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As a sizing reference: I'm 5'7", 155 lbs (yeah, I'm a little guy), medium build (BDU top medium/regular, BDU pant medium/short), waist 32", chest 43". Keep this in mind when you read my comments with respect to sizing, so you have an idea of how the garments featured below will fit on you. ALL garments in these pages are size Medium, unless stated otherwise.
9/28/06 - Announcement - Zensah is offering a special discount to soldiers. The special code is apo40. All APO AFP etc. addresses will be shipped for free & receive a 40% discount. The discount for shipping will be applied once the order is processed manually, not at the time the order is placed (for verification that it's a military order going to an APO/AFP).
is the manufacturer of the
Seamless Crew Compression Shirt and Seamless
Tactical Compression Short shown below. Zensah's Sales and Marketing
office is based out of Miami, FL, and development is done in Tel-Aviv,
Israel. However, both garments that I was sent say 'Made in Italy'
- go figure. Zensah manufactures all over the world, the USA included.
Zensah originally developed its shirt for the IDF (Israeli Defense
Forces), and expanded into the commercial/athletic apparel market.
Compression Shirt - The shirt has mesh panels under the arms, at the sides of the hips, and down the middle of the back (you can make them out in the photos). Compression strips/panels are located to provide support for the muscles. As mentioned above, it does feel different from the other compression shirts I've used. I have not found a softer, stretchier material in this kind of tactical shirt. It doesn't bind under the arms or feel restrictive (I wore this while running). I usually run in loose-fitting clothing, as I like to feel airflow. With the Zensah shirt, I can feel airflow through the fabric as the mesh panels do aid in cooling. I also noticed that the compression panels keep my flab from jiggling as I ran - haha. The wicking ability of the fabric is helped by having full contact at all areas. Can't wick sweat away if it's not touching your skin. Definitely the most comfortable compression shirt I've used to date. It's now available in V-neck style in Ranger Green and Tan (see below).
4/28/06 - Shown here is the OD green compression shirt with crew neck. It's not really "OD green", but more of a lighter, yellowish khaki.
Compression Shorts - The shorts have mesh panels running down the sides of the thighs, a ribbed elastic waistband and a diamond crotch gusset. I'm not really one to wear compression shorts (I've tried several), as I find them warmer than wearing briefs (since they're supposed to help keep the muscles warm to make them less prone to strains or pulls), but some athletes also wear them to prevent chafing and rashes. But if you're the type to wear compression shorts, I can recommend trying these out based on comfort of the material alone. They're kind of 'revealing', showing every bump or bulge, which I why I've spared the visitor of photos of me wearing them.
For those who wear compression-type clothing, the Zensah garments are worth looking at. I'm even starting to wear tighter-fitting compression T-shirts, especially as a base layer, for the lack of bulk, freedom of movement and wicking properties. Note that they're also useful for showing you exactly where you need to lose fat (that could be good or bad). Zensah is planning on making these garments available in OD, coyote brown, and khaki.
7/19/05 - Visitors to Militarymorons.com get a 25% discount when shopping from the links above. Just enter 'MM25' as the discount code when checking out.
8/19/05 - Wore the Zensah compression shirt on a 7 mile strenuous hike (6000' to 10,000' ft in about 3.5 miles), temp was in the 80's mostly, but got colder at higher altitudes with strong winds. The compression shirt kept me dry and comfortable since it was form fitting, there wasn't any chafing under the arms. Never overheated when hot, and kept me pretty comfortable at the summit when it was cooler - I didn't have to break out my windbreaker.
8/22/05 - Here are the V-neck Compression shirts in Ranger Green and Tan. Same material and construction as the crew neck, only difference is that they're a V-neck instead of a crew. I usually wear a size Medium, but at the time of this writing, all they had were L-XXL (they'll be available in S/M shortly). Much to my surprise, they fit just fine and were still form fitting. These shirts can stretch to fit a variety of sizes without feeling too tight. The Ranger Green is similar to flight suit sage, maybe a bit lighter. The tan is more like a sand colour.
Green shirt worn while hiking - works awesome.
