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The point of sportswear

The price tag is pretty steep, so just how necessary is it?

The world of exercise can come along with its whole set of gear and it does make one wonder: just how crucial it is to shell out at least 3,000 baht for a pair of support leggings? Only a few names dominate this market, with Japan's CW-X long leading the pack -- albeit unsurprisingly, what with the country's known advancement in technology and innovation. For those outside the athlete loop, this name may be obscure, but has actually been on sale in Thailand for over a decade. Founded in 1991, this Japanese brand under the Wacoal umbrella, officially known as "Conditioning Wear", is actually the first in the world to offer sportswear that supports both the muscles and the joints. With their Human Science Research Center that has been studying how the body moves for over 40 years, the brand has an extensive knowledge as to how bone, joint and muscle should be moving.

According to Kanchit Srivicha, Thailand's CW-X brand manager, in the past people would use the technique of taping along the joints to enhance their physical performance, before sports apparel was available. "That sometimes falls off though, or only offers support in specific areas," he says. The Fantastic Four from the trip express in unison that these textiles do help although there's no concrete rule, so wear what you are most comfortable with.

But there's no denying to the science behind it, and Kanchit explains it in a simple manner that the whole point of these designs is to "reduce vibration against the human body and compress muscles so they move as little as possible. This is crucial because the less they move, the slower they get tired. With everything in place, this also ensures your blood flows to run more efficiently, which reduces lactic acid build-up, which is what causes muscle soreness".

For footballers like Chanathip "Messi Jay" Songkrasin, who makes around 300,000 baht a month, the cost of this gear is a small price to pay for prolonged endurance and prevention of potential injuries, notes Kanchit. With the perfect fit and state of equilibrium offered, athletes will also become more balanced and less prone to overexerting forces on one side of the body. Interestingly, the brand is quite popular among farmers in Japan, whom like it for the muscle support while they work on their land. Maybe the new limited edition (and dizzying) Revolution prints that celebrate the brand's 25th anniversary cheer them up on the field, but there's also solid black pieces with minimal coloured lining if you're more on the quiet side.

Find CW-X at speciality shops such as CW-X Shop, Plus Nine Shop or Atoms Shop, or the sports sections at leading department stores.

The cost is a small price to pay for prevention of potential injuries

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