2XU Xform Elite PWX Compression Tights
Are compression tights a ‘marginal gain’?
Posted 3 October 2012
Words by Tim Granshaw
Compression tights have infiltrated the world of cycling as both a recovery and training tool. In this era of “incremental improvement”, does compression work?
There are many studies that suggest compression offers many benefits and just as many questioning the idea: I gave a pair of 2XU Xform Elite PWX Compression Tights a try to find out if they work for me.
I wanted to test two claims in particular: first, most of the compression wear manufacturers claim that tights and socks improve recovery for cyclists after difficult days on the bike. Second, there’s suggestion that compression socks and tights help minimize swelling during long flights. This swelling contributes to “plane legs”, the post trip deadness we all know and hate.
The impressive build quality of the 2XU tights is immediately clear. They are well-stitched, with four parallel lines of stitching per seam. The tight is constructed of two different fabric types. Heavy lycra wraps around the calf and hamstring with lighter lycra wrapping over the shin and quadriceps. The tights are also small: when I laid them across my bed before putting them on, they seemed young teenager sized than grown man sized.
As I pulled them on after a hard 2 hour cyclocross ride, I thought maybe the box was wrong. They were very difficult to get over my heels and up my legs. The initial struggle was worth it though. The tights fit well. In fact, I didn’t even notice I was wearing them after a little while.
But do they work? I definitely noticed a difference after flying with them on. I fly between the UK and the States 6 times a year with my cyclocross bike. The worst ride of the week is the first one off the plane. Usually, my legs are dull and unresponsive: even a two hour spin is a trudge for the first hour. The compression tights definitely made a difference. Though not exactly refreshed after a 10 hour flight, I was cruising happily through San Francisco just a couple of hours after disembarking the plane.
Recovery is slightly harder to qualify: there are so many contributing factors that can impact how you feel the next day that it’s hard to say whether the tights made a significant difference. I can say that I suffered zero cramping while testing these tights. I frequently get severe hamstring cramping after a hard day racing or training. After several brutal interval days in a row, I had no cramps at all.
Are these tights worth the £100-£120 they’re selling for? They definitely seem worth it to me. The absence of cramping and the more pleasant post-flight rides justify the cost. Thumbs up.
Men’s 2XU Xform Elite PWX Compression Tights £110