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Compression Clothing - Tops, Shorts, Tights

We regularly search the top cycling, swim and sports shops for the latest deals and clearances of compression clothing offers, covering the most popular main brands.

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General information on Compression Clothing

In recent years, compression clothing has increased in popularity almost exponentially. Sportswear has become more and more high-tech; gone are the days where baggy old t-shirts and tatty shorts were considered to be acceptable.

At first glance it may not look terribly different to other sportswear; very tight- fitting and manufactured from high-tech fabrics. However, the structure is rather more complex in that the support is graduated, rather like the support stockings people are encouraged to wear on long haul flights.

Compression clothing is targeted at improving performance and reducing recovery times by improving blood circulation thanks to the structure of the fabrics. Sports science research has shown that compression clothing can help the recovery process thanks to greater efficiency in blood flow. This is backed up anecdotally on-line, on forums covering everything from body-building, long-distance running to ski-ing.

Wearers say that they feel a definite improvement in recovery. It seems to help reduce lactic acid build-up; it reduces muscle fatigue; and it’s more comfortable, supportive and insulating than other sports clothing. Compression gear also reduces chaffing and is very effective in absorbing and wicking away sweat from the body so that you are not left with soggy clothes during your workout. Users also report that they wear compression clothing to support injured parts of the body, especially the legs, during exercise.

Choosing the right clothing

So, what do you need if this is your first foray into compression clothing? Have a think about what exercise you’ll be doing and what challenges you may face. As you might expect, particularly popular among runners, cyclists and triathletes are the support socks, calf guards or covers which cover the lower leg to the knee since the lower leg is particularly prone to injury. For other activities using the upper body, the long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops are more commonly used.

The range of gear is really comprehensive. In addition to tops and socks, you can buy leggings, tights, arm guards, three-quarter length leggings, shorts and quad guards. Essentially there is something for every part of the body with the exception of the head.

As compression clothing has become more popular, a wide variety of manufacturers have entered the market, each with its own perspective and technology. Price points vary significantly, from the heavily marketed major brands and the specialist, sports-specific ranges, through to budget supermarket offerings.

It is important to consider how often each item is likely to be used. Socks will have to be washed after every use so you will almost certainly need a few pairs if you exercise several times a week. However, leg or arm guards probably won’t need to be washed every time and thus one pair of each may be sufficient.

As with most sportswear, there is a good degree of subjectivity and some brands will appeal more than others. Whilst there are variations in the technology and fabric employed by different manufacturers, almost all of them have the common goal of providing additional support and of reducing recovery times.