French researchers have found some benefit to wearing tights — for athletes. The idea is, wearing compression tights aids muscle work, while helping blood flow and oxygen delivery:
Compression tights have strategically placed bands of sturdier fabric that are supposed to support the leg’s major muscles and limit excess muscle motion as a runner strides along. This protection against muscle “oscillation” may be what allowed runners in the study to move more efficiently, according to the researchers.
In addition, they note, the extra-supportive tights may facilitate blood circulation back to the heart.
…The researchers measured the runners’ efficiency using portable monitors that gauged their oxygen needs during the run… During more intense, 15-minute runs, the compression tights performed best, trimming the runners’ oxygen use.
Perrey estimated that, for a marathoner who normally clocks in at 3.5 hours, compression tights could shave about 6 minutes off that time…