The CW-X Stabilyx running tights are among the most popular and reliably rated tights on the market. The Stabilyx are one of CW-X’ two most popular lines, the other being the Pro. At a price of $90 to $110 (we carry it at $99), they are priced near the mid-market of good compression running tights, and for that price represent a very good value in many respects.
The CW-X brand is owned by a Japanese company that focuses on exercise performance engineering. What that means is that this brand is all about performance – you won’t see any $20 or $30 garments coming from them. They have been serving the conditioning and exercise market since 1991, so among all higher-end running tights makers are about as established as you will find.
The Stabilyx tight is marketed as a running tight, but can secondarily be used for sports such as cycling and skiing. The tights are meant to be an outer layer, meaning that in most cases you will wear the tights over your undergarments and that is all. For runners in extreme cold, they may choose to layer another pant over the Stabilyx tights, but if you are running in such cold temperatures you may instead want to consider one of CW-X thermal tights, branded as the Insulate line.
CW-X is making all their tights, including the Stabilyx, with a combination of Lycra and Coolmax fabric. Our testing has found this combination to be very effective in several key areas we look for in a running tight:
- Quick drying. The material combination in the Stabliyx is very quick-drying, something that we see an imperative in a tight over $100. The fabric does an excellent job of not retaining moisture.
- Comfortable. The tights require a couple wears and washes to break-in, but once they are broken in and formed to your body, they feel great. The fabric is very comfortable against the skin, and the supportive qualities of the tight will be discussed in more detail further down this review.
- Appearance. The Stabilyx tights, and all CW-X tights for that matter, look great. They form-fit when sized properly, and help hold legs in a shape that is both functional and attractive. They subtle colors on the tights strike the right balance of being not too loud but also more than just black-on-black.
- Temperature. We were very happy with the Stabilyx tights from a temperature standpoint. While they aren’t intended to be a thermal tight for extreme cold weather (for that, see the CW-X Insulator line), they are built to adjust to the runner’s temperature and humidity (e.g. perspiration) level. This feature makes them very comfortable in temperatures from about 45 to 75 degrees.
The CW-X Stabilyx tights are not intended to be just a cold-weather tight. They are intended to be worn in all temperatures, but we think temperatures above 75 degrees would call for a compression short, the Ventilator line of tights, or at least a ¾ tight (also called a Capri). For most runners in most climates, however, these can be a nearly year-round tight.
One of the most important features of any compression running tight is the support level. A good compression tight will support your leg muscles and tendons, and provide support for your all important knee joint and the bands surrounding it. The Stabilyx does a very good job of supporting the musco-skeletal system, including the hamstrings, IT Band, and knee joint.
Runners who have recurring calf strains or shin splints should definitely opt for the full-length version, as the tights provide good support below the knee. For those who are more concerned about quads, hamstrings, IT Band, and the knee joint, the ¾ tight may be an option. When in doubt, we recommend going with the full-length version.
The Stabilyx are great tights for both men and women. CW-X alters the design by gender to ensure a comfortable, snug fit for each body type. We found that both males and females enjoyed the benefits and comfort of what the Stabilyx offers. While it may be tempting to order a size up because of the snugness of the tights, we recommend that both genders order their normal size and allow the tights to stretch and form-fit over the first few uses. The benefits of these tights are best realized when they fit snugly – that is the whole point of buying compression wear.
Alternatives to the Stabilyx
CW-X has a product line that is complete for all types of runners, and doesn’t really have a bad piece in the bunch. The Stabilyx is what we would consider their most versatile, mid-level tight. For those running primarily in temps under 45 degrees, we would recommend considering the CW-X Insulator tight. The Insulator line builds on the CW-X base lines – you actually would buy a “Stabilyx Insulator” or “Pro Insulator” to get the features of the tight with the added warmth of the Insulator technology. Insulators are designed largely for skiers, but can be an excellent cold-weather running tights as well.
For those who live and run in warm climates, the Ventilator line might be a better option. The Ventilator includes many of the features of the Stabilyx, but removes some of the fabric panels and replaces them with mesh. This subtle change allows for more airflow from the outside, something that may be ideal for runners in temps above 70 degrees, or those who simply warm up more than typical when they run.
If you are looking for just one good compression running tight to add to their closet, the Stabilyx would definitely be on the short list and just may be the one. It is versatile, lives up to the manufacturers claims, comfortable, and offers a good overall value compared to other tights on the market. While you will find some compelling competition at the $150 range, this may just be the best all-around tight in the sub $100 area.
We offer various Stabilyx models from our trusted CW-X partner: