Athletic Compression Socks – Complete Guide (with Pictures!)

athlete wearing compression running socks

Running is all about your fitness and personal records, and you can achieve them with athletic compression socks!

Whether you’re a 5K amateur or an elite marathoner. It has all to do with your personal records and how well you can meet and beat them. Athletic socks provide more comfort, stability and power.

What can compression socks do for an athlete?

A pair goes a long way to improve your blood circulation, prevent injuries, helps you work harder, and helps you recover from a strenuous activity.

How about the mental aspect? If you feel compression socks are going to make you stronger, you are going to be strong.

ComproGear is the place to go online to get all your seamless compression.    

What are They?

compression running socks

You can’t wear them, if you don’t know what they’re, right?

These are specialized hosiery that are specifically made to help you prevent the occurrence, progression, or reoccurrence of venous disorders.

Support socks are made of elastic garments, which you can wear around your leg. They provide the ideal compression needed to increase blood flow and valve effectiveness.

How Do They Work?

how compression socks work for athletes

The veins’ main job is to remove deoxygenated blood from your legs, which has to be pumped back to the heart against the force of gravity.

how compression support socks work

If strenuous activities cause blood vessels to expand, the valves in your veins will not close any longer and blood collects in your legs.

The improperly functioning valves disrupt normal flow of blood. This problem can be alleviated by applying pressure from outside your legs.

Athletic socks press on the vein walls and tissue muscles, which help your blood vessels recover the right shape to function properly. This results in a normal flow of blood in your legs.

What Length is Suitable for Runners?

athlete wearing knee high compression socks

There’re various lengths of compression socks, including ankle high, knee high, and thigh high. We recommend ankle high and knee high lengths for athletes.

Knee High: These are support socks that stretch up to the knee. The elastic material used is usually tighter at the foot and loosen up gradually towards the knee.

ankle high athletic sock

Our high-quality knee high athletic socks feature high-grade circular knit design that provides 360-degree stretch for superior flexibility as well as durability.

Ankle High: These athletic socks stretch up to the ankle. Targeted compression zones of these socks provide variable levels of compression support.  

Compression Therapy for Athletes

 

athletes wearing running compression socks

Training and competition usually leads to perceptual and physical stress on the athletic body. The best way to aid performance and recovery is to use athlete compression sock therapy.

According to podiatrists, compression forces help muscle pump regulated venous return. The value of compression support is to enhance extra-vascular pressure.

sprinting in compression socks

Compression garments are said to provide compressive forces of 8-20 mmHg at the ankle. Even though, medical grade compression may be as high as 30 mmHg.

Regardless of the perceived or actual compression of athletic socks, their use in sports confirms their popularity with athletes.

In fact, the use of compression support socks is evident in a range of strength and power focused athletic activities, especially sprint and jump.  

Effects on Performance

can athletic socks boost performance

Studies on the effects of compression socks on strength performance remains minimal. But majority of research is based on fatigue minimization, blood flow, and recovery.

Nonetheless, it appears that running compression socks boost small improvement in the production of force and strength performance.

Most importantly, compression may improve repeated strength performance by effectively delaying the onset of fatigue.

running compression socks relieve fatigue

According to podiatrists, performance when running at aerobic and anaerobic thresholds may improve significantly when wearing athletic socks.

This means constant compression on the calf muscle may boost running performance at various metabolic onsets. But this may depend on a slightly higher aerobic capacity.     

Compression and Recovery

athlete recovering in compression socks

The focus of most athletes when buying compression garments is normally performance. But compression support socks may have greater advantages to improve recovery after running.   

Many sportspersons report an easier and quicker recovery after running when wearing athletic socks, which appears to help the muscles renew more efficiently.

Research; on the other hand, have not found compelling evidence that can backup these claims. The claims have been justified partially by research.

compression socks reduce soreness

Athletes who have participated in controlled trials (research) have only reported reduced tightness in the calves, fatigue, stiffness, and soreness.

