Born Primitive: X-Factor Sports Bra

Born Primitive is an athlete favorite brand for most gym workouts. They typically make gear for CrossFit gyms, but, their clothes are generally sturdy enough for tough OCR-based workouts. I’ve noticed that their clothes don’t stretch, and colors stay nice and vibrant, even through most washes. Not only that, but BP fans can get a kick out of a multitude of variety in their selection, which is arguably some of the sexiest apparel that is also completely functional.

One thing that I appreciate about the brand is that they keep us pretty in-the-know when it comes to releasing new products. One of their more recent products is listed in the title: the x-factor sports bra.

As soon as I saw it, I thought that it looked perfect for what I needed. It almost has a similar build to the new Human Octane “superhero” series bra. The Born Primitive sports bra itself focuses on a more supportive build, with a longer band and thicker straps. The backing also has many straps so you can ensure that everything is going to stay in place. When I noticed that the website advertised it as something that also can be doubled as swimwear, I thought it would be fantastic for staying in place in the dunk wall.

Product Features

 

The X-Factor sports bra is 87% nylon and 13% lycra for a lightweight and comfortable feel. The edges of the back (not where the “x” is formed) is made out of a mesh material; between that and the open back look, the sports bra is really breathable, even given it’s thicker material. The length is longer and the straps are thicker to provide more coverage.

This Sportsbra also features a slight v-neck, and there are removable pads for those who prefer to have even more support in the sports bra. Because this sports bra provides an emphasis on support, if you are not expecting it, it may feel a little tight around the waistband. I like to save this sports bra for wearing to a race or during intense workouts, but maybe less for lazing around in big t-shirts.

I was a little concerned with my original thought of it being doubled as a swimsuit, I was thinking it was going to be more of a dry-fit material (never-mind that the website clearly has the other material listed, I just wasn’t paying attention!). This sports bra held up very well in the dunk wall, mud, and whatever else I threw at it in the Spartan Race.

Product Usage

I first wore this sports bra to a few workouts. I like to use Yancy Camp to train, which can combine many vigorous exercises into one beautiful, terrible, monstrosity. A lot of times with cheaper, or less specialized sports bras, when you hit a certain level of sweatiness, you feel like your sweat is bleeding through. I did not feel this way about the Born Primitive X-Factor; I felt dry and supported throughout the entire workout.

This was purchased the for race day specifically. I don’t know about you, but once I establish some kind of “race day” outfit, it gets me in the zone. The black X-factor sports bra looks pretty intense, so I got my hands on that one. I put it on and instantly felt ready to take on the day. The first race to which I wore this was the Spartan race in Virginia. First of all, the way it makes me feel is awesome. It looks really cool being paired with even more black.. but that’s just me.

One of the first obstacles that we encountered was the dunk wall. This was the one that I was the most nervous about. I jumped in and, other than the fact that the water was seriously cold, I felt great. Actually, the thicker band made me feel a little bit warmer than I could have otherwise.

Another obstacle that I noticed a difference on throughout this obstacle was surprisingly the bucket brigade. I’m one of those women who usually wear sports bras as my top if the weather allows. On the bucket brigade, I like to hold the bucket close to my torso. This is usually helpful for my grip, but it pulls at my sports bra. Maybe that’s just me. Because the X-Factor has a slight v-neck to it, the bucket did not pull on it at all! I thought that was really awesome.

Lastly, the X-Factor just looks cool. I got several compliments on it, especially for the way that the back of the sports bra looks. If Born Primitive knows how to do anything, it’s making cool-looking sports bras.

Pros

  • Cool looking back design that features a big cross and meshing
  • Longer band for more coverage
  • Small v-cut in the front that prevents slipping on that dang bucket carry
  • Very supportive design
  • Durable; can maintain shape and structure throughout long races and difficult workouts
  • Comes in multiple colors.

Cons

  • Not necessarily dry-fit material
  • Thicker; although great for colder races, may not be the best if you are looking for something lightweight
  • Can’t buy in stores; if you’re interested, you have to buy online. So, you would not be able to try it on before you buy it.

Conclusion

Born Primitive’s X-Factor Sportsbra is fantastic for high-intensity workouts. It has really high support with a longer band for durability, and an open back that includes a mesh detail for breathability. I would not wear this if you were doing something more relaxed, or just around the house. I wouldn’t want to wear this with a lot of layers, because the long line would be uncomfortable. But, for wearing this as a top for an OCR, the X-Factor has shown what it takes to compete in an Obstacle Course Race.

