In recent years compression socks have become more and more fashionable. The running community has been at the forefront of this revolution. Compression socks are effective for enhancing athletic performance as well as speeding up recovery. Let’s look at which models are the best running compression socks for men and women in 2017.
The Physix Gear Sport Compression socks are the best compression socks for runners. They have everything that the best running compression socks need to have.
These socks are made of nylon and quality, stretchable lycra material. These socks are breathable, which lets the sweat evaporate from your skin and keeps your legs dry during workouts. The fabric has antibacterial and anti-fungi qualities.
The socks have a double stitched heel design, which lowers the vibrations going through your legs when you step on the ground during your run. This is a huge plus when it comes to preventing and treating shin splints.
The socks have a single toe design, which hold your toes tightly but don’t compress them too much.
The Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks put between 20-30 mm Hg graduated compression on your legs. This is the ideal amount to promote blood flow while sitting, running or sleeping. This way you will not only have lower heart rate while running, the training load on your muscles will decrease, and they will recover quicker.
It is clear how much the company believes in their product. The Physix Gear Sport Compression socks come with a lifetime money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your product, they will refund your money, no questions asked.
Running compression socks have certainly grew in popularity among athletes, so much so that people trying out for the Olympics are using compression socks. However there are still people who claim that compression socks give you no real competitive edge. In my opinion if they only worked as a placebo, then they would not be used by so many serious athletes. At the very least they do not hurt your performance. On the other hand if they probably don’t give you a huge edge, in that case everybody would be using them. As with most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Whenever I have to decide if something is good for my body or not, I prefer to look at what the science says instead of anecdotal evidence and stories. Let’s see what scientists can tell us about the effectiveness of compression socks.
Initially compression garments were used to treat venous diseases. The two most common were pregnancy swelling and lymphedema. In the first one the higher blood pressure caused by the featus results in the mother’s legs swelling up. In the case of lymphedema, the body’s lymp drains don’t do their jobs properly, which resutls in the limbs swelling up like balloons.
Throughout the years their positive effects were used to treat more and more diseases. Diseases related to a sitting lifestyle, such as varicose veins and spider veins. Air travellers also started to use them to lower the chances of suffering deep vein thrombosis.
The most popular compression socks in 2017 are graduated models. Graduated compression socks help the circulatory system by putting more pressure on the ankles than on the higher parts of the legs. This difference in pressure causes the blood to flow quicker towards the heart. This way the valves inside the veins don’t have to work as hard to prevent the blood from flowing back down or pooling up in the veins – a major cause of varicose veins.
Soon runners started to take notice, especially endurance, long distance runners. With their interest, exercise researcher started to look into whether the best running compression socks could really enhance performance, or runners were just experiencing a placebo effect.
First, let’s separate two different areas where the best running compression socks might have a positive effect on one’s life. During competition, and after competition – recovery. The first one requires that the compression socks cause a more effective movement pattern, less energy uptake, or a peak in performance that immediately correlates with better racing times. The second part states that with the positives of compression socks, one can rejuvenate their muscles, and get back to peak physical condition quicker.
There are multiple theories behind why compression socks work.
This theory states that due to the better blood circulation in the lower limbs, the muscles are getting nutrients and oxygen quicker, which in turn leads to better performance. Continuing on the same logic, more waste materials -such as lactic acid – can be washed out of the muscles, leading to better performance.
When you run and your foot hits the ground, vibrations go through from the point of impact through your muscles, tendons and joint until they are absorbed. As the theory goes, these vibrations cause ruptures and put stress on the muscles, which can be one of the reasons behind the delayed muscle soreness we experience.
The most compelling evidence for the claim that the reduction in muscle vibration actually helps performance significantly was provided by the long jumping and hurdle jumping community. These athletes regularly wear compression pants. Kraemer et al. proved in a study that these products decrease muscle vibrations. This in turn leads to better muscle control, and increased proprioception.
After warming up, a constant problem for athletes is that the msucles might cool down between the warm up and the actual competitive period. In an environment where every little edge counts, cooling down just a little bit can decide between finishing in first place, or not even making the top three. The best running compression socks do an excellent job of keeping the leg muscles warm, and not letting them cool down.
