Compression socks are a must-have for any athlete or fitness enthusiast. They offer various benefits such as reducing the risk of injury, improving blood flow and circulation in your legs, and helping to hasten recovery after a workout. With all these benefits, it's no surprise that compression socks have become incredibly popular in recent years.
In this ultimate guide to sports compression socks, we'll take a look at everything you need to know about them. From how they work and the different types available in the market to how to choose the right pair for your needs.
How do compression socks work?
Compression socks are designed to give a certain level of pressure to your legs, typically around the ankle region, which gradually decreases as it goes upwards. This pressure promotes blood flow and circulation while reducing the amount of fluid build-up in your legs, which can help to prevent cramps, soreness, pain, and injury. The graduated compression also helps to flush out any lactic acid buildup in your muscles, reducing recovery time after a workout.
Non-Medical vs Medical compression socks
There is a clear difference between medical-grade socks and non-medical sock.
Compression grades of 20 mmHg or less are considered non-medical. They are sold in sports store and online. Medical-grade are under prescriptions and should be used under the supervision of a doctor.
Sizes of sports compression socks
Popular socks sizes include the knee-high socks, calf sleeves, ankle socks, and compression tights/leggings. Knee-high socks and compression tights offer the most comprehensive coverage, while ankle socks and calf sleeves are more targeted and perfect for people who prefer an easier wearing experience.
In general, knee-high socks and tights are best for activities that involve high-impact activities like running, while calf sleeves and ankle socks are ideal for sports like weight lifting or cycling.
How to choose the right pair of sports compression socks?
When selecting the right pair of sports compression socks for your needs, there are a few things to consider. The following factors come into play
- type of sports activity you practice and the number of sports you practice
- level of compression needed, knowing that there is a maximum of 20 mmHg compression for non-medical socks
- budget that you allocate to compression socks, but count between 30 EUR/USD to 70 EUR/USD
- material that can be cotton or fiber-based such as bamboo
- design and look&feel
Some socks come with padded soles, which can be beneficial for high-impact exercises like running and jumping. Some socks also come with compression around the arch which brings a 2nd area of compression for better recovery.
Do you wear them before, during or after?
The clear answer is all of the 3 options. This being said, compression socks are historically used pre and post effort to help with soreness and the build up of acid in your muscles.
Benefits of wearing compression socks during exercise
There are several benefits of wearing compression socks during exercise. First, they help to improve blood flow and circulation and reduce the amount of lactic acid build-up in your muscles, leading to less soreness and faster recovery time. They also help to support your muscles and reduce the risk of injury, especially in high-impact sports like running and jumping. Additionally, compression socks can help to regulate your body temperature and keep your feet dry, reducing the risk of blisters.
Lifestyle benefits of compression socks
Compression socks can offer various benefits beyond sports and exercise. For example, they're an excellent choice for anyone who spends long hours sitting or standing at work as they help to prevent leg fatigue and swelling. They can also be a great option for frequent travelers as compression socks have been shown to help regulate blood flow and prevent blood clots during long flights.
In conclusion, compression socks have become an essential accessory for anyone who's serious about fitness and sports performance. They offer a wide range of benefits from preventing injuries and reducing lactic acid build-up to improving circulation and reducing recovery time. By following the tips shared in this guide, you'll be able to choose the perfect pair of sports compression socks for your needs and take a step towards enhancing your performance and staying injury-free.
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