1/30/06 - Here's Zensah's new Coyote Brown colour. Shown below is the crew neck compression shirt. Over the Xmas and New Year's the wife and I were in the tropics and I wore the compression shirts in high humidity/heat. They were always comfortable - definitely more so than cotton tees. Best of all, they didn't stink after a day's wear, like cotton shirts would. I brought along two, rotating them (wearing one, washing one) and the one I had washed the night before would be dry long before cotton t-shirts would be. When it comes to traveling light, my Zensah shirts are replacing all my cotton tees. In a very humid climate where you're constantly sticky, a loose fitting shirt sometimes allows skin to skin rubbing or contact (like under the arms), which can be uncomfortable, or end up chafing. Since the compression shirts fit snugly, they prevent any skin to skin contact and I find greatly reduce discomfort from rubbing.
A cautionary note about Zensah fabric and hook velcro- make sure that you do not throw Zensah fabric in the washing machine with garments with exposed hook velcro. The hook velcro has a tendancy to snag at the Zensah clothing and may start a run. Same goes for exposed hook velcro on equipment.
1/30/06 - Initial writeup: Also new
are the Skull
cap and Balaclava,
both in the stretch fabric. The Skull cap is meant to be worn in chilly
weather for warmth, or under a helmet in hot weather to wick perspiration.
It's not as warm as a fleece cap, of course, but a good alternative
during strenuous activity where a fleece cap gets too warm.
3/11/06 - Update:
I've been using the Skull cap for running in cold weather, and it
works very well. When it's cold enough to freeze my ears or head and
a fleece cap is too warm, the Zensah skull cap is just right as it's
not overly warm during hard exertion. It also absorbs sweat better
than fleece. The only thing I'd change would be to make it a bit larger/looser.
2/14/06 - Shown below is the Tactical Mock Turtleneck, and the Tactical Tights for cooler weather. Both are compression fit, for muscle support. The Turtleneck has a low turtleneck collar, and the same woven panels as the compression shirt - thinner mesh where ventilation is needed, like under the arms and middle of the back, and compression panels on the side. The tights also have different panels woven into the fabric - an extra-stretchy portion in front of the knee, and mesh or compression panels all over the legs. They're difficult to photograph (especially in black), so you won't see much in the photos. The tights have an elastic knit-style waistband. Like the other Zensah clothing I've tried, they're extremely comfortable, in texture, softness and fit. The only drawback I've experienced is that the Zenash material is a bit snaggy with velcro or untrimmed finger nails. Even so, they've held up well for the past 9 months.
3/11/06 Update - I wore both the Tights and Turtleneck as my base layers on a short hike in cold weather (see the photo below on the right); it was about 35°F and snowing lightly. All I wore over it was my TAD Gear Stealth Hoodie (which I switched to the SORD Hardface later) and my Orc Industries Level 5 PCU pants. I was very comfortable when moving (never overheated) and also when stopped for a short time. Even though I didn't have heavier insulation under the soft shells, the Turtleneck was quite adequate - I was pleased.
4/28/06 Update - I wore both the Tights and Turtleneck on a strenuous hike in the snow - read the Photo essay here.
4/28/06 - The Long Sleeve Tactical Compression Shirt is shown below in "OD Green". Essentially identical to the Tactical Mock shown above, but with a crew neck. As mentioned above, the "OD" is more of a yellowish khaki.
10/8/06 - The Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt, Loose Fit is the relaxed fit version of the Long Sleeve Tactical Compression Shirt above, for those who prefer a looser garment. Shown below in Coyote Brown. It has a crew neck and the same paneled construction as the compression shirts.
3/11/06 - Shown below are the Knee Protective Sleeve and the Tactical Neck Gaiter. The Knee Sleeve is meant to keep the knee warm while providing some protection. It also uses the idea of 'compression therapy' where it actually increases circulation in the knee area (same way arthritis gloves work). I have used them for running in cold weather, instead of the tactical tights (above), and for the first part of the time, I had to adjust them a bit here and there as the top would start slipping a bit. I found that as I worked up a bit of a sweat, that gave it more 'grip' and it stayed put until I finished my run. They do keep my old knees warm in a chilly breeze, and are as comfortable as advertised. In hot weather, they're also meant to be worn under BDU pants when external knee pads are worn, to help absorb sweat and add comfort. I haven't used them in conjunction with knee pads yet, and I'm curious as to whether they'll stay put or slip down. I get sweaty knees when I wear knee pads, so these may do the trick by keeping the skin a bit drier - just have to wait for warmer weather to try them out.