Now that we know all the theories behind why the best running compression socks might increase performance and help with recovery, let’s go through all the research.
The research literature could not provide an overwhelming evidence to why compression socks increase performance in runners, but there are encouraging signs out there. Ali et al did a study in 2007, and found the socks could not account for any performance enhancement, or change in physiological parameters. However after the run the runners experienced significantly lower muscle soreness, which was a result of the reduction in muscle vibrations.
On the other hand in a 2009 study Kremmier found that the lactate threshold of athletes improved when wearing compression socks while running. Other studies found that the energy consumption and running economy decreased as a result of wearing the best running compression socks, as well as improved performence over a 5 kilometer race. A study by Bringard (2006) found improved running economy, especially in the middle speed ranges.
On the question of whether compression socks improved lactate clearance, Berry et al provided the most comprehensive study thirty years ago in 1987. The study demonstrated that blood lactate clearance improved after exercise.
The study however requires a bit of a side note. First of all, it measured the lactate levels in the blood, and not in the muscles. The latter causes muscle soreness. It is possible that the decrease in blood lactate was down to the compression preventing lactate entering the blood stream from the muscles. The other possible explenation is that the lactate enters the blood stream, but it gets taken up by the other muscles in the body. It is hard to know which phenomena is at play exactly, but the results of the study are the same nevertheless.
On the recovery side, the studies have demonstrated clearly that compression garments help recovery. In a 2010 study by Byrne and Easton, they put graduated compression tights on people after plyometric exercise, which led to a decrease in muscle soreness, and better recovery. It is suspected that the combination of decreased muscle vibrations and the pushing out of the blood lactate is at play here. However scientists do not agree 100 % on what causes muscle soreness, so at the moment all we know is that the best runnig compression socks help with recovery, but the exact mechanisms are not clear.
As a sidenote to the results of these studies, it is important to realise that they were done with different types of compression socks. Some sstudies used uniform compression, some graduated compression.
The strength of compression differed also. It seems that there is a sweetspot in compression strength for increasing blood flow. Byrne in 2001 found that 20 mm Hg pressure at the ankles increased blood flow, while 30 mm Hg cut off the circulation.
It is clear that during competition even the best running compression socks are not game changers. If it was so, everybody would be using them. However during recovery they can help a lot.
Looking at the research, long distance endurance runners might benefit the most from compression socks. In long distance running muscle damage could interfere with muscle contraction, and limit the number of muscle fibers taking part in muscle contraction, which in turn limits performance. After the run the results are clear. Compression socks help recovery.
If you are an active runner yourself, you can find a lot of runners who talk about how compression socks helped their performance. Some claim that compression socks help even during Olympic trials. Others feel that they were able to cover more mileage than otherwise with the help of compression socks.
Basically there are two different types of compression technologies on the market, graduated and uniform. Graduated compression socks are the most popular, as they help blood flow the most. These products put the largest amount of pressure on the ankles, and the pressure slightly subsides as the socks get higher on the legs. The difference in pressure creates an ideal environment for the blood to flow up from the ankles towards the heart. The pressure is largest at the ankles, where the pull of the gravity is largest on the blood.
Uniform compression is used mostly for fighting swelling and edema. They can be dangerous if applied in the wrong situation, so they are available only with doctor’s prescription.
You might also find targeted running compression socks in stores. These products apply extra compression to a specific part of your legs. The most common are special plantar fasciitis socks, or the ones that apply extra pressure to your aching achilles tendons. The extra pressure is applied with tighter materials holding the leg firmer at the area where the extra compression is needed.
As I mentioned above, there is a sweetspot of compression strength for running socks, but there are still a lot of different types of running compression socks on the market. As studies found before, the best compression range for the best running compression socks was around 20 mm Hg around the ankles. This promoted the best blood flow during workouts.
Let’s take a look at what other levels of compression can you find in the best running compression socks.
First of all, the strength of compression is measured in millimetres of mercury – mm Hg. The larger this number is, the bigger pressure the garment puts on your legs.
10 – 15 mm Hg – This is the lightest compression range. It is called super light compression. This range provides good prevention against shin splints, plantar fasciitis or overworking. If you exercise lightly, or you don’t like feeling the super hard, super tight feeling larger compression puts on your legs, than these models might be just for you.
