A supportive, comfortable baselayer / light compression top, says Kieran Alger, but the science of the stripes is difficult to measure.

One of the more high-tech running tops I’ve tested, the adidas Techfit Control X RHEON Long Sleeve Top is part of the adidas x RHEON Labs Techfit collection. This is a running and training top designed for HIIT, running and weightlifting – but with a difference. It features strategically placed stripes of reactive super polymer that aims to limit energy loss when we’re getting explosive. The question is, how does that actually relate to running performance?

Men’s Fitness verdict

This is a top with big budget behind it and some bold claims to match. While the energy-boosting benefits aren’t immediately noticeable, it is at least a very good long sleeve option.
  • The mild compression is nice and supportive
  • Strong fabric has good durability
  • Hard to be sure whether the technology makes a difference
  • Unforgiving, tight fit not for the body-conscious

How we test running tops

Kieran Alger is a running fanatic and professional run-tester. He tested this running top, as well as those featured in our buyer’s guide, over a wide range of distances, terrains and even countries. One test took him to an Italian ultramarathon; while others were conducted on the towpaths of West London, where he lives.

model wearing Adidas Techfit Control x RHEON Long Sleeve top

Show your stripes

According to the white coats at RHEON Labs, when we perform high-energy movements our muscles can become misaligned from their most efficient path. We’re talking fine margins here of course but in effect, your body starts to work against you.

RHEON says its stripes technology counteracts that with responsive support during those high-energy movements that limits the unwanted movement, focusing your muscles’ energy when you need it most and helping you to eke out those marginal gains.

When it comes to this thick, long sleeve training top, those strips are placed across the upper back and shoulders. It uses a blend of recycled polyester and elastane that provides low-to-medium compression – and the fit is very, very snug. 

Comfortable, but tech benefits unclear

Does the RHEON tech create a noticeable difference? That’s hard to say. I wasn’t able to feel much benefit from this top while running. If you’re judging it on whether it’s comfortable and supportive, it ticks those boxes. You get an overall sense of armoured-up security like you do with best compression tops. 

What you’ve got with the adidas Techfit Control X RHEON is a top with good next-to-skin comfort, helped by flatlock seams. It’s not the most breathable running top I’ve tested. That thick fabric is quite hot to run in. Good for winter, but not so great when the temperatures rise. 

It comes in eight sizes from XS to XXXXL which is great for finding a dialled-in fit. It’s antimicrobial treated, too, so there’s anti-stink smarts. Speaking of which, it can be washed up to 30 degrees and tumble dried on a low heat.