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Best Compression Socks: A Must-Have Guide for Runners

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So, you are ready for a run in your shining Nike running gear with the I-pod set to your favorite workout playlist but do you have the correct socks for your day’s sprint? Yes, you heard it right. You need to pull up the right socks as well if you do not want to end up with calf cramps or sore lower legs after a run. And before you panic with bewilderment here’s everything to know about compression socks and the top best compression socks for professional runners as well as the enthusiasts.

10 Best Compression Socks for Runners

There are different types of compression socks available out there. A few of them fall under the category of medical grade compression socks while others are innovatively designed by high profile sports brands for the athletes like runners, NBA players, and the rest.

Compression socks bring comfort to people with certain medical conditions that prevent proper blood circulation. On the other hand, athletes wear to enhance their performance and avoid after workout pitfalls like muscle fatigue, and soreness, etc. Here are some of the best compression socks:

1. Vitalsox Graduated Compression Performance Socks

One of the most popular compression socks, the Vitalsox is made from a fiber called Drystat. The unique fiber, Drystat is effective in controlling moisture while potentially reducing bacteria and fungi growth. The Vitalsox provides compression around the midfoot, gives arch support and keeps common running injuries, such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis, at bay.

compressions socks for runners
Vitalsox

2. Eurosocks Patented Graduated Recovery Compression Socks

Considered as one of the best compression socks brands, these unisex compression socks are great recovery socks that minimize swelling of leg and foot by maximizing circulation of blood along the leg while maintaining calf support. These patented compression socks by Eurosocks is made of 70% Silver Drystat, 10% Nylon, 10% Spandex, and 10% Lycra. The unique combination of the material is designed for optimum moisture wicking and thus, creating a healthier environment.

compression socks for running
Eurosocks

3. 2XU Women’s Compression Performance Run Socks

For the female avid runners, these pair compression socks will definitely stand out. The 2XU Women’s Compression Performance Run Socks are an excellent choice of compression stockings for long distance runners, marathoners. They come in vibrant colors- hot pink and lime green to name a few and increase air circulation with optimal moisture absorption. Moreover, the material of 2XU compression socks applies a consistent and powerful pressure on the muscles.

best compression socks
2XU Women’s Compression socks

4. MudGear OCR

Planning to run a triathlon or obstacle course racing? Then MudGear compression socks are the go-to socks! MudGear compression socks are fashioned to provide compression that will last through intense conditions. The material used to create the MudGear compression socks are quite thicker than the normal compression socks yet there is proper airflow. And this tenacity of the fiber makes MudGear OCR durable in rugged sports.

best compression socks
MudGear OCR

5. Physix Gear Sport

Avid runners, athletes, and professionals that are on their feet for the most part of the day should opt for the Physix Gear Sport compression socks. These socks are knee high that provides about 20-30 mmHg of compression. They are reactively low cost and provides great arch compression with a supportive fit. The fiber used in making these compression socks are non-slippery, thus making them ideal for long hours of work.

compression socks for running
Physix Gear Sport socks

6. Injinji 2.0 Compression Over The Calf Toesocks

If you want to protect your feet from blisters then Injinji compression socks are just for you! The Injinji 2.0 Compression socks is specially crafted to provide perfect toe grip and alignment that lets you run with comfort. These socks are excellent for downhill running. Apart from downhill running, you can also use them to assist with training and post-workout healing.

best compression socks
Injinji-2.0 Compression socks

Read about Blisters On Feet (while Running): Types, Causes, Treatment and Remedies

7. 2XU Compression Calf Sleeves

If you are one of those who doesn’t like the tight grip around the feet or prefers to wear your favorite pair of socks then compression calf sleeves are for you. The 2XU calf compression sleeves use a seamless construction that provides a graduated compression and support on the lower leg, especially targeting at the calf and shins. It covers the entire lower leg, right from lower ankle to the calf while maintaining correct pressure at the calf, shin, and Achille, when worn during an activity.

2XU Compression Socks
2XU Compression Socks

8. MoJo Compression Socks

These compression socks sell themselves as performance-oriented compression socks. MoJo compression socks are made from a thick material that features graduated compression. They are tightest at the ankle and the intensity reduces up the leg for a pumping effect. MoJo socks are scientifically designed as both the feet are labeled so that you receive, optimally, the correct amount of compression that best for each foot.

