Complimenting the Skins bottoms is the Skins Sport Long Top. People wonder what the top is compressing, if it somehow is compressing the torso and constricting breathing. The answer is no. As with the Skins Sport Long Tights and Sox, there is graduated compression in the limbs. That is, the compression is greatest by the wrists and gradually reduces as the arms go up to the shoulder. As with the tights, the paneling on the arms contributes to the compression.
The torso, while snug is trim-fitting for better support, not for compression. The panel design follows the sides of the body in a way that allows for maximum freedom when active while giving a little help ...the compression benefit is optimized when the garment is worn directly against your skin... on posture while standing still.
The material is a wicking microfiber woven in a warp knit. Not only does it stretch in a consistent fashion, but it is also extremely durable. The panel design was devised to help cradle muscles and hold them in place, which is good for not only recovery, but for doing sports that create lots of muscle oscillation (shaking).
If you want to read up on the science behind using compression tops for recovery, Skins uses their website to publish a fair amount of research that backs up their claims. While not the most exciting reading, you can get into the nitty-gritty and decide for yourself. Even shorter is to state that Skins compression gear post-exercise can reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, speed the removal of lactic acid, improve body thermoregulation. Wearing for travel can also ease the swelling associated with airplane flight. For people engaged in sports where the muscles shake a lot (think of your arms mountain biking), Skins can increase muscle endurance.
Skins compression gear has made inroads into pro cycling. Skins sponsors Columbia-Highroad, Bissell, Rabobank, USA Cycling, Cycling Australia, and Kenda Pro Cycling, among others. They're pulling on the stuff after stages to speed recovery. Might even be sleeping in the stuff. The Skins people tell us they use the tights for travel and standing around in addition to post-exercise recovery.
Skins Sport Long Sleeve Top is designed to be the layer next to your skin. If you're going to wear a shirt or jersey, it goes over the Skins. Skins recommends washing in cold water either by hand or in a machine on gentle cycle and air drying. If you're between sizes or on the edge of sizes size up, which is the reverse of what they recommend for people between sizes on their bottoms.