Product Review: Zensah High Compression Shorts

Wow, I can not believe that lately all I have done is try new products!   Well….I have been running and working and all that but…none of it is very interesting. I’m in a bit of a “build cycle” slow increase on miles, and no injury (yay ) so not much to write about that.

On the recommendation of my massage person, I bought some compression gear for my poor Lefty Hip.  You may recall the saga of difficulty I had getting the first set to me.   The first set I got was from ORCA.   They were on sale via Zappos, and so I went ahead and got the half tights and a set of regular tights.

When they arrived, I noted that they had the added “bonus” of making me look just like a SeaWorld Trainer.


Look at the two photos and tell me you don’t see some similarities.  Since I live really close to Seaworld, the similarities are noted ALL THE time by people I see at the gym.  I get asked a lot if they are some sort of wet-suit as well, which they aren’t.

So Anyway, I liked the Orca pants as everyone is now calling them.  I use them, they are VERY tight in my calves and I was a bit disappointed because they are not very tight at all in the groin area where I need some heavy compression.   So while they work great work compression gear, for running, they are not very good for my repaired hip labrum area.

My  Groin around the repair area remains a little bit tender, and when I do certain workouts, it tends to get lit up pretty easily.  I need to do the workouts to strengthen.  Dealing with the aggravation is just part of it.  Compression gear, however is supposed to be very helpful for this sort of chronic ongoing thing.  It’s not an injury, but I can’t say that the hip is 100% quite yet, though, things are looking good for me.

So Enter Zensah.    

I read about 20 reviews of the product  and looked at it on line.  I was still not entirely convinced, So I finally was able to look at the product, as well as 110% ‘s compression product at the Walt Disney World Marathon Expo.

110% had been really helpful to me and had made a lot of statements about how they could help me obtain the compression in the area I wanted it in.  When I got to the expo however, they were spectacularly unhelpful.  I was very disappointed as I had driven down to there specifically to talk to them in hopes that they could help me, or would at least TRY to help.  The expo itself was very crowded, and I am sure the folks were feeling overwhelmed, but, frankly, the people at the booth were not that friendly, nor were they interested in my problem.  They just wanted to sell me the gear and explain how great having a pocket sewn in for ice was.  (If I need icing, you can bet I shouldn’t be walking around while icing.)

Luckily,  there was someone selling the Zensah Compression gear.  I am pretty sure the person did not know a thing about them, but he was able to show me the High Compression short.  They were really great looking.   The 110% and ORCA gear are made essentially of some sort of Spandex/Lycra blend, and in the end I have come to see that they really are just very tight regular running tights.  My Orca stuff does compress, but, it isn’t that comfortable to wear, and I always feel like i am about to rip some part of it if I sit down wrong or something.

Zensah’s stuff is made more with a weave and waffle pattern of similar material.  I thought that it might grip my hip/groin area better.  The guys though had the stuff way overpriced.  I mentioned that I knew the prices from the website and they got annoyed, so I decided to deal with Zensah directly.   After some contact via facebook, they sent me a code for free shipping, which I thought was really nice.  SO I decided to go ahead and bite the money bullet and try out the shorts.

If one could be in love with clothing…I’m Smitten.

As you might have noted, these really are not too stylish looking.

I admit I got them and looked at the waffle weave and they remind me more of my Grandmothers support gear, rather than sleek compressive running gear.

SO I sat them on the chair and looked at them for several days.  They had this magic aura about them, but I was so afraid if I tried them out I’d be disappointed a bit, like I was with my “Orca trainer pants”

I finally got up the courage to try them out today, just for a little three miler.

Truthfully, they don’t really look really pretty on me.   I covered them up with a running skirt and I still felt like the waffle part sticking around my knees (I’m short so they are like half tights on me!) was still not that cute.  BUT….  THEY WORK!!!  THEY REALLY REALLY WORK!

The waffle weave allows for stretch that the other compression gear did not allow.  They were relatively easy to get on, and then with a little bit of adjustment, I could feel the compression on both the groin and also right on my “super T”  or high hamstring area that gives me a lot of aggravation.

They moved well with me when running and I felt the same if not better support that I had with the Orca pants.  I then wore them for about 1-2 more hours (I forgot other clothing!) to do a gym workout and to go to the grocery store.  They continued to provide just enough compression throughout all these activities.  When I got home, I had no desire to rip them off like I do with the other compression shorts.  So comfortable, YES!

So here are some nice plusses regarding my new product!

* Provides compression to “difficult” areas, such as the Groin!  Yay!

* Comfortable to wear

*NO child Labor used to make my shorts!!!!

* relatively inexpensive when compared to other leaders in compression gear.

* machine washable

The only Negative I have is they are not super- attractive, but frankly speaking, they work so well, I really do not care.  As soon as I can work a bit more Overtime I will be investing in another pair of the shorts and a pair of tights. My only regret is not having these to use about 3 weeks after Surgery.  They would have been a daily thing for me I am sure.  Now that I have discovered how perfectly they work,   Zensah will definitely be on my rear and legs for the Seaside Half and all the way I am sure to Comrades Marathon 2013!   (and all the fun back to back long training runs I get to do!!!!)  Thanks Zensah!


14 thoughts on “Product Review: Zensah High Compression Shorts

  1. These look just like biking shorts, except without the padding in strategic areas *ahem*. I was also wondering if you can wear them alone, since they look a bit transparent. I don’t like showing more than I need to when exercising, if only because I can no longer flatter myself about having a tush that’s worth showing off. I do like the fact they’re not sweatshop made and no child labor was involved in their manufacture. Just for that alone, I’d buy them.

  2. Oh you can def wear them alone, not at all transparent, in fact more rubbery than transparent!!! And yes, I would not trust a 6 yr old here with a needle, so I don’t want one in Italy (they are made in Italy and the USA) trying to make my garment….

  3. i am actually considering purchasing these and on amazon’s website they look like capris (or at least to the knee) — if you dont mind my asking, how tall are you and where did they hit you (at the knee or bike short length). i am dealing with some hip flexor stuff and want compression… 🙂

    • I am 5 foot 3 inches. they hit me right at the knees. I love them. None of the other shorts really compressed in that hip flexor area. If I stretched them out the would be just below the knees more like a knicker than a short. I will admit though, they are one compression pant that you want to wear something, anything over.

  4. wendy says:

    I’ve been REALLY disappointed with any Zensah “compression” product. which is why i’ve been skeptical to get these.
    I will give it a try because i need compression around the T area as well.
    I hope they work out. THANK YOU much. I’m loyal & happy with my CW-X, but i still do not get ENOUGH in the groin area.. THANK YOU and wish me luck 🙂

  5. Santiago says:

    Hi Mizuno Girl,

    I was just looking for information regarding these compression shorts and I have found your review. I found it very interesting, especially because I also suffer from hip pains (femoral-acetabular impingment). I practice ashtanga yoga every day, but there are postures I have to avoid or be really careful when performing them. Apparently my labrum is still unbroken, and I don’t want to be operated. I have tried some normal compression shorts (adidas, under armour, etc.) and they were completely useless. These are pretty expensive (though there are other more expensive) and international shipping costs are normally high.
    Well, thank you very much for the review and I will take into consideration buying them.

    Kind regards from Argentina,


    • I’m still using them, though I admit, less and less as I get stronger. They are so compressive that during the summer it’s been hard to deal with the heaviness of them…but…Winter is coming to Florida. Some day.

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