I’m getting older and the sooner I realize that the better. My knees pop, my shoulders have their own agendas and I’ve got more grey hair than a man my age should. Through this aging process, my skiing and mountain biking tastes have changed–I’ve found I don’t need to ski moguls or push a 40 lb. freeride bike up a 2000 vertical ft. climb.
I guess I’m finally “growing up”… wherever “up” is. Throughout this process, I’ve sought after products that will make me more efficient and allow me to stay out longer doing the things I love so much. One of those products is the Opedix S1 Ski and Snowboard tights. Are these like cheating, or are they just the latest gimmick?
About the Opedix S1 Pro Ski and Snowboard Tights
Re-designed for this year, the new Opedix S1 tights (like all Opedix tights) are built to “unload” the knees and allow them to do their jobs better. While skiing, your knees bear a lot of load and take some serious punishment. With the Opedix system, your knee joints are in a more natural position to provide just the right support. Here are a few more details:
When skiing or boarding, forces travel from the snow through the feet and up to the knees. These forces can push the knee joint to the outside creating wear points on the inside of the joint where most of the “load” is borne. The Opedix Knee Support System acts to counter these forces and reduce the load.
Ingrained in Opedix S1’s DNA are principals of traditional un-loader knee-bracing theory which reduces the knee-adductor moment to reduce medial knee-compartment load – a combination of muscle, ligament, and ground-reaction forces which significantly, and often detrimentally, increases in magnitude during physical activities. This mechanical process is referred to by scientists as “unloading” the knee and is a established strategy for reducing pain, increasing physical function of the knee joint, and mitigating the progression of lower-extremity pathologies including osteoarthritis.
Features of the Opedix S1 Ski Tights
- 4-way stretch compression for muscle support and stabilization
- New, shorter length to fit above ski/snowboard boot cuffs
- Breathable and moisture-wicking fabric
- Anti-odor and anti-microbial technology
- MSRP: $190
Opedix S1 Pro Tights Review
Last year, I was able to test the first version of the Opedix ski and snowboard tights. Though I felt the technology working, I didn’t get the full effect because the length was too long. As a result of my feedback (and likely others), Opedix has introduced the S1 Pro ski and snowboard model, which offers a shorter length that sits just above my boot cuff (much, much better).
When you put these tights on, there’s an instant feeling that they are working. The powerbands are tight on your legs to provide the proper support and unweighting necessary to achieve a neutral position. The size large fits me well (5′ 11″ – 175 lbs) and seems to provide just the perfect amount of support.
While wearing the S1’s, my knees felt smoother and more stable. I could really feel the tights taking a little load off, thus making me more efficient and my knees much happier.
My primary use thus far has been backcountry skiing, so I’ve put these through a much more rigorous test than simply inbounds skiing at Alta. Uphill skinning, the tights do seem to restrict the most extreme knee-bending instances, but more than anything, I felt like I was cheating because of the extra support these provide. Downhill performance was equally solid with smooth–they were quietly doing their job.
I have found a few drawbacks to these tights, though. The first is the lack of a front fly. To relieve myself, I had to perform the dreaded untuck/re-tuck process–believe me, this is no fun during heavy snowfall and wind. Also compared to Merino-based thermal underwear, they don’t breathe quite so well and if you need to remove the tights when they are damp, it’s quite challenging to get them situated properly again.
Good S1 Pro Tights
- Provides support you can feel
- Kind of like cheating
- Feels like you’ve got robotic legs
- Short length is now perfect (sits just above the boot)
- Places your knees in a neutral position
Bad Pro Tights
- No fly
- Duck bill tuck-in tab is useless
- Difficult to put back on properly when damp
- Breathability isn’t as good as your typical base layer
The Bottom Line on the Opedix S1 Pro Ski Tights
The new Opedix S1 Pro’s may well be considered cheating in many circles, but in my book, they are definitely much more acceptable than anything from BALCO labs. You’ll notice them working immediately with extra stability and efficiency. And, the next day, you’ll notice less muscle fatigue. This year’s changes make them much-improved and more suitable for skiing and snowboarding
More Info: Visit Opedix.com