Designed to boost muscle performance and muscle recovery.
Muscle Performance: Promoting blood circulation and increasing muscle oxygenation would reduce lactic acid buildup which would theoretically boost muscle performance.
Muscle Recovery: By reducing muscle swelling and inflammation (due to muscle tissue repairing) pain is relieved, and recovery will be quicker.
Lactic acid buildup: During intense session of exercise/workout, your muscles may not get enough oxygen to break down glucose for energy. This results in a substance called lactate being made. Your body can convert this lactate to energy without using oxygen. However, this lactate or lactic acid can build up in your bloodstream faster than you can burn it off.
When lactic acid builds up it causes muscle fatigue and a burning sensation during exercise. Contrary to popular opinion, post-exercise muscle soreness is not caused by lactic acid buildup, but due to the result of intense training damage to the muscle (Reference wikihow). As muscle recovers from training, muscle tissue is rebuilt which causes inflammation, swelling and tenderness as the muscles repair themselves.
What Science says about Compression Socks?
Muscle Performance: Studies haven’t found any evidence showing that compression socks help performance during exercise, but a placebo effect was found. In a study of 16 athletes, tests were done with and without compression socks.
On average the results showed no signs of increased performance. Although the athletes who performed above the average were those who believed that compression socks really improve performance. This is the placebo effect.
So, if compression socks make you feel more comfortable, or make you more confident or more focused, they will certainly help you to run longer or put in extra effort during your workouts, and your performance will increase.
Clothing also has a big impact on our self-steam, and when we feel happier we tend to perform better.
Muscle Recovery: Studies (reference here) have found evidence that compression socks help to reduce swelling and inflammation (caused by intense exercise or long hours standing/walking), easing the pain of muscle recovery.
Compression Socks for:
Flying and Road Trips:
Long hours spent seated and different air pressures causes swelling in the feet and legs. Popular among frequent flyers, compression socks help to reduce the swelling and make long flights less painful for your muscles.
On colder days compression socks will help to keep the muscles warm and reduce the chances of muscle strain.
They also help to reduce cramps, keeping in mind that there are other important steps to fight cramping like eating foods high in potassium; avoiding refined sugar especially high sugar beverages; eating bananas; proper running shoes; following good pre-exercise warm-up; and stretching after exercise.
By reducing calf muscle vibration, compression socks give an extra sense of comfort and can help prevent/delay fatigue.
Some runners say they can run faster using compression socks because they reduce vibration in their calf muscles.
When practicing trail running you might run through bushes and compression socks are useful to keep legs from getting torn up.
After an intense run, wearing compression socks helps to make recovery quicker and less painful. Another great way is to elevate the legs while seated to promote blood circulation.
Long shifts spent mostly standing can be very painful for the legs and feet, causing swelling and inflammation. Compression socks and sleeves are a great way to reduce the swelling and inflammation and reduce fatigue at the end of the day.
Compression socks decrease fluid retention in the extremities, so there should be less swelling in the feet.
In the summer, some nurses prefer to use compression sleeves which leave the feet open and keep the feet feeling fresher.
Swelling in feet and ankles is very common during pregnancy. It’s usually caused by
an increase in blood volume that occurs to help you carry extra oxygen and nutrients to your baby” and you also retain more water. Leg cramps are also common in pregnant women.
source very well family.
Compression stocks help to decrease the swelling and may motivate you to take regular walks. Exercise really helps to reduce the chances of leg cramps and increases blood circulation.
Note: Compression sleeves are not recommended for people who sit for long periods as they can make your feet and knee swell.
Thigh-high stockings are recommended as they ensure that the extra fluid will not collect around your knees
Elevate your legs to increase blood circulation in the legs.
Leg stretching leg exercises also help to reduce swelling. A complete stretching routine is a good daily habit that will prevent muscle pain.
Avoid high-salt foods to prevent extra water retention.
After a long day, an intense workout, or a lengthy flight, your leg muscles get tired and muscle tissue becomes damaged. Compression socks can help to reduce the pain, making recovery less painful and quicker due to an increase in blood circulation and muscle oxygenation.
