With the weather getting colder and colder, now is a great time to take a look at a pair of running tights. If you’re like most of our testers and enjoy balmy weather year round, this might be a bit of a stretch for you, but being the the middle of a very cold winter, even our testers based in balmy climates are feeling the need for running tights.
Today, we’re going to take an initial look at the CW-X Pro Tights for men. These tights are not insulated, so they provide some protection from the cold, but not enough for a cold New England winter. They are available in Small, Medium, Large, and XL and come in two colors; solid black, and black and blue. These are generally available for around $100, but Amazon has them for less than $80 right now. Here’s a handy link for the Amazon listing.
Background on CW-X:
CW-X products are manufactured by Japan’s Wacoal Corporation, worlds largest manufacturer of intimate apparel. Wacoal entered the performance apparel market in Japan in 1991 and has recently launched the brand in the US. CW-X claims their products are anatomically-engineered to increase performance and cite studies from Kyoto, Japan and France that showed increased VO2 uptake and reduced loygen usage, compared to standard tights and shorts.
About the CW-X Pro Tights:
The CW-X Pro Tights are designed to “unite the major joints of the leg to offer optimum muscular support.” In these tights, this takes the shape of bands of fabric that crisscross the tights. To your tester, these look a bit like Kinesio Tape strips that run from the thighs, across the quads, around the knee, and down the calf. According to CW-X, these bands, called the Conditioning Web, are designed to act as an exoskeleton, uniting the hip, knee, and ankle. CW-X claims that this Conditioning Web reduces muscle fatigue and acts as a suspension system for the quads and hamstrings.
The CW-X Pro Tights are constructed form 80% CoolMax Polyester and 20% Lycra. This fabric provides a UPF of 40+ for UVA and UVB rays.
Wearing the CW-X Pro Tights:
Starting off, the tights look a bit small. We used the online chart to pick an XL and when the package arrived, we were a bit skeptical. However, the XL fit perfectly and did so without looking too small. There is a great deal of stretch in these tights and the size chart pointed us in the right direction.
We followed the instructions to fit the tights: First bring the tights to knee level and align the kneecap just above the X of Conditioning Web. Then we brought the rest of the tights up and secured the waist with the string. Good fit and feel right out of the package.
The waistband is wide without being too large. The strings were frayed so we melted them together to make sure there is no fraying in the future. The CW-X Pro Tights have a small pocket for your key.
Testing the CW-X Pro Tights:
Since receiving the sample of the Pro Tights, we’ve worn them five times on short to medium distance runs. The majority of the runs were during the recent cold snap, making the temperature between 28 and 38 degrees.
On our first run we quickly realized we didn’t have the tights fitted properly, as the waist started to sag from the start. We pulled the tights up a bit more than before, making sure to keep the X below the knee and resecured the waist strings. After that first adjustment, the tights stayed in place and didn’t sag or slouch.
When you run with tights you might notice that your legs feel a little different. To start with, you might experience some tugging and pulling on your leg hair. With the CW-X Pro Tights, the hair pulling was limited to non-existent. Our second observation is that you’re more likely to notice the wind. Most pants don’t fit this tightly, so it’s a new sensation to actually ‘feel’ the wind. We were more observant of the wind, but didn’t notice the cold as much while wearing these tights.
As mentioned above, these tights aren’t insulated, but they do provide protection against the cold and weather. After the first minute or two of our run, we had no awareness of the cold, at least not from our legs. Again, we’re running in cold, but not extreme weather. The cold protection wasn’t overdone, however, as we didn’t notice any significant heat build-up or excessive sweating. We do recommend tucking your shirt into the tights, as the waistband can trap a little sweat on longer runs.
Our initial impressions of these tights are good. They stay in place, provide good thermoregulation, and don’t sag or bunch. We haven’t used them enough to comment on the performance of the Conditioning Web technology, but we will be ready to discuss that aspect in our final review.
We have washed these tights after every use and haven’t noticed any wearing or discoloration. The seams and fabric seems to be holding up well.