You might say all these claims are placebo effect. Therefore, how compression socks improve your ability to run effectively and recover faster depend mostly on your belief in them.   

Should You Buy Them?

At the moment, there’s minimal research that support manufacturers’ claims. But; statistically, more and more athletes are seen using compression socks and compression sleeves.

Therefore, they must be worthwhile and beneficial, which means you can depend on these products. Generally, you should use compression garments at your own preference

Benefits of Compression Running Socks for Athletes?

compression socks improve blood flow

Although the scientific proof for the effects of compression socks is mixed, a number of research have found small but positive benefits.

Reduce Leg Soreness

relieve muscle soreness with athletic socks

Compression support socks can help in reducing post-exercise muscle soreness. In other words, they delay the onset of muscle soreness.

Some studies have theorized that compression stockings and compression sleeves might have the effect of compressing muscle tissue to the extent that less structural damage can occur.

This may also indicate that compression running socks can accelerate the recovery of muscle force capacity within a given time duration.

Reduce Leg Swelling

relieve swollen legs with compression socks

Compression garments use multi-layered wraps to reduce as well as control the swelling or edema in your legs and prevent it from coming back.

Athletic socks keep blood from pooling in your legs and reduce edema and leg swelling after a strenuous training or workout session.  

Increase Leg Energy

compression socks boost leg energy

This benefit is mostly theorized, but some controlled research have reported that medium and low athletic socks help in the maintenance of leg muscle power.

It is mostly believed that the use of an athlete compression sock boost blood flow and circulation to the leg.

This helps to limit the occurrence of exercise-induced edema, which is great because it promotes a healthy blood flow, supplying your leg muscles with sufficient oxygen.

Reduce Blood-Based Markers of Muscle Damage

relieve muscle damage with compression socks

The need of power training and regular strength in athletes may lead to muscle damage. This may cause the appearance of indirect markers of the damage in the blood.

The use of compression socks includes the attempt to reduce or remove blood-based markers of muscle damage during highly demanding exercises.

The evidence supporting these claims is mixed. Though, some studies have reported that the benefits of support socks in this case may relate to the reduction of exercise-induced damage.

Decrease Lactic Acid

relieve lactic acid buildup with running compression socks

Lactic acid is the end result of the conversion of glucose and glycogen to energy through the glycolytic metabolic pathway.

If you run fast enough to be out of breath, pyruvic acid will accumulates in your muscles and turns into lactic acid.

It is lactic acid that causes the sharp, burning pain you feel when running uphill. It is believed that compression socks can help erase lactic acid from your muscles.

They achieve this by ensuring that your muscles get sufficient oxygen. Removal of lactic acid helps stabilize your legs for superior muscle efficiency.

Warmth

athletic socks keep legs warm

You may love morning and evening runs, but nothing spoils a training session faster than cold feet. The best solution is a pair of our high-quality athletic socks.

The increase circulation or blood flow in your legs helps produce warmth, which in turn helps to keep your legs warm during a morning or evening run.

Our compression socks are made with super soft materials knitted into a breathable textile that reflects back your body heat, lessening sweat and moisture.

This ensures your feet stay dry, warm and very relaxed on the track and off the track.

Protection

compression socks protect your feet

Protection is the most common use of any type of socks you wear. Recreational running or hiking may take you onto tracks with undergrowth.

On such tracks, your compression running socks will help protect your legs from abrasions, scratches, and dangerous plants such as poison ivy.

Prevent Injury

prevent injury with compression socks

You are likely to experience calf strains during a run, which normally come on four to five kilometers into the run.

They may become painful enough to feel like you need to stop running immediately. Calf strains may force you to rest for a couple of days before you resume running.

According to some studies, compression sleeves and compression socks help prevent calf strains by boosting circulation and keeping your muscles warm.

