You are here

When It's Time for Tights


    OK, normally you probably wouldn't even think of packing a pair of tights for a national park trip. In fact, I've never seen such an item on any gear list out there.
Blogcwx01_1    But think about it. Don't you sometimes like to go for an early morning, or late-afternoon, jog or cross-country ski while you're in a park?  A nice easy run along the boardwalks that wrap the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone before breakfast can be gorgeous. You're not likely to encounter hordes of tourists, the air is calm, the day is beginning to brighten, and the solitude offers a great opportunity to reflect while you get in a light workout to burn off some of the calories you packed on at dinner the night before.
    I recently was introduced to tights produced by Wacoal Sport Science, a Japanese company that labels its tights and tops under the CW-X brand. And I was immediately intrigued.

    I have several other brands of tights that I wear for cycling, running and cross-country skiing, but none offers the muscle-support like the CW-X Pro Tights I sampled. The company calls its support system a "Tuned Conditioning Web." And that's a pretty good description, for Lycra bands that wrap your legs act -- and I hate to use more of the company's wording, but it's apt -- like an exoskeleton.
    So what good is that? Lots of good, that's what. I found that the bands supported my muscles and so helped me stay fresher longer. They stretched when they needed to and, through the tight fit they provide, supposedly increased blood flow to my leg muscles. But since I have no way to measure that, I'll just take their word for it.Blogcwx02_2
     The human engineers who designed these tights took into account the hamstrings, quads and glutes. The result was that I could work out harder for a longer period of time. Too, the way the bands wrap your legs provides added support for your knees and lower back. Again, that's a good thing, particularly if you're worried about patella tendinitis.
    Along with Lycra, the tights are built with breathable Coolmax panels, which help you stay dry while working on. Also integrated is a reflective material so you'll be visible in low-light conditions.
    Women will be happy to learn that the tights are not unisex. Rather, the company makes sure its women's tights are anatomically engineered for a woman's body.
    CW-X also makes a line of sports bras and tops, cycling tops, shorts and knickers, and new this fall is a line of insulated tights, zip-tops and sports bras. This line sounds perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, two activities that are perfect for the parks.
    The tights retail for $95. While you might catch your breath at that sum, have you checked the pricing on other tights or sports specific underwear lately? And if the CW-X products help you get more out of your workout, that's a small price to pay for something that will be in your wardrobe for a long time.


I really dislike most synthetics that I have to wear against sweaty skin as it is difficult to keep it free of odor wash after wash. Do you know what material this gear is made of? I checked out the website but it couldn\'t answer my question. Are you going to be testing this gear over the long-term and reporting your results?

Joan, The base material of the tights blends four-way stretch 80 percent Coolmax and 20 percent Lycra, while the conditioning web itself is two-way stretch 80 percent nylon and 20 percent Lycra. The insulated models debuting this fall also offer anti-bacterial properties which should help with the odor problem. I'm not sure if that will be incorporated into models across the board for 2006, but would expect so. And yes, I plan to continue testing the tights through the winter and hope to sample some of the insulated models as well. Kurt

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide