Let me start by saying that compression garments haven’t always impressed me. I avoided them for the first ten or so years of my running career. Then, I began to get older and I realized that compression garments had actual (and helpful) function. Now, my 33-year-old self appreciates a good pair of compression tights, shorts, or calf sleeves.
My out-of-the-box impression of the Salomon XR Short W? I think it went something like, “Wow, these are long!” Indeed, the inner compression garment extends to about two inches above my knee.
These women-specific shorts begin with a two-inch stretchy waistband that’s designed to sit high on your waist, right above your belly button. From there, the garment splits into two shorts, the EXO Sensifit brief and a shorter overshort. For those of you that may be familiar with the shiny, webbed, and highly compressive overlay on other Salomon EXO Sensifit apparel, take note that this brief is much different. Here, the webbed compression is embedded within the shorts, not on top of it. Also, it’s not shiny and it’s notably less compressive. The overshort is a wispy, almost-not-there material that serves to hold one zipper pocket on the right hip and to cover the compression shorts. Also, there are small reflective logos on both the front and the back of the shorts.
What exactly is the EXO Sensifit Technology found in the XR Short W? Says Salomon,
“…the EXO Sensifit Technology products [are] designed to provide optimal postural support, assist muscles, and enhance recovery for trail running athletes. EXO Sensifit Technology is a patented grid-pattern integrated into garments to create specific performance benefits. Run easier, run longer, and recover better with EXO Sensifit Technology.”
Salomon gives ratings to their EXO Sensifit apparel in the departments of “muscle stimulation,” “muscle support,” and “postural control.” That is, according to them, certain garments are made to do more of one of those features than another.
These shorts are given a five out of five for muscle stimulation, the highest rating. Salomon says this means these shorts are meant to allow your legs to move through their natural motion without prohibition from the garment. After having tested a couple other EXO Sensifit garments with a lower muscle stimulation rating, I’d agree. The shorts are less compressive than other garments, allowing significantly more freedom of movement in any direction my body wants to move on the trail.
Salomon rates these shorts a three in muscle support, meaning that when it comes to their line of compression garments, the shorts provide middle-of-the-road muscle support through that compression. I also agree with Salomon’s rating here. The shorts are significantly less compressive than other EXO Sensifit garments. In this short’s case, the purpose is to trade some compression for ease of movement in the short.
Salomon states that this short is not rated for postural control, meaning that it doesn’t contain features that help hold your body in proper running position.
In short, I think these shorts absolutely live up to what Salomon intended to do with them, to create a short in which a runner feels highly mobile and likes his or her muscles are held in place by some compression. But now, the real question. Do I like them? It took a while for me to warm up to them, but now I like them so much that they are in my weekly short rotation. Here’s why.
When I first pulled on the shorts, their length overwhelmed me. I think this was purely from the standpoint of vanity. These shorts are longer for a purpose, however, to provide support to the entirety of my quadriceps and hamstrings. Once I became acclimated to the length and I could feel the support they were giving my body, I became a big fan. Also, the shorts’ degree of compression changes; they provide less compression around the hips and more around the legs. This initially put me off, as I wanted more support around my hips than the shorts offered. With time, I realized this was intentional, to allow full freedom of movement where the legs emerge from the pelvis, and I began to appreciate this feature, too. And, the overshort? It’s thin and so wispy that you never realize it’s there and it’s too silky to ride up between your legs.
The verdict on my compression impression for this short is a great one. If you seek a moderately compressive garment for your hips and upper leg muscles, that still allows for a full range of motion, and that retains a bit of overshort modesty, this is short will be right up your alley.
Ladies, if you’re interested in picking up the Salomon XR Short W, you can do so from iRunFar itself. In fact, you can order below on this very page. The shorts are available for $80 in a range of sizes from extra small to large.
Call for Comments
Have any of you tried this short? If so, what did you think? Are you a fan of 2-in-1 shorts?