Running shorts. There are few features of most shorts that require consideration. Most shorts are like Honda Accords. They look fairly average, are reliable, and serve their mundane duties admirably. Then there’s the Salomon EXO II Wings TW shorts. They are as exotic as their name is long.
First time I pulled them on I noticed they are tight. I wear size medium and have other compression shorts. The Salomons fit tighter, consistently tighter throughout the legs and rear. The material is a four-way stretching, perforated nylon with a grid pattern that Salomon named “Sensifit”. There is an over short that is sewn in a way where they don’t cover everything, yet are attached at the inner thigh both in front and back, exposing the inner thigh and crotch so that only the compression tight is left, eliminating any additional material bunching. This is an interesting design that reduces friction, increases ventilation, and adds a modicum of discretion in public.
The tights are long, reaching just above my knees and thus supporting all major muscles in the quads and hamstrings. The idea of compression makes sense when one thinks about the vibration and shaking of muscles with a normal running stride. That creates a lot of stress at the connecting points of the muscles and, over a long distance race, can reduce fatigue and micro tears in the muscles.
Wearing any compression gear can take a little getting used to but once you’re comfortable in it, you’ll feel naked without. I’ve put these shorts through the wringer, bounding over slickrock in the desert, zipping through long stride intervals on level singletrack, and careening down long, rocky descents. I’m a proponent of compression products and the Salomon shorts performed in a way that only solidifies my allegiance.
These shorts have a few specific features I’d like to point out. The waistband isn’t a traditional crimped elastic band; it’s looser, riding nicely on the hips, and the shorts rely on the overall fit to hold them up. For the first few minutes of running in them they slip down slightly but once you get a little warmed up and sweat a bit, they hold snuggly in place. There is a convenient pocket at the small of the back that can hold a couple gels. A zipper pocket here would be useful. The compression material varies through the thigh and crotch. Around the quads and hamstrings the material is perforated, enabling it to breath well and dry very quickly even with the loose over-shorts. In the crotch and inner thigh the material is solid. Without the over-shorts covering this section, it allows for smooth movement with no friction and breaths well.
At $80-$100 they are pricey but the quality and technology built into the Exo II Wings TW Shorts will change your perception of this piece of utilitarian but otherwise forgotten running gear.