Review of IMBRACE Snow: Supportive Ski & Snowboard Leggings

Jun 07, 2024 BY Luke Rees

This winter I tested some supportive ski and snowboard leggings in the hope that my knees would thank me. As a winter sports writer I spend more time snowboarding than my knees are happy with. In this review of IMBRACE Snow Leggings I talk about how these supportive base layers have helped me to snowboard longer each day.

Review of IMBRACE Snow Supportive Ski & Snowboard Leggings for Men

A quick word about my experience. I have been snowboarding for more than two decades, I often hit jumps, drop small cliffs and take on everything from a groomed piste to backcountry splitboarding adventures. I’d consider myself a fairly agressive snowboarder, riding fast, laying deep carves, and popping tricks at every opportunity.

Whether it is the constant up and down squats, the impact from jumps, slamming the brakes on at high speed or the odd tumble, snowboarding takes a toll on my knees. By the end of the second day I am almost guaranteed my knees will ache if I don’t manage them.

My doctor has said it is inflammation from over use, and prescribed ibuprofen before, during and after snowboarding. It certainly helps, but despite consuming more ‘vitamin i’ than an OAP football team, I still ache. So I wear neoprene knee supports, which help and seem to keep the inflammation at manageable levels, but they are not very comfortable.

Review of IMBRACE Snow

So this winter I tested supportive ski and snowboard leggings by IMBRACE. They have built in mid weight support around the knees, so I was excited to see if they are as good as my knee braces.

I had also been struggling with a Drum and Base injury in my lower back. I know I am probably too old for a night raving, but someone needs to show the kids how it is done… Anyway the high waist and supportive straps =promised to support my lower back. There is also support up the hips and outside of the legs.

Running in IMBRACE Supportive Ski & Snowboard Leggings

Review of IMBRACE Supportive Leggings for Running

I tried the leggings on at the London Snow Show and realised that despite being a medium for my waist, my legs were a bit too tree trunk like to get them on. Upsized to large, these supportive baselayers fit me much better.

When first putting them on, the immediate feeling was support around the knees and back. But also the tight material felt lovely on my calf muscle’s, thighs and hips. As a relatively short bloke wearing large, the three quarter length pretty much covers my calf muscles. Based on this, the first activity I tried was to go for a run.

I had been suffering with calf problems – I know I am falling apart! – and the support in this area was excellent. For a 10 km run my back felt good and I had no issues with my knees, which often start aching a lot sooner. Having spotted they also make running specific leggings I might invest in a pair.

I have run in them a few times since and had a similar experience. They are perfect for the winter jogging as they keep you nice and warm and seem to reduce my calf and knee problems. However, since spring I’ve found them too warm and sweaty, this is despite the HEIQ SMART TEMP™ thermoregulation technology.

IMBRACE Supportive Snowboarding Leggings

Of course these are designed for winter sports not running. I have used them over the last winter while snowboarding in France, Austria, Italy and Turkey. This has included piste skiing and backcountry, I have even been splitboarding and snowshoeing (carrying my snowboard) while wearing them.

Snowboarding in Val Gardena in the Dolomites

First up the level of support is excellent. I had lower back issues all winter but pulling these on and tightening the high waist straps that support my core really helped. While it did completely not stop the ache, it felt supportive and the muscle I pulled if anything felt better after a few days snowboarding that before.

I wish I could say the same about my knees. Even with vitamin i and the mid weight IMBRACE knee support they still ache, but it certainly prolongs my time riding. My dedicated knee supports do a better job, but they are thicker and have springy flexible bits on both sides of the knee that provide extra support.

During this review of IMBRACE Snow leggings I’ve found them far more comfortable than my knee support. Once I put them on I forget I was wearing them. But the level of knee support is less, if I was to put a figure on this I’d say they give me a couple of hours more pain free than no support, but a couple of hours less than the knee braces.

The only time I found the IMBRACE baselayer uncomfortable was when I wore sport boxers beneath them. Due to the tight fit, the underwear got rucked up and uncomfortable, particularly on the inner thigh. Also wearing underpants made going to the toilet using the – for a better name – piss flap, a bit tricky.

Review of IMBRACE: Leggings or Baselayer?

Billed as supportive ski and snowboard leggings, they can be worn on their own. In fact, pro skier Chemmy Alcott does just that. Of course in colder conditions you can wear your snowboard pants/salopettes over the top. But these are considered to be leggings by IMBRACE.

