Sunday, January 24, 2016

stay visible and warm during winter runs: 2xu hyoptik review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU Hyoptik Mid-Rise Thermal Compression Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!

Out on the trails on a light snowy day.

I've had a problem running in the winter that I haven't been able to cure, until this year. My legs (mainly thighs) always get so dang cold and then never warm up! No tights I've tried have kept me warm enough in the Chicago winter. Any tights that might have worked, were too uncomfortable for me to wear for too long a time (most I've tried I have adjust frequently at the crotch, because they ride down, and then my thigh skin is actually touching, chaffing, driving me insane).

When asked to try out 2XU Hyoptik Mid-Rise Thermal Compression Tights I jumped at the chance. Thermal tights were just what I needed. And really, I have become obsessed with 2XU, so knew I would love them. After trying out (and never taking off) the MCS Elite Compression Tights, I bought myself a few other pairs of compression tights (capris), socks, calf sleeves... you know, just a few essential items.

Some 2XU socks to go with my 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights.

Originally, I was hoping to receive them in time for Santa Hustle Indy Half Marathon. I figured a mid-December race would require thermal tights. I didn't receive them in time (they came shortly after the race), but turns out, the Midwest was getting some weird weather, and race day temps were upper 50s-mid 60s, and I wore shorts haha.

My 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights
came just in time for my long run!

When I received the 2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights, I could tell they were a bit thicker than the MCS and other regular compression tights I had from 2XU. This was due to the soft brushed thermal inner layer. They aren't super thick, like you might think when thermal inner layer comes to mind, and it helps retain warmth in cold climates. Still pretty thin and easy to move in, but much warmer than other tights I've tried. The compression is a little less noticeable than the MCS, but I personally still loved the Hyoptik compression, and had no complaints. My legs felt great wearing them for running and when I wore them for post-runs as recovery. "With coverage over the knee, powerful compression support and protect upper leg muscles to help prevent soreness and fatigue and long term overuse injuries."

Trail running.

I was delaying making my post live because I wanted to wear them for my race yesterday (F3 Lake Half Marathon) and get back on my thoughts before posting. It was about 32 degrees yesterday, with a feel like temp of 25, 65% humidity, and 8mph winds. For the most part, it was cloudy, but oh when the sun came out did it feel good. Anyway, you know I'm a much slower runner than most, so I was out there for quite a while, giving these a good test of the elements (well, cold and minor wind haha - no rain or snow). 

My legs felt great the whole race. I was dealing with some minor calf and thigh pain in my right leg for most of the race (who knows where that came from), and I know that if I hadn't been wearing the compression tights my leg would have felt a lot worse during the run, and today. Today, my legs are feeling good. No calf or thigh pain. I was a tad cold when the wind was blowing, but mainly it was my face that felt it. Other tights, post-long run in the cold, my legs would be bright red from being cold. They were normal yesterday. Also, I never had to adjust the, um, upper thigh area. They stayed in place the whole race. I also never felt cold due to the tights being wet from sweat – they wick really well so that I was never uncomfortable or chafing.

Some photos from F3 Lake Half Marathon.

The one part I had some issues with during the race yesterday, however, was the waistband. I do prefer the mid-rise (thicker band) over the more narrow one that is in the MCS, but for whatever reason (read: my stomach is a little larger than it should be at the moment), the waist band kept rolling down and then pinching at my hips :( I really think this is an issue of my wide hips and overly large stomach at the moment, and not a problem with the tights themselves, but thought worth mentioning. I didn't have any rolling issue with the thinner band of the MCS Elite, though I did feel like they cut into my hips a bit more than the wide waist band – so pros and cons to each (for me... though I'd still take the wide band over the little one). 

Really, it's a wake up call to more closely watch what I'm eating and to do some more cross training. I'll also note that I am extremely high waisted, so I can't pull them up high enough where I think they'd stay put much better. If you have a more normal body ratio (not so high waist, so you can easily wear tights on them), I think it would sit more naturally and not roll down. I didn't have this problem so much on my other runs with them... so I'm thinking the holidays have really done me in haha. Time to get to work.

That was painful/embarrassing to write... honesty is a harsh reality :-/ But I gotta keep it real for my readers!

Trekking through some none-shoveled sidewalks on a chilly day.

