Last updated: 17-Aug-18
2XU claims the Elite MCS Run Compression shorts offer “unparalleled power and protection against muscle trauma during intense activity. The MCS support system wraps key muscle groups for greater compression power and less muscle oscillation and damage”.
Many ultra runners believe in the benefits of compression, including reduced muscle fatigue and soreness, reduced muscle damage and risk of overuse injuries and improved performance.
I have been testing the 2XU Elite MCS Run Compression shorts for performance and comfort on Spring and Summer road and trail runs. (Note: These are not the 2XU MCS Run Compression shorts.)
Photo credit: 2xu.com
- PWX FLEX (70D) for “powerful compression” to abductors and quads, including MCS targeted to quads.
- PWX WEIGHT (105D) fabric rear panels for “powerful compression to” protect the glute and hamstring muscles.
- Invista LYCRA for “exceptional fit, support and recovery”.
- Drawstring waistband
- Internal pocket for storage.
- Flatlock seams to reduce chafing
- Sweat wicking fabric
- Antibacterial treatment
- UPF50+ sun protection.
- Male and female fit
- Price: £65.
Pros: What’s good about 2XU Elite MCS Run Compression shorts
The shorts fit very snugly and feel extremely supportive. There is still enough stretch in the fabric to allow a fair amount of movement and certainly enough for running.
The shorts are long. They fit almost to my knees. I have long legs and I have been testing the size small so if you are shorter you might find the legs a bit too long.
However, if you like shorts that reach close to your knees for maximum support, these are for you.
The tight fit at the butt and upper legs and the length of the leg does take a bit of getting used to, as I usually wear shorter Lycra shorts with a bit more give but I think that the 2XU needs to be quite tight to offer support.
You can really feel the support, especially in the glute and hamstring areas. You can feel and see a skeleton pattern of slightly tacky support inside the shorts and this is what appears to be the basis of the compression technology. It’s not uncomfortable or even noticeable except in its support.
The support feels kind of springy so the fabric flexes with your muscles yet it does not inhibit movement.
The shorts are almost like a second skin because they are so tight and because of this they “run” with you very easily.
The silky smooth fabric and seams are very comfortable, as well as being supportive. I might have been imagining it but I did feel as though my muscles were stronger and less fatigued, even after a run of more than 10 miles.
It’s difficult to assess whether this is the shorts or simply a good running day but they did appear to offer excellent support and performance benefits.
Again, it’s difficult to know if they aid recovery of the muscles. I have found many compression garments to be excellent for faster recovery but it might be my imagination, rather than fact. I have seen a lot of evidence that compression works, however.
I have been nursing a hamstring injury for a while and I found that the shorts, above any others I own, helped to reduce the niggling pain of this.
The fabric is quick drying even when I have been sweating a lot and I was surprised that the shorts did not become too smelly. After two back-to-back runs they did need a wash.
The fit is also generally quite flattering. If you are a woman who is a bit self-conscious about how she looks physically, these shorts compress and flatten the areas of higher fat content. This might not be important to everyone but it is a bonus if you are self-conscious.
You’ll either love or loathe the reflective details. 2XU use a large gold cross, which is not to everyone’s liking. I do like it.
Photo credit: 2xu.com.
Cons: What’s not so good about 2XU Elite MCS Run Compression shorts
The waistband is too narrow and digs into my skin. There is no need at all for the drawstring because it’s so tight. During a long run the waistband caused a skin abrasion. I was testing the women’s shorts and I would much prefer a wider waistband for greater comfort.
I would say I am a standard small size so this was a surprise to find the waist was too tight for me.
The leg length may be a problem for shorter people or for those with shorter legs.
The lower leg hem can create a bit of a fat bulge if you are not super slim. It would be nice to see a wider hem at the lower leg to combat this.
The reflective x detail feels oddly tacky. I have no idea why it needs to be like this!
The 2XU shorts have been well designed. They have some great compression features and make good use of this technology. They perform well and I believe they do help with performance, support and recovery. The waistband and leg length will not suit everyone. The shorts are quite pricey but competitive with other brands.
Other shorts you may want to consider:
2XU MCS Run Compression shorts
X-Bionic Marathon compression Shorts
Salomon S-Lab Exo compression shorts
SKINS A400 compression shorts
About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.
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