MoJo Compression Socks
MoJo Compression Socks

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9. CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Compression Run Socks

These CEP compression socks for women come in three distinct colors- pink, blue, and green. The medical grade compression feature of CEP compression ensures optimum recovery and performance while providing ankle-arch support and a blister-free environment and is considered to be one of the best compression socks.

medical grade socks
CEP Women’s Progressive socks

10. Blitzu

While most compression socks brand provides general lower leg compression, Blitzu compression socks are intelligently designed to distribute pressure where you need it most and is considered one of the best compression socks brand.

compression sleeves for calves
Blitzu socks

Having discussed the best compression socks available in the market, let us now understand the head and tail of compressions socks, its need, and benefits. Keep reading to know more.

What are Compression Socks

Before turning into a fad in sports apparel world, compression garments were used to treat patients suffering from poor blood circulation. Earlier seen, specifically, on people with diabetes, airplane pilots, and patients with venous disorders, compressions socks are specially designed socks that compress the limb.

best compression socks
Compression socks

The compression helps to reduce venous pressure, prevent venous stasis and impairments of venous walls, and thereby relieve heavy and aching legs. Basically, all compression gears are made with a blend of breathable fabrics like nylon, polyester, wool, CoolMax, Lycra, and Spandex which have maximum moisture absorbing capacity and flexibility.

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Why you Need Compression Socks while Going for a Run

As we know, running is good for our overall physical and mental health by ensuring proper blood circulation flow. A brisk jog keeps you fit and the compression socks ensure proper and uninterrupted blood flow.

Diabetes is one of the major reasons that impede blood flow. An increase in blood glucose level building up in the blood vessels causes the blood arteries to become narrow and hence obstruct blood circulation.

best compression socks
Compression socks for good blood circulation

Of course, you might dismiss the need of compression socks as you believe that you are fit as a horse but blood circulation depends on the veins of your body more than the fitness of your limbs and sleekness of your belly and apart from blood sugar level. That (ignored) dull, throbbing pain you encounter in your arms and legs is actually the result of damaged veins. And these injured or damaged veins fail to assist proper and regular blood circulation.

This is where compression garments like compression socks, compression pants, calf compression sleeves, compression stockings, etc. come in. These garments tend to reduce the diameter of distended veins and consequently increase venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness. But even if you do not suffer from vein impairment and abnormal blood sugar level, it is recommended to use at least the compression socks, if not the entire compression gear, while going for a run.

Proper blood circulation is vital for proper functioning of the various body systems like the nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, and the skeletal/muscular system. Therefore, wear the compression socks to be on the safer side and reduce health hazards.

How do Compression Socks Work

Compression socks, or any kind of compression garments for that matter, help to relieve symptoms of poor blood circulation by upholding the muscle’s ability to pump blood from the lower legs up through the other parts of the body.

While top sports brands claim that their smartly designed compression socks or gears will directly increase athletic performance and endurance, in reality, they have as much contribution to the performance as you losing a kilo of weight after a day’s jog in the park. But that is not to say that compression socks do not contribute in any way to boost performance.

where to buy compression socks
Compression socks for athletic performance

The myth of compression socks helping to achieve optimum performances soars from the various laboratory studies that assert that runners, cyclists and other athletes have experienced improved blood circulation through their muscles after suiting up in compression gears and socks. The improved blood flow increases oxygenation of muscles and thus an improvement in performance.

And that’s about the performance, but what is the underlying biological mechanism that allows for greater recovery? Well, researchers have speculated that increased blood flow replenishes the muscles with glycogen that provides energy to the cells and help in faster recovery.

It further destroys the lactic acid build up in the muscles after a strenuous training or a long run and renders quick relief from sore and fatigued muscles.

5 Benefits of Compression Socks

Traditionally, compression socks are used to address the painful condition of varicose veins. The underlying vein problem is curbed by specially designed compression socks known as medical grade compression socks.

In these types of socks, the compression is designed to be stronger in the feet and gradually decrease in pressure up the leg and all the way to the thigh. Regular wearing of compression socks can be beneficial in the following ways:

1. Improve venous blood flow

Compression socks regulate healthy blood flow to the body extremities like legs, feet, and hands by applying pressure on veins and blood vessels in the legs, making them narrower and thus increasing the blood flow pace.

2. Prevent pooling of venous blood in the legs

Weak or damaged veins fail to redirect the deoxygenated blood to the heart from extreme parts of the body. On the other hand, keeping oxygenated blood flowing to muscles is necessary for performance. And compression socks prevent the pooling of deoxygenated blood by increasing the blood pressure in the legs and feet, thereby enhancing your performance.

