Compression tights 'do not improve performance' says study funded by Nike

Now, all this doesn't mean compression tights don't serve a objective.

Chaudhari and a team chose to look into the topic closely, after reviewing research that claims when muscles are vibrating, they "activate" more in order to reduce the vibration. "In our study, runners performed the same with and without compression tights".

"Even though there was that reduction in vibration, that didn't have any effect on their fatigue, their strength, their jump height", Chaudhari said.

One reason for trying to slow fatigue with compression tights, aside from running faster for longer, is the theory that tired runners alter their form and put more strain on their joints, which may increase overuse injury risk.

We found that compression tights actually reduce the amount your muscles vibrate, but that was not associated with any less fatigue during a 30-minute high-intensity run.

Compression tights are the latest trend in running gear and they're said to improve performance.

The Ohio State University researchers found that while compression tights greatly reduce muscle vibration, they don't reduce muscle fatigue, which means they don't help runners go farther or faster.

To test the theory, Dr. Chaudhari and his team asked 17 athletes to participate in the research by running on a specialized treadmill with sensors on two separate days, once wearing compression tights and once without it.

"When I was wearing the tights, I did feel like I had better support and that I wasn't getting as worn out", he said.

"Every little bit of perception counts".

As noted, this study was made possible by a research grant from Nike. The Ohio State University study, which focused on 17 athletes for up to 30 minutes per athlete, produced an interesting data point that delivered an additional perspective on the study of compression tights.

It's worth noting that the study was funded by sportswear company Nike Inc., a competitor to major compression tights manufacturers including Skins and 2XU.

Our goal is to better understand all aspects of human performance.

Dr. Jordan D. Metzl, a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery and 35-time marathon runner, said the study results don't surprise him.

  • Joanne Flowers