Published on April 29, 2016
SKINS RY400 Recovery Tights
For many SKINS are to compression wear what Hoover is to vacuum cleaners – this is a brand synonymous with the squeeze and the RY400 is designed specifically to aid recovery and get you up and running again. So, do SKINS live up to their reputation and not inconsiderable price?
Counting the cost
Let’s get the ugly, but necessary, question of cost out of the way. SKINS are not cheap and the RY400 Recovery Tights are going to set you back a hefty £90. By way of rough comparison compression tights (active of recovery) from Under Armour come in at around half that price and even the Full Leg Recovery Sleeves from CompresSport will save you £20 at a mere £70. Even a number of the bargain supermarkets are hopping on the compression bandwagon…
Of course SKINS will tell you – with some degree of accuracy – that you get what you pay for; but it’s worth noting that a premium cost comes with a premium brand (just ask Apple.)
Why use the SKINS RY400 Recovery Tights – or any compression recovery tights for that matter? To be somewhat simplistic: squeezing and hugging the legs in just the right way after a run helps oxygenate fatigued muscles, speeding recovery and preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The RY400 feature targeted ‘gradient compression’ so rather than delivering one all-over squeeze the tights are zoned with different levels of compression to deliver more oxygen to where it’s needed most.
Fit and comfort
No surprise that recovery tights are tight. But it can still come as a shock to the novice user the first time you try and struggle into a pair, particularly with post-race exhausted muscles – it’s not a pretty sight, but it does get easier with practice.
Once on the SKINS RY400 are truly comfortable (in a ‘squeezey’ kind if way.) The shape and cut feel good and the seams, quite surprisingly given the degree of hug, sit comfortably. Of course as these are intended for recovery, rather than as ‘active wear’ for running in, you may not expect to be doing much moving around, but active recovery in the RY400s is both possible and, broadly, advisable. From spinning your legs out on a static bike to walking to the shops – probably with the figure-hugging SKINS hidden beneath something more modest – the RY400 are capable of quietly getting on with the job while you rehydrate and get ready for the next day’s racing.
The tight tech
There’s plenty going on beneath the surface with the SKINS RY400 – partly the reason they would justify such a high price. In addition to the zoned, gradient compression they feature ‘Memory MX’ fabric an ‘elastomeric yarn’ that is guaranteed to return to its original shape – this certainly adds to their effectiveness but also means that your investment should be good for years. In our experience of SKINS they last if not a lifetime at least enough years to save you shedding a tear when you finally pull them on and they split.
The SKINS fabric also wicks well – more important with active than recovery compression kits but still good to know. They are also impregnated with an antimicrobial treatment that discourages odour and further helps prolong their shelf life. Finally there’s also inbuilt 50+ UV protection, again more important for active compression wear than recovery, but a nicety that shouldn’t go unrecognised.
Take your pick
You will have noticed that we mention both active and recovery compression wear. Things can get controversial here as there are those who claim a one-size-fits-all solution (simply recover in the compression tights you run in) whilst others – the manufacturers included, natch – see the benefit of owning and using a set of each. There’s arguably enough difference in cut and compression to justify buying both assuming money is no object; if you are only going to go for one or the other then it’s a question of priorities. You can certainly recover adequately in a set of race compression tights – the SKINS A400 for example – but it’s less advisable to try and race in a set of compression recovery tights. If all you want is speedier recovery the AY400 absolutely hits the mark.
Further details and online purchase of the SKINS AY400 at skins.net