Review: CEP Compression Clothing

The benefits of compression clothing are now widely recognised, and the science behind it well proven. Compression aids the flow of blood between your muscles and your heart, increasing performance during exercise and significantly aiding recovery post-exercise. CEP Compression is one of the leaders in compression clothing, and a brand that I've always been keen to try out - this is compression clothing at its best.

The first thing to note, before even considering the design of the clothing itself, is sizing and fit. CEP use a very detailed size chart that works on the muscles that the clothing is going to be compressing. So for example, rather than socks being sized on your foot size, these are sized on your calf muscle circumference. This approach means that this kit really does compress your muscles as much as it is meant to, and tall cyclists with skinny calves and long feet can reap the benefits.

The second thing worth noting, is how well this kit is presented. I don't normally mention the packaging of products in my reviews (as often it is just a clear zip-top bag), but this kit comes in very smart boxes, which would really impress if they were given as a gift.

First impressions were good then. Here's how the CEP Compression bib shorts, Merino Socks, Cycle Socks and Long Sleeve Base Layer are performing...

CEP Compression Dynamic+ Cycle Bib Shorts

I've owned bib shorts that use compression fabrics before, but never a pair from a dedicated compression brand. That made the Dynamic+ shorts a very interesting product to test, and to see how well they performed on the bike.

The short answer is very well. Once you've wriggled into them, they provide a very supportive feel to your muscles. As well as aiding circulation, compression clothing is designed to reduce muscle "vibration", which contributes to muscle fatigue and soreness; these certainly seem to provide a very holistic support to your muscles, and your thighs feel stable and comfortable.

The fabric is soft and highly breathable. It's quite different from a traditional Lycra short, and feels almost like a thick base layer. The fit is extremely close and the design is well panelled to give a very contoured cut through their whole length.

The Dynamic+ shorts also feature a "dynamic" pad, which is well shaped and has a good density. It seems to provide adequate comfort on 3-4 hour rides, and is lasting well with repeated use and machine washing.

These are an impressive pair of shorts; they hold a high price tag, but then they are also have a high level of performance and comfort. The fit is better than the majority of shorts on the market and the compression profile and fabric does a great job of stabilising muscles.

It's hard to tell how effective the compression technology is, but it's very safe to say these give your legs a great feeling of support and control. Well worth a look if you're a cyclist looking to benefit from compression technology.

CEP Compression Outdoor Merino Socks

I've always been a fan of merino, search for it on the blog and you'll find it springs up in many of my favourite products. Merino compression socks sounded like a seriously good combination to me then!

The Outdoor socks from CEP are designed to be hard wearing and warm; great for the winter months and for cold and tired muscles.

The design is well thought out, with harder wearing fabric areas on hot-spots, and a soft merino mix fabric. They fit very well, as is to be expected from the good sizing chart, and they give a noticeable progressive compression throughout their length.

Deploy them after a hard winter ride, or when heading out for a long walk or run, and your calves will feel well supported and circulation and warmth will be improved without a doubt.

CEP Compression Cycle Socks

Compression socks for on the bike haven't taken off in the pro-peloton - yet... but they could provide some significant performance benefits; indeed calf compression technology is used by a number of the top time-trialists in the country.

The CEP Compression Cycle Socks are a moderate weight fabric, that give a noticeable compression effect on your muscles. I've been using them under winter riding tights now the temperature has dropped, and the combined effect of their added length and their compression technology, seems to do a great job of keeping your lower legs and feet warmer than normal.

These could be a really good way to deal with cold feet in the dark months; keeping warm blood flowing to your extremities and avoiding freezing toes. They could have significant performance benefits for racing in the summer as well, but I'll have to feed back on that when next season comes around.

CEP Ultralight Long Sleeve Base Layer

Winter months mean long sleeve base layers, and a good one will make a noticeable difference to comfort; wicking away chilling sweat and leaving you warm and dry. This one is really very nice. 

It is indeed 'Ultralight', one of the lightest weight base layers I've tried; but as a wicking layer it works extremely well. It is a soft, high stretch fabric, with panelled areas of greater stretch in areas like the upper back and underarms. 

I've worn this under a long sleeve jersey on a number of chilly mornings, and it has been very comfortable and practically un-noticable because of its close fit and light weight.

It seems to be lasting very well too; something that can't always be said for lightweight kit. Multiple machine washes, countless outings and off-road ventures have left it looking as good as new. It's not overly cheap by base layer standards, but it's a very comfortable and well made option.


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