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Zensah Long Sleeve Compression Shirt Review

Posted by on Nov 25, 2010 | No Comments

I live in Michigan.  Late fall and winter is cold, windy, and snowy.  I hate it.  Unfortunately I’m forced to run in the cold.  As such, I am always searching for quality clothing.  Zensah may have the answer.

A few years ago, I learned the art of layering.  Generally, I like to start with a moisture-wicking form-fitting base layer, followed by a moisture-wicking technical layer, a warm cotton layer, and finally a wind-resistant outer layer.  Overkill?  Usually.  Remember, I hate the cold.

Over the last few years, I’ve used the same old base layer- a shirt and tights I bought during a winter clearance sale at a big-box sporting goods store.  I was in need of a new base layer.

While doing research, I came across Zensah’s line of compression clothing.  I have been using their compression sleeves since late August (read my review here).  I contacted them and asked about the line.  They sent me their long sleeve compression shirt to review.

When it arrived, I ripped open the package.  We were in the midst of a cold streak, so I was eager to try it out.  My first impression was surprise.  It was about half the weight of my old compression shirt.  Interesting.

I was also incredibly soft… much softer than other compression fabrics I’ve felt.  It was also softer than the compression sleeves.

When I put it on, I wasn’t disappointed.  It felt as soft as it had in my hands.  The shirt was tight as compression clothing should be.  It was difficult to get a good feel for the thermal qualities of the material, so I went outside.

It was cold.  Really cold.  Okay, so the shirt won’t work as a stand-alone shirt for cold weather.  It is intended to be a base layer anyway, but I had to test it out.

I wore it the rest of the day.  And night.  And I wore it to school the next day.  I told Shelly I was just testing the shirt’s long-term comfort, but in reality I just couldn’t take it off.

I finally got around to testing it on a run a few days later.  I wore the Zensah shirt under a cotton hoodie.  The run was a faster-paced run; I wanted to work up a sweat to test the moisture-wicking properties.

After a few miles, I noticed the hoodie was getting damp with sweat.  I stopped and felt the Zensah shirt.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t wet… just slightly damp.  My old compression clothing would be soaked at this point.  The net effect was noticeable- the shirt helped keep my skin relatively dry, which helped keep me warm.

About a week later, Shelly and I went on a road run (where I tested the New Balance Minimus Roads).  The twelve mile run caused some minor inner-thigh chafing.  While wearing the Zensah shirt, I didn’t get any armpit or nipple chafing- two issues that typically occur after about 10 miles.  This was surprising, I’ve never found a top that prevented chafing so well.

I will be doing a few longer runs to really test this shirt, but the early returns are VERY promising.  Zensah’s compression clothing appears to be an excellent choice as a winter base layer.  I would guess their tights would be just as effective as the top.  Zensah’s compression wear definitely earns a thumbs-up!

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