X-Bionic ‘Trick’ Running Shirt, Shorts and Socks

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They Say - With THE TRICK®, the developers at X-BIONIC® have found a new and superior way to thermoregulate. Along an insulation zone on the spine, an overheating of the body is simulated, and the brain kicks in with early sweat production. Even before the body overheats, it’s cooled by sweat effectively and more quickly. The strain on physical systems is relieved. RESULT: You have more energy for performance.

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The Trick® Running Shirt - Run longer and faster without overheating: THE TRICK® by X-BIONIC® makes that possible. Along the length of the spine of the X-BIONIC® THE TRICK® Running Shirt is an insulating pad. It simulates the body overheating and allows early sweat production to kick in. Thanks to preventive cooling, extreme temperature spikes and energy-sapping overheating is avoided.

Discover more at https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/men/running/running/the-trick-running-shirt/568475/detail?color=568491#anchor2

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The Trick® Running Pants - The ground-breaking Thorny Devil™ Technology turns X-BIONIC® THE TRICK® Running Pants into the champion of self-regulating cooling. The system integrating Sweat Collectors, Sweat Transporters and Sweat Distributor zones covers nearly the entire surface area. Using standards found in nature, excess sweat is collected on sweat-intensive areas via capillary action. The sweat is guided using a dense network of channels to those muscle areas that heat up more quickly. That enables an optimal cooling effect.

Discover more at https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/men/running/running/the-trick-running-pants/568500/detail

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Marathon Short Socks - WE RETHOUGHT STABILITY. Over-pronation or -supination stresses the joints and ligaments. The X-SOCKS® Marathon with Supination Bandage stabilises the foot in its natural rolling movement and keeps it from turning inward or outward. The runner is better protected and runs more efficiently. Together with other X-SOCKS® Technology, such as AirConditioning Channel®, AirFlow® AnklePads und Traverse AirFlow Channels®, the sock is the ultimate for the marathon.

Discover more at https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/men/running/running/marathon/413663/detail

We Say - I’ve heard a lot of positive words spoken about X-Bionics kit recently and have also been asked on frequent occasions if it’s any good (this kit seems to have grabbed runners attention more than any other brand this past year), so I was pleased to finally have an opportunity to put it to the test myself.

The PR sounded intriguing, the designers had apparently taken lessons from nature to help keep you cooler, drier and more comfortable (read more about that here – https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/x-bionic/bionics/412823). Obviously this was going to be impossible for a layperson to prove or disprove; you’d have to run the same route in the same weather with exactly the same energy levels (and the same mental state, for this is so important in running) in different sets of clothes, and have a scientific brain to interpret your findings, in order to have a chance of doing that.

So instead I just set out to do what I do best which is, run whilst wearing the kit, and then just judge the best I could as to how I felt.

The first run was a simple 10 miler, mostly on trails. But before the run, I had to put the clothes on. I got them out of the packet and held them up. The shorts looked like my 6 year old nephew might just squeeze into them but me? No chance. So I pulled them on and, ok, I was wrong, they fitted very well. And although they were skin tight the fact that they’re black meant that the bulges weren’t too noticeable. My sister saw me as I walked out the house and said, ‘I wish my bum looked that small…’ So the first observation about this kit is that it hauls you in tight and makes you look the part.

The sun was out as I ran and I got through the 10 miles feeling pretty comfortable. The kit had a decent level of compression that kept my muscles in check when running hard over rough ground – thus reducing the possibility for injury – and I did detect a cooling effect on my torso. There’s a slight ‘woven’ feel to the kit, similar to the feel of finely knitted wool, that was noticeable on the shorts, although not with the top.

Here are some images from that run.

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The top was especially impressive; there wasn’t a hint of discomfort at all despite me sweating a fair amount, and there was no chaffing although I wore no Vaseline over nipples or under arms. I also felt good about the socks, which seemed supportive and comfy. The shorts, however, did give me a feeling that if I’d have carried on and done a marathon that day I might have experienced some chaffing issues. Which for me said that for longer runs I’d need to wear some sports underwear (I favour the Gore running underwear, it always works for me) with these shorts, or put a liberal amount of Vaseline on (although I wouldn’t really want to do this as that would create a barrier against sweating). I’d have tested the shorts out the next day with a marathon but I couldn’t risk any chaffing issues that might keep me out of action for a week or more as my next run scheduled for a few days later was a 130 mile, 37 hour unsupported trail run around Kent and I’d have to be on top form to complete it.

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The fact I took this top along with me on that 130 mile run though does indicate the sort of confidence I had in the kit after that first test – when you’re out on a 37 hour run and you’ve no backup (I intentionally didn’t even take enough money with me to catch the train home if things went wrong, I like to take the safety net away now and again) you can’t afford to be using kit that has the slightest chance of letting you down. I was unsure about how the shorts would fare, even with underwear on, so I didn’t take them but I was pretty sure the top wouldn’t let me down though and happily, it didn’t. I changed into it after 15 hours of running and wore it for the remaining 22 hours. I had no Vaseline on yet I finished with no chaffing at all. I also never felt uncomfortable on my torso during the time I wore it either. In fact, I just forgot about the top, which is really what I want from my running clothes, for them to do their thing and leave me free to think about my running and of course to enjoy the whole experience of being out there in nature.

Next I ran 7 ultra marathons in 7 days and wore this top for most of the running. I did wear the shorts once with underwear and found them ok for what turned out to be a 29 mile distance, but then my hamstrings started playing up so I felt I needed more support from my shorts than these X-Bionics offered so changed to another pair of double lined trail shorts that I use all the time to help me through the remaining runs.

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So after all these runs – which have clocked about 340 miles in total – I can say the X-Bionics top does indeed feel good and keep you cool and comfortable. I thought, when I first read the product description, that it might make me too hot, or make me sweat more, both of which weren’t desirable when you’re running long distances and have limited access to drinking water. But this wasn’t the case at all. I was taking just 500ml of water with me on my ultra marathons and with the temperature at a stable 15 degrees all the time I found I was ok and didn’t become dehydrated at any time.

For the future I’ll be wearing this entire kit out on training days when the distances are marathon and under, and I’m in a rural area. The truth is, I never feel too good in shorts this tight when I’m running in the city or areas that are highly populated, I’m just too modest for that. But for trail runs, yes, the shorts are good. The socks feel supportive as well and the top is, as I’ve said, excellent. It offers the same level of compression as any shirts I’ve tried from brands such as Asics, Canterbury or Gore but it’s more cooling that any of these other tops, and it looks and feels great.

To discover more about the top, please see https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/men/running/running/the-trick-running-shirt/568475/detail?color=568491#anchor2

For the shorts, please see https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/men/running/running/the-trick-running-pants/568500/detail

And for the socks, please see https://www.x-bionic.co.uk/men/running/running/marathon/413663/detail

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