Gear review, compression shorts: Opedix CORE-Tec shorts

LP1010795I’ve had over a year to review Opedix’s CORE-Tec shorts – lots of opportunities to test them on a variety of runs, from training runs to races, and in quite a range ofweather conditions. The CORE-Tec shorts come under the classification of compression wear: clothing that is designed to fit very snugly. There are many reasons for wearing compression clothing during exercise:

  • The amount of compression in some compression clothing is graduated (this mainly applies to long compression tights and calf sleeves), helping to keep fluids pumping back to your core and preventing extremities from swelling.
  • The snug fit of the compression (either overall, or in bands sewn in to the tights) helps to support muscles.
  • The snug fit of the clothing keeps muscles from jiggling – and believe it or not, that oscillation of the muscles, from increased and decreased tension, makes the muscle contract more than necessary, so it fatigues more rapidly.
Last long training run before the Angel's Staircase 60k.

Last long training run before the Angel’s Staircase 60k.

Opedix CORE-Tec shorts are mid-thigh-length compression shorts. In my opinion, short tights like these probably don’t do a lot to keep the fluid return going. However, what they are great at is keeping the muscles from jiggling – especially those two large and important running muscles, the quads and the hamstrings. The shorts’ tight fit feels great when I am running – I can totally feel how my muscles are stabilized. And I have been very impressed when I have used the shorts on my long runs and races – I feel less fatigued than I feel I “should” be for distance/time covered, and my recovery over the next days seems to be much accelerated.

And here I am, halfway through Angel's Staircase, at 60k my longest one-day run ever!(Not to mention the 10,000' of climbing and descent. I think the Opedix compression shorts really helped me in this one - reducing my fatigue while racing (my legs actually felt great throughout!) and accelerating my recovery after.

And here I am, halfway through Angel’s Staircase, at 60k my longest one-day run ever! (Not to mention the 10,000′ of climbing and descent). I think the Opedix compression shorts really helped me in this one – reducing my fatigue while racing (my legs actually felt great throughout!) and accelerating my recovery after.

What is great about the design of ths shorts is the tight band around the bottom, which is not too tight to cut circulation, yet it stays really well without riding up. Coupled with that is a stiffer band of fabric that comes down from the top of the butt, which I think really helps reduce any up-and-down motion that the otherwise stretchy fabric would have. Between those two bands, the jiggling motion of my muscles is really minimized.

They also worked well under long tights for my 30k Juan de Fuca run with April last October.

They also worked well under long tights for my 30k Juan de Fuca run with April last October.

I definitely prefer the short compression tights to long ones. In my experience, the pressure of long tights over my kneecap has actually caused me knee injuries in the past! I don’t trust long compression tights any more – even ones that are designed not to put compression directly on the knee may shift position as you run, up or down or rotating,  and may put unintended pressure on the kneecap. If you use them, do so with caution.

I probably won’t wear long compression tights again – they have caused too many problems for me. I have not yet tried calf sleeves for running (although I have worn long compression socks for recovery), and I think if I wanted the veinous-return benefits of long tights, I would be more likely to wear these Opedix shorts coupled with calf sleeves (thereby leaving my knees uncovered) than risk trying long compression tights again.

In summary, I am totally happy with my Opedix CORE-Tec shorts. Opedix is a company that relies upon medical professionals and researchers to work on the design and functionalityof their clothing. Their compression wear has been created more with skiers in mind that runners – about my only wish to make these shorts work a bit better for runners would be to have a small key-pocket added to the design.

More about Opedix products at www.opedix.com

Mid-route on Day 4, after running down the valley side. Now crossing the Ladoma River to do the big climb on the other side.

I wore the Opedix shorts in India, too, while racing the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race. On the cooler days (up high) I wore them under my running pants. Reducing fatigue and aiding recovery are especially important for multi-day racing.

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