Buy one here

 

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight
4.3 / 5 Overall
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Features
Durability
Fit
Wicking
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Finding the perfect compression pant is like a quest for the Holy Grail. There are so many brands out there claiming to be superior to all the others that it gets exhausting. I stumbled across several OCR athlete’s wearing Second Skin, Marena, 2XU, and Human Octane, to name a few, on social media and in race photos so I had an idea where to begin. I bought a pair of 2XU compression pants to start, however they weren’t super comfortable and I didn’t want to race in pants that I was constantly worried about so I kept looking and stumbled across a pair of Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights at Dick’s Sporting Goods. These pants fit incredibly well. The compression was tight, yet comfortable, providing instant relief for tired legs. The contour waistband was a nice departure from either extreme low-rise waists or muffin top inducing bands on other brands. These pants were so comfortable and effortlessly stayed in place during workouts, runs, and muddy races, that they literally felt like second skin. Cheesy, I know, but so true. These pants also kept me incredibly warm, despite the ice buckets and frigid water I ran in and out of during races. The best part about these pants is I had ZERO chaffing, zero!

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Features

Compression

These pants boast double layered panels for support in key areas like quads and hamstrings, reduced chaffing, increased recovery, breathability and a hidden pocket which is great for storing a gel or a key. While there is nothing super innovative, these pants perform as described, unlike competitors who list more features. A prime example is Second Skin’s contoured waistband. Other companies list similar features, yet fall short in fit and comfort when it comes to the waistband. Female athletes deserve a great fitting compression pant that doesn’t leave them looking like a busted can of biscuits at the waistband.

Fit

I really appreciated the length on these. At 5’3, it is difficult to find OCR or running pants that aren’t too long. With a 27.25” inseam and lots of flexibility in the fabric for a compression, these pants are great for shorter females as well as average height. I purchased them in a small and they fit true to size and fit extremely well through the thighs and butt, accommodating those of us who lift weights as well. I really liked the fact that there was no awkward waist gap as well. The compression factor on these was perfect. You don’t have to pry them on and peel them off, but they are definitely tight and supportive and I felt the difference.

Quick Dry

While these pants do a good enough job wicking water and sweat, this is where they have some room for improvement. Wicking is decent, however if you get wet or sweat a lot, they fall short at being a quick dry pant. To Second Skin’s credit though, they don’t claim that the pant is a quick dry, just wicking. I would really love to see Second Skin improve on the dry time on these pants.

Odor Control

True to their word, Second Skin QUATROFLX compression pants never got even the slightest bit smelly even through sweat and mud. I have worn these on runs in temperatures between 80-85 degrees in Georgia and you could tell they had been worn. Odor control comes in handy even more when you wash laundry, as I didn’t have to wash them twice to get the smell out. Anyone who runs races knows that you inevitably get that stinky piece of gear and fortunately these pants aren’t them.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Usage

The design of these is nothing innovative, just another pair of black pants, but they felt like much more than that once on. I broke these in on leg day first with the assumption that if I couldn’t move around well in them doing squats and deadlifts, then I certainly couldn’t run or climb over walls comfortably in them. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get overly hot while wearing them since I prefer to wear shorts. I was able to perform lifts comfortably and didn’t even notice I had long pants on due to the breathability. I took them on several runs next to test them out to see how my legs felt after some speed work and longer runs. I definitely felt a difference with the compression support, particularly in my quads and glutes. I really felt like I recovered better after wearing these.

I wore them on several runs from treadmill to trail with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees to 82. During the cold runs, the pants get me much warmer with the temperature regulation and provided ventilation during the hot runs to keep me from overheating. I wore these during my first two OCR events this year, the Bonefrog Talladega and The Georgia Spring Savage. During the Bonefrog, there wasn’t any water or mud, but I did get some water on me at a water station, and it took quite a while to dry. While Second Skin never claims that these pants are designed to be quick dry, they are supposed to be wicking. This seems to be the only drawback to these pants, but they wicked well enough for quick dry to not be a major issue on a drier course. I was super grateful for these pants during the rope climb as I didn’t feel one bit of the rope against my skin. I was concerned though, that I would end up with a rip on my pants at some point due to all the wooden walls and logs I had to climb over and under but they held up tremendously. They still looked brand new afterwards.

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Durability

Unlike Bonefrog, Savage was full of water, ice, and mud. These pants were definitely put to the test here. While they never seemed to dry quickly enough, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm they kept me despite being wet. I also had plenty of traction from them when going over walls or up ramps, unlike other brands that get slippery and hinder performance.