The Seamless Tactical Neck Gaiter is simply a seamless
tube of Zensah material - same idea as the old SAS headover. It's
a versatile piece of kit which can be worn as a neck/throat warmer
(1), a face mask (2), a hood/balaclava (3) and a watch cap (4). My
one and only complaint with the gaiter are the embroidered Zensah
logos all over. They're fine from the outside, but the exposed stretchy
wispy threads on the inside tend to snag on velcro, zippers - you
name it. They also seem to end up in my mouth. If you look at picture
#3, you'll see some hanging down at the bottom. I've asked Zensah
to make the Gaiter without the logos - it'd be a huge improvement,
in my opinion. Right now, they prevent the Gaiter from being reversible
or folded over (necessary when worn as a watch cap in picture 4).
By getting rid of the logos, the Gaiter will also be reversible for
colour (khaki on the outside and coyote brown on the inside). That
being said, when used in conjunction with the Skull Cap (2), I like
that combination better than the Balaclava itself. The Gaiter material
is much easier to breath through (see my Balaclava comments above),
and the eye opening is much easier to adjust. To be worn as a watch
cap, the Gaiter is folded over about 4-6" then the open/loose
end at the top of the head is tucked into the fold. If Zensah makes
this without the logo, it'll be able to be used properly the way it
was designed to.
4/15/07 Zensah products now available in Desert Sand - Zensah is now offering some of their products in Desert Sand. The Desert Tan colour was slightly warmer; Desert Sand is more greyish. As you can see below, it's difficult to get a true representation of the colour as it looks different under different lighting conditions, but you can get the general idea.
This is the tactical loose fit shirt in Desert Sand. The Desert Sand shirt has no visible logo so it can be worn with uniforms. Same overall design as the compression shirt, but looser fitting.
Shown below are some other Zensah products in Desert
Sand. The Skull
Cap and Compression
Shorts are the same as the coyote ones reviewed earlier. You can
see the different compression panels on the Sand shorts better than
in the previous photo of the black pair.
10/18/08 - Zensah Training and Muscle Recovery Leg Sleeves
Zensah has developed recovery leg sleeves using a special knitting process and their stretchy fabric. From the Zensah site: "The Calf/Shin recovery sleeves are made with gradient compression which provides wide ribbing in the front for shin support, and tight ribbing in the back for calf support. The sleeves are made with Zensah Fabric® which has silver helping regulate skin temperature, and fight bacteria. The sleeves can be worn during training to increase oxygen blood flow to the muscles of the lower leg. The more oxygen the muscles receive the faster they recover allowing athletes to push the envelope in their training. The Zensah Calf/Shin sleeve is ideal for runners, cyclists and triathletes. It can be worn during training, recovery or for traveling after races.
The Zensah Calf/Shin sleeves are unique in that
they provide pin point compression to the front and back of the leg.
The dual action support was developed by a professional athletic trainer."
I've actually had these since last year, but don't have problems with shin splints so I can't comment on how well they work on that. The sleeves have diagonal ribbing on the front of the shin, and vertical ribbing at the rear bottom of the calf. The top third of the sleeves have tighter, vertical ribbing.
I'm not an athlete with a consistent training regimen, so I couldn't say whether they aid in recovery or not. The only thing I do regularly is go to the gym and lift weights, and jog. I went running with them on in colder weather a few times and did feel the support they gave, like wearing compression tights. Strangely enough, the person who benefitted from them was my wife, who was pregnant at that time. She had some discomfort with swelling in her lower legs and tried on the sleeves. She found that the all-round compression and support helped relieve the discomfort in her calves. Another use for them I found was as fore arm warmers for running in cold weather. I don't like wearing a long-sleeved top unless it's very cold, as I overheat when running, but wearing the sleeves and thin gloves kept my arms comfortable.
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