For those of us living in areas that frequently experience cold weather, such as Wisconsonites like myself, the winter season usually means adding on a few extra pounds around the mid-section.

Let’s be real, no one feels like going out for a run through the woods when you’re going to be freezing your hind end off the whole time. So, we stick to indoor exercises like lifting weights with some occasional cardio worked in on the bike or treadmill.

That’s why I was excited when EC3D, the company that had me test out their fantastic compression twist socks, asked if I would like to test out some of their cold weather gear. To be honest, I didn’t know how much warmth a pair of skin tight leggings and socks would make a difference when facing off against Wisconsin winter weather. But I was willing to give them a try if it meant getting back into the running game. So I decided to throw them on and lace up my Inov-8 ROCLITE’s, and hit the trails.



As usual, I decided to dive right in with the product I was tasked with testing out by starting it in some of the most ridiculous testing environments that I could. For this particular product, this meant going for a leisurely run through the woods on a mild -13-degree F day. Yes, that said -13, and that was without windchill.

On my top, I wore a regular compression t-shirt, and a long sleeve undershirt, topped off by a nice warm hoodie. On my legs, I wore the compression tights, compression socks (normally not worn together as they overlap a few inches), and a pair of Army PT shorts.

I got out of my car, and was immediately freezing. But, not wanting to miss this great opportunity, I forced myself to start running anyway.


My lungs felt like they were forming ice crystals after the first mile. My hands were freezing, despite being tucked into the pocket of my hoodie. My eyes were watering from running in this frigid frozen wasteland. And my legs were sweating. They were warm enough that I rolled down the socks to expose an inch or two of leg to the air.

It sounds crazy, but while active, these things provided more warmth than my best sweatpants. This is because of the fabric that they are made of. The BHOT series of compression gear by EC3D is made of 55 % Polyester, 25% Elastane, 20% Merino Wool. And that merino wool makes all the difference in the world as soon as you start moving around.


Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t just go out in that type of weather just standing around in these. They really warm up once you get going. However, I have also adapted them as a great base layer when I’m just going to have to be out and about when it’s freezing cold.

The socks make a great addition of warmth when you’re trudging through snow, and the compression pants really help on days when the weatherman is referring to it as “sub-arctic conditions”.  They also provide a hefty dose of joint support, making it far less likely that you’re going to twist something and suffer an injury running around in the snow and ice. Which brings me to my next great though for the usefulness of these items.

For all of my friends freezing while on guard duty in the mountainous regions of places like Afghanistan where the average January temp is below freezing, you may want to seriously consider investing in some of these as a base layer to wear under the uniform.  They’re ten times warmer than the infamous “ninja suit” we were issued in our cold weather gear in the Army.

So, without further ado, let’s chart out the good and the bad so we can figure out if they’re worth looking into.

The GoodThe Bad
  • 20-25 mmHg for a great level of compression
  • Enhance blood circulation
  • Align and support muscles and knees
  • Help prevent injuries
  • Support the knee/ankle
  • Allow you to get outdoors even when it’s freezing
  • Can be worn under normal clothing during cold conditions for  added warmth
  • Breathable enough that they can also be used in milder temperatures
  • Comfortable material, to avoid the itchiness that comes with some compression gear
  • No real use for them if you live in a warm environment
  • Have to find somewhere to take them off if you go inside somewhere warm (when used as a base layer)

If you’re interested in picking up a pair of the EC3D BHOT compression pants, you can find them here http://ec3dsports.com/us_en/compression-tight-bhot-5855 priced at $150. Or, if you’re looking for a little less and just want to start with the BHOT compression socks, you can find them here http://ec3dsports.com/us_en/compression-socks-bhot-bkro for $65.

By Clayton Pollack

His name is Clayton. He likes long walks on the beach, the way the grass smells after it rains… Oh, sorry, wrong profile. Clay grew up in Wisconsin, spending most of his formative years studying mixed martial arts and wrestling. He joined the Army when he turned 18. He was trained in communication systems at Ft. Gordon, GA, went through Airborne school in Ft. Benning, GA, and was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, with 4th Psychological Operations Group. He served his first tour in Iraq in 05-06, and his second during the Surge from 07-08. When he left active duty, he took a job as a military contractor in VA, and joined the National Guard. He spent his time in the guard with Maryland’s 1-158 Cav LRS-C (Long Range Surveillance Company). His duties in the military included satellite and radio communications, Psychological Operations, and hand to hand combat instructor. Clay also got married during his time in VA. He and his wife moved back to Wisconsin to start a family, and now have a beautiful daughter and son. He went back to school and earned his degree as a registered nurse, and got his certification in sports nutrition. He is now working towards his Bachelor's, with a long term goal of becoming an emergency surgical Physician's Assistant. He spends his free time playing with his kids, exercising, trail running, competing in triathlons and obstacle course races, and learning new skills from interesting projects he finds. Clayton subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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