Compression Socks – What are they?
To answer the question ‘Are compression socks worth it?’ you need to know what it is they are supposed to do. Previously confined to the likes of hospital patients and frequent long fliers, compression socks are thought to stimulate blood flow and help avoid blood clots from poorly circulating blood through long periods of inactivity. The very idea that compression socks help to stimulate blood flow makes them ideal for runners, particularly runners who frequently run long distances. Compression socks for runners are usually made up of breathable material and are generally a blend of anything either nylon, polyester, wool, CoolMax, Lycra or Spandex.
How Do Compression Socks Work?
Knee high compression socks and calf sleeves work by stimulating blood flow which can help to increase oxygen delivery and decrease lactic acid build up. This in turn can help to prevent cramps and minimise muscle fatigue – particularly after a strenuous training session or a long run. It doesn’t just stop at socks – there are full compression gear outfits including tights, tops and sleeves.
There have been mixed results with tests on runners wearing compression socks relating to the effectiveness, but the fact that the socks have been found to be effective for patients facing periods of inactivity and it doesn’t appear as though harm is being done wearing the socks then it might be worth testing a pair out on your next run.
The best time to wear the socks is after the run to aid in the recovery period, so don’t get back from the run and immediately take them off – no matter how sweaty you are feeling!
What To Look Out For In Compression Socks:
- A breathable material
- Seams that won’t rub on your feet when they are inside your trainers
- A colour that will help to conceal the dirt and dust rather than showing it up like white!
- The correct fitting – measure your calves before you buy. Compression socks or calf sleeves that are too tight to get on over your calves will be uncomfortable and socks that are too loose will defeat the purpose and slip down during the run.
So as an expensive piece of your kit – are compression socks worth it? We think it’s worth trying a pair and if it makes you feel as though you are recovering faster and you are feeling fresher after a run then it’s worth it enough for us. If it’s a chilly day and you don’t want to wear full length tights they are also great for keeping you warm so even more reason to buy a pair!