How to pick good compression socks
The first most important step is to know is which size you should get.
Ankle Measurement: Place the measuring tape at the narrowest part of the ankle, about half an inch above the ankle bone.
Calf Measurement: Measure the circumference of the widest part of your calf.
Calf Length: Sit on a chair with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Measure the distance from one finger below the bend in your knee to the floor.
Good compression sock brands provide size charts, so you can using you record measurements and easily choose the size that’s right for you.
The second step is choosing a brand.
A good brand is important to ensure you are getting a quality product with proper compression and that you’ve got good customer support to back your product.
All my recommendations are from popular and known brands, offering money back guarantees and a good customer service.
Best Compression Socks
These are the best compression socks I’ve found in the market.
When you search in Google, prices can range from Chinese low-quality compression socks to elite models.
I don’t have a big budget, but when buying something that I know I will use for a long period of time, I prefer quality as I enjoy the pleasure of wearing a good product made from nice fabric and with good compression. A lot of the time, poor quality compression gear doesn’t provide any compression and the only benefit to buying cheap is that you save a few dollars.
Made of mainly synthetic fibers, we need robust and very durable socks for our daily or three-times a week sport activity.
When doing any kind of sports, your feet get warm and you start to sweat a lot. I always prefer synthetic fibers for compression socks used for running, jogging, or any other sport activity.
Made of 60% polyamide, these are by far the best compression socks I’ve used for running. They aren’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. They’re high quality, resilient, and durable. If you plan on wearing compression socks most of the day, I highly recommend these. Check the size chart to know exactly which size will fit best. Different colors are available, and while the designs are not the best, they aren’t too bad either. Available At Amazon.com.
Made of 63% Nylon, and specially designed for Trail Hiking. These socks are a beast! They have a very strong construction, are comfortable and durable. The reviews are very good for these USA brand socks. There are three sizes and three different colors available. Available at Amazon.com.
Mostly made of Polyamide. High quality, very good compression and very comfortable. I found these especially good for jogging and running. Available at Amazon.com.
Compression socks compress, that’s how they work! So keep in mind that your feet and legs might get warm, especially during the summer. I do find that my feet get warm very quickly so, in the summer, I prefer to use compression sleeves, so my feet stay fresh. If you prefer compression sleeves, click here for my favorites.
Latex-free, 80% Nylon and 20% of spandex. These are probably the most durable and comfortable compression socks available. They aren’t’ cheap and they aren’t beautiful (only available in black and beige) but the quality if very good. If you plan on using your compression socks every day for work, these are probably your best option.
If you’re looking for something more fashionable, JOBST are not really an option. Available at Amazon.com.
Beautiful designs, made with 32% merino wool, these socks offer moderate graduated compression. Available in three different sizes and many different colors. Made in the USA, these are the most popular compression socks among nurses. If you prefer more compression, you can go for their Firm model. Available at Amazon.com.
Made in Italy, these compression socks are very comfortable. They are available in different colors and four different sizes. They also have a very good compression sleeve model which is especially useful for summer compress your claves while keeping your feet fresh. Available at Amazon.com
Made in Italy, Vitalsox have been around since 1998. Containing 10% Spandex, Lycra and nylon, these socks are very comfortable and with come at a very good price.
For women this model is recommended.
Designed for Women
Containing 32% merino wool, these socks are very soft and comfortable. Probably the most beautiful socks available on the market, this is a very reputable brand with high quality socks. Made in the USA, the reviews on Amazon are just amazing. You can check them here at Amazon.com.
Mojo Compression Socks
Mojo is another popular brand in compression gear. These socks are a special edition to raise awareness about breast cancer. They are very stretchable and very easy to put on and take off. 25% of Spandex, these socks will give you nice, graduated compression. Available at Amazon.com
Made of 95% Polyamide, these socks are designed and manufactured in Europe. Good product and not too expensive. Available three different sizes and colors. Available at Amazon.com.
