I've been wearing BV Sports compression gears for 4 years now and have fully rely on it for my long races. It served me really well and I trusted it over the years. However, sadly the brand did not take off in both Malaysia and Singapore, probably due to poor marketing and also the slightly steeper price compared to its competition. When my BV Sport Tights finally tore at Craze Ultra 2014 after 4 years of heavy usage, I finally open up to options and had the chance to try CompresSport, a compression company from Switzerland where its products are all made in Europe.
I have a total of 5 CompresSport gears which were put to test at my recent trip and races at Amsterdam and Scotland. With harsh and demanding conditions, the On/Off Tank, Trail Tank, Trail Short, Calf Sleeve R2 and also the Arm Force were fully max out in the functionality test department.
The On/Off Tank is my favourite among all the 5 gears. Super comfortable, I used it as my base layer at my trail races in Scotland. Not overly tight but yet still able to compress the important parts of the body, it stretches well too. The On/Off name comes from the 42,000 alveoli, the small little openings all over the tank name after you know those small little grape looking thing in our lungs.They open up to allow air in during our workout so that we can breathe and perform better, and at the same time to lower core temperature. On the other hand, it will close up whenever we reduce our exercise intensity or stop, to maintain core temperature. Am not sure how this works and whether does it work but using this at the very cold temperature at Scotland, the On/Off tank certainly met my expectations of a base layer where it kept me warm and dry.
The trail tank is a super good looking top feels extremely comfortable. I really like the zipper which allows me to unzip when the weather gets a little too hot, just like how I wear my tri top. However, I find them a little too thin for my liking and did not compress really well especially at the trapezius region. Some say is probably due to my small built but the size did match my measurement. And taking it off is just as tough as taking my other compression top off. So it's definitely the correct size. Probably CompresSport can look into using the On/Off material for their next generation tank series. I would think that will be awesome!
The trail shorts on the other hand when compared to the tank is a different kind of compression gear. Super comfortable as per the other CompresSport gear, the shorts does work.They are a little hard to put on, but once you get it on nicely, it holds the thighs really well. They travel little high up till the hips but they only hugs at the waist area. As this is an unisex model, I thought this to be a nifty good trick by CompresSport for the ladies as their hips generally are wider than men. And to prevent slipping, there are silicone all over it and works well especially when wet. The silicone are also all over the quads areas and besides to prevent slippage, they also work as shock absorbers though I don't really think they work. And speaking of wetness, they wick moisture really well, much more superior compared to nylon lycra materials. With a hand small little pocket at the lower back, you can put some little essentials like energy gels in there. Not perfect though as there are a few little problems. One of them, as this is a unisex model and being made in Europe, it may not fit some locals here as the length may travel beyond the knee for some. And I wonder why is the logo stitch on the lower part of the shorts at the back of the hamstring near the end? This may cause chaffing to the hamstring area. It can be remove though. And lastly, the decals on mine started cracking and peeling after just 2 washes. Doesn't affect the performance though, just cosmetic damages. Oh... And did I mention that they look really good too! I have a red version and I guess it can make me "run" faster when a bull charges at me. ;p
The Calf Sleeve R2 is a very nice looking calf sleeve. Coming in an array of 10 of colours, one will definitely be able to find their favourite colour to suit their other race gears. And unlike the BV Sport Booster's or the CompresSport trail short's decals and prints, the R2's logo print does not crack or comes peeling off after just a few usage. It stays on solidly at least for a while, so no worries on cosmetic damages. As for compression, it does its job really well in compressing the calf though I have to say that the Booster felt better. I guess it's probably due to the design and construction of it as the R2 is just a hollow sleeve and it isn't anatomically built.
The R2 is also a recovery calf sleeve hence the number 2 on it's name (Race and Recovery). I do not trust nor favour 2-in-1 technologies when it comes to compression. And like instant coffee versus real brew, the latter taste better. I tried the R2 for recovery after my Three Peaks Ultra and while it did help a little, it wasn't superior. I always believe a compression recovery socks or sleeve will always deliver much stronger gradient and is also thicker to be warm to allow the blood to flow more efficiently hence flushing the by products.
The Arm Force are simple pairs of compression arm sleeve. They felt extremely comfortable as per the other models mentioned above and kept my arms warm though not overly suffocating throughout my race at the Jedburgh Half Marathon. Anatomically built and stitch together, it follows the anatomy of our arms. The only downside I fear with the Arm Force will be the durability of it. I really need to be careful when wearing it as a wrong pull especially by loose finger nails may pull the stitching out of its place. This goes to washing as well. However, once in, there is no need to be worry about it unless a loose branch along the woods pulled it. Taking off is a breeze too.
All CompresSports gears above are made out of polypropylene and polyamide instead of the traditional nylon lycra material hence offering much superior graduated compression, cotton-like comfort and moisture wicking properties compared to the latter. They are all also almost seamless hence reducing the chances of chaffing.
The CompresSport gears above retails at the following recommended price and comes with a 2 years warranty against manufacturing defects:
CompresSport On/Off Tank - RM339.00
CompresSport Trail Tank - RM399.00
CompresSPort Trail Short - RM499.00
CompresSport Calf Sleeve R2 - RM199.00
CompresSport Arm Force - RM149.00
* All CompresSport gears above except for the Arm Force are complimentary sets from Photon Athletics Sdn Bhd. Thank you.