This review represents my next venture into the ever interesting world of compression gear. I am presenting to you today a review on 2 different pieces from Spun Performance Apparel.
They are an apparel company who’s marketing heavily targets the Crossfit/ weightlifting set, but when you dig in a little and check out the “about us” section of their website, their outlook on how the company was born is really intriguing/ appealing to me.
Per their website:“We wanted to make high quality, affordable clothing that people could wear in their training, no matter what they were training for. In turn, we thought of names that were all-encompassing, and thus, Spun was born. No matter what the sport is, there is almost always something spinning. In Olympic Weightlifting, a barbell is spun as a lifter drops down to catch a heavy snatch. In softball, a pitcher spins the ball to get it to rise. In soccer, a ball is spun to bend it around a defender. Even a runner’s legs resemble a locomotive as it starts spinning to get up to speed.”
It makes sense to me, on both accounts. I like the concept that it can be a universal tool for all athletes, but there are a few values to sport-specific apparel that I will get into as well a little later. I really love compression gear, both socks and shorts- I’ll get into why on both below- and to have a high quality/ low cost option is ideal. Overall, I really like them and want to share with you why.
First a little background info as to why you would want to wear compression gear in the first place: There are mixed opinions out there as to whether or not this stuff actually provides any benefit/ value, and scientific studies/ opinion polls to support both sides. I am of the belief that it helps, and consequently I use them for myself. Ultimately, you have to be the judge for your own practices, but here is a high level summary of the theory behind the case for using the compression gear while running. For the shorts, the main features include keeping the upper leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstring) warm and provide compression which reduces muscle fatigue. Basically, they keep you going a little longer and a help you stay a little stronger. Secondly, they provide coverage, which is particularly useful for larger people just getting started and getting active to help avoid extremely uncomfortable rubbing and friction. And lastly, they have moisture wicking attribute that helps pull the sweat off of you while working out and consequently can help reduce irritation/ rash/ reactions if you are sensitive to that kind of thing. And for the socks, the same basic theories apply. Socks provide compression and support to your calves and ankles, with the idea that with the compression comes increased blood flow, enhanced performance, additional stability (I’m talking ankles and feet for this one), and when worn after working out, improved recovery.
I have been provided a pair of compression shorts as well as a pair of compression socks to review for you. I’ll get into each separately now.
First the shorts. (I’ll spare you a picture of me in just the compression shorts…you can thank me later on that one)
I have always worn compression shorts when I run. To be honest, it started out of necessity because my thighs rubbed together so much when I started running you would think a fire was going to start down there based on all the friction. They became my first piece of “specialized running apparel” and have been a mandatory part of my gear ever since. When I first started out, I was using some Starter brand compression shorts that I picked from wal-mart, (primarily because they were super inexpensive and got the job done). They served their purpose and the thigh rubbage/ damage was alleviated. Ever since I put on the Spun shorts though, I have been completely ruined for my old ones. You can feel a difference between the two from the moment you put them on, and that difference is pretty huge. From the thickness/ quality of the material, to the little extra details like the silicone strip around the waistband to ensure they stay where you put them, to the overall aesthetics of the shorts, these Spun compression shorts are the real deal. These shorts are tight (as the term “compression shorts” would imply), are well constructed and are super elastic. I have worn these exclusively for running, and the elasticity and construction are key points for me as they need to do their job while not being a distraction or limiting my flexibility/ mobility in any way for me to actually use them. I am happy to say these shorts succeed in this regard. They are a high quality spandex stretchy material that fits tight and stretchy, like your typical “biker’s shorts”, and provide me a full range of motion with no limitations. In terms of durability, they are very well constructed. I have been wearing mine for several weeks now and they have been through the wash at least a dozen times. They are still holding strong with no signs of breaking down or wearing on any seams. Another nice feature is that there looks to be a lot of thought put into constructing these shorts. It’s not one big piece of spandex cut and sewn into shorts, there are separate panels all pieced together to line up with the leg muscles and provide additional support. One nice feature that I am pleasantly surprised with is the fact that they have a strip of silicone along the inside of the elastic waistband which helps to ensure that these shorts actually stay where you put them. On cheaper alternatives that do not have this silicone, having the waistband slide down was an irritating issue to deal with, but this takes care of that problem. I was initially concerned and on the lookout for it to be slipping or pinching once I really get going and sweating, but no issues at all to date. And lastly, in terms of overall aesthetics, they are your run on the mill black compression shorts, but have the Spun Logo on the bottom of each leg, up one thigh, and around the waistband. Just enough to give them a real legitimate look and feel.
Next the socks.
I was provided a pair of grey compression socks that I have been wearing a lot over the past few weeks. I really like them for a few reasons. Obviously, they serve their intended purpose and provide compression to my calves, ankles, and feet. Like I said before I feel like the socks provide me added benefit and they help, so I wear them for all my runs now. These are the second brand of compression socks I have had the opportunity to try now, so I have the added benefit of a means of comparison as well. (Which actually leads into one of my big “likes” for these Spun socks) The first thing I like about these Spun socks is that although they are tight, they are not overly so and most importantly, not a huge challenge to put on/ take off. There are other brands out there that feel tighter while wearing them, but as a consequence of that, you feel like you need the jaws of life to stretch them out enough to get them onto your legs. These socks still require some effort, but it’s not huge struggle. Second, these are much thicker than other compression socks I’ve used, and just feel softer/ more comfortable. They are actually surprisingly comfortable to the point where you can literally forget you are wearing them. And lastly is a plus for me but might be a negative for some: the aesthetics. The socks I was provided (as you can see) are pretty plain. Basic grey with the Spun logo nice and small across the top elastic band of the sock. There is a little added design going on in the foot and ankle area but for the most part it’s all hidden when you are wearing your running shoes, again, you can see what I mean above. But a look at some of the other color options, however reveals that these are the most mild mannered of all the offerings, by far. Loud colors like bright red and neon green, and a black pair with designs from top to bottom round out the sock options. Again, I love it, but if you’re not really a “stand out in the crowd” kind of person these won’t be helping your case any.
Lastly, the negatives: The socks are good. They have been worn and washed at least a dozen times as well and have not had any issues with wear or breakdown at all. With them being thicker, I want to keep an eye out for any pilling or wear with continued use and washes. I also wonder if they will have any negative effects being too hot during the summer months. No issues yet, but just some things on my radar to keep an eye on. The shorts are great as well for what they are, but I want to point out one potential drawback to the company’s “one design for all athletes” take on design. I have recently began incorporating some additional means of exercise into my workouts, specifically biking. For my first time out, I was all excited because I had some real deal compression shorts to wear. Look and feel the part, and really kick things off on the right foot so to speak. After about 15 minutes I realized that there needed to be some additional padding in the trunk, because: damn that got to hurting after a while. Bike seats are not the most forgiving of apparatus to sit on. I come to find out that biking specific compression shorts have included padding to help address that particular “painful booty” scenario. I would imagine that every sport has its own unforeseen nuance and issues like this example, and sport specific clothing would address that specifically.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with the products I’ve seen from Spun, and they have been added to my regular go-to workout gear. They have served me well, improved my running experience, and I anticipate they will continue to do so going forward.
As always, hope this helps and until next time: Take it easy.
I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.
One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.
**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**
Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**