So the other day, I polled my Facebook followers by asking, “How many of you use or have used compression socks? Did you feel a difference or no?” My statuses on Facebook get posted to Twitter automatically, and my phone almost instantly started going nuts. Man, when you ask the right question, you sure do get a response!
I asked the question for two reasons: (1) I’ve seen the “hype” and wanted to know how many people used compression gear and (2) to see when it was that they preferred to wear them. Thanks to FitFluential, I was chosen to receive two pairs of Pro Compression socks and review them, which gave me the perfect opportunity to see if these really work. I will admit, I was skeptical, and I just assumed that, most of the time, they were just worn for “the look” (whatever that “look” may be, haha). I had never considered wearing them before, but after reading up on why they may work, I decided that now was as good a time as any to try them out. I was already starting to foam roll to improve my muscle recovery, so why not try the compression socks, too?
So why are they all the rage in the running community?
Compression socks may improve oxygen delivery to muscles, speed up lactic acid removal, and compress (therefore, stabilize) the lower leg for greater muscle efficiency.
Initially, compression socks were used post-op as a treatment for edema (accumulation of fluid under the skin), varicose veins, spider veins, and deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).
It is theorized that by using compression socks, muscles are kept more compact; therefore, balance and proprioception (sense of relative position and strength/effort during movement) improve and muscle fatigue decreases.
Studies have not been substantiated in terms of providing evidence that compression socks improve circulation during a run; however, they have found that gradual compression does improve by-product (e.g., lactic acid) transportation, which may speed up recovery after strenuous exercise.
When I asked my fellow runners how they felt about their compression socks, if they had ever tried them, and the response I got was mainly of pure excitement. Haha. I didn’t get a single negative response. Every person that responded, aside from those that had never tried them, mentioned their favorite time to wear them.
The same types of responses came flooding in on Twitter. Apparently, compression is the way to go. The one thing I noticed most, though, was that nearly everyone mentioned that they used their compression socks/sleeves as a part of recovery. I only saw a few people mention that they loved wearing them while they run. Why?
They gave swelling nowhere to go, and they felt too tight to wear while running.
Makes complete sense.
So my take on compression socks?
The first day I got them, I took them for a spin while I ran.
I wore them for a 30-minute run, and I’ll be completely honest with you: my legs felt tight and I didn’t feel any sort of difference in terms of muscle endurance and/or efficiency. That night, however, after a little foam rolling earlier that day, I threw them back on and tossed a second pair to my sister to try.
As a recovery tool?
I actually wore them overnight that night, and my legs felt refreshed after I took them off that morning. My sister mentioned that she, too, saw a difference in how her legs felt (and she hadn’t run). Of course, everyone is different and recovery tools work in different ways for each of us, so running with them on could absolutely work for others. Wearing them during my run didn’t change the run for me – for better or for worse – but did improve my recovery. Pro Compression just joined my recovery crew.
I think it’s important for those of us trying new gear to remember that there will never be one specific tool that miraculously improves our running. Gear is meant simply to assist in the hard work we put forth in our training, and what works for one runner may not work for another. If you’re looking to try compression socks, I absolutely recommend Pro Compression. If you’re interested in trying them, Pro Compression has offered 40% off and free shipping with the code FIT40. It’s good until December 15th, so get on it.
Do you use compression gear? If so, when?
**I was not compensated for this post. FitFluential & Pro Compression provided two pairs of compression socks for my use to review. All opinions expressed are my own.**