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Calf Compressors – Complete Guide (with Pictures!)

brown colored calf compressor image

Have you wondered about the benefits of calf compressors? Well, there are several, ranging from greater comfort to improved physical health. In fact, there are so many benefits that we can’t explore all of them in this article. Here we will highlight some of the greatest value they bring.

This article is for everyone.  If you’ve been told by a doctor or physical therapist that calf compressors may help with a problem you are experiencing, this is a great resource to learn more.  Similarly, if you believe that calf compression could improve your athletic performance, there is great information here.  By the end, we won’t be surprised if you are feeling excited to get your first pair!

In addition to the benefits of calf compressors, we also explain what calf compressors are, things to look out for when buying them, and highlight the best types of calf compressors you can get in the market.

What are Calf Compressors?

Image showing white calf compression

Calf Compressors are just the way they sound. They are like sleeves of sporty fabric designed to wrap tightly around a person’s calves. The tightness is about more than just constriction, it is about providing support to your muscles and circulatory system so they can do their job with less effort.   

The type of compression you want or need can vary from product to product. For example, there are calf compressors that offer graduated compression. What this means is that the calf compressors will be tightest around the ankles and steadily get looser toward the knee. The function of this design is to provide additional stability in one of the regions (the ankle) that is regularly impacted by running.  You may also find compressors that are designed to tackle a specific medical problem, and of course there are countless aesthetic options.

Now that you know what calf compressors, you may be wondering, especially if you’ve heard of or used compression socks, how the two different compression products compare?

The Difference Between Calf compressors and Compression socks

The primary difference between compression socks and calf compressors is clear: calf compressors end at the ankle region, whereas compression socks cover the foot region. Is there a clear benefit to having one form of compression over the other?

The answer is, it depends on why you are buying and using compression products in the first place, as well as your personal taste.  There are certain conditions that are treated by compression socks that are not supported by calf compressors, and vice versa.  Athletes may benefit from one or the other product in different ways, do it can depend on what sports you are doing and how you play them.  You should also explore what each product feels like and whether you prefer one over the other.  Some people really like the comfort provided by compression socks, others prefer the distributed pressure of the calf compressors.

Are calf compressors a waste of money? The answer science provides is, no! There are many clear benefits including improved athletic performance and support for serious medical issues. Let’s consider the benefit of calf compressor if you are planning on wearing it any time soon.

The Benefits of Calf Compressors

Image of a man running with compression stockings

You’ve probably heard about some of the benefits of calf compressors before.  You may have even seen one of your favorite athletes wearing one of these products.  When you are done with this article, you will see that they are more than just fashion accessories, they provide improved comfort and a healthier lifestyle. 

1. They enhance blood flow: Calf compressors are excellent for enhancing blood flow. Sufficient blood flow is crucial to healthy living and achieving peak performance.  Every place your circulatory system struggles to do it’s job make your body that much weaker.  Calf compressors provide structural support in a part of your extremities that demand a lot of blood and see extensive use every day.  By improving blood flow in your calves, you improve your muscle performance and your overall health. 

2. They limit the buildup of lactic acid and other waste products: Lactic acid buildup is one of the fundamental causes of muscle soreness after a person is done with exercising or just returning from a workout. Increased blood circulation assists in flushing lactic acid out of your muscles as well as several other wastes that accumulate post workout.

By reducing lactic acid buildup, you will experience less intense soreness and your soreness will not last as long.  This means you will improve your comfort levels and spend less time recovering between workouts.  For many people, the discomfort can be extremely discouraging, leading to delayed exercise or even losing momentum on physical fitness.  Calf compressors help you avoid that.

