If you are familiar with compression socks, you know it’s quite a struggle to put them on or off. But, let me tell you, they are worth such effort. Compression socks are specially tailored hosiery and it’s designed to prevent medical conditions like deep vein thrombosis, edema, and phlebitis and improve the condition of the patient suffering from such disorders. But people also wear them to perform better in sports and comfort. Because compression stockings exert a significant amount of pressure compared to normal stocking which helps the blood vessels work better and also prevent your legs from getting tired.
Compression therapy is an ancient concept, as early as the Neolithic period (5000-2500 BCE). The ancient text shows that Hippocrates, Galen, and Oribassius treated conditions like leg ulcers and blood pooling in the leg with tight bandages. This tight bandage is also used in Medieval ages. Recent discoveries of their health benefits encourage athletes to wear them during their performance.
What are Compression Socks?
The primary difference between ordinary and compression socks is the remarkable amount of pressure that is applied all-around your legs by compression socks. These socks are snug-fitting and apply gentle pressure. You will find different types of compression stockings and differentiated by height, pressure level, and purpose. There are gradient and anti-embolism compression socks. The later type of socks is for someone who has had surgery recently and has to stay in bed. These socks will prevent blood pooling in the leg and thus vein thrombosis.
For athletes and normal people, the gradient type compression stockings are suggested. Compression sleeves are also available and they are just the tubing without the foot. Some socks are knee-high and others are up to the thigh. Pressure ratings of such socks are mentioned in the product description as there are different compression classes of compression stockings.
How Does Compression Work?
Compression socks feature stronger elastics and squeeze harder than a traditional dress or athleisure stockings. By compressing the surface vein, arteries, and muscles the blood rushing through the leg is forced to pass down a comparatively narrow channel and they get a boost to push blood back to your heart. As a result, more blood returns to the heart and it reduces the chance of accumulating blood in the leg. Since an increased amount of blood returns to the heart, fresh oxygenated blood accesses the leg and it reduces fatigue and pain.
The compression socks and sleeves are popular among athletes because it is believed that better blood flow will help get oxygen to their muscles, and the support will help prevent tissue damage during activities. Also, the increased blood and lymph circulation will help their muscles recover quickly and prevent ache and cramp.
Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks for Running
Although the athletes consider compression garments as a performance booster, the clinical studies show mixed results. In theory, the advantages of gradual compression around limbs is increased oxygen delivery to the muscles, improved blood circulation to the heart, and quick removal of lactic acid. A lot of research has been conducted on the subjects, studying the effects of compression socks on performance and recovery under different conditions and socks. Some claimed confidently that their performance was enhanced where other groups experienced no difference at all. There is another hypothesis that compression socks may decrease muscle vibration caused by impact.
However, there is enough evidence that compression gear reduces muscle soreness and fatigue and produces faster lactate recovery. The gradient type stocking with pressure greatest at the ankle and gradually decreasing shows promising results. Besides, there is no evidence of any adverse effect associated with compression hosiery. Also, there are other health benefits like preventing blood clotting, blood pooling in the leg, and varicose veins of wearing these socks. So, you should give compression stocks a try to find out whether they give you an edge.
Best Compression Socks for Running
CEP Tall Compression Socks
CEP is a sister concern of Medi, a prominent brand of innovative medical products for over 65 years. Every product from CEP combines the expertise and knowledge in sports and medicine to ensure better performances and a positive effect on the human physique.
CEP 3.0 compassion socks feature improved design, fit, and high-quality yarn. The asymmetrical toe-box has seamless toe closure, and it prevents blisters from shoes. The material used for these socks is 85% polyamide and 15% Spandex. This tough and durable fabric is lightweight and breathable. Also, the high tech fabric can interact with body temperature and deactivate cooling when the body is not sweating.
The CEP stockings have rib patterns in front of the shin which allows air to flow. They are anatomically designed to fit properly and provide better arch and ankle stabilization. The CEP socks stop swelling and speed up recovery as they increase blood flow by 40%. Excellent moisture control systems keep your feet dry during running and other activities.
- Athletic fit
- Anatomical design
- Durable and lightweight material
- Superior elasticity
- Air circulation and thermal management
- No odor control measures.
2XU Vectr Full-Length Compression Socks for Running
2XU consults with industry experts and the Australian Institute of Sport scientific researchers to design the best product possible. This brand is popular among sports teams and athletes over 40 countries.
