Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Product Review 18: Sugoi Apparel Piston 200 Leg Sleeves

As most people know, Compression gear is meant to increase blood flow (and some say ‘squeeze’ out lactic acid) and improve performance while aiding with recovery.

Admittedly, I was a bit of a skeptic on compression gear as it seemed, on the surface, to be a bit fad driven and followed the thought I’m trying to get people away from (‘you’d run better if you Just had _X_ product!’). With that said, I began thinking about how each time I had to have knee surgery (6 times…) I had to wear compression sleeves on my legs to reduce swelling and save me from blot clots – by increasing blood flow/circulation… so I decided to give compression a true go and put several types, brands, and lines to the test; today we have Sugoi.

SUGOI Apparel
Sugoi translates “Incredible” in Japanese. The company was founded almost 25 years ago in a basement in Vancouver, British Columbia by a cyclist and has since been successfully acquired (in 2006) by Dorel (other lines include Cannondale, Schwinn, Mongoose, RoadMaster, etc.).

SUGOI Piston 200 Leg Sleeves

These leg sleeves fit very smoothly, no tags to irritate and well made with flat seams that did not bother me during distance runs.

The logo and piping are 3M Scotchlite and provide an excellent amount of reflective material for late evening/early morning runs.

The length of these sleeves was just right! They came high enough to cover my quads, but not too high where they would chafe or irritate, and they came low enough to completely cover the calf while not coming down over the ankle bone.

The level of compression was absolutely spot on – not too tight (not restrictive in movement or blood flow), but ample, ‘true’, compression.

The 3 things I was most worried about on these turned out to be there 3 biggest selling points:
1. I worried about the top seam around the top of the thigh being too restrictive or irritating. However, they have a thin black piping that goes around the top (and bottom) that provides almost a seal. It fit to the thigh very well.

2. I was concerned (as I am with all tights/leg sleeves) about how they would fit around the knee, specifically behind the knee while running. These sleeves proved to have a perfect second-skin fit moved with my stride instead of restricting it and also caused no irritation behind the knee.

3. As with all compression, one of the biggest things I look for is can I forget I’m wearing it: i.e. do they do what they are supposed to do without any sliding at all. The last think I want to do while I’m running is break stride to pull my sleeves up where they are falling down out of position. But again, these sleeves stayed in place perfectly with no twisting, sliding, or movement at all.

I ended up using these leg sleeves 2 fold:
First, I used them on my run where they fit very well and provided the perfect level of compression. My muscles felt ‘barely there’ along the run and I (anecdotally of course) did feel that DOMS was significantly reduced.
Secondly, I used the sleeves as a recovery tool: I ran sans sleeves and then returned home, showered, and placed the sleeves on for the rest of the evening (it was a dinner time run) and actually slept in the sleeves to aid in recovery. Even for sleeping, the sleeves did not bother me, caused no restriction in blood flow, and the compression level was strong enough to aid in my recovery without causing me any level of discomfort while falling asleep.

As a different approach to my standard reviews, I decided to have a second person, with a different background, try out these leg sleeves so that I could share their opinion as well.

This person was someone who had grown up as a strong athlete (a competitive gymnast) but someone who had never been a runner and who has just now begun to develop their potential as a novice runner.

They (a female) stated they loved the compression level and second-skin like fit that the leg sleeves provided. They found, as another benefit, that they allowed their legs to “glide” much easier and eliminated chafing and thigh-to-thigh restrictive contact. They also tried sleeping in the sleeves as a recovery aid and felt that was a very effective use of the sleeves. They noted that, as a matter of opinion (stated from a female perspective), that they preferred full tights for running so that they come all the way to top of the thigh and did not leave the 2”-3” gap at the top as the sleeves do.

I’m pleased to say that I have no complaints and I am very happy with these Sugoi leg sleeves

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