Cigar Aficionado

Skins Compression Suit

When a new high-tech swimsuit helped athletes to break 21 records at this summer's swimming world championships, coaches and athletes griped about fair play. Some swimmers had access to the special polyurethane suits but others didn't, and before you could say "SuitGate," the powers that be banned the gear.

But all you weekend warriors can ignore the pesky limitations put on top competitive athletes and take advantage of what compression suits have to offer.

And it's not just for swimmers. With Skins compression sportswear golfers, skiers, cyclists and other athletes can also get a boost from the technology. It works by applying subtle, balanced pressure over specific body parts, triggering an acceleration of blood flow. More blood means that more oxygen can get to the muscles. This benefits the wearer in a number of ways, including increasing muscle strength and endurance, wicking away sweat, improving body temperature control and aiding in reducing lactic acid, which is a by-product of strenuous muscle activity and contributes to muscle fatigue and post-workout soreness. Our experience, using the suit while biking, was that it gave that extra bit of snap to each muscle movement that felt like an extra push during each turn of the peddles. It also helped improve posture.

The company's newest innovation, Skins Ice, features tiny microcapsules woven into the fabric to release a cooling menthol substance during exercise.

What further sets this Australian producer apart from the other makers of compression suits is its body-molded engineered gradient compression with a precise, snug fit. To achieve this, Skins suits are sized according to an algorithm based on body mass index and are then precisely cut, shaped and stitched so they compress and assist muscle groups through the full range of motion.

Skins garments are woven with Lycra and Meryl Microfiber that have been infused with an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent that cannot be washed out. The garments also provide 50+ UV protection from the sun. The company's product line includes cycling gear that features a chamois, while Skins Snow is designed to keep your body temperature at the optimal level during winter sports.