16 – 20 mm Hg – These are a band of lighter compression socks for running. The best compression socks for pregnant women who want to exercise during their pregnancy are found in this range.
21-30 mm Hg – The most common and best running compression socks for runners are found in this pressure range. They promote optimal blood flow for better athletic performance, and quicker recovery.
Over these pressure ranges there are no compression socks for runners. However there are other great compression socks over this range, but those are used in extreme cases of varicose veins, lymphedema and swelling.
If you don’t know which compression range would work best for you, it might be a great idea to consult with a medical professional. Another way would be to start with a cheaper model, and slowly work your way up from there.
Unfortunately choosing the best running compression socks is often overlooked by inexperienced runners. In my opinion they are as much, if not more important as wearing the right running shoes.
The famous story about John Wooden, the famous college basketball coach comes to mind. On the first day of preseason training, he used to sit down his rookie players, and show them how to properly put on their socks. As he said, unfitting socks cause blisters, blisters cause missed shots, missed shots mean lost games, which translates to lost trophies.
To go forward with this analogy, if you choose anything but the best running compression socks, you will feel uncomfortable as a result of chaffing, blisters and skin burn. If your socks are too tight, they will choke the life out of your legs. If they are too loose, they will not be able to put enough pressure on your muscles. Any of these factors will contribute to subpar training and running performance.
The most important part to finding the best running compression socks is the fabric. Runners often make the mistake of wearing regular socks for workouts, made of 100% cotton. Cotton does not let your skin breathe, and the sweat to evaporate, the fabric holds and absorbs moisture. This causes blisters. The best running compression socks are made of some combination of nylon, spandex and lycra. These materials help wick the sweat and moisture away from your skin during the workout, leading to more hygienic and dry workout conditions.
Choosing the correct size compression socks is a challenge for most people. A good trick is to try them on before purchase, but if you are getting one online, just check the size chart at the product description. These charts compare the sock size to the shoe size, so if you know your shoe size, you should be able to make a good decision.
Some size charts of the best running compression socks might mention few of the following measures:
There are two types of products based on toe design: single toe models and five toe models. Both can work, but they both have their drawbacks. The single toe models can cause serious skin damage if the seams are not well designed. For this reason I encourage you to choose models that are seamless.
With toe socks if the toes don’t fit perfectly, the material can get caught between them and cause chaffing and blisters. If you choose toe socks, make sure they are the perfect fit.
The best running compression socks can come with excellent extra padding. For example the Physix Gear Sport compression socks have double stitched heel paddings.
These paddings give extra protection to the areas of your feet which they cover. The most common areas are the heels, the plantar fascia, the achilles tendons and the toes.
The tendons are covered due to the extra padding, which helps in case your achilles tendons are aching. The extra padding and compression helps the blood flow to the tendon, which causes the inflammation to subside. The blood transports nutritions and T cells to the inflamed area.
If you choose running compression socks with extra padding, make sure they are attached with comfortable, good quality seams. If the seams are prone to tearing, or they cut into your skin they will cause skin burn and chaffing.
Based on where you want to run, you might want to consider wearing different length compression socks. If you run in rainy weather, or you are a fan of trail running through the forest with thick vegetation, you might want to consider wearing knee high socks. These protect your legs against the damage of plants, bushes and rocks. In rainy weather they keep your legs warm, but they allow them to dry up if possible through letting the water evaporate.
For runners there is nothing worse than getting an injury. It can lead to being absent from training and competition for a long time. For people who are hooked on the dopamine of exercising being absent from running can be a life altering problem.
For runners there are many ways to prevent injuries. Stretching, proper nutrition and leaving enough time for recovery can seriously lower the chances of suffering an injury.
Other things that can help treat and prevent running injuries are compression socks. As covered above, they reduce the muscle vibrations during your runs. Normally when you step on the ground your feet touching the ground produce vibrations that travel through your legs, and get absorbed by the bones, joints and muscles. These vibrations over time put a big strain on your legs, leading to injuries such as micro tears inside the muscle fibers, and the overuse of the joints.
