With a significant mileage increase this year, I plan to extend a substantial amount of training into the better part of the upcoming winter here in NJ/NY. As I browsed through various mixed reviews in several forums and websites, I stumbled upon Joe’s New Balance Outlet and found these NBx Windblocker Tights on sale for $39.99 (MSRP $89.99). I’ve always wanted to try the CW-X tights – but eventually the NB tights claimed my cash because the neon green/yellow stripes looked pretty good to me, and its price was half of what I’d have to pay for a CW-X.
There are two main fabrics – a thicker wind-blocking material in the front and a thinner and stretchier material in the back - joined by third a stretchy mesh which makes up the green stripes. The shell is composed of 83% polyester and 17% polyurethane. Although not made in USA like some NB products are, these tights present the usual superior quality I expect from NB. Some of the nice features I am fond of include:
I referred to the Sizing Chart provided by NB on its official store site when I placed the order. Compared to my Nike Essential Tights from 2 years ago, the NBx WIndblocker runs slightly small. I have a small frame and legs; but it still requires some effort to put on these tights. My guess is that perhaps this more pronounced snug-fit is contributed by the wind-blocking material in the anterior/medial portion of the tights – for that material is thicker, more dense, and less stretchy. Moreover, I also had on the Brooks Equilibrium Windbrief Boxer when I tried these tights; so this is another possible factor for the overall fit. However, once I get them on, they are in no way restricting and limiting my ranging of motion and general mobility. Without tightening the waistband strings, these tights stay in place and offer a pretty good compression on my thighs.
My first run in these tights was my first run in anything longer than my shorts this year – and for good reason. I decided that it was a good idea to try these tights in my long run during the unprecedented October snowstorm on the east coast this year. Judging from the forecast prior to the run, I also put on the aforementioned boxer for extra protection of my “chief of staff”.
The weather was chilly in the lower 40s with a slight drizzle when we started. It soon turned unbearably windy as we ran across the George Washington Bridge. As advertised, the NBx Windblocker Tights did, in fact, keep the wind out and trap the heat in to keep my crotch and thighs toasty.
Somewhere around the 11th mile, it started dumping heavy sleet horizontally across my face with a strong headwind. With the windchill compounded by my slight fatigue, it felt like it was in the 20s. It was much worse than I had anticipated – so brutal that I stopped the run and stepped into the nearest deli shop I could find in NYC to get some hot coffee.
At that point I was completely drenched inside out, from head to toe. The most noticeable heat loss was from my naked face and the wetness in my beanie, gloves and shirt. But I must point out these tights kept my crotch ad lower body relatively warm. Mind you, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of freezing my crotch to a point where it was nearly unable to urinate when I took off my pants. So I was pretty please to know that my private parts were safe this time.
Perhaps my buddy and I were unnecessarily adventurous and slightly suicidal to plan this long run during a blizzard. But we did see some runners out there. Heck we even saw a lady running in ONLY super-short compression shorts and a long-sleeve shirt – with no hat nor gloves. Maybe my buddy and I are mere whiney wimps, as we DNFed the planned 20 miler and ended up with only 13 miles. Regardless of being one of the most grueling and torturous runs in the cold weather I’ve ever done, this experience proved to be a sufficient test drive of these tights. I am extremely satisfied with their ability to keep my warm and dry (relatively). And the best part of it all is that I could buy two pairs of these for the price of one pair of CW-X tights.