A lot of people ask me about the knee high socks I wear for my long runs. They aren’t just about fashion or looks, there is a purpose behind them! ;-P
So, here goes! Compression socks have been used for years for persons with diabetes, pilots and those that stand on their feet all day long, like nurses. Compression socks are known to stimulate blood flow, which is a problem in diabetics as well as pilots that sit for long periods of time. In recent years, long distance and ultra runners have begun utilizing compression gear to aid in recovery and performance. There are mixed feelings on whether or not compression gear, in particular, compression socks have a true benefit or simple placebo effect.
As noted in an online article, regarding research by sports physiology professor Elmarie Terblanche, from Stellenbosch University in South Africa:
She recently conducted the first real-world study, following athletes running the Two Oceans ultra-race in South Africa. What she found was that the athletes who raced in compression socks, versus those in regular knee-high socks or those without either, had significantly less muscle damage and were able to recover more quickly, with some even ready to train again three days later. Those wearing the socks also ran on average 12 minutes faster.
Many athletes/runners believe that compression socks aide in circulation as well as reduce lactic acid build up. The squeeze of the compression socks forces blood vessels to open more and as a result, more blood and oxygen get to the muscles. This in turn, also helps with recovery post-run. With the increased blood flow, the muscles are able to remove waste (ie lactic acid) more efficiently. There you have the basic science of it all, I hope that helps!! 🙂
I will give you my personal experience/preference. I never go without compression socks for a run longer than 6 miles. Ever since I began training and racing in compression socks, I’ve noticed a difference with how my legs feel during and after the run. My legs don’t start to ache or feel tired as early in my run than when I’m not wearing them. I also feel my recovery time is quicker. After a particularly long or hard run, I will wear my compression sleeves or socks incognito
under my ‘normal clothes’. ;-P For me, compression socks are an important part of my running wardrobe. 🙂 The fun thing with them is all the designs and colors you can choose from!! There are many companies that make compression socks, but my fave is Crazy Compression.
It is an American based company and they have so many different designs and colors to choose from. They ship super fast, are good quality at a great price. They are always offering sales and seasonal patterns. If you are interested in trying out a pair, shoot me a line, I have a discount code for 40% off that I’d love to share with you
Below, are some links to articles on compression socks: