Hej! Lycklig Torsdag!
In case you’re not fluent in Swedish, that was ‘hello! Happy Thursday!’ in my spiritual language, from my seat at a rooftop bar in my spiritual home of Stockholm. Life is pretty good here in Summer: the whole city seems to live at outdoor bars and restaurants. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve put in some serious work hours this week – but now I have the chance to enjoy moule frites (not Swedish, but still good) and catch up with my favourite blog.
Anyway. Last month, #100MileJuly gave me the perfect opportunity to test out some new gear. Skins AU were kind enough to send me a sports bra and some leggings to test out, and believe me, I have been putting them through the ringer for the last four weeks.
Skins AU specialise in sports compression gear for both men and women. Compression gear is kind of like the socks that
I never you’re supposed to wear on long haul flights to prevent DVT. The theory behind compression gear for sports is that the compression increases blood flow, which in turn keep the muscles warm, preventing injury, lactic acid build-up and fatigue. It’s also thought to encourage speedy recovery. By the way – Skins is a global brand, and there’s also a Skins UK.
Now, as we all know from my
complaining blogging, my biggest issue when marathon training were my feet. But, post-run, my calves and legs would ache with tiredness, but thanks to my angry feet, my legs never got much sympathy. So I was really keen to see how the compression gear could help with muscle ache.
The first thing to say about the set is that they fitted like a dream. I’m wearing a small in both, and often I find the length is wayyy to long for my hip width in leggings. I don’t know who these gazelle-women are who have a 26 inch waist, and legs that reach up to the ceiling. But these leggings were a great overall fit.
When running, they were extremely lightweight: it felt like I wasn’t wearing anything. My regular leggings aren’t exactly made of cement, but the Skins leggings didn’t bunch around my knees or pinch my waist, which are my known pain points. I feel sleek running in them, and that’s a lovely feeling. You might say that I feel like Giselle-the-Gazelle when wearing them.
The material is designed to prevent chafing and rashes by wicking the sweat away: the material moves the sweat away from your skin to the surface. Now, England in Summer is hardly Sydney in Summer. I know that. But heck, last week we were enjoying highs of 23 degrees (try not to get too jealous). On those days, the leggings did effectively draw the sweat away from the pain points (especially behind the knees), making for a comfortable run. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with regards to compression. They didn’t feel as tight as DVT socks, but afterwards, my shins in particular didn’t ache as much.
However, it’s not all Giselle-the-gazelle running. One downside for me with these tights is that there is no pocket. Nowhere to put your house key, let alone your iphone. For me, that’s quite a big issue: for a product that makes you feel so lightweight, it’s a shame to wear a running belt too. And, when considering dark Winter running, I’d probably prefer a few more reflective elements too.
Now on to the crop top-sports bra, which was my favourite out of the two. I really liked how it looked: lovely colours, pretty straps at the back, and it’s also padded so you can still feel feminine whilst wearing something that’s basically designed to strap your breasts down to nothing.
And strap my breasts down it did. When I was fitted for my first sports bra, I was advised to jump up and down and see how much movement there was: the less, the better. This one passed the test with flying colours.
It’s pretty enough to wear as a crop top, which made it perfect for pole dancing: my sides were still free to grip the pole, but my boobs were protected from gravity, which as we all know, can be unkind. During marathon training, I fell victim to some nasty chafing around my bra line, but that was never an issue with this top. Again, just one minor design flaw for me: the padding is optional, and you’re able to remove it through a small hole in the side. This might suit some people, but every time I washed the top, the pads came out. And each time I put them back in, I felt like they didn’t fit inside quite as well as before.
So. All in all, Skins AU have produced a great sports set which definitely reduces chafing, and looks really stylish. In my opinion, the lack of a pocket in the tights would probably turn me off on the shop – but if you’re not into running with your iphone, or you don’t mind wearing an arm band/running belt, then it’s not a problem. Plus, they are very comfortable, so maybe I need to get over my fixation with pockets. I will definitely look to Skins the next time I need a sports bra: I’m happy to put up with stuffing the pads back in if it means no chafing and a bit of (tightly strapped) cleavage.
And you know what is the perfect way to finish off this post? A collage of some of the views that I’ve been enjoying this week.
Disclaimer: I was sent the leggings and crop top by Skins AU to try, but this did not influence my assessment and review of the products.