When I was given some of the new Skins A400 Compression range to test for @UKRunchat I was intrigued on how good it really was.
As a compression gear user and believer I was really interested in seeing if the hype behind Skins gear was just that or backed up. I chose a long-sleeved A400 Compression top (£85) and a pair of the A400 power shorts (£75) as I’m not a tights wearer.
When they first arrived I wasn’t too impressed by the packaging. They come in a large cardboard box which looks good and is well presented but personally I like less packaging as this is better for the planet and makes the production costs cheaper.
Once you get over the excess packaging and get to look at the kit you notice that it is very well made and you can see the quality in the material. Sizing is a little tough to feel as if you have got it right, when I first tried them on the top and shorts felt VERY tight but of course they need to be to have the desired effect. I soon felt comfortable and forgot about them as I headed out on my first run in them.
I used them for the first time on a 10 mile run, the longest I had run in 2 months, even though I was slower due to fitness my legs felt fresher than I expected at the end and also I was surprised with the fact I had very little DOMs in the days after. My first run in my Skins was on a warm evening, I was a little concerned on wearing a long sleeved top as I overheat but it was fine as the material is designed to keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. The panels under the arms and back help to keep you cool. My only issue with the top was that I have short arms for my chest size (Large) so I had material gathered at my wrists. I liked the gripper at the bottom which stopped it from riding up.
I chose the power shorts as I have short legs (5ft 6in) so I find normal compression shorts too long. The shorts fit me really well and stopped about mid-thigh. The material felt stiff and did not look or feel thin. There is no waist draw string but I had no issues with riding up or slipping down with these shorts as I do with some other brands the design and fit mean there is no need. They were really comfortable and will now become my short of choice for speed and hill sessions as this particular short has been designed to help with power and speed.
So far I have done a mix of long, hill, speed and gym sessions in them and they have washed really well. I have friends who swear by their skins gear and say they lasts really well, even within contact sports like rugby.
In summation, I would like to see Skins use less packaging as this was my only gripe but the quality and performance of the garments is better than the other brands I own. I now can see why they are so popular and why so many people spend the extra money to buy them. Until now I was never convinced that they were worth the extra money but I now can see they are. I would suggest trying them on before buying to get the right fit but remember they need to be tight!