A Rare Review (or Two)

I don’t do this often. Okay I’ve never done this but I’m going to offer up a quick review of a couple bits of apparel I’ve added to my fitness arsenal. If you find product reviews to be as exciting as studying the movement of the tectonic plates I won’t be insulted if you leave.

Patterns of movement of a product review
or the Tectonic Plates.

Still here? Great! Thanks for staying. I promise this won’t be too painful.

Sigetu Compression Shorts

I have become a big fan of compression shorts over the years. Maybe this dates back to my introduction to compression gear as a triathlete or maybe it has to do with my dislike of the long, flappy running shorts so popular today. When I started running, I purchased my first pair of shorts at a running store in Las Vegas. They were your basic, lined running shorts with a 2-3″ inseam. These days, the inseam of most running shorts has lengthened to 5 and even 7 inches and when they get wet from sweat or rain, they hang off the wearer like a drippy, clingy uncomfortable skirt. Once wet, they are heavy, provide no support and only a minor amount of modesty since the wet material tends to cling to the body.

What traditional, floppy running shorts look like after a run on a humid morning. Note: It wasn’t raining and I didn’t have an accident.

I discovered compression shorts provide a variety of advantages that I much prefer.

  1. The compression supports tired muscles.
  2. In humid or wet conditions, compression shorts tend to be more comfortable then traditional-style shorts because:
    1. They wick moisture and use the heat of the human skin to dry quicker.
    2. The way the material clings to the body does not change with sweat or rain.
    3. Because of their wicking ability they dissipate heat better and feel cooler than loose fitting material.
  3. They are more versatile. You can run, and ride in them with or without a chamois, and can also be used for swimming without giving up hydrodynamics.
The picture is for men’s underwear and not running shorts but demonstrates what is meant by “gusseted”. The key is there is no uncomfortable seam down the middle.

I have been running in compression shorts for many years and have experience with most popular brands. Pearl Izumi once had a great selection of running gear including tights and compression shorts. Sadly, some years ago Pearl made the unfortunate decision to exit the running apparel business. I’ve also got several pairs of Gore shorts. In the past, Gore offered some great choices of true compression shorts. Some were better than others. In fact one of the more expensive “pro” series they offered was one of the worst pair of shorts I’ve ever owned. They didn’t offer much compression, did not have pockets, weren’t gusseted, and had a seam that chafed someplace you really don’t want to be chafed. But they were expensive. These days Gore has dropped most of their compression shorts and now only offers one or two varieties of “short tights”. These are knee length affairs that begin to give up some of their value for warm weather running. I’d rather have more skin exposed to stay cool. CW-X has made extremely popular compression short tights and full length tights for years. Their stability short was one of the first pair of compression shorts I owned and they didn’t last a year. The compression was good, they felt comfortable, but began coming apart at the seams within a few washings. Nike and Craft also offer several choices in compression shorts, short tights and base layers. I’ve used full-length tights from both companies but no compression shorts from either of them yet. Given that several of my old pairs of Gore and Pearl shorts are several years old and need to be replaced, I had products from both companies in mind. The only thing making me balk was the price tags!

I just want to buy a pair of shorts. Not the company.

I began scouring Amazon and the internet for solutions. Too many of the results for “compression shorts” wind up being underwear or a base layer not meant to be worn as primary clothing. I don’t need multiple layers to run, especially in the summertime. One good layer is enough but I don’t want it to look or feel like underwear either. I had a couple false starts with purchased and returned products and learned quickly that if the description says “May be worn by themselves or as a base layer” they really can’t be worn by themselves unless you are around people you don’t mind seeing you in boxer briefs. Additionally, many of these cheap products really offered no real compression.

These shorts popped up on my Facebook feed.

When Sigetu compression shorts popped up in my Facebook feed I was, at best, skeptical. I opened the link and studied the shorts. They were gusseted, mid-length compression shorts, with a big pocket on either leg. They didn’t look bad and they offered a fair amount of pictures on real people showing that they don’t appear to be like underwear. They were also priced under $20.00. For that price I decided I may as well try them. I clicked the shopping link and ordered a pair of silver shorts in men’s large. My expectations were not high and I figured I’d probably be returning yet another pair of cheaply made glorified boxer briefs labeled as athletic shorts.

