Compression apparel continues to enjoy widespread use by outdoor athletes of all types, and category pioneer CW-X continues to hang its hat on the idea that the technology really does work.
CW-X essentially invented the market for performance enhancing and recovery tights specifically, and their adoption by not only ball sport athletes but skiers and runners as well has fostered continued success.
The brand began back in 1991 in Kyoto, Japan, founded by a group of kinesiologists working for the Wacoal Corp, as kinesio taping was just beginning to take off with athletic trainers world wide.
The concept of applying kinesio taping to a pair of tights – something that someone with no medical background or training could simply slip on to achieve direct, targeted support to muscles and joints — was a huge success in Japan; and CW-X was launched out of the Japanese domestic market for the first time in the U.S. in 2002.
No one else was doing anything like it at the time, and everything CW-X makes is patented worldwide (with more than 50 patents to date), so none of the brands that arrived later with similar goals have been able to replicate it. CW-X products are now available in all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.
CW-X products are still created by the staff of kinesiologists at the Wacoal Human Science Research Center in Kyoto, and for believers in the performance-enhancing and recovery technology, there’s a host of information available on the brand’s website.
Photos courtesy of CW-X
For CW-X’s Fall 2016 collection, the main tech stories are the new, seamless, Revolution Generator Tights for women and Revolution StabilyX tights for men. These trendy tights take the concepts of the Support Webs they’re named for and recreate them without any sewn-in support, the way the standard CW-X StabilyX and Generator tights do, but 14 percent lighter. StabilyX Tights provide targeted support for the hip, pelvic and knee joints for improved endurance and stability. Made from four-way-stretch Coolmax fabric, and featuring laser-cut Support Web technology, the Generator Revolution tight with Mt. Fuji print represents the new-new in seamless engineered endurance apparel.
As Wacoal makes most of its money manufacturing intimate apparel globally, it’s worth noting that the CW-X line of award-winning sports bras is also growing with soft pink and rose print/turquoise versions of the Xtra Support Running Bra III ($50), designed to pair with the tights of the CW-X collection. The VersatX Running Bra will add white/turquoise/pink and rose print/pink colorways ($55), and the StabilyX Running Bra for D and DD-cup runners adds a white/turquoise color ($60).
The CW-X Components line has also expanded with the new PerformX ankle socks, which is a first for the brand. The Components collection takes sections of Support Web and sells them individually, like the StabilyX Knee Support, and StabilyX and PerformX calf sleeves. The wicking fabric socks incorporate Support Web technology to support the ankle and arch of the foot to provide stability and fatigue-reduction for runners.
Another new offering from CW-X for fall/winter 2016 are the Endurance Run Jacket ($130) and Endurance Run Vest ($95) for men and women, engineered to support “natural running motion” while providing comfort and protection from the elements. The jacket and vest feature a flexible, lightweight and breathable soft shell, which is both water and wind resistant and has a UPF protection rating of 60+. Stretch polye panels in the back and shoulders allow for breathable ease of movement, and mesh poly inserts under the armpits add ventilation. Thoughtful features for runners include thumb loops, drop-tail back with lower lumbar zipper pocket and multiple reflectors.
In other words, there’s something for every type of athlete or type of condition, and if you haven’t tried compression or kinesiology tape, whether miracle cure or placebo effect, trust me you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.