester said that the level of fatigue he felt in his legs was down to 50% of what he normally experienced after spending twenty four hours in the RY400 Tights. He now swears by them. SKINS is on to something big with these!
One value-add of the SKINS RY400 Compression Long Tights for Recovery is the fact that they are extremely easy to put on. While slipping on men’s tights can be challenging and even a battle against compression gear at time, the SKINS RY400 has their Glider technology that lets it side up your hairy legs with ease. Certainly a first for us!
Since Under Armour invented the compression sports clothing genre in the early 2000s, just about every major sportswear firm has launched similar products. As serious athletes, we’ve tried many of them including offerings from UA, adidas, Nike, Canterbury and Zensah. However, none of them did what SKINS does in terms of reducing soreness, supporting hard working muscles and drying rapidly. Whenever faced with a choice we seriously recommend considering SKINS. Their products are available at their online store and Lovell Rugby.