Inflammation is a major cause of leg pain in competitive runners. The tendons tire due to overuse, and this produces a pinching, sharp pain inside the legs. Most often the achilles tendons and the bottom of the feet are suffer from inflammation. At the bottom of the feet, inflammation is also known as plantar fasciitis, or runner’s foot. The plantar fascia is a tissue running between the heel and the toes. A sure sign of plantar fasciitis is feeling pain in your foot when you step out of bed in the morning.
Compression socks can help not only treat, but prevent plantar fasciitis. On the prevention side, the better mood flow, and quicker recovery between workouts reduces the perceived extension of your feet. Once you suffer from inflammation, the best running compression socks increase blood flow to the problem areas. The inflamed areas receive more nutrition in less time, and the T cells responsible for ending inflammation can travel to the problem areas quicker.
You can wear the best running compression socks either during your workout, between workouts, in the office or in your sleep.
Shin splints are caused exactly by the heels hitting the pavement while running. Even standing and walking all day long can be a cause of shin splints. How can you know if you are experiencing shin splints? Do you have a throbbing pain in your shins? Does this pain keep you from exercising?
This is one of the most common injuries that occur to runners. It involves the shins aching, in the front of the legs. There are two different types of shin splints. The ones that occur on the inside of the legs are called medial shin splints. The ones occurring on the outside of the legs are called anterior shin splints.
The best way to prevent shin splints is build up your mileage first when you start running. If you put too much mileage on your legs too soon, then wearing compression socks can treat your legs.
The general public is not aware how dangerous DVT is. Deep vein thrombosis is when a blood cloth travels in the veins and gets caught – most likely – in one of the veins of the thigh muscles. If the cloth travels to the lungs or to the heart, it can be fatal.
After the day of a hard workout, runners are at an increased risk of suffering DVT. Combined with other risk factors, such as smoking, dehydration, diabetes, being overweight, taking birth control pills or injuries causing internal bleeding. It is essential that runners use the best running compression socks to keep blood flowing quickly and prevent DVT.
Unfortunately not many runners now how to recognise the symptoms of DVT. Swelling in the legs after a workout can be a sign of DVT. Other signs can be a sudden, but constant pinching pain in your calves. Unfortunately most runners mistake this pain for a muscle injury, and don’t go to a medical professional to get it checked out.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Physix Gear Sport are the best compression socks for runners.
These excellent graduated running compression socks are made of moisture wicking, antibacterial material that lets your skin breathe. The material makeup of the socks is 65% polyamide, 20% elasthan with 15% lycra. The socks put between 18-21 mm Hg graduated compression on your legs. They have a super comfortable fit, which ensures that you will enjoy all the positive effects of graduated compression. This product is machine washable below 40 °C. One of the best running compression socks on the market.
Excellent graduated athletic compression socks for recovery as well as performance. The product is on the larger side of compression, it puts between 20 and 30 mm Hg graduated compression on your legs. It is machine washable. The Go2 compression socks are easy to put on, and they hold your legs very tightly. They don’t have enough extra features for me to call them the best running compression socks, but they are good ones to keep as backup or rotation models.
These models provide graduated compression to reduce muscle fatigue, make you better competitors and help recover faster. It has a special Blitzu Kinesiology Taping Design, which pairs the effects of compression technology with the positive effects of kinesiology tapes. Excellent for marathon running, basketball, gym training and cycling. The kinesiology pads stay in place, but the fabric around them is stretchable, so it conforms to the shape and size of your legs. The product comes with a 100% money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with it.
This product is made of a mixture of polyamide and elastane, a durable yet stretchable combination that lets your skin breathe during competition. These models are especially good at treating shin splints. They hold tight and stabilise the calf and shin area. The toes are seamless, which prevents chaffing and blisters. Excellent graduated compression for runners, basketball players and cyclists. The socks are knitted with an especially high, 200 needle count construction. This provides extra comfort and durability at the same time.
I hope this article gave you a good overview of which are the best running compression socks in 2017. The article contained short reviews of the best graduated running compression socks, as well as buying guides and tips on which one to choose. Do you have experience wearing compression socks for running? If so, share it in the comment section below!
The Physix Gear Sport compression socks are one of the highest rated, best compression socks based on Amazon reviews. They are one of the most durable atheltic compression socks with excellent design. The excellent material, comfort, and durability makes this product one of the best running compression socks on the market.
