In the running world, compression socks are everywhere. You see them as a part of running outfits on casual runs and at races. They have become a total fashion statement. They come in fun prints, bright colors and even seasonal patterns. For some, compression socks are part of the ‘running essentials’, and to others it’s just all hype. As an active part of the running community, I hear people talk about this all the time. Do compression socks really make a difference in running? Are they necessary? Let’s answer those questions: is compression heart or hype?
When I started running, I was obviously new to the sport and didn’t know what shoes to be wearing let alone whether compression was necessary or not. I was first introduced to compression gear by my sports doctor. I had an unhappy muscle and he recommended 2XU compression tights to help me recover form the injury faster and help that muscle perform better during running. I gave compression tights a try and they really worked. Now I own several pairs of compression socks and tights.
How does compression work?
Compression gear, tights, socks, sleeves, promote blood flow to the muscles. This is beneficial because it increases your performance by increasing oxygen delivery to the muscles. Increased blood flow to your muscles also helps them recover faster. Are you feeling sore? Throw on some compression gear, it will help reduce soreness. Compression also reduces muscle oscillation (muscle movement) which keeps your muscles from getting as fatigued. Essentially, you stay strong, longer.
As you can see, these benefits are extremely beneficial in an endurance sport such as running.
Different types of compression socks.
There are lots of options when it comes to compression socks; however the benefits are the same. You can choose from a knee length sock or a calf sleeve. Advantage to calf sleeve is you can wear your favorite running socks.
Calf sleeve is best used during activity. I.E.: walking, running or standing. Full sock is best used during activity OR recovery. I.E.: long periods of sitting, post run.
There are several compression brands and I have tried several of them. 2XU is my favorite. I find that their products are very well made and engineered to work. I highly recommend.
Heart or Hype?
Compression socks are not just hype, the benefits of compression have been proven by science. Are compression socks necessary? No, they are not an absolute must for everyone. Will they help you? Probably!
I don’t wear compression socks on every single run, but I do use them as a tool to help me be a stronger runner and recover faster.
Everyone is different, so I suggest you give compression socks a try before you bash them. Try it on a short run and on a long run and see how they work for you.
Want to learn more? 2XU created the tag line “heart not hype” which was part of the inspiration behind this post. Watch their video HERE.
Have you tried compression socks? What do you think, heart or hype??