Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fusion compression running shorts - What's new Down Under?

It's widely accepted now that compression clothing for running is of benefit, particularly in ultramarathon events where any physiological benefit is multiplied over many hours (as covered in previous posts). There are a number of brands on the market where outwardly the only difference is the logo and stitching pattern, but they are not all same.

The biggest difference I have found is in the fit and the quality of the fabric and manufacture. I have recently been asked to try a new brand of compression wear, Fusion.

The brand itself has a strong presence and its roots in the triathlon scene in Europe and with the Noosa Triathlon next week, they will be there to showcase their range of triathlon and running apparel.
The company originated designing and making custom gear for the elite triathletes in Europe, and have expanded to offer their products to the less elite athlete, while keeping with the high end custom design and build quality.

They now share the love with the masses, and provide a range of gear for a variety of sports. I have tested the running shorts, where they offer two versions, with subtle differences.

Fusion PWR Short

The PWR short is very much like your classic compression short, offering excellent support and compression (without being restrictive). I won't go into the compression benefits, as I have covered this in previous posts. 

They have a lower cut around the waist to other shorts I have worn, and yet still feel secure. This maximises the exposed skin area, for increased cooling, in a part of your body which will not benefit from compression.

The manufacture quality is excellent, with all Fusion products being manufactured in Europe (not opting for the cheaper option of Asia). After over 400kms of testing the pants show no signs of wear, or weakening of the fabric. The logos are still bright and the all stitching is as new.  I follow the care instructions which recommend washing with no detergent, so you don’t want to be leaving them in your kit bag for a couple of days before washing! This is to maintain the wicking property of the fabric and these shorts certainly are very effective in moisture transport.

Rear key pockets in both styles of short

The PWR has a key/gel pocket at the back, with a zip, which I initially thought would cause a chafing issue, but was pleasantly surprised that it was clear of the bottom of my backpack.


The Fusion COMP3 Running Short
The COMP3 is if a similar build quality and has two noticeable differences from the PWR. The low cut on the waist is the same, and is slightly longer in the leg.  

Secondly, the fabric is very different fabric to the PWR (see image below). It is thicker and softer with an almost fleece-like feel. I found these more comfortable than the PWR, and was my preference when heading out for a run on a cold morning. They had a similar excellent manufacture quality, and slightly less compression than the PWR. 

The softer fabric of the COMP3 makes for very comfortable running

The COMP3 also has a small key/gel pouch at the back, but without a zip on this model. The lower waistband cut mean that this is below the bottom of a backpack, so rubbing was not an issue.

The moisture transport of the fabric was again excellent allowing easy wicking of sweat, particularly during intense sessions.

My concern with any compression gear from a man’s point of view (it’s difficult for me to comment on behalf of the ladies!) is the placement of seams and sensitive areas. These Fusion running shorts both have a seam “down the front” which could be a potential problem from a chafing perspective. I have been pleasantly surprised that I have not had any issues in this regard, having worn the COMP3 on training runs of up to 45kms, during hot and humid conditions which I am very grateful for! I put this down to the soft feel of the fabric and flexibility in fabric and the seams. I am not so sure that the PWR would offer the same level of comfort over longer distances

The two styles have their own subtle differences with benefits in different areas. I'd base my preference for either style based on the weather conditions and length of the run. Longer colder runs in the COMP3, shorter warmer runs in the PWR.

All in all though Fusion make a great product, and is one I shall continue to wear, especially if they make a version in red!

Run Happy, 

"Victory belongs to the most persevering" - Napoleon Bonaparte


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