For me personally, I would wear the 2XU Hyoptik Compression Tights on their own till around 15/20 degrees. Below that, I choose to wear them as a base layer. I know temperature is relative. Everyone is different and has a different take on weather. My friends over in AZ and on the west coast think 50 is cold, and so would wear their thermal tights on those days. I wore mine on a 40 degree day and regretted it, because I was too warm. So for me, ideal temps are around 35 and below, and then below 15 or 20 as a base layer. For me, it would come down to what the feel like temp is, and what the wind is like — these are good for keeping a light wind out, but over 10 (when it's below 20) I need some more protection. Again, that's me. Danielle said she wore hers in 8 degrees and felt fine. So there you go.

On a day at the trails that was 20 degrees with 14mph winds.
2XU Hyoptik Thermal Compression Tights were the base layer.
Sweat pants over them. I was perfectly comfortable.
Even though my ankles peek out a little, it doesn't bother me.
If they stick out because of your height or whatever, you can try longer socks.
I almost always just wear ankle socks.

You may ask why they are called Hyoptik (pronounced high optic)? Well, because of the reflective logo, of course! There's a big X on the side of one thigh, and then another on the other leg calf (the back). The reflective logos help you stay visible when training in low light conditions. Check out my pal Jeremy who loves wearing his tights for November Project workouts (getting it done BEFORE the sun is even out!).

Check out those muscles... and reflectivity!
Photo cred: Confessions of an Amateur Athlete

I don't run in the dark often, because my neighborhood doesn't have street lights, and I've seen the way people drive... I don't feel safe. Even when I wear the most reflective gear + a vest I have that is neon pink with lights that flash on the front and back + a headlamp or knuckle lights, if I weren't paying attention to drivers, I would have gotten hit already. People are oblivious... or on their phone. Either way, I tend to run in daylight hours or at the gym. I digress... the reflectivity aspect of these are still really cool, and I'd say definitely a pro if you are into running in the early morning or night hours. Every now and again, you might find me running in the dark, and I would definitely add these pants to my gear on those runs so that I'd have more visibility. It's quite important (as you can tell from my notes above haha).

Recovery post-long run.

For washing, you'll want to machine wash, inside out, in cold water with like colors on gentle cycle with mild detergent. Do NOT tumble dry, but hang to dry in a cool shady area away from the sun. Do not use bleach, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets and do not iron or dry clean. I hang all of my running clothes on a drying rack, so I don't have the issue of 'I forgot to separate and put it in the dryer on accident'.

Features of the 2XU Hyoptik Compression Tights:

• HYOPTIK reflective logos for visibility
• Brushed interior thermal layer for added warmth
• Compression support for greater protection to abductor, glue, quad, hamstring, and calf muscles
• Graduated compression for improved blood circulation
• Comfort power wide waistband with power mesh for smooth streamlined fit
• Flatlock seams to reduce chafe for greater comfort
• High filament yarns for dryness – wicks sweat from the skin to the fabric exterior
• Antibacterial and UPF50+ sun protection

Benefits of Compression:

• Greater oxygenation of blood for faster recovery
• Faster muscle warm up pre-exercise
• Reduced fatigue through less muscle oscillation
• Reduced muscle soreness
• Reduced long-term overuse injuries
• Greater power output
• Heightened proprioception – awareness of limb placement for agility.

Keeping my running streak alive.

I HIGHLY recommend these tights if you are looking for some gear for colder running weather (whatever that 'colder weather' might mean for YOU). And really, anything from 2XU is a good choice. I haven't tried anything yet that I haven't liked, and as I mentioned above, that were a few other items I've tried out. Great company, quality gear. The full tights will cost you $109.95, which for thermal AND compression I think is a good deal. The 3/4 length is $99.95. Plus, if you signup for 2XU emails, you can save 10% off your first order. Score!

Join BibRave, the BibRave Pros, and sponsor 2XU on Tuesday, January 26 at 8pm CT over on Twitter for #BibChat! There's always a lot of fun to be had, and I learn something new each week. Not to mention all of the motivation and inspiration I get from other runners! Hope to 'see' you there!

Connect with 2XU:

website | facebook | twitter | youtube | instagram

What are the other BibRave Pros saying?

Frank | Mark | Cass | Jessica | Sarah | Chadd | Sarah | Erin | Jen | Abbie | Katherine | Megan | Gina | Josh | Jeremy | Amy | Angie | Christine | Allison | Jenny | Lisa


  1. Loving how you tagged other bibrave pros on the bottom. How did you do the dividers? Nice review!!

    1. Thanks! It's just a computer key - hold shift and it's the one (at least for me) under the delete button. Has | and \ on it. Hope that helps!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.