Say the word “rice” to a group of triathletes and you’ll get two definitions. It’s either a gluten-free carbohydrate that’s found in many of their meals, or it’s the mnemonic device to remind them how to deal with the daily aches and pains we’ve come to know (and secretly love) as a triathlete. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is a proven way to both shorten and enhance the recovery period. Yet as accepted as RICE is, we have not really seen a clothing manufacturer go beyond one of RICE’s components (typically sticking with compression).
110% has decided that only one of RICE’s components wasn’t good enough, so they decided to kick it up a notch. Their new Overdrive Compression Kit combines both compression and ice in a sleek, easy-to-wear package, which applies both compression and ice to the entire lower leg / foot area. And let us tell you, these things are awesome.
Being that this is a first-look article, we have only been using the kit for about two weeks. However, we have already fallen pretty hard for this product. We have already used the Overdrive Compression Kit after a 50-mile ride, track workout, long run, and a sprint-distance triathlon. And every time we’ve put them on we’ve wondered why it took so long for a company to create this type of product.
In many ways the concept is extremely simple—take a common compression sock and add ice packs. However, 110% went beyond simply adding standard ice packs. They’ve not only created a unique compression sleeve to hold an ice pack, they went even farther and created their very own custom ice pack.
The Overdrive Kit starts with a well-designed compression sock. The sock contains anti-chafe padding on the ball of the foot as well as the ankle. In addition, the material itself is moisture wicking (we haven’t completed a work out in them yet, but that is in the test plan) and designed for foot ventilation. Our favorite part of the sock is that it’s surprisingly easy to take on and off while still providing excellent compression.
Next comes the Ice Sleeve. This is a toeless \ heelless sleeve that fits over the compression sock and holds the ice packs in place. Like the socks, the sleeve is moisture wicking and is designed to be easily taken on and off. It also adds additional compression to the mix. The toeless and heelless properties allow the ice packs to be inserted from the front and back of the foot, as well as the top of the calf. This allows ice to be applied to common injuries such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, shin splints, forefoot, and calf pain.
The icepacks themselves are unique in that they actually require you to add water prior to freezing. Once they are nice and cold, the packaging for the socks doubles as an insulated cooler so you can bring the ice packs to your event and keep them cold for when you need them. What’s even better is that the icepacks can retain heat as well as cold. They can also be used to heat localized areas as well.
110% calls these a mobile ice bath, and we can’t think of a better description. Put the sock on, add the sleeve, and stick the ice pack in—it’s incredibly simple. Mike tends to have sore calves after most workouts. To combat this, he wears compression during and after most workouts. With the Overdrive Kit, Mike has been able to immediately ice his calves after a workout and has noticed a huge improvement in his post-workout recovery time. And since his calves are feeling so good, he’s started to recognize other areas of his legs that could also use a little more RICE (or a 110% Knickers Kit).
The only concerns we have so far is that the toe sections of the socks tend to be a little overly tight. While these are compression socks, the toes could use a bit less spandex. Additionally, we noticed that if you remove the ice, it is best to also remove the ice sleeve. We’ve found that the rear of the sleeve (where the heel opening is) tends to rub a bit and after wearing it alone for prolonged periods of time (3+ hours), which led to some chaffing. However, we really doubt someone would still be wearing the ice sleeve that long (unless they’re like us and simply forgot to take it off when they removed the ice).
We love compression and we love innovation. With that in mind, the 110% Overdrive Compression Kit started its first week on a good foot. Now we’re going to take this kit beyond the honeymoon stage to see what it’s really made of.
Our plan is to use the socks after every possible workout for the next 3 weeks. We’ll also be wearing the socks during and after workouts to see how they stack up against other similar products out there. Keep on checking back on Facebook and Twitter to see how the testing is going, but we suspect we will not be falling out of love with 110% any time soon.