Saturday, 29 November 2014

Short write up on Compressport Tri Shorts

I've been meaning to write about these for a while now but just haven't got around to doing so. I've had them for months but only got to use them recently, hence the late review.

Compressport is well known for it's compression gear such as calf sleeves and quad sleeves but still relatively new to the market for triathlon racing gear. The brand holds back no punches with it's bold move into the market with the Pro Racing Triathlon Compression Short.

I have to be honest here. I typically race triathlons in one piece suits. In fact, I've only owned one pair of tri shorts before this, I got them cheap on clearance and never liked them. Needless to say, I've not used them much. Hence, I was a bit skeptical when I was first given these pair of Compressport tri shorts. Moreover, from a brand relatively new when it comes to triathlon racing. Anyway, I kept my mind open.

The Compressport tri shorts come in two colours - black or white. I'm shy... so I went with the black hehehe. The material itself is very different from your typical lycra tri shorts. Sharing the same properties of other Compressport products, these shorts felt almost mesh like. This is a good thing as this allows more ventilation, especially handy for those racing in the tropics. The Compressport tri shorts incorporate the same compression properties for the quads as offered by the Compressport quad sleeves.

The inside of the Compressport tri shorts are seamless, which is important for avoiding any chaffing. The padding seemed a bit thicker than the typical tri shorts but not as thick as the ones in bike shorts. So don't worry about absorbing and retaining too much water in the swim.

The second most interesting feature (I'll write about the MOST interesting feature in a minute...) I find about the Compressport tri shorts is the layer of dots on the outside of the crotch area. These are called silicone printing and they are to ensure optimum bike saddle positioning. Kinda like the slide control feature on some tri or TT saddles like Prologo, but much kinder to the groin!

Now, for the MOST interesting feature is... the ONE AND ONLY pocket on these shorts and they're located at... you guessed it, right outside the crotch! An odd place to position a pocket, you say? Well, Compressport didn't design this pocket for the purpose of storing gels. Some research studies show that the crotch is one of the areas where the body loses heat most quickly. Compressport designed the position of this pocket with the purpose of storing ice from the aid stations during the run leg. Very clever! Although you can still use it store gels, but I think it would look rather awkward having to pull out gels from the front of your crotch! Plus, there is a likelihood that these gel packets may break between the pressure of your crotch and the bike saddle.

The bands around the waist and above the knees are elastic. These hold the shorts in the right places really well. Otherwise, this had always been my concern, hence, I've stuck to the one piece suit all this while. Again, seamless and unlike some tri shorts with silicone strips that sticks to your thighs, cutting off circulation and leaving marks after. These are actually really comfortable and yet serving the purpose of preventing the shorts from sliding upwards on your thighs. This maximizes the compression properties for the quads right up to just before your knees. And a plus for me, as I like my tri shorts long!

As the Compressport tri shorts are afterall, compression shorts, putting them on does require a bit more effort than your typical tri shorts. But once you get the hang of it, it is really easy! First, you get them past your knees. Then slowly tuck and gently pull them up your quads. I'd recommend keeping your fingernails short while doing this, so that you won't risk damaging the material. And as with all compression apparel, I usually hand wash them or wash them in separate mesh bag in the washing machine to prolong the compression properties.

Photo credit - Cycling Malaysia Magazine
Photo credit - Jack Ah Beh Photography
I've only had the chance to race in the Compressport tri shorts once, which was at the Port Dickson Duathlon earlier this month. That was the first time I used them for a bike ride. Prior to that, I only used them for a brief trail run. And most of you know that I'm really particular about not using anything new on race day. But, the shorts felt really comfortable. I did not have any chaffing at all... and this is coming from someone who gets minor chaffing all the time from most bike rides. Having the quads well supported all the way until the knees felt really good and I didn't feel too sore after the race.

I wasn't in my best shape at that race, so I didn't quite do justice to these shorts. But I'm looking forward to some races coming up and putting these shorts to the test. I'm now a convert to the 2 piece suit. Stay tuned!

The Compressport Pro Racing Triathlon Compression Shorts are currently available at Athlete's Circle Malaysia and Running Lab Malaysia.

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