At first, when I discovered compression socks, I didn't pay much attention to them at all. I thought it was another triathlon fad that would soon fade away. Well it's been several years and it hasn't gone away.
I didn't know there was a science and selection process, so to speak, when it comes to compression socks. This involves getting your calf size. Then you have to try and put your foot, shin, and calf into a sock that was specifically made to be tighter than your calf. It is not uncomfortable. This very different process makes testing a unique process.
I started to wear them around the house casually at first to see if I could feel any difference. But, after a hard speed workout, or a long run, I put them on and I noticed that my legs were not as fatigued as they would normally be. I thought that was very interesting and I then wanted to use them on a long plane ride and then follow up with a long, run once I got situated in my hotel room. Again, I was surprised to see that I felt more refreshed than I normally would by doing the same thing. The only thing that changed was wearing the socks!
The key benefit is compression socks improve blood flow and circulation, this extends your endurance and peak performance. Compression socks also help prevent blood pooling. Another great benefit that is provided with compression is muscle containment. Isolating the movement of the muscle creates efficiency so that the muscle can endure more strain over long periods of time.
This sock review captures 5 companies that have a high quality compression offering.
This review is done on a scale of 1-5, five is the highest rating. The review is focused on:
2XU- Men’s Elite Compression Sock
This is an incredibly comfortable compression sock with a snug fit. Compression socks can be tricky to put on and this one is the easiest to get on, and when running this sock stays around the calf snug with no slipping. It does not slide down during activity intense activity. This sock has a unique circular knit that I have not experienced in any other sock. This is a type of diagonal structure that hugs the calf in a way that is not confining. This sock has the ability to maintain and support while still allowing the muscle to move smoothly. This is a complimentary structure that seems to be working with calf muscle geometry. I have run long distances in it and felt the benefit of muscle containment. This sock is also great for recovery. I have put this sock on with pants and kept it on for hours running errands or going to meetings after intense training. These are great during activity and after. I can tell when I get done with a workout and remove the socks because my calves tingle, this tells me they are working. This sock is not Left foot Right foot specific. I really like the diagonal weave it feels like it is assisting my muscles in movement and blood flow. The construction around the ankle is fitted perfectly so when the sock is on it stays in the same position and does not shift around the foot.
This sock is incredibly durable and stays together with multiple washings. The sock is well worth the price.
Cost- $59.95 US.
CEP- Compression Sock-Classic
I started to wear them around the house casually at first to see if I could feel any difference and I couldn't feel a difference doing that. But, after a hard speed workout, or a long run, I put them on and I noticed that my legs were not as fatigued as they would normally be. I thought that was very interesting and I then wanted to use them on a long plane ride and then follow up with a long, run once I got situated in my hotel room. Again, I was surprised to see that I felt more refreshed than I normally would by doing the same thing. The only thing that changed was wearing the socks.
This compression sock is available for SKIING/RIDING. The SKI/RIDE version sock has extra material in the shin and ankle for comfort inside of a boot. If you participate in skiing or snowboarding you need to experience CEP compression. The sock helps with recovery and muscle fatigue and I noticed a great advantage wearing this. CEP socks are left and right foot specific. This sock needs to be put on carefully. The box comes with very clear instructions to reach in and pull the heel out and put the toes into the sock first and then work the rest of the sock up the calf. This is a high quality sock that is light weight and very durable.
Cost- $59.95 US
Sockwell is a new category for compression. This is not a sock you would use for running. This is a stylish sock with great fit and design. More material goes into this sock so it is not light weight. This is best titled casual compression. With all the different things that athletes have going on this is the wardrobe sock. This is great for a long day after a workout where the benefits of compression are needed with some matching color that is not black or white. The socks tested here are gray with white stripes. This is a graduated compression offering in and very comfortable sock. These are a nice cool weather socks that adds some warmth and style.
"Our goal with Sockwell is to craft therapeutic socks that combine natural, high performance yarns, cutting edge knitting techniques, and a fresh eye for design and color," according to Mercedes Marchand, Goodhew's VP of Design and Merchandising.
This company was my first introduction to the compression sock world. Made in the USA Swiftwick is a company that is truly bringing the benefits of compression performance to the masses. These socks are not left right specific. The thing that I enjoy the most with this product is that all the socks have the compression benefit. I thought compression was just in socks that are above the calf. Swiftwick has shorter socks that still provide the benefits of compression. The key with a compression sock that is shorter is it prevents blood pooling. I have really enjoyed wearing several of these socks the full compression and the no show and the 4 inch. With different lengths this gives a choice for some good shorter socks on the bike that will still provide some compression benefit. Swiftwick has a broad style offering that is sure to catch your eye.
Zoot- ULTRA compression RX
This is the tightest sock of the bunch. This is what you want if you really need the squeeze. This sock is thin and sturdy. This sock is tougher to get on. This sock is left and right foot specific, very durable and light weight. I would recommend this sock mostly for recovery. For my larger calves it did not stay around the calf during activity without falling down. This handles multiple washes without breaking down. Zoot has recovery dialed in with their full line of products that are specific to the recovery process. (Check out the recovery specific tights, they are essential for your post event recovery that covers not only your lower legs but also your quads, gluts, etc.)
Cost- $60.00 US