Still Running Tight: CW-X Conditioning Wear Review

CW-X “conditioning wear” tights have been my go-to running gear for so long, they caused a driver in Latvia to bump into the car in front of him in a traffic jam, as he had started rolling and forgot to hit the brakes again as he got distracted by my looks. They had girls in China call after me; they have been everywhere I went running the last 10+ years.

Running Man in TIghts

Some of the tops I still use at times aren’t even in production anymore; most of the tights are still available – and they have proven to be good gear.
Just the kind of gear I want to review (as I did before actually, but now I’ve gotten serious with reviews of good gear, and make those multi-medial)…

Conditioning, Not (Just) Compression

What makes CW-X special is not just the high-tech materials used, nor the compression provided, which one can now get from many other brands’ sportswear as well.
It’s not the “stupid sexy Flanders” effect that many people find indecent and rather unusual, to put it very mildly, even as so many (ultramarathon) runners look to be covered by their beards more than by any clothing.

No, it is meant to be the “targeted support” that these pieces of clothing provide.

Depending on the model, different muscle groups are targeted by the overlays worked into CW-X pieces; joints are meant to be supported, muscles to be prevented from vibrating quite so much with every footfall, and muscles and joints to be brought into proper alignment.


CW-X Expert Tights

With an introduction and a few words about CW-X tops…

These are the original CW-X tights with just a bit of support, especially for the knees in a rather light material.

CW-X Pro Tights

A step up in the line-up, increased ‘targeted support’, still a rather light material.

CW-X Insulator Stabilyx

With a few words about light tights that can be used in summer heat, a switch to tights for winter running… Here, the material is considerably more like a hard face. Still comfortable but feeling rather more rain- and snow-shedding  (Still not waterproof, of course, but then that would make them hot and wet.)

CW-X Insulator Expert Tights

Talking of winter tights, I also want to mention these, even as they are a discontinued model, apparently: The material here is soft but thicker, feeling a little like terrycloth on the inside.

Still available in Insulator versions, however, are the Endurance Pro and PerformX tights:

CW-X Revolution Tights

The penultimate release and the lightest CW-X tights, clearly made for racing, with structured overlays not made of an additional layer of material…

CW-X Endurance Generator Tights

The latest and greatest with the “ultimate” in targeted support, if you believe the marketing copy, and certainly with more than a few cues for a good form in trail running…

Benefits, Practical and Psychological…

Compression alone seems to provide some recovery benefit (and CW-X tights certainly do also compress), but even that is a bit questionable in scientific perspective as reduced soreness may mean either a quicker and helpful return to further training and fitness, or it could indicate a reduced training effect.

How good the effect of the (additional) “targeted support” is, then, remains in question as well. Science hasn’t conclusively proven it, so one can only go by personal feeling.

The feel, to me, is great, anyways. Whether it is a ‘real’ effect or something of a placebo effect, the way I feel in my CW-X gear is as if I were in an exoskeleton that fits perfectly and gets me into a more upright and energetic alignment.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide if you want that kind of support or if you’d rather have loose-fitting running gear – and if it’s worth the money to you.

Wonders, you shouldn’t expect, but I’m pretty sure it has been helping me, and I’ll take anything that serves me so well for such a long time and motivates me to go out, get fit, and explore.

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  1. John J Flanagan

    Great review I love CWX tights and have several pairs. Have you found other products that are comparable? I can’t run without them now

    • There are quite a lot of others – and here in Europe, many of them much more popular whereas CW-X are near-impossible to get. I still like the CW-X best, though. In fact, have a new pair on the way ;)

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