Although Skins continues to be the most recognised, if not always the default go-to, compression wear manufacturer of choice there are a number of highly credible alternatives making inroads to market. Amongst these are Canterbury who, with a heritage dating back more than a century – even if originally as a rugby brand – certainly deserves the attention. Looking to right and long-overlooked wrong TriGear squeezed into a Canterbury Mercury Compression Top to put it to the test.
Compression wear boasts a range of benefits, chief amongst them that they reduce muscle oscillation (the vibrating shock waves that ripple through the body with each foot strike) and increase lactic acid ‘flush’ – both of which, arguably, reduces fatigue. Whilst the advantages of using compression on the lower body – tights, shorts, calf guards, etc. – is relatively self-evident, compression tops sit, we think, in a slightly more voodoo grey area of marginal gains.
The Mercury Compression Top – TriGear was trialling the long-sleeved version – is exceptionally well made with a rather more jaunty design than many of its competitors. It’s constructed to give a degree of ‘zoned compression’, graduated in the lower sleeve from wrist to elbow to help flush toxins and increase blood flow, and features much welcomed mesh panelling down the centre of the back and under the arm for improved breathability. Despite Canterbury claiming that the number of seams has been reduced to increase comfort there does still appear to be a plethora of them. Admittedly they are all comprehensively flat-seamed but the inclusion of the mesh panel at the rear has necessitated two more here and TriGear certainly found that, especially with a hydration pack on, these began to rub on longer runs.
The squeeze it delivers feels fairly well judged and even if you don’t completely buy into the benefits of compression tops there is a perceptible feeling of having the running posture improved – possibly a case of emperor’s new clothes but we felt just a little taller and more open-chested. Taking the Mercury Compression Top purely as a base layer – all be it a pretty expensive one of that’s all you’re after – it adds a welcome layer of warmth on colder runs, but breathes and wicks well and includes a silver based anti-microbial treatment to keep it fresh.
Canterbury Mercury Compression Long-Sleeve Top retails at £55.99, which compares very favourably to the eye-watering £75 of a comparable Skins A400 top.
Further details of the Canterbury Mercury Compression Top at canterbury.com