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SKINS Women’s A400 Compression Review

In today’s society, performing at your maximum capacity is an absolute must – whether it’s at your local CrossFit box, in the gym, or when you’re out hitting the trails – we all want the same thing; functional clothing that increases our performance, but all whilst keeping us looking our absolute best. And SKINS compression do just that – scientifically proven to help both your body and your performance, with the added bonus of being incredibly comfortable yet super stylish.

I was delighted when SKINS got on board to support me with my ‘Half Marathon on a Paleo Diet’ blog series by sending me out their A400 Women’s Long Tights and A400 Women’s Tank Top to train in, plus by hosting an absolutely amazing giveaway to boot (see details at the end of this post).

The SKINS A400 Range uses dynamic gradient compression to help to boost your natural performance, delivering more oxygen to your muscles and reducing the build up of lactic acid. This basically enables you to up your training intensity without having to worry about next-day muscle strain or DOMS. Get in!

SKINS have very generously given all Greens of the Stone Age readers a 20% discount using the code‘GREENS-STONE-SKINS’ at the checkout, available 1st April – 31st April 2016, so hurry and grab yourself a bargain!

So, Who are SKINS?

SKINS was originally founded by Aussie skier and physiologist Brad Duffy in 1996, who liked to work hard but play equally as hard – my kinda guy! Duffy launched his first 3 SKINS compression ranges in 1998 and has since paved the way compression wear will be worn forever. SKINS, much like myself, have been vocal opponents of blood doping in sports, believing that clean eating, clean living, and clean training is the only approach to successful training. In fact, SKINS even tote the strap line ‘Cheat Legal’, and to this day their values still remain the same.

The Review

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The A400 Range’s Key Features:

  • 400 Fit – A more precise and comfortable fit with targeted gradient compression.
  • Dynamic Gradient Compression – Increases oxygen delivery to active muscles while in motion, reducing lactic-acid build-up providing more power and less recovery time.
  • Moisture Management – Keeping you dry through advanced wicking – moisture is drawn away from your skin, so you stay dry and comfortable.
  • 50+ UV Protection – As SKINS was born in Australia it was important that the fabrics have a UV protection of 50+, which means you can get out and train harder without worrying about the sun related risks of doing so.
  • Memory MX – The Memory MX fabric contains a unique, high stretch elastomeric yarn that returns to its original shape no matter how much stress you put it under.
  • Warp Knit – The fabric is warp knitted using multiple fine quality yarns to give superior performance – Warp knit fabrics have no natural stretch – instead, the spandex mix ensures specific levels of elasticity and perfectly controlled compression.
  • 360-Degree Reflectivity – The sleek looking graphics are made from premium reflective glass bead technology. At night, the graphics come alive to make you visible from up to 160m away.
  • A-Seams – The A-Seam was developed specifically for technical athletic wear-its sleek construction means it sits flat against your body to eliminate chafing. Its also 30% stronger than a standard stich making them incredibly durable.
  • Adaptive by HeiQ – At low temperatures, the unique polymer binds moisture in its structure to keep you warm and dry. As your temperature increases it changes its properties, releasing stored moisture to the surface where it evaporates and cools your skin.

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A400 Women’s Long Tights

I’ve taken these tights on numerous running missions over the past few weeks, throughout all kinds of weather; wind, rain, shine, and a whole lotta mud. And I’m happy to say that they’ve stood up to it the test and have managed to do the job and not fall apart. The compression on the tights focuses around the calve and upper thigh area – basically the points of which your body will need compression the most, this definitely helped me with performance as I felt solid as a rock and well supported. I actually have a pretty dodgy lower back and pelvis after having SPD whilst being pregnant with Anya, and my back pain has definitely lessened dramatically. I almost feel as though I’ve had a bandage slapped over whatever it was that needed correcting. I’m also the worst for getting DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and I’ve been having none of it since wearing these so it’s 100% safe to say that these really do work.

When you put the tights on they feel almost a little cooling which I love, I swear this helps with the DOMS side of things (think ice baths), and the wicking is also amazing too – you don’t end up cold and drenched in your sweat one bit, and the temperature regulation is spot on. I recently ran out in some pretty hot weather, a British spring time one-off, and I didn’t feel as though I was sweating buckets or that I wanted to tear the tights off either. I usually can’t stand wearing all black when running out in the heat but I’m happy to report that this just wasn’t even an issue.

The tights have a really wide waistband which prevents them from falling down – more so than in any tights I’ve used. It’s kind of like they go further up at the back but I might be imagining that. What I did notice was that these tights can hold my giant bubble butt! The fabric however is ultra thin which is great in a lot of ways; it’s lightweight, breathable, and great for temperature regulation but you most definitely can see panty lines! Luckily I don’t give much of a shit if my butt is out on display (it’s not actually that bad) and the vest covers the point at where you can see my thong. The front has no see through look to it so you could go totally commando and nobody would know they were looking at your naked butt.

