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Undershirt Review: Equmen Core Precision Undershirt
I'm sitting here in my aisle seat aboard one of the newest airlines fully equipped with a media entertainment center offering on demand music, movies, satellite tv, music videos, games, and seat-to-seat chat. Instead of kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying a quite comfortable flight back to Tug Central, I've powered up my notebook, plugged it into the conveniently located on board power supply, jumped onto the in-flight wifi network, and am settling in to write what I believe will be one of the most anticipated undershirt reviews that I've written to date.
If you're reading this post, you are now among the tens of thousands of people who have visited my site over the last couple of months looking for information about what has got to be the most visible launch of a new undershirt company in the last decade, if not longer. I'm really not sure if all the press and attention for this new line of slimming undershirts is a result of a brilliantly executed marketing plan from Equmen's veteran Marketing team or just plain dumb luck. But one thing's for sure - there are a lot of people who are interested in finding out more about this cool new and yes, controversial men's undershirt.
It all started back in late November when I read an article entitled The new Spanx for men?, written by London-based Times Online journalist John Waters, who shared his experience wearing the not-yet-released "core precision undershirt" for a day. It didn't take long for the flood gates of the blogsphere to open up and since that day, there have been literally hundreds of articles written about this new company and their men's shapewear products. Surprisingly, except for press releases and the CEO interviews, many of these articles somewhat mock this new product in a sense. I guess it really doesn't matter what they are saying, because people are definitely talking and Equmen is getting some awesome press and mind share because of it.
The product has jokingly been referred to as a man girdle, mirdle, Spanx for men, and control underwear. The general feeling is that most guys would not likely warm up to wearing a skin tight, slimming undershirt for fear of embarrassment and that most women wouldn't want to see their men in one. If you ask me, I think the folks writing those articles are being completely narrow minded, short sighted, and simply just don't get it.
While I might be generalizing here, it seems to be very common for people to dismiss and talk negatively about something they simply don't understand. And even more so if that something isn't considered "socially acceptable" at the time. Keep this in mind - up until the early to mid 1900's, the undershirt as we know and love it today didn't really even exist. Are you honestly prepared to go on record today saying that an undershirt designed to flatten a guy's gut and hide his love handles isn't going to be a standard wardrobe item for men in 5 or 10 years? No, I didn't think so )
For those of you who have already made fun of these undershirts - guess what - I think the joke is on you because Equmen IS the next big thing in men's slimming, compression, and performance undergarments. I applaud them for taking a category of undershirt that was once only marketed to a select group of men, combining that with the benefits of some of today's leading performance gear, and taking it mainstream. Watch out UnderArmour, Nike, Skins, and Adidas - you're about to be schooled.
Today's review is primarily about Equmen's short sleeve v-neck as it's the one I wore for an entire day not too long ago while going about my normal daily activities (also known as working). I have, however, also had the opportunity to wear their tank top/singlet and long sleeve undershirts several times over the last month, so I'll add in some commentary on my experience with those as well from time to time in the post. As with all of my other reviews, I'll use the Fit, Feel, Function, and Affordability review process.
Fit - So I'm just gonna come out and say it because it's pretty darn obvious - these undershirts (made from 73% polyester cationi, 13% nylon, 14% spandex) are designed to fit you tight. Truth is they're tough to get on, and sometimes even tougher to get off. But, if I were you, I wouldn't get hung up on that because once you manage to get one of these puppies on, you'll immediately experience some of the benefits of this tight fitting, yet surprisingly comfortable slimming undershirt. For me, I felt a good amount of support in the shoulders, arms, torso, and upper abdomen area. I also noticed feeling a little bit more confident in my appearance because the compressing effects of the medium-sized undershirt helped my shirt and pants fit a little bit looser by taking off about 1/2" from my midsection (love handles/waist area). From reading other articles like this, folks have reported experiencing a reduction of up to 3" in their waistline. It would be hard for me to say that these undershirts will fit everyone as comfortably as they did me, because it will definitely depend on how someone is built. For those who are more on the overweight side, you'll likely get more slimming effects, but at the same time, you might feel a little more constricted in one of these undershirts than someone like me who has more of an average build.
Equmen undershirts are cut extra long. The bottom reaches down to around my bottom/butt and front "lower extremities" and while I'm normally a really big fan of extra long undershirts like this, the length combined with the stretchy/snug fitting fabric created a couple of effects that I'm not completely thrilled about. First, I wound up having to tuck the Equmen into my boxers because the compressing effects forced my baggy-fitting boxers to bunch up and gather - normally I wear my undershirts on the outside of my boxers. If you're a wearer of the tighty whiteys or fitted boxers, that won't likely be a problem. Second, the bottom of the undershirt rolled up several times during the day up to my waistline. Although it never came all the way untucked, I did find myself tucking the undershirt back in from time to time as it felt more comfortable that way.
