A Compression Confession: Salomon EXO IV ¾ Tight Review
November 2, 2011 by Meghan Hicks · 21 Comments
While Salomon’s EXO Sensifit Technology apparel and its unique aesthetics are the European rage, slinking into this clothing for a run in America will garner you some extra attention. Running in this tight makes you look part gear geek, part bad-ass runner. And, I’ve got one more confession about them: everyone’s got a nice-looking tushy with the tight’s uber-compressive EXO Sensifit Technology.
The main material of the tight is a wicking nylon and elastine combination. Throughout most of it, this fabric has a narrow weave that creates some hefty compression. The waistband and the fabric that sits behind the knees both have a looser weave, yielding good ventilation in these crucial heat-transfer points. The tight has a brief made of blended polyester and elastine. The brief’s seams, along with all of the others in the tight are flat locked, so as to prevent the dreaded seam-based chafing. The brief is the roomiest part of the whole tight, and I’m sure you’ll be sad to hear that, as a result, you’ll be sporting no underwear line in these drawers. The waistband sits really high, just below my belly button, and is secured with a waist tie. The tight also has a wee key pocket inside the front right hip.
Most of the above specifications can be found in high-end tights made by an array of manufacturers. Where the Salomon EXO IV ¾ Tight get their no-one-else-has-this quality is in the webbed material overlay, what Salomon calls their EXO Sensifit Technology. It’s polyurethane and it’s liberally applied to the outside of the tight. There are some spots with no overlay, where your hip creases in the front, around the fronts and backs of the knees, and where your buttock creases in the back.
Says Salomon of this technology,
…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.
While I’d love to see some sports medicine doctors go nuts with testing the claims Salomon makes for their EXO Sensifit Technology products, no one yet has. The remainder of this review, thus, is about my experience wearing them.
The result of applying EXO Sensifit Technology to a pair of compression tights is the tightest tight I’ve ever worn. While I now have a method for getting my body into these tights with ease, I writhed awkwardly when getting into them for the first time. The biggest effects I have felt with this uber-compressive-ness is:
- Muscle stability – Be there no doubt that the tights hold your muscles in place (Be there also no doubt that the tight holds everything in place, if you know what I mean.). I feel this most around the hips, buttocks, and quadriceps. I get not a drop of booty bounce and, on a bomber downhill, I don’t feel my quadriceps banging around as they sometimes do. I’ve been dealing with hip issues that have arisen from an unstable left sacro-iliac joint. I’m confident that the super-compressive-ness of the tight is helping to keep my S-I joint from moving inappropriately during a run.
- Muscle assistance – During my first run in the tight, I felt like they were also impeding my ability to lift my knees. On the second run, I felt an entirely different sensation. Once I lifted my knee to a certain point, I gained a bit of momentum from the tight during the mid-to-late portions of the stance phase, when I’m pushing my foot down and behind me.
In short, I’ve grown to love the EXO Sensifit Technology.
If there’s anything about the tight I wish I could change, I would choose a different waistband. It’s a wide but not-tight band, and you’ve got to cinch the waist tie to keep them in place. I prefer a waistband that stays up without a tie, and I’d also prefer a waistband that sits about one to two inches lower on my hips. A personal preference this is, for certain, but information you should know before you purchase.
If you’re thinking of buying Salomon clothing for the first time, check out sizing charts before you do. In most brands, I’m a size small in both tops and bottoms. However, in Salomon gear, I wear small tops and medium bottoms. Since the tight is meant to have a glove-like fit against the skin, you’ll have to get the size perfect.
An extra note on caring for Salomon clothing made with the EXO Sensifit Technology: follow the washing instructions, especially the part about washing the tights inside out and to air dry so as to protect the polyurethane overlay.
This year, I’ve gone a little Euro with my Salomon EXO IV ¾ Tights. On the trail here in the US, I’ll expect a few lookiloos to gawk at the tight’s unique look. And, I’ll hold out hope that a few of them will make the same compression confession about them as I did.
Call for Comments (from Bryon)
Have you used Salomon Exo 3/4 Tights in the past? If so, what did you think?
If you’re interested in purchasing the Salomon Salomon EXO IV ¾ Tights for women and wish to support iRunFar.com at the same time, you can purchase them via the button below. While these normally retail for $115, you can pick them up for a wicked deal from iRunFar for only $80!
Men, we’ve also got a limited selection of these tights (large only) for you.
[Disclosure: The iRunFar Store supplied Meghan with the Salomon 3/4 tights and any purchases made through the iRunFar Store help support iRunFar.com.]