2XU Vectr compression socks incorporate X-Lock compression technology that holds the foot in proper alignment to improve stabilization and optimize movement across a range of activities. Anatomically designed, 2XU Vectr gradient compression socks have light cushioning without the bulk to support the arch and plantar fascia. They also increase blood circulation to improve performance and muscle recovery. The toe-cage is the seamless and anti-abrasion type to protect blister forming and comfort. The mesh panels of the socks improve breathability.
To control odor, POLYGIENE permanent anti-bacterial fabric treatment is adopted. 2XU Vectr stockings have unisex sizing.
- Permanent odor control treatment
- Light cushioning for extra comfort
- Arch and plantar fascia support
- Mesh ventilation panels
- Anti abrasive seamless toe closure
- Unable to keep your foot warm in cold condition.
Zensah Tech+ Compression Socks
From seasoned athletes to the floundering one, Zensah Tech+ socks are appreciated due to the innovative design and super comfortable fit. You can use these compression socks for running, gym exercises, or any daily life activities and you will appreciate their quality. Zensah is based in South Florida and was founded in 2004. Zenshah’s compression accessories are trusted by the Olympic gold medalists; NBA, MLB, and NFL athletes.
Zensah Tech+ Compression stockings are anatomically designed for the left and right foot individually to ensure a perfect fit. The toe box is seamless which reduces the chances of blisters, chafing, and promotes ultimate comfort. For arch support and ankle stabilization in the targeted areas, the Zensah stockings have zone ribbing in each pair. These socks apply pressure gradient which is a greater amount of compression in the ankle area of the compression sock than in the calf area for better blood circulation.
Zensah Tech+ socks are knitted in a 200 needle count machine and so, the fabric is more durable and denser. Also, this fabric wicks moisture to control temperature and it is lightweight.
- Anatomically designed for the left and right foot separately.
- Dense and durable fabric
- To keep your foot cold, the fabric wicks sweat
- Gradient compression
- There are size problems. Even if you buy several pairs of the same size, they would fit differently.
- Some people complain about being too tight.
Rockay Vigor Graduated Compression Socks
Rockay team is composed of people from all over the planet and there is a close collaboration between designers and athletes who never stop developing, perfecting, and repeatedly field testing new products. The company utilizes 100% recycled materials for sustainability and environmental protection. A new product from Rockay starts with the extensive process of designing, testing, and prototyping along with thousands of miles of testing on each design.
In fact, Rockay is so confident about the performance wear that the company offers a lifetime guarantee. The Rockay Vigor Graduated compression socks are no exception as this sock has been tested for maximum durability in extreme conditions like ultra-marathons & obstacle course races. They will reduce the vibration and muscle tears during intense activities and increase blood circulation. During the activity, these compression socks will keep your foot and calves stable and prevent muscle soreness afterward.
These socks have ventilation zones that wick away sweat. You can walk or run mile after mile without sweat or blisters as the toe-box is seamless. Also, there are cushioning in the ankle and toe areas for stability and comfort. Rockay Vigor compression socks are treated with antibacterial treatments for fabric named Polygiene Stay Fresh Technology. You don’t have to wash every time you wear them, just dry and wear socks.
- Ventilation zone for temperature and moisture control. The fabric wicks away the sweat.
- Permanent anti-odor treatment
- Lifetime guarantee
- Seamless toe cage
- Cushioning in toe and heel areas.
- Recyclable material
- Superb quality control
- The cushioning in the toe and heel areas may not be adequate for some people.
Swiftwick- ASPIRE TWELVE Running Socks
Swiftwick is operated by a dedicated team of athletes who share the passion and dedication of other athletes. It’s a made-in-USA brand and prioritizes sustainability by choosing materials and processes that minimize waste and energy consumption.
Swiftwick aspires 12 socks use olefin fiber which is lightweight and wicks the moisture to keep your foot cool and dry. This fiber is lightweight and for breathability, it is knitted in mesh pattern in the footbed. There are built-in channels in the upper part of the sock which are designed to release heat. These socks are knee-high and provide compression support every contour of your foot and calf to reduce fatigue and stabilize muscles during athletic activities.
The Swiftwick aspire 12 compression socks have heel section which is stitched in a Y shape for snug fitting and no bouncing. The seamless toe box avoids blisters and calf muscles are greatly supported by knee-high tubing art of the socks.
