Best Compression Socks for Running
If you experience the feeling of heavy legs that begin to ache and fatigue during running then a compression sock could be a great option to consider. Compression socks are being used more and more frequently among runners these days because they are designed to her reduce lower leg pain and combat fatigue.
What are Compression Socks?
Compression socks are tight fit extended socks that use gradient compression to help reduce lower leg pain. Gradient compression means that the sock is tightest furthest away from the body and slowly decreases in the amount of pressure as it moves toward the knee or waist. The most common type of compression socks come up to the knee and can be found in neutral colors or funky patterns. Some compression socks go all the way up the thigh and some cover your waist as well, these are known as compression stockings. Compression sleeves provide compression to the knee but do not include the foot. A typical compression sock is often what runners find most comfortable.
Benefits of Compression Socks
By increasing circulation compression socks help aid in the recovery of all soft tissue in the legs and foot. Compression socks have been shown to help decrease fatigue and the aches and pains associated with fatigues as well as decrease swelling. On a more medical not compression socks help prevent venous conditions like blood clots, varicose veins, and spider veins.
Some compression socks can even help reduce common running injuries like plantar fasciitis and shin splints by encouraging blood flow and minimizing muscle strain with every step. Plantar fasciitis is a connective tissue injury that often develops after a sudden or drastic increase in distance and improper footwear. The plantar fascia runs from the heel to the toes and when overused it can develop micro tears that lead to pain and inflammation. Shin splints are associated with the main on the front lower leg and is also caused from sudden increases in exercise. It is believes that this pain is due to small tears in the muscle from the bone and an inflammation of the muscle.
Benefits of Compression Stockings:
- Decreased Fatigue
- Decreased aches and pains
- Decreased swelling
- Prevention of spider veins and varicose veins
- Prevention of light headed or dizziness
- Prevention of blood clots
- Prevention of venous disorders
How a Compression Sock Helps
Pain in the legs is caused by poor circulation and consistently fatigued muscles. Studies have shown that compression socks stimulate blood flow which then leads to a quicker recovery from a long or hard run. This is done by placing pressure on the soft tissue to help push excess fluids back into the venus system capillaries to be cleared out by the lymphatic system. Fluids like lactic acid cause swelling and cramps so it is beneficial to assist the body in removing it.
Compression socks also help prevent blood pooling in the superficial tiny veins in the foot and lower leg. The less blood that is pooling means the more blood there is continuously being circulated in the venous system. Blood carries oxygen so this means that the lower legs and feet are receiving more oxygen which will then lead to a quicker recovery.
Compression socks are highly recommended to any runner who has been experiencing leg pain associated with long and difficult runs. This is a natural way to give your body a boost to achienve whatever distance or accomplishment you are striving for.
Here are some great compression socks options for runners:
Vitalsox Performance Socks
This is a great basic example of a typical knee high compression sock with 12-20mm Hg of compression strength. The sock comes in many different colors and sizes for whatever look you are going for. Added features include arch support through mid-foot compression that supports the ligaments, arch and heel of the foot and also helping prevent blood pooling. These socks are made of a special material to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus as well as wick the moisture away from your foot to create a drier feel.
CompressionZ Graduated Compression Socks
These CompressionZ socks have a higher compression strength of 20-30mmHg which does provide the strangest blood circulation but depending on your preference, some people find a bit too tight. This type of sock may be best for shorter more high intensity runs or exercises. They are made with anti-odor, anti-static, and anti-bacterial fabric to keep you comfortable and at the right temperature. If you are looking for an extra bit of compression to help prevent swelling then this is a great option.
Sockwell Circulator Compression Socks
These compression socks are known for being extremely comfortable for a few different reasons. First off they contain a padded sole for added cushion. Sockwell compression socks have arch support as well as reinforced toe and heel support to help keep the sock in place for longer periods of time. They contain a typical amount of pressure of 15-20mmHg and can be used for running, traveling or just all day wear.
MoJo Elite Compression Socks
MoJo creates compression socks that are built for performance. These socks are a bit thicker and have a higher compression strength of 20-30mmHg to maximize blood circulation to promote a quicker recovery. They are made to follor the contours of the foot and leg with padded areas and four flex zone to enhance mobility and allow you to move freely through natural range of motion.
CompressionZ Patterned Compression Socks
If you are looking for a fun, bright and colorful socks then CompressionZ is the way to go. They have created a ton of funky patterns to make you standout in a crowd. With a higher compression level of 20-30mmHg these socks will provide great compression strength. They also contain the typical features of anti-odor and anti-static material to keep your funky socks smelling good. These compression socks are ideal for sports like running as well as daily wear.
Besta Compression Sleeve
If you don’t like the feel of a full ankle sock in your running shoe then a compression sleeve can be a good option. This sleeve contains normal graduated compression from the ankle to the knee to help pump blood and increase circulation. The Besta sleeve is comfortable and will last you a long time.