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?

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.]

Meghan Hicks

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

There are 21 comments

  1. Jana

    I'm 5'1" and have chronic hip problems. I am always worried about the length of tights. Would these work for my height? The concept sounds promising.

    1. Meghan

      Jana, thanks for your comment. I measured a size small's inseam for you: it's about 15.5 inches. I hope that helps you make your decision. Happy running and healthy hips!

  2. mtnrunner2

    I may have to try some (men's version), I'd already been thinking of trying something to keep the quads still. Mine are kinda big. I'll be ahead of the fashion curve for the next time Kilian visits the area ;)

    1. Bryon Powell

      Hey Konrad, eventually our running gear does wear out and isn't it better that we be informed of our options. It's always been iRunFar's philosophy to educate about running options so that folks buy only that which will best fit their needs, thereby saving money, resources, and possible frustraion. You may prefer to "just run" in the same running bottoms you've always worn, while others may want to try something new when replacing their worn gear.

      1. Anonymous

        So..Scott stills rides his horse to work and wrote his reply by telegraph? I do not waste money on gadgets, but I do welcome advances in technology. I have hip "issues" from the aftermath of three rounds of Lyme's Disease, and I have found compression gear does help, especially with anything longer than 50k. When my current compression gear wears thin, I plan on trying out this gear.

  3. Danni

    I picked up a pair of the Exo XR tight since I wasn't sure I wanted the full on EXO IV — they are pretty comfy and look great but I'm not sure they offer much compression. It's hard to say really at this point but thus far I've been a huge fan of all my Salomon compression stuff, especially the calf sleeves.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. Meghan

      Charlie, you nailed the location! The photo is from the road between Grosse Scheidegg and Grindewald. :)

      Also, the polyurethane overlays the outside of the garment only. The inside is "regular" tights, an inner brief, and flatlocked seams.

      Happy running!

  6. Mike Papageorge

    Thanks for the review. I have been using Skins but am curious about the Salomon tights for when I need a new pair. Compression definitely makes my tired legs not so sore and I find that with the tights I will run on legs that, without the tights I would find it hard to get out the door… (I hope that made sense!)

  7. konrad

    Byron thanks for the response. I agree. I make no claims to be any kind of a minimalist or anything and in fact have drawers and drawers filled with running clothes and stuff. My wife will verify that. But I did a 50 miler this past weekend and it just seems like runners wear and carry SO MUCH STUFF these days. I don't know, it just seems so unnecessary.

  8. Wald

    Great review. I have a pair of these and have been wearing them through the winter as a base layer for long runs when there is a lot of snow on the trails and I know my legs are going to get tired. I also find the calf compression sleeves helpful.

    I would like to believe there is something of value to the technology in the gear. As a lot of this stuff is designed on the feedback of accomplished athletes.

    I have to admit I do feel sheepish about going out this spring looking all Salomon Webby.

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