I have worn these, washed, and dried too many times to count at this point and they have still retained their original shape. Despite going through two OCRs, being submerged in cold, muddy water, slammed on logs and wood walls, under barbed wire, etc. these pants still look and feel brand new. There has been no stretching of material, no pulling, no nicks or scrapes from wood obstacles, nothing! These pants are more durable than some that are twice the price.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Super flattering and functional fit
  • Compress is tight and effective but not suffocating
  • Temperature control is great for OCR races that have extreme temperature shifts
  • Extremely durable against all types of environments

Cons

  • Lacks sufficient quick dry
  • Colors aren’t as innovative as the competition

 

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Conclusion

The Second Skin QUATROFLX tights  are a great pair of compression pants that will get through obstacle course races without rips and scrapes. The lack of quick dry wasn’t a deal breaker for me as it provides enough wicking for average sweat during a run. If you are wearing these for OCR, the temperature control outweighs the fact that they take longer to dry since they provide warmth coming out of cold water obstacles and cooling ability for wear during warmer months, even in the south. I will definitely be adding more Second Skin compression gear to my gym bag.

 



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Sarah Hetzel

Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Review

Inov-8 X-Talon 230
4.5 / 5 Overall
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Water Draining
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Ask any racer what their most important gear is on race day, and you can be certain the majority will give you the same answer: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” And there is no more recognized brand in OCR, than Inov-8. Their proven history of quality shoes, for all running and race types, has culminated with the newest iteration of their original trailblazer shoe – The Inov-8 X-Talon 230. I reached out to Inov-8 for a chance to review their newest release, and was psyched to have them at my doorstep this past week. Let’s see what they’re made of.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Features

PHENOMENAL GRIP

“New industry-leading STICKY GRIP™ rubber delivers better traction than its predecessor over both wet and dry underfoot conditions.” Inov-8 calls these shoes “The next generation of trail running shoes.” They have an aggressive 6mm stud, which made my snow, mud, and ice filled run seem like it was a trail on a sunny Spring weekend. If you’re like me, you are constantly looking for the next solid step when running through questionably steady terrain, the X-Talon’s offer a sturdiness in my step that I haven’t felt in another shoe. When you stop worrying about how each step may compromise your footing, you can truly enjoy your run, regardless of the conditions. The X-Talon’s helped me make easy work of loose mud and snow on the trails.

RENOWNED GRIP

Iconic 8mm studs not only claw through soft terrain but also hold firm on harder ground. The X-Talon’s grip excels on unstable ground, as well as in the gym. Traversing streams, doubling back over trails full of mud, or tackling an 8 ft wall, the X-Talon held on like no other shoe I’ve worn before. And those studs were perfect for climbing a rope.

INCREASED PROTECTION

Second-generation META-PLATE is a rock plate that protects the underfoot from sharp rocks. We’re all kids inside, aren’t we? If you’re like my and my inner child I am constantly jumping from rock to rock as I am out on the trail. The protection built into the X-Talon shoes allows me to save my arches as I mountain goat around in the wilderness.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Durability

Right out of the box, the X-Talon shows off its tough build and durable form. The materials of the shoe wrap around your foot, like it was custom molded for my appendages. It’s flexibility allows for ease of movement while I run, while still protecting my toes from being caught on jutting rocks, or rogue branches hanging off the occasional fallen log. The X-Talon is wrapped in durable materials around the side, and toes, which will hopefully prevent tearing, and blowouts – an issue I’ve had with my wide feet in the past.

Pros

  • Amazing grip on almost all terrain.
  • Much soft, more cushioned steps as compared to past X-Talon releases
  • Sturdy design and durable materials ensure they’ll last me the race season and beyond.

Cons

  • Inov-8’s “precision fit”is a slim design and may not fit all peoples individual footprint. I usually have to go up a size to get a fit that doesn’t crunch my toes together.
  • The X-Talon is heavier than other OCR shoes, weighing in at 230g.
  • Sorry Inov-8, you still haven’t mastered my adesire to run full speed on ice.

 

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Conclusion

In the past I was an avid fan of Inov-8’s Trailroc Series shoes. They were versatile, had a good grip, and performed well in all weather but lacked protection, and a good landing surface for heavy footed runners like myself. The X-Talon fills those gaps and more. They’ve delivered in the brutal, sometimes menopausal weather of New England. There’s nothing like a clean pair of new shoes fresh out of the box, but the first thing I wanted to do was get these babies dirty. I was in the mud and show as fast as I could lace these shoes up, and I couldn’t be happier with them. I see them becoming an extremely popular shoe for this upcoming obstacle course season. For me, they have the perfect balance of soft landing, with base level protection, grip, and pliability for everything we do on a typical race weekend.



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Sarah Hetzel

Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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