From what I understand, a guy named Steve Petiit invented the product back in 2005 after sitting in an ice bath. In 2010 he sold the company to the folks at 110%, who have since made further developments with the product. Cool idea, if you pardon the pun.
According to the 110% web site, Transformer Shorts “combine the benefits of compression and the power of an ice bath in a single piece of gear, and target the hips, quadriceps, hamstrings IT band and glutes.”
Compression gear for recovery is something I’ve been doing for quite some time. I’m also a fan of soaking in a cold (not necessarily icy) bath after a tough workout or race. The concept of combining compression clothing with ice is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” ideas…
So, onto the product review and to find out whether the shorts actually do what they’re supposed to do.
The shorts come packed in a square-shaped thermal bag. The bag is not only a nice storage option, but is designed to keep the included ice inserts cold for up to six hours. At first glance the shorts look like most other compression shorts on the market – black, stretchy spandex/polypropylene fabric with a bold 110% logo on the back of the left leg. However, on closer inspection, the shorts feature several strategically placed icing pockets that transforms them from high performance compression gear to an active recovery system in one simple step.
The reusable ice inserts (6 were included with the shorts) are easily prepared for their first use – simply soak the sheets in warm water for 5-10 minutes until the cells expand, dry them off, then place in the freezer with the cloth side up. The thermal bag will keep them frozen for up to 6 hours, or if placed in the shorts should stay cold for about an hour.
It’s important to place the inserts with the black side facing the body. The inserts can be cut to size if required, then are simply slipped into the required icing pocket on the shorts.
For heat therapy, 110% state that the inserts can be warmed in a microwave for approximately 15 seconds before being placed into an ice pocket.
The shorts are pretty easy to put on (unlike some other compression brands on the market), and for the most part, very comfortable. They fit great in the waist (no drawstring to rip in to the belly fat) and provide an excellent level of compression to the glutes and thighs. The only negative is a seam that runs up both legs and across the front of the shorts. Maybe it’s me, but it just feels odd.
I’ve worn the shorts after several runs in the last week or so and am really pleased with the results. The gradient compression is not only super supportive, but if the marketing hype is to be believed, provides increased circulation and mobility. The ice inserts are a breeze to insert, and definitely help keep post-run swelling and pain at bay.
If I can get over the odd placement of the front seam, I’ll definitely try the shorts on a run sometime soon. The fabric is moisture wicking, and I’m sure the extra stability and muscle support will feel great.
Check out the video below for a closer look at the 110% Transformer Short, and be sure to take a look at the other great products on the 110% Play Harder web site.