Update: I checked the tag and I actually ordered Medium not large. These fit me very well. A Large would be too loose. For reference, I’m 5′ 11″ and 170 lbs. ~33″ waist.

Nice, big secure pockets. When on the body it would be hard for anything to fall out.

It took quite a bit of time for the shorts to arrive. So long, in fact, that I almost forgot about them. They are a Chinese made product and shipped directly from China. I won’t share the original shopping link since it appears that website is no more. Given their troubles with timely shipment and tracking that doesn’t surprise me. I have found several other sources I’ll share in a bit.

The shorts finally arrived earlier in July. They were tightly folded in a small, plastic shipping envelope. When I realized what was in the little envelope my skepticism grew even more. And then I opened the package and tried them on. Hey! They are comfortable, feature good compression, and the elastic is firm and stays put no matter how I move. The pockets are deep and functional and tight enough to not worry about losing car keys. A look in the mirror shows they aren’t underwear-like. But how are they to run in?

Our shorts are fabricated with the technology to maximize blood flow and improve oxygenation of muscle tissue, enhancing athletic performance.

After I ran them through the wash, I wore them for a couple good runs. It turns out they are great to run in. In fact, I had one of my speediest runs this summer in them and I can attribute that partially to the shorts. The material is fairly thin and light and dries really fast as it wicks moisture very well. The compression lent great support to my muscles. Between the support and not feeling like I was wrapped in a wet pillow case I put in a spirited 5 miler.

Naturally my next thought was “I need to get a couple more pairs”. And naturally that is when I discovered the original purchase point was no longer valid. Happily a quick google search turned up other options:

Don’t expect them to show up overnight. I think they are shipped directly from China. In my opinion, if you prefer compression shorts they are worth the wait and a better value then the cheap price tag would indicate.

Halo Headbands

I’m not sure how I have never owned a headband for cycling. I’ve ridden thousands of miles, trained for a whole bunch of half-Ironman events and one full Ironman all the while wiping burning sweat out of my eyes every few miles. It isn’t that the idea of a headband was foreign. Every single time I stopped to wipe sweaty eyes on an equally sweaty jersey I said to myself “Self, order a headband after this ride!”. And then I’d get home, have some chocolate milk or some other post ride beverage, followed by a cool shower. The mid-ride burning eyes were forgotten and the need to order a headband faded until the next ride.

This year I got fed up enough to finally order a couple headbands. Unlike compression shorts where I have a plenty of experience and know what to look for, my best option to buy a headband was Google. Somehow I landed on Halo Headbands. They looked good and specifically talked about fit and use under bike helmets so I sent them my money. I was not sure what I wanted or needed to keep the sweat from rolling out from under my helmet, so I ordered two different styles in two different colors. I chose the Halo Bandit – 4″ wide pullover in Star Gazer, and the Halo II pullover in red.

As mentioned, I have no prior experience with headbands and I fully expected the copious amount of sweat my body produces to quickly overwhelm these things. I discovered the SweatSeal® Grip Technology and Dryline® Fabric really do work as advertised in keeping pouring sweat out of the riders eyes. The bands don’t feel bulky under a helmet and I’ve really put them to the test with our hot, humid summer.These things get an A+ from me and I would have confidence in anything else from the Halo website too.

2 Comments

  1. I like when people review things they like and not just because a company offered them something. Although, I do appreciate when people try something and genuinely like it enough to share. I’m really glad you posted this because I think my husband (who is now really into half Ironmans) would really appreciate these shorts. I can’t imagine how annoying it is to have sweaty long shorts stuck to your legs. Thanks for sharing!

    1. If you look around Amazon I think the same shorts are sold under a variety of names and brands. I suspect they are all the same. The nice thing is, they are cheap enough to get and try out without breaking the bank.

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