I have a number of friends who suffer from knee problems, so I know the damper it can put on a good ski day. Some of them try to get by with ace bandages or braces, but these can be bulky and difficult to fit comfortably under base layers.
Enter Opedix S1 ski and snowboard tights. In full disclosure, Opedix’s PR firm sent me a pair to review. I can’t say I’m necessarily the best choice to do this. As of now (knock wood), I don’t have any knee problems. But I do find the concept and technology behind the
Opedix products quite intriguing. So I figured I’d give it a go.
First, some background: Opedix developed the S1 was in conjunction with the Steadman Hawkins Foundation, a world renowned orthopedic clinic in Vail, Colorado. According to the company, the tights feature a patent pending anchor and sling design to provide support to the outside of the knee. This, they say, promotes proper alignment, which can lead to less strain and fatigue.
You can see the sling design as soon as you pull them out of the package. There’s a circular fabric cup that centers on the knee — sort of like a bull’s eye. Slip them on, and you can feel the support right away. I think the idea is to distribute the stress around your knee, to keep it away the knee, itself. The tights are also quite snug fitting, with a “four way compressive fit” that the company says keeps your muscles fresher longer.
So I took these tights skiing. Even though they’re fairly thick, I supplemented them with another base layer. I’m always cold, and the wind chill was well below zero today. I’m sure the tights would be fine out west where it’s usually warmer. But it can be brutal here in New England.
How did the tights perform? They’re extremely well made, very comfortable, and quite supportive. You can feel the compressive fit against your muscles right away. But their strong suit is definitely knee support. I don’t know if they’d eliminate the need, say, for an ace bandage or a brace — I think that would depend on your individual situation — but for moderate support, I think they do a good job. Did it make my muscles feel fresher longer? That I honestly can’t say. But I’m sure it couldn’t hurt.
The S1 tights aren’t cheap, retailing for $190. But if it helps you ski longer, I’m sure it’s worth every penny. That’s a decision you have to make, yourself.
BTW, Opedix is offering a 15% discount if you use the promotional code “skistrongerdiva.” Go here.
I am a ski patroller and can say that they help, however, I still wear a ACL brace over them, just because I do not want to take that chance again. They are really great tights and worth the investment.