“If you're not fast you might as well be stylish,” one of my family friends tells a stranger as he stops to ask us about our socks. We were standing in the metro sweaty and heading back home after a five mile run through DC. Indeed we were quite a site to see, me in a purple outfit with Zensah Argyle compression socks in a checkered pink and gray pattern and her with bright red knee high socks (she is a huge University of Arkansas Razorbacks fan). During the run we ran the huge, mountainous hill right by the capital. I mean it's a beast and at that point we had already run up to four miles. I know for most runners four miles is a breeze, but like we established “we might as well be stylish.” Anyway, I am not sure if it is me building up my endurance or the compression socks, but we flew up that hill. I mean we charged it like Bunker Hill flying past the men and women heading home from work. As we finally reached the top of the hill my legs were tired, but not like they normally would be and I attribute that to my compression socks.
That's because compression socks are designed to improve circulation to flush out lactic acid for a shorter recovery time, boost performance and provide protection and relief from injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Many professional athletes swear by compression socks and calf sleeves to keep their legs energized during a race or while training. Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi proudly sports his CEP compression socks while competing in marathons and during training. CEP offers a wide range of performance socks and sleeves in bright blues, greens, pinks and purples for men and women, as well as classic white and black.
If you want to enhance performance, keep your legs energized with 20-30 mmHg compression. This level of compression is ideal if you want to push yourself during your run. Graduated compression also helps to stabilize and support muscles to reduce fatigue as well as soreness and swelling. Performance compression socks are very popular among runners to run farther, faster without the pain. Most athletic compression socks are made with a breathable, lightweight fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin to keep you cool and dry.
Most marathoners and #runchat lovers have heard of notorious athletic brands like CEP, Zensah and 2XU. Why? Because they work. Many professional athletes religiously rock these brands while competing, most noticeably due to their bright colors. Zensah compression socks and leg sleeves come in a ton of colors. It's like opening a box of Crayola crayons and taking your pick! These compression garments feature a simple colored background, so they can easily be paired with any workout gear or hidden subtly under clothes at work. They're also great for matching the perfect outfit for themed races. Zensah also offers a couple pairs of cute patterned travel socks to wear on the way to your marathon to keep your legs fresh. The Zensah plantar fasciitis sleeve is a crucial item to have at the ready since it is such a common injury among runners. It fits comfortably in your normal socks and shoes so you can get back to running in no time.
2XU is the official compression sponsor of some of the world's best professional teams and champions, and is also a proud sponsor of Ironman. 2XU stands for "two times you" and these products do the name justice. 2XU compression socks and calf sleeves are lightweight, made from an antibacterial and moisture-wicking fabric that even provides UPF50+ sun protection! These high-tech socks provide muscle containment to reduce fatigue and damage. Unlike most compression socks, 2XU socks are safe to sleep in, so if you're a runner that swears by sleeping in your socks, these breathable socks are a great choice for you.
If you're looking for the perfect "all-in-one" performance and recovery sock, try a pair of socks that provides 15-20 mmHg of compression, so your legs stay energized and heal quickly. This level of compression is also recommended for travel and everyday wear, so you can even wear them to work so your legs are rested for a run afterwards. If you need all-over coverage, try a pairing your socks with the Zensah Recovery Capri - great to wear during or after a run, while traveling, or during the day to promote healing. It is made with an anti-odor, moisture-wicking fabric that thermo-regulates to keep you comfortable at any temperature. This high-tech capri even prevents chafing and stabilizes muscles to prevent injury. You can see why a lot of runners have started wearing compression tights and capris!
We all know that feeling when you over-do it and your legs are screaming. Luckily, there's an easy fix. After getting back from a long run, throw on a pair of recovery socks so you can get back out there the next day. If you suffered from shin splints in the past, compression socks can help prevent and relieve the pain, so an injury doesn't slow you down. To get the maximum recovery benefits, wear compression socks instead of sleeves. If you're wondering if you should try leg sleeves or socks, it's mostly up to your personal preference. Learn more about the difference between compression socks and sleeves, and see our recommendations in both styles for performance and recovery.