Since covid, many of us have transitioned from gym athletes to outdoor enthusiasts. During lockdown, I really embraced my love of trail running and now it’s what I most look forward to.
Of course I had to research and find the best gear for my new hobby and in my search, I found an expert, Becky Rogers. I met Becky at the Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach conference in Seattle, WA a few years ago and was inspired by her focus, intensity and determination to accomplish her current goal:
I will be taking on one of the biggest challenges of my athletic career; chasing the overall support Fastest Known Time on the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. The current record is 52 days and a few hours. That’s right: I will be running for 52 days straight.Becky Rogers, thephoenixrunning.com
If anyone knows running gear, it’s Becky. In speaking to her and creeping her social media, I found two amazing companies. Altra Running and Xoskin. Xoskin is a company based in the US that designs seamless athletic performance apparel in their own proprietary fabric. I was especially impressed to see that by wearing their socks, Becky went from destroying her feet in a 200+ mile run wearing another brand of socks, to pampering them with Xoskin socks.
I received a complimentary pair of Xoskin 4.0 Women’s MidRise Mid Compression tights ($85US) and Xotoes Quarter Crew socks ($24US) for review. My review is not submitted to the company for approval prior to posting and below is my honest opinion on both products.
You’ll find many of my published reviews are positive; that is due to the fact that I don’t waste my time testing and writing up reviews for products I don’t recommend.
Quick Look – Rating 4.9 / 5 Stars
- Overall great fit and performance
- Claimed benefits were proven accurate
- Specifically designed and manufactured to perform in the most challenging activities
- Tested extensively by high-performance athletes and third party testing
- The company is consistently working towards improvement and new designs
- Priced in line with high-end performance gear
- Made in the US
- Awesome communication and service
- More expensive to purchase in Canada due to exchange rate, shipping and customs.
- Slim waistband may not be ideal-looking for some body types
I run 7 kilometers on a wooded trail a few times a week in Nova Scotia, Canada. The products were tested over a few months in temperatures ranging from -6C to 15C in snow, rain and sunny weather.
Fabric and Performance
The company claims that the fabric is designed to wick sweat from the skin and hold in warmth after training has completed so you don’t experience that post-exercise chill in your sweaty clothes. Additionally, they claim that the seam-free fabric protects the skin from blistering and chafing and the PTFE and Copper fibers help to reduce odors.
Xoskin fabric is meant to act as a second skin and redistribute moisture over a wider plane; the frog was used as inspiration because “A frog’s skin can transfer moisture through its body. Their skin is more breathable than human skin because it is more elastic and they have the unique ability to maintain the right balance of moisture on the skin at all times.” The tights are meant to be worn commando (without underwear) however I wore underwear.
The tights and socks performed as advertised. The compression tights had a gentle hugging sensation on the body and I found them not only comfortable but a pleasure to wear. I found when wearing other tights after wearing Xoskin, I really missed the hugging sensation they provided. I washed both products after each use with Tide Sport and never noticed any lingering odors.
I wore the Xoskin tights from -6C to 15C and found them to be similar to other brands in providing warmth in cold temperatures. They are not advertised to be cold weather gear and I found them comfortable in the warmer temperatures as well.
The Xotoes, particularly, exceeded my performance expectations in cold, wet conditions.
The Xotoes are also not reported to assist in cold temperatures however I found they kept my feet warm. More impressively, when my waterproof sneakers had signs of wear and slushy water seeped in, I felt the cold water momentarily but then the cold, wet sensation vanished and my feet were warm again. I honestly couldn’t say at the time if my feet were actually wet or if they had gotten cold momentarily as I ran through particularly slushy spots.
When I returned home from my run, I took off my shoes to see if they actually had leaked and my socks were wet but my feet didn’t feel wet. Additionally, my feet didn’t look as though I’d just soaked them in a bath, which is what I expected after a 45 minute run in wet socks on a trail covered in slush and snow.