The material itself almost has a double walled like feel, I kinda felt like my fingers were going to rip straight through them getting them on, but they’re so sturdy and durable it’s crazy. I’ve ran through pretty rough, twiggy terrain and I’ve had no tears in anything at all. In a very odd way the material makes me think of old fashioned body armour, which must be to do with the woven warp knit material. The A-Seams definitely work to prevent chafing, no chafing to report here but what I did notice was that the material on the inside of inner crotch like area (sorry TMI) has rubbed together causing it to bobble, and lighten in colour. Now I have pretty big thighs so I’m not shocked by this – I think it’s something to bear in mind though when purchasing, I’d personally purchase one pair for running and then another for any squatting type exercise where people might end up looking at my crotch. It’s not noticeable when running anyway.

As with most running tights there is a little pocket within the back of the waistband to store an MP3 player, keys, or some money, and in my case – dog poo bags.  The tights also boast a 50+ UV protection to keep you safe from the sun which I can’t really comment on because of the state of the British weather at the moment, but I can imagine it being uber convenient not having to put my sunscreen on. The 360 degree reflectivity is pretty good at night, I didn’t feel as though it was really 360 degrees but I also felt the same way about some Helly Hansen leggings that I tested out. The good news is that they will keep you visible from up to a whopping 160m away.

Score: 9/10

Fits: True to size but on the smaller end. Available in sizes XS to XL, fitting between a 40kg-105kg weight and 4’11” to 6’1″ height range.

Price: £100.00

Where to buy: Direct from SKINS  (Enter GREENS-STONE-SKINS at the checkout for 20% off. Offer valid 1st-31st April 2016.)

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A400 Women’s Tank Top

The SKINS A400 tank is literally THE BEST tank top that I have ever worn and/or owned. It’s super comfortable just like the A400 tights, again with no restrictiveness. It includes a medium impact support shelf bra so there’s technically no need for a sports bra but I always feel like my boobies need to be gaffer taped on when running, and mine are pretty small, so I wear my sports bra underneath. I’ve not found that I’ve experienced any muscle soreness after my heavy kettlebell sessions, so the compression works well around the rib cage and lat area.

There’s no chafing under the armpits or at your sides due to their A-Seams, and the straps are made from neoprene too so that they don’t dig into your shoulders like other tops do. I loved the neoprene straps – they’re sexy and look so ninja. I’ve got some pretty chunky shoulders and lats, often or not I spill out of the sides of fitted tanks because of this. Although there was the tiniest bit of spillage it was nothing to be embarrassed by and it certainly wasn’t uncomfortable. I felt as though for once I was in a vest top that felt pretty much like a part of me.

There’s this genius rubber lining around the inside hem of the waist to prevent the top from riding up, it’s the most effective design I’ve found and it really doesn’t ride up at all, at least maybe not until I’ve been running for over an hour or so. This means no belly embarrassments for me (or you)! When you pull the vest down, it stretches over the bum completely so that gives you an idea of the fit, the good news is that even though it’s that long it doesn’t actually ruche up due to the Memory MX fit.

There are power mesh inserts that are in ‘high sweat zones’ (under the armpits and scapula) which provide some extra ventilation, and they make you look super stylish too. It’s really nice to find something that fits so well to my small waist and stretches out to my more muscular parts, it’s almost like the most perfect fitting top ever.

Score: 10/10

Fits: True to size but on the smaller end. Available in sizes XS to XL, fitting between a 27″ to 43″ chest circumference.

Price: £60.00

Where to buy: Direct from SKINS (Enter GREENS-STONE-SKINS at the checkout for 20% off. Offer valid 1st-31st April 2016.)

The Verdict

I’ve been a die hard fan of SKINS for around 6 years now, in fact I still own my RY400 Recovery Tights, albeit a little bedraggled so I think they’re due an upgrade, and an old short sleeved top and vest. Unlike other brands of compression wear they’re so easy to move in and although you can feel the tightness it doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortable. I own a pair of 3/4 length 2XU compression tights, which I wore for last year’s half marathon, and after that I never wore them again – they hurt, there’s an annoying label that scratches which you can’t remove without damaging the material, and they are just so uncomfortable that I ended up with stomach cramps by the end of my runs. With my SKINS I feel free and comfortable, and to me that an absolute must!

Having owned several items of SKINS apparel over the years I can see that they’ve kept up with the times and just improved them even more. They’re a lot more stylish then they used to be and the durability is the same if not better. I used to wear my old skins as a rash guard at MMA and it totally did the job. You can also wear them under your clothes too if needs be.

If you’re looking to turn into a mighty ninja athlete then you’ve got to grab yourself some of these bad boys to keep your training, and your body, in tip top condition! If you’re a guy don’t sweat it – there is a male equivalent for you too – the A400 Men’s Long Tights (RRP £100.00) and the A400 Men’s Top Short Sleeve Top (RRP £80.00) – sorry no tank tops for you boys!

SKINS have also rather generously given all Greens of the Stone Age readers 20% off using the code‘GREENS-STONE-SKINS’ at the checkout. Offer valid from the 1st April – 31st April 2016, so hurry and grab yourselves a reet bargain! Also for a chance to win the same SKINS A400 kit (male OR female), click here.

If you’d like to keep up with what SKINS are releasing next, and to find out more about their various ranges for both active use and recovery, check them out on one of the links below:

Vivo Life

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