Zero Athletic is a new brand, but the people behind it are not new to either Triathlon or athletic apparel. It is the brainchild of Bill, Lou and Flick Abram whose years of experience with 2XU has given them a great knowledge base to take to their new products. While also being the importer of Dare2Tri gear into Australia, they decided to carry Dare2Tri’s ethos of “Great gear at great prices” through to their own line.
They are launching with compression gear, as their time in the industry has enabled them to know where to source the best quality compression fabrics and to design what they believe are better fitting garments than the premium brands, all at a fraction of the price.
On test are a pair of their long compression tights which are being tested by Transitions’ “lucky7” who also addresses the “elephant in the room”, shorts over tights or not?
Review: Zero Athletic compression tights
Item: Zero Athletic compression tights
Price: Approx. A$90
First Impressions: a quick inspection after pulling the tights from the bag revealed a pair of tights, similar in appearance to many of the leading brands. The tights were constructed using multiple panels, which presumably assists getting a more structured fit on your legs. The material felt very firm (noticeably firmer than a very new pair of 2XU tights I have) and to have a strong compressive pull when stretched. The stitching too seemed very solid - double stitched and no loosed threads or pulled stitches I could see.
The tights tested were all black, with silver logos, very much like 2XU before they went down the pastel colour path. Looks ok, but not particularly revolutionary or bold for those concerned about style. A major criticism of other leading brands is the peeling of the logos once the tights have been washed. The pair tested were washed 5 times over 6 uses, and showed no signs of peeling or other damage. The tights sport an internal drawstring - I'm not quite sure why, as I would have thought that compression tights should fit properly without one, though I can see some lucky people might have a particularly toned/thin waist or stomach.
A shot of the tights showing the numerous panels for a contoured fit and a logo they hope you will be seeing a lot more of.
Review: not being in prime condition at the moment, I thought I would use the tights for 3 runs of around an hour; and 3 post-training recovery 'sessions'. I run in tights during winter as I don't like the cold, but have the distinct disadvantage of living in Melbourne - so it seemed natural that these be tested for that purpose. For those running the poll, I don't wear shorts over the top.
My initial feel after putting them on was that they were definitely on the large end of medium. I wear medium in 2XU and Under Armour tights, and at 183cm and a usual weight of 79-81kg (closer to 85kg at the moment) consider myself to be a fairly standard 'medium' size. The test pair were quite long - sitting below the ball of the ankle, and sitting above the hips without any real stretch. The test paid did not come in retail packaging or tags, so I'm not sure what their sizing guide suggests I would wear.
The feel around my legs, and thighs/buttocks in particular was reasonably firm. The compressive feel was strong, without feeling restrictive. Unfortunately, given the length of the tights, I didn't get the strong compressive feel I was expecting based on the feel of the material. Horizontally, they certainly feel like a medium - so it is possible that this demo pair was a sizing sample.
On the run, they performed as hoped for. I don't necessarily run in compression tights for the muscle support/lack of vibration - it's more the warmth and comfort, so wasn't expecting to feel better immediately post-run. Critically, the tights stayed in place throughout all runs, without any slipping down, or twisting as I have experienced with other brands. The highlight for me however, was the lack of chaffing. My regular 2XU tights are not nearly as contoured, particularly through the hips and groin - and I often experience chaffing. The Zero Athletic pair had a far closer, almost snug feel - and with the lack of movement of either body or tights, there was no chaffing after any of the runs. This better contouring is a massive tick for me.
As a recovery tight, the sizing didn't allow enough compression to work for me. As discussed above, the fit was great, and I suspect had the tights been a smaller/shorter size, they would have compressed well around buttocks/top of thighs. This is an issue in others I wear, that the fabric doesn't follow my body - and doesn't compress the top of the hamstrings/lower buttocks. For this reason, I sometimes wear leggings, which do not come over the buttocks.
Pros: strong compressive feel to the material; well-structured/contoured fit; quality construction.
Would I buy it? Yes, providing I could try pairs on for size, I would happily buy these for regular use.
Disclaimer: the sizing issue could well be not the fault of the manufacturer. I was told they were a medium and agreed to review them based on my usual sizing. With access to a size guide, the fit may have been spot on.
When their new website gets up and running I’ll pop back with a bit more about the new venture and Bill’s kind offer of a discount code for Transitions readers.
All reviews are independent, and while they may be edited for spelling, grammar or aesthetic reasons the facts or “vibe” of the review has not been changed.