Upon looking at the socks, it is clear that they were designed with active people in mind. They have extra heel padding, which significantly reduces the impact of one’s steps while running. This way the joints have less resonance to absorb, they are under less stress. The material is very comfortable, soft and breathable, with antibacterial qualities.
Although they are comfortable, they hold the legs firmly. One can immediately feel the strength of the graduated compression on the limbs. They can be used during a run, or for recovery after the workout. They are excellent for both.
The Physix Gear Sport compression socks put between 20-30 mm Hg graduated pressure on your legs. As with all graduated models, the pressure is largest at your ankles, and it slightly subsides as the socks get higher on your feet.
This compression range makes the socks suitable for not only enhancing athletic performance or speeding up muscle recovery, but also treating shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and other running related injuries.
The exact makeup of the socks is 80% nylon and 20% spandex. This combination makes the socks machine washable, which is a significant help. Some socks are only able to be washed in lukewaearm water with your hands. This takes time away from more important things. Use the Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks and you will be able to spend more time with your family or working out.
The socks have breathable material. You will be able to work out and still have your feet dry. Your sweat will evaporate through the nylon, which is an important prerequisite to foot hygiene. On that note, the products come with silver lines woven into them, an excellent antibacterial quality. This prevents bacteria from growing, and fungi development.
The socks come in three different colour combinations, black and blue, black and pink, and black mixed with grey. The majority of the sock is black, apart from the heel area and the “Physix” tag on the elastic band below the knees. The sporty look of the socks is excellent and will make you the envy of other runners on the track. The Physix Gear Sport compression socks has an unisex design. Both women and men can wear them with style.
The heels of these socks are one of the thickest, yet most comfortable I have ever seen. The extra heel padding is attached to the rest of the socks with double stitching. This ensures durability. With low quality compression socks the stitches are the area where the socks come apart after repeated use. This is totally not the case with the Physix Gear Sports compression socks. In terms of durability, these are one of the best compression socks on the market. The socks didn’t loose their firmness as a result of repeated use and washing either.
Physix Gear Sport is so confident in the quality of their product that they offer a lifetime satisfaction money back guarantee. If you try on your new socks, and they are not what you imagined, or you have a subpar experience, they will give you back your money no questions asked. Not many companies have such a great customer service policy. This is a testament not only to the company, but the quality of Physix Gear Sports Graduated Compression socks too.
The Physix Gear Sport compression socks were one of the best running compression socks reviewed. Their design is flawless. Wearing them feels comfortable, but they appear to be firm. They are breathable, and the extra soft heel pads are a joy to step on. All these positive attributes combined with the lifetime satisfaction money back guarantee makes this product an excellent choice if you are looking for a pair of running compression socks.
A pregnant mother’s body is under huge stress. Swollen legs, varicose veins and frequent leg pains are just a few symptomps known to all mothers. Getting rid of or just mitigating these effects can enable you to focus more on the pleasures of pregnancy. In this article I am going to tell you about a secret. It is not talked about much, but it enables pregnant women to enjoy the blessing of pregnancy while living a full life. I will describe how choosing the best maternity compression leggings can change your whole world during pregnancy.
If you want to live an active life, and continue working into your pregnancy, owning the best maternity compression leggings for your situation can be a true blessing. I used to have so many coworkers, who stayed in the office and continued working even into the latter stages of their pregnancy. They were looking frustrated, and kept telling us boys about how hard it was to work all day long, sit, walk around, how big of a toll this was putting on their bodies.
Now I understand how big a difference the best pregnancy compression leggings could have made in their lives. I wish I would have known about this secret back then. Varicose veins, swollen legs, calf cramps and general leg pains are common symptoms for women during pregnancy. In just a few paragraphs, I will go into how these conditions can be treated easily with the right compression garments.
The best maternity compression leggings can help after the birth of your child also. Every mommy wants to look her best after giving birth to her child. Looking and feeling your best in the postpartum stage can seem like an impossible task, but there are some known tricks and products that can help you achieve just that. Ab shredding exercises can help, but not everybody has the time and energy to exercise with a screaming and kicking baby in the house.
Varicose veins are one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, making life difficult for women. Science tells us that there are two reasons that lead to the appearance of varicose veins during pregnancy: a heavy uterus and hormones.
