Product Review: BSC – Better Down Under
I’ve got to start this post with a huge shout out and thank you to Ben of BK Athletics. This review will start off much like my last BSC v. Skins review of a few months ago, I contacted Ben about the Bodyscience Skin full quad compression shorts because the Under Armour shorts I had been buying were redesigned to a new fabric that was getting horrible reviews. I thought I’d buy a pair of BSC’s and see how they compared. Ben went out of his way to get me information about the products and even sent me a pair, as well as a pair of their new “Manpri’s”. Like I said, stand up guy. Full disclosure, I didn’t buy any of these products, but given the opportunity, and when my under armour wears out, I will gladly buy a couple of pairs to rotate in. They’re some of the best compression shorts I’ve ever worn. If that’s all you get out of this review, then I’m happy.
Full Quad Shorts
I don’t quite remember what the format for this review was the last time I did it, but I’m just going to go with what makes sense. For simplicity sake I’m going to split it into function, styling, value and then a quick summary.
I’ve done pretty much everything a Crossfitter, and in general any athlete I can probably imagine, would want to do in these shorts, heavy weights, olympic lifts, power lifts, straight metcons, airdyne work, you name it – I’ve been there in these shorts. I really wanted to give them a full test because they’re on the pricey side, so if there was any downside I wanted to know about it. Long story short, I found none. They were comfortable, fit well, stayed in place, and have a really amazing amount of compression. I never felt like I was being constricted, but also never felt like they were loose in any spots. The only possible downside I can think of, is that they’re listed as “full quad” but my femurs are … abnormally large, I imagine if you’re of a more “standard” height or femur length, these will fit much more comfortably. One feature I really like is that these cinch with a drawstring, like the rogue fight shorts, so you can fit the waist as tight or loose as you desire, unlike an elastic that will stretch or fail. Honestly you can see and feel the thought and effort that went into these. I can’t think of one single functional downside. Just masterful.
I’ve mentioned the BSC styling before. They really go above and beyond, as if people are meant to be wearing them without shorts on or something. Is that how they do it in Australia maybe? Just walrus-ing around giving everyone a free show?? Jokes aside, these are wonderfully styled, the BSC on one leg, the full Bodyscience mark on the other. Even the draw string has branding on it. If you want something more soft spoken these might not be for you, but if you’re fine with showing a little leg, these are pretty awesome. I’m definitely a fan of it.
This is the only and I emphasize only, category where I can find a downside, and even then I’m not sure it’s really that much of a downside. With LuLu charging $100 for a pair of sweat pants, and a regular pair of Under Armour running about $30, these shorts are roughly 2 pairs of Under Armour, but since they feel twice as good, and will probably last twice as long, I really don’t see the downside. It might be hard to swallow up front, but if you consider the money us Crossfitters spend on things, it’s really pretty inconsequential. $100 gym bags, $120 nano’s, $200 lifting shoes; I don’t see why a couple pairs of nice compression shorts should really blow your mind. It will definitely deter some though, so I have to mention it. Honestly – they’re worth every penny, which is ironic because I got these free, but if Ben asked me for a check tomorrow, I’d gladly send him one.
Obviously by now you know I’m pretty keen on these. I don’t think I do a very good job of hiding that, not that I’m really trying to. This probably reads a little “fanboy”-ish, but I’m not going to apologize, when I find something I like, and that works, I have no problem supporting it fully. All-in. Check out the right column of my blog, it’s stacked with things I’ve tried, love, and buy repeatedly. This is no different. I don’t know what they do down in Australia, what kind of sport science guru’s they’ve got making compression shorts, but these are pure magic. Under Armour should send some guys down there and figure out what they’re doing, because I’m not going to buy another pair of Under Armour for the rest of my days. I’m a BSC devotee.
99/100 A+ Highly recommended
These were a bit of a surprise for me. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I did. Ben sent them to me pretty much unsolicited, I’d seen them around, on some prominent Regional athletes and they were intriguing but nothing I’d ever seriously considered. I consider myself pretty no-nonsense, and I’m not really sure where these fit in. It’s sort of like saying, I really want something that covers my knees but not my calves… I can see having something cover only your calves, or your whole leg, or just compression pants, but what occasion is there to have something stop at the knee. I’ll be honest, I didn’t give these the run I gave the full quads, but I did a few workouts in them, and I’ve found they are pretty niche. I like them for a few things but definitely not everything. Namely, they’re good for things where your knee stays above 90 degrees. I could see maybe a box jump, push press, deadlift WOD like 13.3 wearing these, but in general, I found that the fabric tends to bunch a bit behind the knee if you try and row or squat in them. What I have really enjoyed wearing them for is Airdyne work, they keep the legs nice and warm and compressed all the way through the knee, without the need for a full on pant. So there’s that. Maybe if you’re a bigger runner or perhaps even a yoga fiend you can find a place for these. I’m still not sure where to put them in my lineup though.
Function aside; I still have to give credit where it’s due, the BSC styling is again, top notch. Exactly what I would expect from them. The branding is subtle but noticeable, nicely printed and doesn’t seem to fade or peel off. The build quality is incredible and everything stays exactly where it should be. If you pick up a pair of these the fit might take some getting used to, I for one, was a little bewildered by the feeling of having a pant stop just below my knee. It’s almost like a pair of jeans went through the wash wrong. I don’t mean this as a negative, I’m just preparing you for what to expect. You’ll likely have to wear these a couple of times before the fit becomes accustomed.
Given their niche nature, I have trouble finding the full value in these. The capri’s or 3/4 are only $10 less than the full on elite longs. Given that differential, I would be hard pressed not to say, go to the couch, shake out the cushions, find the $10 and buy the longs. They seem much more practical and have far more uses in my mind. I’d much rather have 2 pairs of the longs than find myself wondering “hmmm should I wear the capri’s today??”
There is absolutely nothing wrong about these. In my mind they’re likely to be an acquired taste, maybe you’ve had some carpi’s before that you liked, maybe you have 3 pairs of the longs and really want something new, I really can’t say. Build quality, material, fit, these are top notch as I would expect from Bodyscience and Ben. It’s just the small matter of where they fit. Personally, if given the chance, I think I’d take a pair of longs, I love the longs, I would recommend them to anyone. They are simply fantastic. And if you’ve read my review you know how strongly I feel about that.
82/100 – Great build, okay fit, a bit odd, can bunch behind the knees
Hope you enjoyed these reviews! I’ve got lots more coming, but I’m going to try and pace myself a little. Happy 2014!