The addition of thermal fabric to Skins’ long sleeve compression tops adds more functionality to an already successful performance product.
Skins compression tops use gradient compression to improve blood and oxygen flow to allow athletes to work harder and perform longer while recovering quicker. By utilizing a new fabric designed for Skins thermal tops, they have been able to offer garments offering additional warmth for winter sports activities without the fear of overheating. Using a blended fabric of Polyamid and Elastane, Skins has been able to provide a high-pile fabric for warmth and breathability that feels soft to the touch while still being abrasion resistant. The Elastane provides stretch in the blended fabric which ensures that compression and recovery are consistent throughout the top. The construction of the top maximizes performance by wrapping muscle groups to reduce muscle movement and vibration. The result is less tissue damage and soreness following exercise. Breathability is enhanced through underarm ventilation and the waist features a silicon gripper to keep the top from riding up during exercise. All Skins products use fabrics that are antimicrobial treated to reduce body odors. With an Australian background, it makes sense that Skins products would be sun protective and the thermal compression top is rated at UV50.
Testing of the Skins thermal compression top consisted of skiing in Utah and California and working out in a local fitness center. Sizing is critical in all compression garments as they are sized differently than normal clothing. The Skins top is sized by measuring the chest and matching that number to the sizing chart. While the author would normally wear a medium shirt, the Skins sizing chart called for a large top. Like other compression garments, the top must be worn correctly. Because of its inherent tightness, it takes a bit of finesse to get the top positioned correctly on the body. Once fitted, the compression is immediately apparent, especially in the shoulder area. The stretchiness of the top made it feel like a second skin and the thermal properties of the brushed fabric were immediately felt. Worn in the gym on cold days, the top worked well to keep the author toasty without overheating. In twenty degree weather the Skins top was used as the only layer under a jacket and the combination worked well in keeping the author warm throughout several very blustery ski days. The fit is such that it would be easy to layer over the top if additional warmth was needed. The extra compression over the shoulder area was greatly appreciated as it added extra support to the author’s partially torn rotator cuff when charging down the hill. The mock turtle neck did a good job of keeping in body heat while the venting at the armpits kept the author from overheating. The silicon waist strip glues the shirt to the body and helps keep the warm air from escaping. Once the exercise is complete the recuperative benefits of compression technology become apparent. Much less muscle soreness was noted after skiing and the next day the author felt fresher than normal. While the UV sun protection was not tested, it would be welcome during any activities such as running or biking where the top was worn alone.
The Skins thermal compression top did its job well by combining gradient muscle compression while also keeping the user warm. Increased performance was noted and recuperation was faster than with standard thermal tops.
- Sizing – Medium –X-Large, consult sizing chart
- Color – Black/yellow stripe, Black/blue stripe
- Price – $59.99
- Retail stores
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product for purposes of this review, but the opinions expressed are my own.