I am something of a bad weather wimp, and the treadmill doesn’t bother me because I frequently stream TV shows while running. However, I do keep cold weather gear around because sometimes there’s an itch to be outside even in/after snow, or because the gym is closed due to snow/ice on the roads. For me, running tights sit at the end of the “it’s so cold I need this gear” spectrum. Assuming relatively still air, 40 degrees is right around the threshold where I’m on the fence about whether to put on running tights. Above that, and I worry that I’ll start to overheat as I get warmed up.
I received one pair of the Kinetic Tight for review and tested it on four occasions: two outdoor runs, and two indoor sessions on the stationary rowing machine in an unheated, uninsulated garage. First, here’s how Saxx describes the tights:
Made for performance, the all new semi-compression tight is made of 360-degree action stretch mesh fabric and is specifically designed for high output aerobic activities. Features include the ergonomic pouch, patented mesh panels, semi-compression, quick dry and a moisture wicking waistband. Each pair has an ergonomic pouch, 9-panel construction and flat lock seams, which allows for added stretch. They are great for running this winter and for those hiking it into the backcountry this ski season, due to its breathable design to keep you from overheating.
My first impression when I opened the package was that the running tights were compact, and I had a slight bit of concern about whether they would be too short. I picked size small based on the sizing chart, which goes by waist size rather than height. (For reference, I’m 5’10” and waist size 29-30.) They looked small, and more compact than the Merino wool running tights I have from Costco. But I think it’s just that Kinetic Tight has considerable stretch built-in, so when it’s not being worn, it looks small and short.
As you can see, it’s black with bright red lines. Other color combinations available include blue with bright red lines or white with no lines. I always wear shorts over running tights, so most of the lines aren’t going to show – just the ones around the calf. In terms of feel, they are more snug than the aforementioned Costco running tights, particularly above the thighs, though not uncomfortable. This is no doubt because, as the manufacturer noted, they are “semi-compression” tights.
Test run #1: it looked colder than it actually was. My Garmin Connect plot for that run indicates that it was 48 degrees, overcast, with a 4 mph wind. When I started running, I felt comfortably cool, like when the air conditioner is going strong on a warm summer day. When the sun poked out and I had gone more than a couple of miles, I started to feel uncomfortably warm. When the trees blocked the sun, I felt comfortable (but not cooled).
Test run #2: it was 39 degrees, overcast, with a 4 mph wind. I ran the same route as before (7 miles of hills, first part mostly without cover, second part mostly with heavy tree cover). This time I didn’t feel overly warm at all.
Test rowing: I didn’t check the temperature inside my garage during the two rowing sessions, but one of them was during the recent snow storm, so I’d guess that it was in the high 30s/low 40s. One major difference between rowing and running is that with rowing, there is a sharper bend of the knee; if there was a point where the tights would bunch up behind the knee, it would be there. But there was no such bunching up. My first rowing session (when it was slightly warmer inside) was about on par with my usual relaxed 10,000 meter pace, while the second one (during the snow storm) was a little bit faster than usual.
Overall thoughts: If you like the snug feel of semi-compression clothing, the Kinetic Tight works very well where the temperature is about 10-20 degrees colder than you’d like. They cling to your legs without riding up at the ankles, and they don’t feel bulky at all. They perform as advertised for endurance activities.
Product: Kinetic Tight by Saxx Underwear Co.
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