The physiological theory of compression tights is undeniable, but the most important question is: Do they work?
There are several brands out there to choose from, but I never felt that designs I had researched would offer maximal benefit. Analagous to a body mass index (BMI), sizing of other compression tights is based on your height and weight. However, I could never rationalize how this could deliver optimum compression given that not everyone's muscles are the same size.
I read about the Zoot Sports' CompressRx tights on a tech feature on cyclingnews.com which detailed many of the design features so I won't go over that here. Instead, I'd like to focus on the performance features.
The CompressRx tights have zonal compression which is tighter at the ankle and offers slightly less compresssion higher in the leg. This facilitates the flow of blood back to the heart in order to oxygenate the blood and then deliver this enriched blood back to the legs. There are several panels stitched together seamlessly which provide this great benefit. What sets the Zoot recoery tights apart is that sizing is based on muscle size. After a quick measurement of my thighs and calves, I placed my order.
My first night trying the CompressRx tights was after my first run of the year. Typically, I am sore for several days after the first few pavement pounding sessions. However, I wore the recovery tights to bed and woke up feeling absolutely amazing. My legs didn't feel heavy, I had no soreness, and I felt overall more fresh than the day before.
Pulling on the tights takes a bit of patience as you want to pull them up bit by bit. You can't just grab the waist and pull. They are tight, but that's because they offer a higher compression than the other tights out there, just a step down from medical grade compresssion tights. Now, I wear them to bed every night and I can get up and train harder than before or use them to get better recovery than I would otherwise. I will definitely wear them when I travel too.
Overall, $150 might be a high cost to pay for something that you never use on the bike, but if your recovery means anything to you, it's a very worthy sum to invest in your body's health and performance.