SKINS have been around for pretty much as long as I can remember. They were invented in 1996 by an Aussie skiier who wanted to live the dream (i.e work all day and party all night) and be able to wake up the next day and do it all over again. He started with the basic knowledge that improved blood circulation meant more oxygen to the muscles, ensuring they could work harder for longer and recover faster and – after consulting with NASA and a range of other experts – SKINS were born.
SKINS were the very first pair of compression tights I ever owned. My younger brother actually got them first to help him recover faster during football season, and finally – when I could stand the envy no longer – I joined the party. After many years of good service, I finally had to farewell them about 12 months ago… only to replace them this year with the fancy new SKINS A400! Oh yeah, I’m now the proud owner of a pair of full length tights and a singlet top, and I’m a little bit in love.
The original premise behind SKINS was – and still is – this: more oxygen to your muscles means better performance. But 20 years on from their original invention – and armed with a hell of a lot more science and technology – the brand new SKINS A400 range was born. The A400 range uses a combination of compression, muscle wrapping and temperature control, and let me tell you, it feels damn good. So what did I think of the individual pieces themselves? Glad you asked.
A400 WOMEN’S LONG TIGHTS (RRP $179.99)
What does SKINS say? The adaptive technology keeps you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. The tights have A-seams and bonded hems for comfort and durability, 360 degree reflectivity plus controlled pressure over the Achilles tendon, ITB and TFL muscle groups. They feature a lower rise, wider waistband and easily accessible pocket on the waistband.
What do I say? The more I wear them, the more I love them. The first time I put them on, I was slightly concerned I’d bought a size too small. But with a little underwear adjustment (and realisation that trying on compression garments over the Easter long weekend is not the smartest move) I felt substantially more comfortable. The waistband is firm (but comfortable), absolutely, and the tights themselves suck you in like nobody’s business, but let’s face it, that’s what most of us want in our gym gear, and that’s the technology that makes them so special. The design is simple and stylish, the pocket big enough to stick a house or car key, and they truly are incredibly comfortable – I can see these becoming my running tights of choice over winter. I’ve also started wearing them on those single digit temperature mornings to walk Lou, and they seem to make a significant difference to my comfort levels. They’re not cheap, but they’re also not your average running tights.
Pro tip: Black, full briefs are the key to comfort and confidence in these bad boys.
A400 WOMEN’S TANK TOP (RRP $109.99)
What does SKINS say? As with the tights, the adaptive technology is designed to keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. It also features the A-seams for comfort and durability, power mesh inserts for ventilation and 360 degree reflectivity for safety. A racer-back construction gives you freedom of movement, the neoprene straps will never dig in, it’s got a built-in support via the medium impact support shelf bra and you can remove the cups for a customised fit.
What do I say? OK so this top makes me look like I’ve actually got boobs – it’s amazing! Besides this exciting fact, it’s also really comfortable. The first time I put it on I felt like I needed an engineer to help me get into it, but I’ve got the process down pat now. And I actually ran in it with no additional support, although I wouldn’t recommend that for anyone with a larger bust. The top has a little rubber bit (pretty sure that’s the technical term) around the bottom of it that stops it from riding up while you exercise too, which is pretty cool.
Pro tip: If looking like you’ve got boobs isn’t the novelty for you that it is for me (maybe because you have actual boobs of your own) then I reckon removing the padding is the way to go.
I am really impressed with this range. With so many younger players in the compression garment market, I feel like SKINS dropped down the list a little in terms of desirability for a while there, but the A400s really put them back in contention. They are an investment, but personally I think it’s worth investing in quality when it comes to your gym gear – it lasts longer, looks better and helps you recover faster. And that’s pretty much the holy grail, right?
p.s I was gifted this outfit, but – as always – all opinions are 100% honest. If I don’t like something, I’ll always let you know. Promise.