There’s nothing quite like exposing one’s lumps and bumps to the harsh scrutiny of the morning sun to make you feel bad about that extra portion of pudding the night before. So the psychology of wearing a compression top, which looks like a layer of spray paint over your torso, is somewhat odd… You want to wear it to help your quest for the God-like physique of your dreams, but if that God is more Buddha-shaped right now you’re probably not going to want to wear skintight Lycra.
So, after several weeks of eating nothing but dust and nectar, I felt ready to don the Born In A Field compression top and brave the local hills.
Squeezing it on, the first thing I noticed was how it actually improved the way I looked in the mirror. It lifted, tucked and redistributed years of “storage” and made me look defined and, although not quite chiselled, sort of sculpted in putty.
It’s a tight fit, obviously, but the top is cut well, so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable around the neck, wrists or waist, and the stretchy fabric allows a full range of movements without feeling restrictive.
Oddly, it made me feel a chill on my skin and it’s worth pointing out that it’s not a thermal base-layer and won’t keep you either warm or cool. I have no idea if it would help or hinder other layers in their own wicking or warming roles, but logic would say that, as it’s made from a plastic, your sweat should be carried away from the body to evaporate or wick into another garment OK.
Styling wise, I actually quite like the top. It’s in a slimming black with White seams and a subtle black logo. From a distance I didn’t mind being seen in it at all. Up close I felt oddly naked though – I very rarely wear only a base layer, even in summer when I tend to be a T-shirt kinda guy.
I went for a long hike wearing the top, throwing balls for the dog and carrying a light pack. It didn’t get too sweaty or smelly and because I like to test these things, I threw it in a normal washing cycle which it survived unscathed.
Compression tops are said to help with muscle recovery during and after exertion, the science being that a hug makes you heal quicker, which anyone knows is absolutely true.
One simple reason to consider the Activeskins top is that it offers UV protection. It stands to reason that if you’re exercising out in the sun, you’ll want some sun protection to stop yourself getting all brown and leathery.
BIAF is a small British brand which specialises in a couple of ranges of clothing, in particular compression tops. One of the tops we tested will set you back £25, which puts it at the cheaper end of the scale – significantly less than some of their competitors.
SUMMARY: Born in a Field’s compression top is built well, fits comfortably and if you’re comfortable showing off your torso then the claimed scientific benefits of wearing compression clothing – said to aid recovery and performance – make it worth a look.
From: Take a Hike – Mens and Womens tops available
More info: Born in a Field
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