Putting in the Miles: Four Months Wearing Stoko
After 4 months of skiing, riding, hiking and running in Supportive Apparel, I’ve been reflecting on what I want from the devices, and how they have worked for me: I’m looking for support that’s superlight, doesn’t impact range of movement or waste energy through increased resistance, yet is going to protect joints during exercise, alleviate pain in my knees and lower spine after a run, ski or ride, and help me recover faster so I can get out again several days in a row.
Also, I’d really love to be able to pick something up off the floor without making the groaning sounds that my kids call “dad noises”... Though that might be asking just a little too much!
The question of range of movement and resistance is easily answered: I never feel restricted, nor do I burn energy overcoming the resistance of the fabric and cabling. Skiing in my K1s, or biking in my K1 Tempos, I back the cable tension right off when climbing, and crank it up for descents; the pants stretch freely as joints flex and extend: K1s may go on a little like a wetsuit, but they definitely don’t feel like one once you’re wearing them. There was no annoying ‘bunching’ of the fabric around joints, and knee protection for biking stays in place when wearing the K1 Tempos.
How about pain reduction in damaged joints? I’ll be blunt here. When ripping steep, rooty singletrack, skiing variable backcountry snow or running down loose, rocky trails it’s rather hard to focus on the question of whether your knees feel better in your new pair of Stoko tights! The focus tends to be more on the ripping and less on the tights. What I can do is reflect on how my body feels after activity in my K1s and K1 Tempos, compared to the same without their support.
There’s no question that I’m experiencing reduced pain and increased mobility after a day that would normally leave me hurting. There is less swelling under the kneecap, and my lower back feels like it did before activity, rather than burning and locked up; best of all, and without exception, after riding in the K1 Tempos there’s been zero sciatica in my right leg. To be free of crippling, show stopping nerve pain feels amazing. I’m getting so accustomed to it that I’ve almost stopped wondering if the pain is going to kick in.
And what about recovery time: did the tights help me ride for longer, day after day? When I’m away with friends on a road trip, I want to ski, ride, hike, or climb every day. Recovering from the previous day’s adventure is critical. On those road trips, we’ll be out four to eight hours per day—eat, sleep and repeat—and after 3 days I really start to feel it. Riding in the K1 Tempos, or skiing in K1s definitely made getting back out the next day easier. I was able to push harder, and go for more hours on more consecutive days. All in all, a massive win. In my opinion, Stoko’s K-Line products are worth their weight in gold.