Chemmy Alcott wearing IMBRACE Snow Supportive Ski & Snowboard Leggings

Personally I wouldn’t wear them as stand alone leggings, they just feel too tight and revealing. Particularly in the men’s version with the obvious flap in case you need to go to the toilet. I am not sure anyone wants to see that. So running or snowboarding I have worn shorts or my usual snow pants over the top.

Also legging indicates that you wear underpants beneath them which I found uncomfortable. I tried it a couple of times with different sports underwear, the problem is the leggings are tight which makes getting your undies in the right position difficult. It may be easier with briefs, but I don’t wear them very often.

So during this review of IMBRACE Snow leggings I found myself wearing them as a baselayers. They do a great job of regulating your temperature and wicking moisture away. The only exceptions I found where running in above 15°C , and one day when I was snowshoeing in very warm temperatures. Both times I felt a little sweaty under the thicker more supportive areas.

While the IMBRACE leggings have an antibacterial treatment to keep them fresh, I still wouldn’t wear them more than a couple of days without washing them. If I was wearing underwear beneath I think they’d last a week.

So for week long ski or snowboard holidays I’d either have to wash them, or take multiple lets of leggings. I did wash the IMBRACE Leggings once in a hotel, and found they dried quickly on a bathroom towel rail. But if you have lots of ski or snowboard outerwear drying the last thing you want to do is to add to that by washing stuff.

Snowboarding in Val Gardena in the Dolomites wearing IMBRACE Snow Baselayers

IMBRACE Snow Leggings: Features

  • HIGH WAIST BAND: All about performance and injury prevention. Protection for your lower back and spine.
  • HEAT PAD POCKETS: Pockets for heat pads in the waist lining specifically target the muscles of the lower back.
  • CORE BOOST STRAPS: Tightening these straps when you start the day helps you switch on your transverse abdominal muscles. This muscle group is a key component of your core providing thoracic and spinal stability.
  • ENGINEERED PANELS: These panels cover the outer leg, thighs and hips down to the knee. Keeping your hip and thigh muscles warm, helping with alignment and reducing fatigue.
  • KNEE SUPPORT BRACES: Knee support panels offer the support of a mid-level compression knee brace without compromising comfort or flexibility.
  • NO BOOT COMPROMISE: The boot cut length ensures that there is no material inside the boot, allowing you to maintain a great feel and movement.
  • 1 YEAR GUARANTEE: Your leggings are guaranteed against manufacturing defects for 1 year.
  • HEIQ SMART TEMP™: Innovative thermoregulation technology with the ability to dynamically respond to body heat.
  • ECO FABRIC: Base Fabric 77% Recycled Nylon and 23% Spandex for 4 way stretch and comfort next to your skin.
  • REDUCED WASHING: Antibacterial treatment keeps the leggings fresh, reducing the need for frequent washing and extending their lifespan.

Supportive Ski & Snowboard Leggings: Conclusion

First up I like these IMBRACE leggings, although I personally wear them as a baselayer. They have been good for running and for snowboarding. In particular I found that they have helped with a lower back injury, persistent knee problems and I have been less prone to calf strains when running in them.

On the downside I found them uncomfortable wearing boxers underneath and a little too sweaty in warm conditions. To conclude this review of IMBRACE Snow baselayer I’d say they are good for that bit of extra support. However, these supportive ski and snowboard leggings are not as good for my knees as specific knee support.

Review of IMBRACE Snow Supportive Ski & Snowboard Leggings for women

That said, IMBRACE are a lot more comfortable than my neoprene knee braces and also help support my back. So I ended up wearing the leggings on days I expected to be easier on the knees, and then wore the braces when I planned to hit the snow park or head into the backcountry. The IMBRACE Snow Leggings are now part of my snowboarding wardrobe.

I hope you found this review of IMBRACE Snow supportive ski and snowboard leggings useful. Coming in women’s or men’s versions you can buy them for £149 direct from IMBRACE: www.imbrace.com at the time of publishing they have an end of season sale on.

 

Multi Activity, Running, Ski Touring, Skiing, Snowboarding, Splitboarding
Baselayer, Injury, Knee pain, Leggings), Legwear (Trousers, Support
Reviews
 

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