As you get into the latter stages of pregnancy, your body starts producing hormones that relax the muscles and ligaments. This is intended to help during childbirth, so that the baby can pass easier. As one of the side effects of these hormones, the veins also relax and loose their firmness. The blood suddenly flows slower in the loose veins, in extreme cases it might even stop altogether and pool up.
As the birth of the child approaches, the uterus also expands. A heavy uterus pushes the veins inside the pelvis, and limits the blood flow from the legs.
These two factors are made worse by the increased amount of blood in the mother’s body. During pregnancy the baby gets nutritions and oxygen with the aid of the mother’s circulatory system. There is more blood flowing inside the arteries and veins of the mother, increasing blood pressure, and the workload of the veins inside the legs.
All of these factors contribute to the appearance of varicose veins, and their smaller, less visible counterparts, spider veins.
Varicose veins are not only an inconvenience during pregnancy. If untreated, they can cause phlebitis, or irreversible skin damage.
With graduated maternity compression leggings, all of these symptoms can be taken care of. What does graduated mean? I am glad you asked! It simply refers to a type of compression technology, where your ankles are put under the greatest pressure, and the pressure slowly subsides as the leggings get higher on your legs.
This way the veins inside the ankle – the ones that have to fight the hardest against gravity, and are furthest from the heart – receive the most benefit from compression. All of the best maternity compression leggings are graduated models.
Uniform compression applies the same amount of pressure everywhere. They are excellent in fighting edema, but they can be dangerous if applied in the wrong circumstances. They are available only with a doctor’s prescription.
How much pressure is ideal for pregnant women? Based on the review of scientific papers, there is no one range of compression that would work for everybody. There is no straight relationship between the strength of compression, and the quality of the product. The best maternity compression leggings do not necessarily come with the highest compression. Each case is different, and the strength of compression advised differs a lot based on the individual situation of the patient.
You can find compression leggings in multiple pressure zones. The strength of compression is measured in mm Hg – millimeters of mercury. The lowest compression is around 10 mm Hg. On the other end of the spectrum, high compression is around 30 mm Hg.
10- 15 mm Hg – Light compression – These are the most common types of maternity compression leggings on the market. They put just enough pressure on your limbs to eliminate the negative effects associated with pregnancy.
15 mm Hg – 25 mm Hg – Medium compression – These products are also common. They offer a stronger remedy against varicose veins and swelling.
Anything over 26 mm Hg – These models are considered medical grade models. They are prescribed by doctors in extreme cases of varicose veins, swelling or leg pains.
Comfort is a huge deal. All the products recommended in this article were designed to give you maximum comfort. The material must have moisture wicking ability. If you are at work, you will likely spend several hours in your hosiery, so it is best if the sweat and moisture can evaporate on its own. Otherwise you would have to remove the hosiery at the end of the day, and find all the sweat and and moisture built up – not a pretty sight.
There are basically three types of maternity compression stockings when it comes to lenght: Knee-high, thigh-high and full length models. Knee-high products are very similar to compression socks and sleeves, in the sense that they provide support to the lower leg muscles, especially the ankles.
Thigh-high models reach over the knees, supporting the area just over your knee joints. Full length models cover even the lower stomach, and help you fight the famous stomach swelling during pregnancy. Full length model are for those who experience pain from their lower back down even to their toes.
Most full length compression leggings have a belly support area. This stretches as your baby grown, and supports your belly during the pregnancy. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, this support will do wonders in eliminating and preventing back pains.
The longer the product, the more muscles can benefit from the positive effects of compression therapy. So why would anybody prefer knee-high or thigh-high models over full length hosiery? Because the longer the model, the harder it is to put on, and full length models are a pain in the ass to remove when you have to go to the toilet.
I took all the information available into consideration, and selected five different maternity compression products from Amazon, that have excellent review. They have different designs, different pros and cons. Every mother is different, but these five products give you a wide variety, and enough options to choose the best maternity compression leggings for you!
As you can see, there are many factors differentiating the products on the market. Which ones are the best maternity compression leggings depends on the mother who is going to use it. Did you use any particular products during your previous pregnancies? Have you tried any of the models mentioned above? What was your experience?