Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Opedix R1 "Knee Saver" Running Tights Review

Levi Dodd
August 2011

I'm nearing the end of my summer section of the reviews of various products and brands.
At the end (close now), I will publish all of the reviews in a PDF and make that available to anyone who wishes.
Note that I am reviewing products that I have done a good bit of research on First before including them in my list of products to review so I am anticipating most all of the products will receive favorable feedback (these are not 'blind' tests).
Also, all reviews will be posted on my blog and on my facebook page as well (The blog will include all the pictures)



Opedix is one of those companies you just Want to do well. Their story is something out of Runner’s World special report – The company was founded by a businessman who had a vested interest in his own products and we he decided to step out and create a company to help him and others like him, the saying “Go big or go home” simply falls short.
Opedix labels themselves as “Evidence Based Apparel” and they strive (and achieve) to move the advantages of their compression based “Knee Saver” tights (designed to “unload” the pressure from your knees while running or skiing) from the anecdotal to the scientifically proven. Kim Gustafson didn’t only want top athletes to swear his products were helping, he wanted proof. So he “went big”. Opedix partnered with Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation and Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic; 2 world renowned institutions leading the way in preventative research and diagnosis and prevention respectively. These institutions have played critical roles in the research, design, testing, and evaluation of the Opedix R1 and R2 Tights. Dr. Decker (Michael J. Decker is an Applied Biomechanist Scientist interested in neuromuscular coordination, rehabilitation and sport performance. Mike was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, Colorado and was previously an Instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Mike is now working in a new orthopedic research facility at the University of Denver. Over the past decade, Mike has presented at several national and international meetings, published 16 manuscripts and been involved in 18 awards for research, academic and teaching excellence) extensively tested Opedix’s Tights and a Power Point Presentation summarizing his findings can be found Here.

OPEDIX R1 “Knee Saver” Running Tights

I wasn’t sure these tights would mean, but I was certainly intrigued by the premise! With everyone touting how they can “Save your knees!” my skepticism is always on high alert. However, when I spoke to Kim and Dr. Decker on the phone, I found myself getting wrapped up in their passion and found myself getting more and more hopeful about… could this thing really work??

On first look when I unboxed the tights, they look good… really, as in, aesthetically speaking, I didn’t feel like I was wearing ballerina tights. Does that help my knee? No… but certainly doesn’t hurt, now does it?
The tights are marketed as “year round”, but here at home, most of the summer had heat indexes in excess of 110 degrees, so I kept putting off my review, fearful of the heat. That said, I finally broke down and ran in them when our cold front moved in (91 degrees) and I was extremely impressed! They were, in fact, quite cool – to the point that I honestly didn’t notice them, A+ on that front.

The sizing was right (just the guidelines on their site and remember that women’s and men’s can be interchanged based on size if necessary) and that was another great concern of mine. I was a bit nervous about finding a pair that would accurately fit my famously towering presence of 5’ 6”, but I was pleased to see it fit great, compression level was Perfect, and (my biggest concern) the “unloading” knee portions lined up just right.

I really can’t stress how these tights completely disappeared once I put them on. The compression level was just right, no bunching anywhere, no riding, I never once had to tug or readjust anything, stayed perfectly in place, and (a huge plus for me) they were amazingly cool, temperature wise.

Now the big test: it’s all well and good that these tights are good compression running tights, but that’s not their claim to fame:
“’Save the Knees’ campaign – Knees take a pounding from running, but now you do something about it. The Opedix Knee Support System is scientifically proven to reduce an average 16% of the load stress exerted on knees while running”
THIS is what I wanted to see! So I decided to put them through a torture test with the idea that if they worked, I would Definitely know it, and if they didn’t, my 6 surgery knees wouldn’t work for days. I set off on a 10 ½ mile “Hill” run, on old, uneven concrete sidewalks with the most elevation change you can get here. I felt… great. Now, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t some miracle where I got home and the next day my knees didn’t feel a thing, my knees are still shot, but there was Certainly a real and measurable difference for me – and I Loved it! The great thing is, in a normal review I would have to point out that my “feelings” were anecdotal, but with these, we actually have scientific evidence to point to where I merely have to confirm that they are, in fact, doing what biomechanical testing has already proven.

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