#KeepItTight: Pro Compression Socks Review

by Melissa on December 4, 2012

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?

Absolutely.

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.**

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlotte December 4, 2012 at 1:40 am

I HEART COMPRESSION GEAR. I seriously notice a difference. and Like you, I once thought it was all about the look, and being a snobby runner. (I know. I KNOW SO NOT TRUE!) I quickly learned during my first half marathon that they were the real deal. If I could run in a compression body suit and not melt from the sweat, I would so exclusively run in it ;)

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MIzFit December 4, 2012 at 5:23 am

I LOOOVE the socks for flying!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama December 4, 2012 at 6:36 am

LOVE my procompression socks! Not for running though. I feel too constricted. Love for recovery, wearing to work (I spend all day on my feet) and sleeping in them before a long run. My feet and legs feel refreshed and light!

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } December 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

I think compression clothing is the last official bandwagon I need to hop ON this year (after just joining the foamrolling club a few weeks ago). I hear nothing but raves about it and as much as I’m running now I need all the recovery help I can get!

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Fancy Nancy December 4, 2012 at 6:48 am

I’ve used compression for recovery and have loved it!! They are like a big hug for your legs!!!

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Ali December 4, 2012 at 7:09 am

I haven’t tried during a run, but I do wear mine for recovery.

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Harold December 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

It depends on the level of compression in the toes, some brands are different than others, if they scrunch up my toes too much during a run I don’t like it and wear them for recovery purposes. I have found some compression socks that I really like for running and love wearing them. Overall, compression gear is a big help for me (I have compression socks, shorts and shirts for different uses).

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Coco December 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

I use them for races because I tend to get calf cramps at the end – so far so good. I also use them for recovery. After they are on for awhile, I don’t notice them.

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Heather (Where's the Beach) December 4, 2012 at 8:32 am

Love my socks and the calf sleeves but only for recovery. I tried wearing for 2 different runs and my legs felt so awfully heavy. But for recovery? Absolutely love. Even after a short run I put those bad boys one.

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Lisa @ RunWiki December 4, 2012 at 8:59 am

I live in my compression gear. My husband has abandoned the idea of purchasing gifts from Victorias Secret and finally gave into buying me sexy compression knee highs.. we have a lot of fun over here. Foam rolling, compression gear and ice baths, woo hoo! ;)

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Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) December 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

I have yet to try compression gear, but I really really really want to. :)

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Angie @ Losing It and Loving It December 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

I have compression sleeves for my shins but hardly ever wear them. I don’t run but I do spin a lot and other workouts. Now I might just start wearing them after I workout to see what it does.

I think I would like the compression socks though especially since I tend to swell up in the car on long drives. I wonder if the socks would work well for that. Hmmm

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Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food December 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

I haven’t tried compression socks but have always wanted to. I think they would be amazing as recovery tools. After I workout, my feet and legs always feel like they need help…and maybe these would do the trick! Thanks for the review! :)

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Kierston December 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I think I’m the only person who doesn’t yet own compression socks!

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Christine @ Love, Life, Surf December 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I’ve been so curious about compression wear and whether or not it was just hype. I haven’t tried them yet either but just ordered my first pair. Can’t wait for them to arrive!

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Laura @ Mommy Run Fast December 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

I haven’t noticed much of a difference during a run, but I love them for recovery! I wear them after every long run, and don’t want to take them off, they feel so good!

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Robyn December 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I have never tried compression socks but after reading this article wouldn’t mind giving them a go!

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lindsay December 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE them too! How did we function without them for so long? I need to get the pink ones next!

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