The tights did not have a chance to prove themselves under that kind of testing as the rest of my running conditions were normal. At no point during my runs, while I was sweating or running in the rain, did I feel any discomfort from wet fabric.
Fit – Tights
I’m 5’0, 115lbs and I reviewed size medium. You can determine your size on their website with your measurements. Since I turned 40, I’m finding that I’m prone to carrying weight on my tummy which annoys me to no end. My waist measurement brought my sizing up from my usual size small to medium. The medium was a great fit and I am happy with the size.
The Xoskin 4.0 Women’s MID Compression Tights 3/4 (Mid Rise Waist) has a slim waistband which came up to my natural waist and stayed put at all times. The fit gave me a faux hourglass appearance from the front however where the band is not extra wide like yoga pants, my tummy protruded a bit beneath it in the side view, as you can see in the photo below. Remember, these are compression tights overall so it wasn’t horrible; this is just a disclosure of what I noticed. Additionally, I’m my own harshest critic.
Women who carry their weight in their lower half, or women with hourglass figures will find these tights ideal. Additionally, women with my body type, inverted triangle, who don’t have a puffy tummy, will find the Xoskin tights very flattering in every area. They are compression enough to smooth out cellulite but not compression enough to flatten the bum.
Xoskin is currently working on a new design, a two-way stretch waistband, which has never been done before in seamless apparel. They are beginning with shorts and then moving onto tights.
Where the tights are seamless, the bum felt a little odd at first because I’m used to a split seam but I quickly got used to the feeling. All of the Xoskin products are ergonomically designed to perform with the shape and movement of the body and I found that the fit was very comfortable overall (including the slim waistband) and I enjoyed wearing them.
Fit – Xotoes
My feet are size 6, 9 inches long. The Xotoes Quarter Crew Socks I received are size 1. They fit me perfectly, went on easily and offered no problems at all. I could feel the fabric a little bit between the big and second toes occasionally but it wasn’t something I’d consider a bother.
I wear the Altra Lone Peak trail running sneakers with a wide toe bed. I have not tried the Xotoes with shoes that have a narrow toe bed.
Xoskin for BJJ
I’m moving away from Brazilian jiu jitsu these days simply because I’m a little old lady and my body just can’t do it any more. Feeling good most of the time during covid was a bit of a wakeup call. I am a black belt who trained for 13 years though, and one thing I noticed that could be of interest to BJJ athletes is the textured fabric of the Xoskin tights.
We all know how slippery no gi BJJ gear is and I think the cord-like design of Xoskin fabric on the legs may offer a bit more grip than other brands.
Xoskin products are more expensive to purchase in Canada due to customs, duties and shipping however I have broken down the pricing in comparison to lululemon.
Lululemon Fast & Free Tight – $138 + tax = $158.70 CAD
Xoskin 4.0 Women’s MID Compression Tights – $85 USD = $106 CAD + HST NS = 15.90 = $121.90 CAD
Shipping = $28.50 USD = 35.60 CAD
Total = 157.50
Duties – I have no idea.
With a minimal difference in overall price between Xoskin performance tights and yoga pants, I’d choose Xoskin for running, 100%, especially if I considered myself a serious runner.
The Xotoes Quarter Crew socks are $24 USD, which is typical of high performance running socks. If you sign up for the Xoskin newsletter and follow them on social, you can sometimes catch a sale for 25% off and stock up. I haven’t seen the clothing line go on sale, however ambassadors get a discount, I believe.
The Xoskin No Show regular socks go for $19 USD and may prove to be a good alternative for those who hesitate to purchase toe socks. Maybe get both, just to see.
Also, be sure to sign up for their newsletter! Xoskin has been building its team of ambassadors so if you’re interested, it never hurts to contact them for more information. They have an application available on their website.
I hope you found this review informative and if you have any further questions about sizing or technical specifications, please contact them via their website. I’ve found them to be responsive on Instagram as well.