- Designed for excellent ventilation
- Knee-high compression tubing supports calf muscles and stabilizes them.
- Y-shaped heel section fit properly
- Seamless tox box
- Affordable price range
- Olefin fiber is lightweight and wick moisture.
- No odor control measures
- For some customers, the socks are a little short and don’t reach the knee.
Falke Impulse Running Socks (Women)
Falke impulse is designed to support your overall posture whether you pronate or supinate. The socks have target sensors in the sole and outer calf to perform those actions. So, these compression socks are must-have accessories for keen runners and they also offer the advantages of conventional compression socks which improve blood circulation and quick recovery.
Falke impulse utilizes 90% Polyamide and 10% Elastane. The fabric dries quickly and to regulate humidity, it wicks away moisture. So, you can move along with dry and comfortable steps. There are cushioning on the left side, right side, and toe section which ensures optimal fitting.
Like any other compression shoes, the Falke Impulse running socks put regulated pressure around your leg through gradual compression for faster regeneration and more oxygenated blood circulation. The added feature of these socks is Falke impulse technology. This technology sends targeted impulses utilizing silicone or knitted nodules to stimulate the sensors in the fascia, which refines the individual sense of motion and stabilizes the back, knee, or ankle.
- Fast redrying material
- Sweat-wicking fabric to regulate temperature and humidity.
- Gradient compression socks
- Cushioning for optimal fit
- Falke impulse technology rectify overall posture and prevents supination and pronation
- No odor control treatment.
MudGear Premium Compression Socks
Established in 2012, Mudgear greatly focuses on gears for obstacle course racers and promises products of solid construction, functional performance, and toughness. Mudgear Premium Compression Socks are designed for obstacle course runners. So, they are extremely well built, tough, and utilize performance sock yarn which is tougher than sheer compression hose and average gym quality compression socks. This tough fabric protects the calf and shin from cuts and abrasion.
The Mudgear socks have fast wicking and drainage to remain as dry and light as possible on wet trails. These socks offer 168 needlepoint compression and tough construction. They are built to perform in extreme conditions.
- Extremely durable and tough construction
- Superior drainage and wicking
- Reasonably priced
- These socks are suitable for military personnel, medical professionals, cooks, and other people who work on their feet.
- No odor control system
- If you are not careful during wearing them, they might get damaged
X-Socks Trekking Energizer V2,0 Smart Compression
X-socks Trekking Energizer compression socks incorporate several advanced features that make them stand out from average compression socks. These socks have a patented ventilation system, the Air Conditioning-Channel which pumps moist air at every step and sucks fresh air to the sole which keeps your foot dry. Hence, chances of abrasions and blisters are reduced.
There are toe and toe tip protectors to absorb bumps and prevent blisters and abrasion. To support and enclose the ankle region, there are X-Cross bandages. They promote a secure and healthy stance by supporting the ankle. Trekking Energizer gradient compression socks relieve the cardiovascular system and reduce pulse rate.
- The advanced air circulation system
- Extra support for the ankle
- Separate toe and toe tip protector
- Gradient compression socks
- Multiple blisters and abrasion protection cushioning
- No odor control treatment
- It can be too enveloping.
Vitalsox Silver Drysat Series VT1211
Since 1998, Vitalsox has been doing extensive research on the true ideal compression which is the most effective for Athletics, Recovery, and Performance. This company is granted a US patent on the finding of this research. According to this research, the ideal gradient compression for athletes starts at the midfoot, compared to other compression socks that start at the ankle.
Vitalsox VT1211 gradient compression socks are designed for versatile activities and they are suitable for people of different professions other than athletes. The socks are designed with patented technology and material. The socks put mild pressure around calf and ankle regions, moderately strong pressure around the front side of the toe and lower calf area, and strong pressure between these two regions. The added arch support and soft padding in flexible structures prevent injuries. The ultra-flat toe box is seamless to protect your toes from abrasion. For ventilation, there are built-in ventilation channels and piquet ventilation knitting is adopted. Drystat fiber kills germs and wicks away moisture.