For Pregnant Women
For pregnant women I recommend compression tights as they will be more beneficial than socks. These are high quality graduated compression socks from a very well-known brand JOBST. Available at Amazon.com
These compression socks are a little different from the others because they are specially designed for pregnancy. Remember to elevate your feet, stay hydrated, and avoid high salty foods to reduce the chances of swelling. Only available in beige with very good amazon reviews that you can check here. Available at Amazon.com.
These are very popular and highly rated. These compression socks are 65% cotton. Cotton makes it easier for your feet to breath, so they are cooler, and your feet will stay fresh. They come in several different colors and sizes. This is a great product for those who prefer cotton over synthetic fibers. Available at Amazon.com.
For Flying and Road trips
When I stand for long periods or spend many hours seated with no physical activity, I prefer to use cotton compression stocks as these are fresher and more breathable than synthetic fibers.
Specially designed for traveling, they are made of 80% cotton, so you don’t get hot feet. Designed to reduce foot and leg swelling during long flights, this brand has a 100% “LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT” SATISFACTION GUARANTEE. If you don’t like them, you can ask your money back. Available at Amazon.com.
Blitzu Air Travel
Made with 80% cotton, this socks are designed for air travel but you can also use them for other activities. If you prefer cotton over manmade fibers, these are a great option. Available at Amazon.com.
Best Compression Sleeves
On summer days my feet usually get too hot wearing compression socks. So, I prefer to use normal cotton socks with compression sleeves for running or playing sports. This way, my feet stay fresh while my calves get compressed which helps stop me from feeling so tired by the end of the day.
To recover at home, I use compression socks as sleeves are not recommended to for use when seated as your feet will probably become swollen.
Sports and Running:
20-30mmHg graduated + consistent compression, this is one of the best brands on the market. High quality and very durable, these sleeves make running in the summer much easier and more comfortable. Available at Amazon.com.
The popular brand of compression socks is also available in sleeves. Providing a graduated compression using Elastane combined with Lycra. Available at Amazon.com.
14 – 23 mmHg graduated compression. Made with Nylon and Spandex. These sleeves are a great choice for those with a lower budget. Available at Amazon.com.
20-30mmHg Gradient Compression. Very thin, these sleeves work like a second skin. They provide a gradient compression and are ideal for those hot sunny days while your feet stay fresh. Available at Amazon.com.
This is a very well-known brand. Their products are made from high quality fabrics. If you’re looking for something more stylish and more colorful these sleeves are available in a variety of different colors. Available at Amazon.com.
Compression Socks Benefits
- Stabilize your muscle and reduce muscular vibration: Makes moving and running more comfortable.
- Increased blood flow: Increased muscle oxygenation can potentially enhance performance, although there aren’t any studies to support this theory.
- Fast and easier muscle recovery: Higher blood circulation helps the damaged muscle fiber (due to exercise) rebuild and recover more quickly. Compression also helps to reduce swelling, reducing muscle soreness and pain. After an intense workout, running, or any kind of sport, put on your compression socks when you get home and your legs instantly feel better.
- More confidence and self-steam: More comfort helps you to go that extra mile while working out.
- Keeps muscles warm: Reducing the chances of muscle strain.
- Fighting cramps: Cramps happen for due to several reasons, and using compression socks helps to reduce the chances, along with eating bananas for potassium, a proper warm-up, stretching, and a low refined sugar diet, medium protein, and high in fruit, vegetables and legumes.
- Decreases fluid retention in the extremities: Don’t use compression sleeves when spending long periods seated. Compression socks help keep your blood pumping to prevent swollen feet. That’s why they are a great choice for frequently flyers, long flights, and pregnant women.
- Improving the flow of lymph: The lymphatic system is a part of the vascular system that carries a clear fluid called lymph. The lymph is where all the cells dump their waste which is filtered by the lymph nodes. It’s then filtered by the kidneys and expelled through the skin by sweating. Compression socks help remove the cellular waste generated by intense exercise or a long day working, leading to faster and more complete recovery.