3. Decreases the risk of blood clots

A damage in the lining of a blood vessel causes unwanted blood clotting in the veins or arteries. The stagnant blood in the blood vessels leads to various medical conditions like DVT, heart attack, strokes, and others. Such health risks arising from blood clotting can be decreased by wearing compression socks.

4. Mitigate leg swelling

Compression socks control swelling in the feet, ankles, and lower legs by squeezing those tissue areas where fluid buildup is possible.

5. Improved vein disease symptoms

As discussed, all kinds of venous diseases and varicose vein problems can be improved by compression socks. Such vein related problems arise when they fail to push back the blood to the heart.

Unlike arteries, veins do not have a pump to return blood (containing waste products) from the various body parts to the heart. They rely on muscle contractions to squeeze and push the blood in the reverse direction. Compression socks provide the needed pressure to the veins that compresses the vein valves and expedites the blood circulation.

Side-effects of Compression Socks

As good as it may sound, compression socks do have certain side effects in the hindsight. Compression socks are kind of more special than your everyday socks. For the same reason that makes them special, compression socks can be a bane to your as well.

Firstly, the pressure required by the veins differ for different body sizes. Hence, opting for the compression socks in correct measurements is very important. Wearing compression socks in the wrong circumference, length, etc could be extremely dangerous to your health.

Compression socks with extreme pressure could create a tourniquet effect and increase blood clot risk. Additionally, compression socks are made of specific fabrics like lycra, nylon, etc. which may cause skin irritation in individuals who are prone to skin allergies to such materials.

Therefore, a thorough understanding and consideration of compression socks or garments is essential before buying one.

Where and How to Buy Best Compression Socks

Okay, now you are no longer a “compression sock virgin,” you know the head and tail of it and how they promote blood circulation. But do you know which of the compression socks will best suit you?

First up, you do not visit a store and just grab the one in the brightest hue or blackest of the blue. It’s not as simple!

According to AbsoluteMedical.com, there are four compression levels that are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), and the higher the numbers, the higher the compression. Other than that, you should also try to find the right fabric for your skin to avoid chafing or skin irritation.

There are two types of compression socks viz.,

  1. medical grade compression socks, and
  2. non-medical grade compression socks.
where to buy compression socks
Check the compression levels before buying Compression socks

Socks or stockings with compression strength ranging between 20 mmHg and 40 mmHg are medical grade compression socks and need to be prescribed by a physician. Diabetic compression socks fall into this category. On the other hand, compression socks or stockings which have compression strength ranging between 8 mmHg and 20 mmHg are considered non-medical. They are either worn for general comfort or during workouts.

Irrespective of whether you are opting for compression socks, stocks, or support hose, the following measurements are mandatory.

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Knee High Compression Socks

  • Ankle Measurement
    Place the measuring tape above the ankle bone and measure around the narrowest part of the ankle.
  • Calf Measurement
    Measure the widest circumference of the calf with the tape.
  • Calf Length Measurement
    Keeping the leg at 90 degrees, measure the length from the bend of the knee to the floor.

Thigh High Compression Stockings

  • Ankle Measurement
    Place the measuring tape above the ankle bone and measure around the narrowest part of the ankle.
  • Calf Measurement
    Measure the widest circumference of the calf with the tape.
  • Thigh Measurement
    Placing the measuring tape just under the buttocks, measure the widest circumference of the thigh.
  • Leg Length Measurement
    With the measuring tape, measure the length from the bottom of the buttocks to the floor.

Pantyhose Compression Measurements

  • Ankle Measurement
    Place the measuring tape above the ankle bone and measure around the narrowest part of the ankle.
  • Calf Measurement
    Measure the widest circumference of the calf with the tape.
  • Thigh Measurement
    Placing the measuring tape just under the buttocks, measure the widest circumference of the thigh.
  • Leg Length Measurement
    With the measuring tape, measure the length from the bottom of the buttocks to the floor.

Best compression socks and gears are easily available online. You will find an array of compression socks and compression stockings with all the product details and at feasible prices to fit your budget.

Compression socks or garments have a wider usage and isn’t restricted to the pro-athletes only. You can wear them while driving long distances or doing your sedentary job. Sitting or being in a particular position for longer periods of time could also prevent healthy blood flow across the body. This will lead to bloating of the limbs, especially the lower leg and cause nasty pains.

Thus, we must understand that compression gears are not just sports fashion fad that you must have in order to appear stylish while hitting the tracks. If you plan to go on a regular run every day then compression socks are a necessity to gain quick recovery, especially if you suffer from poor blood circulation.

Say no to injuries by checking Running Injuries Every Runner Should Know!

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