I’ve discovered that sportswear serves a purpose. It sweats a wick, so it feels more comfortable (and less hydrated) than you would in an old college shirt.
But besides making workouts more comfortable, how high-tech does exercise equipment need?
Workout clothes are more advanced than ever, but how useful are things Compression stockings?
Do they give you a performance or payback advantage? Or is it just a cosmetic option?
Here’s what you need to know before spending $50 on a pair of specialty socks, as well as a selection of the best compression socks.
What are compression stockings?
“Compression stockings are stockings that can go right up to the knee with a tighter fit around the ankle and left up as you wear (gradient compression garments),” explains a physical therapist and strength coach Lyda Malik, DPT, CSCS, SCS
“They’ve become popular in endurance sports like running, triathlon, obstacle courses, and cycling,” she adds.
Teresa Marco, PT, DPT, MS, Physiotherapist and owner of Marco’s Physiotherapy In New York City, it shows that this tighter fit compresses the lower leg.
But compression stockings are not a one-size-fits-all product.
They come in different gauges, or “different levels of tightness or compression.”
Historically, athletes have not been the target demographic of compression stockings.
“As we age, our veins become less efficient at pumping blood to the legs toward the heart,” Marco explains.
So you’ll often see compression stockings marketed as a tool to help the veins by not allowing blood to pool in the foot, she adds.
But athletes may choose to wear them to help with circulation.
Some in the fitness community swear by using compression stockings for recovery.
But do they really work?
Do compression stockings really work?
“Compression garments were initially used for patients in the clinical setting to help prevent swelling and the formation of blood clots,” explains Malik.
However, she adds that the benefit for healthy individuals is negligible (Applicable to all compression garmentsAnd not just socks).
Malik adds, even the best compression socks “have not been shown to improve performance or reduce the level of muscle breakdown in a marathon-level activity.”
Therefore, for an athlete who is healthy and doing well, there is no good reason to spend money on it.
But Malik notices that May They are useful if you are recovering from an injury.
there Some evidence Compression clothing such as compression stockings can “reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after a soft tissue injury.”
Study results are mixed, however, some showing a moderate effect and Others find no difference In DOMS with or without compression stockings.
This means that stretching a pair during recovery “may help reduce pain and aid recovery,” but it’s far from guaranteed.
Make sure to talk to your doctor before wearing compression stockings if you have a cardiovascular problem.
Malik also warns that “anyone with sensitive skin or thin skin should watch out for itching, cuts, or sometimes even bruising from pulling.”
If you wear more than one compression garment, she urges you to check that they are not overlapping or multi-layered.
Marco says you also need to talk to your doctor about wearing compression stockings if you have diabetes, take blood thinners, or have any open sores on your leg.
“I’m not saying these guys shouldn’t be wearing compression stockings,” she explained, but it’s best to speak with your doctor, who can help you advise which scale you need.
How to buy compression stockings
If that’s available to you, head to a store that is suitable for people who use compression stockings, Marco suggests.
They can suggest the correct girth and measure the calf (in the widest part of the calf muscle) to get the perfect fit.
You will need this scale number and calf size to purchase an appropriate pair of compression stockings.
“If you use it during exercise, the same qualities of the sock that support sweat and footwork will also be beneficial,” Malik adds.
Marco explains that you’ll see two sets of compression stockings: “Some compression stockings look a lot like dress pants while others look a lot like cotton knees.”
She suggests a “least compression sock, much like athletic cotton socks” for athletes.
best compression stockings
Try not to get hung up on numbers when shopping for compression stockings.
The amount of compression stockings on your legs is measured in mmHg (the same measurement used for blood pressure).
It’s easy to find socks between 10 and 35 on this scale. The exact number means less than they feel.
Aim for the lowest number that feels comfortable, while providing moderate pressure but not too tight or painful.
1. Florida Skies Marathon Socks
In addition to graduated compression ranging from 10 to 35 mmHg, you will get some fun features from this brand.
You’ll find mid-calf and knee-length socks, moisture-wicking technology for those long-distance runs, and a wide range of fun colors and patterns.
Price: 50 dollars
available from professional pressure.
2. Women’s compression stockings
Bombas compression socks range from plain black and gray to bright and colorful with floral motifs.
You’ll also find different lengths made with durable yarns to resist abrasion and damage, and a stitched heel counter to stabilize your foot for maximum support and comfort.
Even better, they donate a pair for every pair of socks you buy.
available from pumps.
3. Recovery Compression Stockings
CEP specifically targets athletes, and makes compression stockings with the active person in mind.
These socks use odor-resistant materials and wick sweat away from your skin for ultimate comfort.
They also claim to use minerals in substances that use body heat to support the blood flow-enhancing effects of stress.
available from pocket.
4. Compression knee socks
This brand offers a limited selection of socks for exercise, but they come in more sizes for wide feet.
Just as you wouldn’t wear a sock that’s too tight because of the discomfort, you’re also less likely to use a sock that’s too tight for you.
Check the sizing chart to make sure you get the best fit possible.
Price: $78 for three pairs
available from comrade.