During college soccer days, I blew out my knee in a game and have since undergone quite a few surgeries. The wear and tear of years of sports and outdoor adventures is catching up to me, and degenerative arthritis is slowly creeping in. Over the past few years, I had all but given up high impact sports, such as road running and even skiing, so was happy to hear about Opedix, a form of compression tights that act almost like a knee brace to help keep you going.
Opedix Knee-Tec tights are a nylon and spandex base layer featuring embedded bands of rigid fabric that protect your knees by keeping them to their natural alignment. These bands of stiff fabric descend down your leg from your hips, wrap around your knees, then drop down toward your ankles.
The Knee-Tec tights feel almost like wearing a soft knee brace, but not as heavy and cumbersome. You can feel the bands support your knees from the sides, coaxing your knee to move in a straightforward direction.
I have been wearing the Opedix tights for both winter running and skiing. My left knee usually kills when I run and pretty much all day as I ski. I can't say the tights have completely eliminated the pain, but they definitely seem to enable me to go for longer, and reduce the amount of stiffness or soreness in my knee afterwards. I feel more confident when I wear them, feeling like my knee won't just give out at any time.
The tights are moisture wicking and breathable, with anti-odor technology to let you wear them more than once before throwing in the wash. I did not overheat when wearing the Knee-Tec tights beneath my Patagonia onesie while skiing. The tights were also warm enough to wear by themselves running snowy trails during 20 degree Minnesota days.
All this support and alignment does not come cheap, however, as the Opedix Knee-Tec Tights sell for $225 a pair. The tights come in both a 3/4 and full length version. The 3/4 length are great for skiing as they stop just at your boots, while the full length are perfect for cold weather running.
Bottom Line: For those of you with aging or painful knees, the tights will make a noticeable difference, least of all mentally. The question is whether you are willing to pay 2-10 times more for the simplicity of tights versus a regular knee brace. Beware, as once you try Opedix tights, you may never want to give them up.