Tank Top/Singlet Notes: I've been wearing my Equmen tank top during every workout lately. I really like the extra support it provides in my upper ab area and mid section. I cannot say this concretely, but it seems as though when I'm wearing the tank, it feels a little easier to do sit ups than when I'm not. One other note, it's a lot harder to get these undershirts off when they're wet! It's like peeling off a layer of skin - but after a good workout - it actually feels great. Also, while this is not something I'd recommend from a hygiene perspective, I've worn the tank during the last 9-10 workouts without washing it (hanging dry between workouts - it drys fast), and there is absolutely no sweaty or mildewy smell to it whatsoever. It actually still smells clean! Nonetheless, I will be washing it regularly moving forward.
Long Sleeve Notes: I've worn the long sleeve version the least. It's the hardest to get on, get off, and feels the most constricting of the three. Overall, the fit is pretty good, however, the part that I notice the most is in the arm socket and underarm area. There, I can feel the seams rub up against my skin and up into my armpit and when I move my arms backward, I feel a slight pinching in the back by where the seams and my arms meet. I definitely prefer the fit of the v-neck and the tank top over the long sleeve.
Feel - I covered most of the way this undershirt feels in the fit category above with one small exception. The one thing that's really interesting about the feel of this line of undershirts is that while you would likely expect to feel a little warmer when wearing a compression garment like this, you actually feel a little cooler instead. I'm not sure exactly why that is, but when I wore the v-neck for the day, my whole upper chest area felt cool throughout the day. In fact, I felt cooler than when I wear some of my cotton undershirts! Even more surprising, that also held true when I wore the the long sleeve undershirt for a couple of hours the other day. The other notable characteristic about these undershirts is that, because of the smooth polyester/nylon/spandex fabric blend, your outer shirts will lay and slide nicely over them.
Function - I typically like to compare how a company markets the features of their undershirts to what I observe when wearing it. Here's some information from Equmen's website:
Ultimate high-performance undergarment. Engineered with Equmen's precision-fit HELIX-MAPPING™ technology, the CORE PRECISION™ UNDERSHIRT builds-in physiotherapy taping techniques to structure, support and energise the body. With seamless stitching and targeted ventilation, they fit like a second skin, delivering the ultimate fusion of fashion and function. Wear underneath any shirt, from street to sport, work to weekend.
- Improves Posture
- Supports Core Muscles
- Optimises Form
- Controls Body Temperature
- Visibly Streamlines
To be brutally honest, most of the stuff in the first paragraph above is really well written marketing copy that I really don't understand - but it sure does sound cool, doesn't it? After a little googling, I became enlightened on what physiotherapy taping techniques was. In simple terms, a physiotherapist is pretty much equivalent to a physical therapist in the U.S. and the "taping techniques" refers to ways in which those folks apply special taping and strapping materials to your arm, foot, knee or other parts of your body to aid both the treatment and prevention of injury. You ever see professional athletes getting taped up? Yep, that's it! Ah, now I get it - the crisscross ribbing (aka helix mapping) manufactured into the undershirt's design somewhat mirrors the type of support you would get from similarly applied sport taping.
As for other other things, I'll have to give some props to these folks in the function category as I personally witnessed roughly 3 out of the 5 items listed above (a little of posture & support, controlled body temperature, streamlining).
Affordability - I'll have to admit, I have never seen an undershirt manufactured with this type of precision before. It's truly remarkable to see the level of intricacy used in the design of these garments and I would love to do a follow-up article sometime showing how their Israel-based manufacturing partner puts these things together. When you figure in the cost of the materials, plus manufacturing, packaging, marketing, and retail distribution, I don't think think the $100 price tag is totally out of line.
But to be fair, it's really hard to put these undershirts in an "affordable" category. I was reading an article not too long ago with a quote from Equmen's CEO, that stated the following:
Similar technology is already popular in the performance activewear market, with brands like Under Armour, Nike and Skins offering compression underwear that helps improve athletic performance. Equmen, however, is geared toward everyday use or for special events, like weddings, when men might want a little assistance looking their best, according to the company. "Compression garments have been developed to help athletes perform at their peak. We have found that the same technologies can benefit men on an everyday basis," said Equmen chief executive officer Gavin Jones.
From my own personal experience, I would have absolutely have no hesitation to recommend having one or two of these undershirts in your waredrobe for special events as mentioned above, but I do have a hard time getting my head wrapped around the idea of throwing down around $100 a pop to buy a bunch of these for every day use. I just don't think that's very realistic at the current price point.
I will go on record saying, that I really do like wearing these undershirts while I'm working out and based on the shirt's high-tech design, I think they're a perfect fit for guys looking for an alternative to Under Armour, Nike, or Adidas compression tops.
All in all, I give the line of Equmen undershirts high marks in practically all areas. The one exception is affordability for everyday use. So, if you're looking for a cool looking, core supporting, posture improving, comfortable fitting, performance undershirt - go out and buy yourself a couple Core Precision Undershirts from Equmen!
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