A lot of dudes wear workout tights to the gym these days. And before you turn up your nose at that, you need to get this into your head: These days, tights are as synonymous with shooting guard and quarterback as they are yoga instructor. Your favorite pro-baller definitely has a few pairs of workout tights in his closet, and it's probably time you did, too.
Runners dig tights for anti-chafing, weightlifters like the shin protection and the support around the knees, and, more universally, tights are a good way to keep your gawky, winter-pale calves off of those unforgiving gym mirrors. And while the technology is still a little all over the map in terms of results, some tights made for compression may even help with post-workout recovery.
Personally, I'm somewhere on the Venn diagram where shin safety and leg shame intersect. Fortunately, I found a pair of tights that offer actual support while looking cool (that is, extremely understated) under a pair of gym shorts.
The Second Skin Quatroflx compression tights are a pretty new addition to the wealth of workout tights aimed at intensity-based fitness programs, so it only seemed right to try them at a CrossFit class. Right off the bat, they felt secure but not in the bondage-y way you get from companies going for allegedly medical-grade compression. And after a few rounds of a squat- and press-heavy workout called the Bear Complex, even though I was sweating bullets above the waist, my legs were surprisingly cool.
The material is also responsive. As in, when I’d bend or raise my knee while standing, the tights felt like they were trying to return to the straight-legged position. That's probably thanks to some hardcore support and elasticity in the knees, which made any deep squatting movements feel easy and controlled.
I’m hesitant to believe the odor-reduction claims, even though these things definitely smell better than my cotton T-shirt right now. But considering the solid construction and a nice, non-aggressive aesthetic (they are, like all base layers should be, plain black), I’d say give these tights a shot — even if you’re not into that sort of thing. [$70; secondskin.com]