SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: CW-X Conditioning Wear

If Superman was a snowshoe runner, he would definitely wear CW-X Conditioning Wear!

I have to admit that when I first checked out the CW-X Insulator Stabilyx Tights and Insulator Pro Zip-T, my first thought was that although it looked like good technical running gear, it was a little on the flashy side for my tastes. It wasn’t until I looked a little closer and put it through a few hard snowshoe runs that I discovered there was so much more to it.

To begin with, the fabric is exceptional for snowshoe running. I tested it in temperatures ranging from 0C to -15C, and was pleased with how CW-X’s Auto-Sensor technology kept me warm while allowing perspiration to escape when I really started to hammer. I never had a problem with moisture staying next to my skin, which is always a big concern when out for a hard run in the winter. The breathability of both items was fantastic. The Insulator Stabilyx Tights also features a wind panel for an added layer of comfort on those really cold, windy days.

The interesting thing that sets CW-X apart from other outdoor clothing companies is their patented Conditioning Web technology. It acts as an exoskeleton to provide extra core support. So, basically you’re getting additional support and stability for your muscles, which in theory is designed to improve efficiency and reduce fatigue.

Initially I was a little skeptical about CW-X’s claims, even though their technology is backed by extensive testing at the Wacoal Human Science Research Centre in Japan. However, the more I ran in their gear the more I liked it and felt there might be something to it.

During snowshoe running season, I sometimes find that my IT bands (the band that runs down the outside of your knee) tend to get a little tight. I was pleasantly surprised that while wearing the Insulator Stabilyx Tights, my knees seemed to be tracking a little more efficiently and I didn’t seem to notice those same aches and pains in my knees that I’ve had in the past.

I also found that the support of the Insulator Pro Zip-T was equally as impressive as the tights. During interval training, hill repeats and long runs, the added support helped to improve my posture and encouraged me to run with relaxed form. To my surprise I found that my upper body, and specifically my back, didn’t seem to be as sore after a hard effort.

CW-X recommends getting a snug fit to gain maximum benefits while wearing their gear. You want it to fit like a second skin to work optimally. The only drawback to this is that it’s a little more of a challenge getting your clothing on and off. However, if it enables me to run more efficiently, and with less chance of injury – just like Superman – then I’m all for it!

For more information on CW-X Conditioning Wear, please visit http://cw-x.com.  To purchase CW-X Conditioning Wear from Backcountry.com, click here

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About Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (http://www.healthandadventure.com), which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.