- Patented design for optimum compression
- Patented advanced material
- Odor control treatment
- Soft cushioning in joints
- Arch support
- Ventilation channels
- Flat and seamless toe box
- Reasonably priced
- These socks are a little bit hard to put on
LAITEHEBE Compression Socks
Laitehebe gradient compression socks come in a value pack of 8 pairs of different colored socks. These socks are designed to provide all the benefits of the gradient compression socks along with fashion and technology. To relieve pain, the Laitehebe socks deliver 360° stretch and stimulate oxygenated blood circulation. Different professionals like nurses, teachers, flight crews, receptionists, office workers, and pregnant women can improve their conditions using compression socks.
The fabric of these socks is strong high-quality breathable fabric and maintains an optimal temperature for maximum comfort. To regulate temperature, the fabric wicks moisture and it also keeps your feet dry and comfortable.
- You have multiple options to choose from 8 different pair of stockings
- Breathable and comfortable material
- Gradient compression
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- You may smell fume when you unpack them the first time
- No odor control treatment
- These socks are not medical grade. They are not recommended for people with medical conditions.
How to Buy the Best Compression Socks For Running and Sports?
Since numerous varieties of compression hosiery are available; you have to know what you are looking for before purchasing a pair. Here are some tips:
- Knee-high socks are more comfortable and better suited for athletes. In a clinical study, it was found that redness and itching of the skin was reported in 41% of patients wearing thigh-high and 27% in patients wearing knee-high compression stockings.
- The best results can be expected from the gradient compression stockings. The sock puts more pressure around the ankle and the pressure drops gradually as it gets closer to the knee.
- The socks with midrange compression ratings are preferred for the athletes. The rating should be 20-30mm/Hg and top-quality compression stockings have compression ratings on them.
- These socks are snug-fitting, you should struggle to wear them.
- The crucial areas that need checking when you are buying compression hosiery are the padding around the heels, toes, top of the foot, and the Achilles area. Also, examine the seams whether they will irritate your skin when you put them on.
- As you are purchasing for sporting purposes and outdoor activities, you should choose dark colors. White socks will get dirty easily.
- Finally, read the washing instruction carefully. Because these socks tend to shrink in the tumble drier after washing. Also, fabric softeners damage the elasticity of the socks’ material.
Are There Any Proof Of Compression Socks Running Benefits?
Compression socks are very effective medical devices that have been in use for many years. These socks are prescribed by the medical practitioners to treat all manifestations of chronic venous disease like Edema, Chronic venous insufficiency, Varicose veins, Deep vein thrombosis, Lymphedema, Phlebitis, Lipodermatosclerosis, Pregnancy. They also prevent such diseases.
Since, the compression socks increase oxygenated blood flow in the leg, reduces the diameter of distended veins, and increases venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness, they can recover the muscles quickly after any athletic activities. They are also recommended for the people who have to be in standing positions for a long time.
Frequently Ask Questions on Compression Socks for Running
Should Runners Wear Compression Socks?
Yes. Although there are arguments about whether they help to increase performance, there is no doubt that these socks help to recover the muscles fast after activities and prevent pain and cramp. There is no bad side effect of compression stockings.
How do I size my compression socks?
Unfortunately, there is no single straight forward method to measure the right size of compression socks. You must take measurements of your calf circumference at its widest using tape for the best fit. If you are looking for thigh high socks, you have to take the measurement of your thigh’s circumference, too. Actually, it depends on the brand you choose and you will get instructions to get the right size from the manufacturer.
It’s very important that you wear the compression stockings of the right size and right compression rating. Otherwise, it may cause serious health problems.
How tight should running compression socks be?
The compression stockings are meant to squeeze your leg tightly. So, they have to be snug-fitting. The compression rating determines how tight the socks are. For runners, midrange compression rating which is 20-30mm/Hg is suitable.
How long to wear compression socks after running?
In one study, it was found that marathon runners who wore compression socks for two weeks, performed better on a treadmill test. There is no evidence of any negative side effects of wearing these socks for an extended period. So, you can wear them anytime and keep them on as long as you want.
Medical grade compression socks perform better than the athleisure compression socks. The most important thing is that the socks shouldn’t be too tight. They may act as the tourniquet and cut off the blood supply completely. If this is the case, it may cause you serious infections. Compression socks will not cure injuries, but they are beneficial in many cases. For runners, these socks will prevent small scratches, abrasions, and nasty things like poison ivy on the trail apart from other benefits. So, whether you are a serious athlete or not, compression socks will make your life more comfortable.