In this case, it is believed that compression helps stabilize your calf in order to reduce muscle vibration. This helps to minimize fatigue and reduce injury rates.

Compression socks may also prevent blisters, heel cup issues, Achilles, pulled muscles, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

Happier Athlete

athletes are happy in athletic socks

After going through all the supposed benefits of compression socks and sleeves. We now understand why these products are popular with athletes.

The evidence needed to support most benefits may be insufficient, but runners out there say otherwise. Compression makes athletes happier and so should you.

How to Choose Compression Support Socks

Choosing the ideal compression running socks may be a little bit challenging. This is so because some brands have a tendency of using tricky marketing language.

We believe you should get the best out there and not some ill-fitting pair of medical socks. Here are our expert tips that will help you with your search.

Choose the Ideal Support Level

different compression levels

Did you know that compression socks are available in different compression levels?

These socks come in a variety of support/compression levels. Each of which is made for a different need.

The measurement of compression is millimeters of mercury. This is usually displayed on the package as mmHg, such as 20-30 mmHg.

All you have to think about when looking at the support level is that the higher the compression number/range, the firmer the compression will be that is within the socks.

athletes wearing 8-15 mmHg compression socks

Your doctor is the best person for determining your specific compression needs. But there are some general usage guidelines, which we can cover quickly with you.

  • 8-15 mmHg Support Level

This compression level is typically reserved for healthy people looking for preventative application.

  • 15-20 mmHg Support Level

This compression rating offers more mild support for mild conditions. This is a great starting point for therapeutic compression.

high performing 20-30 mmHg athletic socks
  • 20-30 and 30-40 mmHg Support Levels

20 to 30 and 30 to 40 and even above that is most often reserved for specific physician recommendation. These support levels are for more moderate and advanced conditions.

Most performance athletes are seen wearing 20-30 mmHg athletic socks. It is believed that this compression level supports ligaments and muscles and boosts endurance.

Choose the Correct Size

Compression running socks and sleeves come in different sizes. So you have to choose a size that fits comfortably.

Our recommended athletic socks sizes are based on standard US shoe sizes. You can size down to get more compression or size up for less compression.

There are four standard sizes, including:

sizing chart for choosing running socks
  • Extra-Large: 15-20” (calf) and 11.5-12.5” (ankle)
  • Large: 14-18” (calf) and 9-11.25” (ankle)
  • Medium: 13-17” (calf) and 8.5-9.5” (ankle)
  • Small: 11-15” (calf) and 7.5-8.5” (ankle)

Pro Tips

The height of your calf stretches from the bottom of the knee to the top of the ankle. The calf circumference is the measurement of the thickest portion of your calf.

The ankle circumference refers to the measurement around your ankles, which includes both joints.

Make sure both your calf and ankle are not covered by anything when taking the measurements. The measuring tape must always be straight to get the correct measurements.

If this is your first time to use running compression socks, you shouldn’t be alarmed by the tight feeling that comes with these garments. That’s how they are designed to work.

Features to Look For

Apart from the compression level and size, you must also consider specific features that will make the socks or sleeves more comfortable during a run.

Professional Grade Quality Material

choose high quality material

We sell 20-30 mmHg knee-high socks that are made of professional grade quality material. The fabric has exceptional knit structure that provides superior stretch for flexibility and durability.

The best design should be lightly padded on top of the foot and at the ball to get rid of foot stress and abrasion and promote comfort.  

moisture wicking running socks

Moisture Wicking

Look for high-quality socks that are cleverly made to eliminate moisture from your foot during a run. This will ensure your feet stay dry and cozy.  

Look for a pair that has been designed to boost comfort while preventing blisters. Preferably, you should look for something that enhances buffering power.

Final Thoughts

That’s all we have for you on compression support socks. So many studies have been conducted to justify the effects/benefits of compression garments for athletes.

While the evidence supporting the claims of manufacturers is limited, your choice of buying compression garments depends on your personal preference.