A Compression Confession: Salomon EXO IV ¾ Tight Review

Salomon Exo 3-4 Tights women - Alps

The author running in Salomon Exo 3-4 Tights in the Swiss Alps.

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.

Salomon Exo IV 3/4 Tights WomenThe 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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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?

Purchase
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!


Size



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.]

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 5 comments

  1. Meghan

    Things got a little spicy here in the comments section, didn’t they? I hope that, despite each of us bringing different perspectives to the table, we can play nicely and non-judgmentally with each other.

    As mentioned in the review, I wore these tights for the first time when I was dealing with a sacroiliac joint issue and was feeling its effects in several hip muscles. These tights held everything in the right spots, including the joint and afflicted muscles, and allowed me to heal. I even wore them on hot, summer days because they provided me the right support through my recovery.

    As a pretty strong environmentalist (I was grounded in 8th grade when my dad caught me verbally harassing a woman wearing a fur coat. I drive a 10-year-old car with more than 200,000 miles on it. I live in an 800-square-foot loft with one other person and a dog because that’s all we really need. I vote for the Green Party on principle. I volunteer my free time for environmental causes I believe in. This fall, I donated the equivalent of a week’s paycheck to a green extremist who I think is doing good work.), I only wear and review products I stand behind. I stand behind these tights because they deliver good compression.

    Thank you to everyone who does their part in keeping iRunFar.com a positive place to play, learn, and chat.

  2. Meghan

    Danni, you're right that the Exo XR tights are less compressive. Salomon rates the EXO XR tights a 3 in muscle support, while the EXO IV gets a 5 in the same category. Thanks for stopping by!

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