Compression wear for sports is nothing new. Back in the ’70s, we used to snicker at the thought of pro football players wearing ballet tights under their pads. Runners have long known the benefits of muscle support and warmth provided by tights. But lately, compression wear is getting more sophisticated and targeted. So targeted in fact, that SKINS, an Australian company, sells Travel and Recovery tights, made specifically for those times between workouts.
Touted to maintain healthy circulation during long airplane flights or extended periods of inactivity, the Travel and Recovery tights have received some impressive athlete endorsements and are based on extensive scientific research. The tights are meant to be worn under clothing during travel and after particularly grueling workouts or races, when the legs are aching and prone to cramping. The science behind SKINS is “gradient compression” which targets different levels of compression to different parts of the legs. This maintains healthy circulation and prevents swelling and dehydration, which contribute to the lousiness of jetlag on long journeys.
So how do they work? SKINS sent me a pair of Travel and Recovery tights prior to a 22-hour airplane trip to Asia. They are lightweight and roll into a small travel pouch, which I stowed in my carry-on bag. At the airport, I slipped into them in the restroom (no Senator Craig jokes, please) before boarding my first flight. On the clammy, over-chilled plane, the extra support and warmth felt good and my feet didn’t swell nearly as much as they have on past long flights. I got off the plane feeling remarkably spry, though the added layer was not as welcome in the tropics as it was when I left London. If you’re hesitant to drop this kind of coin for tights you’ll only wear between workouts, I think they’d make an effective base layer under ski or cycling pants.