Endurance athletes everywhere are welcoming athletic compression with open arms. Everyone from the likes of world class athletes like Meb Keflezighi to the weekend warrior are sporting compression wear during their runs and after for recovery.
Those who haven’t hopped aboard the fast-moving compression train often have the same reasons. Most notably, not wanting to wear a knee high sock is one of the reasons I hear most.
I can’t really blame people for not wanting to rock a sock that is knee length – especially in the 90+ degree weather we’ve been having lately. I, too, am more of a running minimalist – the less fabric on me, the better. The knee high socks I have I only wear post-run for a few hours for recovery purposes. However, when those extra long runs creep into my running schedule, I turn to compression calf sleeves. This way I can still sport my favorite running socks while getting the benefits of compression.
There are many options to choose from when it comes time to picking out some sleeves, so let’s go over a few.
Let’s start with CEP’s All Sport Compression Calf Sleeves. CEP is becoming one of the more popular compression brands on the market and recently received endorsement from U.S. Olympic marathoner, Meb Keflezighi. Unlike other brands, CEP is backed by Mediven, a medical compression stocking company with 60+ years of experience. Their sleeves feature 18-25mmhg graduated compression and can be worn for basically any activity. CEP sleeves are available in black, white, red, blue, pink, and green and are $34.96.
If you see someone running and they have bright-colored sleeves on, chances are they are sporting Zensah Calf Sleeves. Zensah sleeves feature targeted compression, delivering pinpoint compression to your shins and calves. Based out of Miami, Zensah can be regularly seen on members of the Miami Heat throughout the past few years. Those looking to treat shin splints and help their overall endurance, while sporting sleeves in basically any color you can imagine (they even have a limited edition American Flag-print sleeve in time for the 4th) can turn to Zensah. A pair is $39.99 and a single sleeve is $19.99.
These next calf sleeves are from the land down under, Australia – so they are obviously come armed with 50+ UV protection. SKINs A400 Compression Calf Tights are designed with a super comfortable fit and more precise, targeted Dynamic Gradient Compression. These sleeves also have Memory MX fabric, which contains a unique high stretch elastomeric yarn – which returns to its original shape no matter how much stress you put under it. Rory McIlroy and members of the St. Louis Blues are just a few of the athletes who can be seen sporting SKINs compression gear. The SKINs sleeves are sold for $60.
The last compression sleeve we’ll take a look at today is the 2XU Compression Calf Guard. Excellent at moisture wicking and featuring UPF 50 sun protection, these sleeves make for a great choice when it comes to a hot summer run. The sleeves are also made of 50 Denier, circular knit fabric, which means it’s highly durable and will maintain the proper compression without wearing out. 2XU Compression Calf Guards are sold for $55.
Compression is a great way to reduce muscle damage and fatigue while improving circulation and recovery. Not introducing compression garments into your training – whether it be during your run or after – is just silly. With the sleeves providing a nice (and cheaper) alternative than going with socks, there is really no reason to not give compression a try.