3. Calf Compressors Prevent Excessive Movement of Calf muscles: Each time your foot hits the ground when you run, it shocks your entire body. Your muscles twitch, jiggle, and vibrate. Each time this is done, your body is required to dispense energy to keep everything stable; these may seem small, but over time this process of stabilization uses a lot of energy, and it does contribute to your general fatigue. Calf compressors go a long way to relieving your body of this task, as the compressor will serve as a strengthening aid, providing adequate power. This also inevitably leads to improved performance

As a side note for trail runners, in addition to all the benefits above, calf compressors do help protect you from dirt, scrapes, and rocks. They can even help in the protection of more minor issues.

The excessive movement of muscles during shock absorption can also lead to skin splints and swelling.  Calf compressors are popular for warding against these issues. 

Calf Compressors Offer All of These Benefits and More

These are just a few of the primary benefits of calf compressors that anyone can realize.  There are other general benefits, as well as specific medical issues they help with.  If you have questions about those, you should ask your doctor.

Now that you know the benefits of calf compressors we can start reviewing how to pick the right one for you. First, we should discuss what to look for in a good calf compressor. There are three essential things that you should check for.

Things to Look for in a Calf Compression Stockings

The three things to check for are:

  • Fit: Good calf compressors provide an adequate amount of support without being too tight to be comfortable. You can find light support and prescription-strength on the label. Check the labels thoroughly. There is a series of sizes and options for unisex, men’s or women’s. Overall, be sure that you are shopping for a fit that meets your specific needs, whether they are athletic, medical, or both.
  • Fabric: Calf compressors come in a variety of materials that are made for specific uses and for quick recovery. Some of these socks have silicone taping that’s built for additional support. Some are lighter and offer more breathability. If you are planning to run in these regularly you will probably want one that provides moisture-wicking properties and anti-odor. A more technical material might be required if your are worried about a specific condition like shin splints.
  • Style: Finally there is a universe of style options, so find a calf compressor that has a style that suits your personality. There are varying brands that offer a series of patterns and prints that function quite well, helping you stand up better to fight fatigue. And if you aren’t sure what to buy, simple black compression fabrics are always in style.

Now, let’s analyze Five types of calf compressors you can pick from.

Five Types of Calf Compressors You Should Consider Buying

Our goal here is not to mention any specific brand, but to highlight the types of calf compressors that we think demonstrate some of the best options out there. We are going to examine five different models.  They’ve been reviewed well by users so you can trust them.

1. Calf Compressors with all Compression needs

tight fitting Compression socks for calves

For folks who would want to purchase calf compressors, they can look out for models that are designed to provide complete compression.  They typically come with 20-30mmHg compression that’s graduated and consistent, thus helping a person limit micro-traumas in the legs when he or she practices. They are unisex and come in varying sizes so that buyers can get optimal fit. The fabric content is made from 79% polyamide, 21% spandex, and are available in a variety of colors. It’s also designed with a top band that is just below the knee and keeps the calves in place when you run. With the ribbing designed on the front, it assists in limiting skin temperature in hot weather.

Users who’ve bought this type of calf compressors have consistently reported they help in resolving existing sprain and shin splints while also preventing further complications. If you are looking for calf compressors that will help you run for miles, you won’t go wrong with these.

2. Sports Calf Compressors

Sports Calf Compression socks

Ideally, any calf compressors tagged as “sports” type will come with a lower price. That doesn’t mean they are lower quality, however.  These types of calf compressors do a great job. They typically provide compression within the strength of 20-25mmHg, and they are designed with varying sizes. They are more stretchy and breathable, but still firm enough to compress and hold. They are designed in a variety of colors.

Users that have bought sport calf compressors love it, and they attest that they are designed to retain a slim profile. These sporty compressors see solid performance with the quality of materials. They can also help in limiting varicose veins, keep you on the track longer, and keep your lower nerves pain-free.

3. Calf Compressors With Excellent Design

excellent design calf socks images

If you are a fashion type, searching for calf compressors with the best design might be your need. While they are excellent for skin splints and leg cramps, they are loved because of their colorful and fun designs. As a result, if you are interested in appearing distinct during your next race or you just want to add a fun variety of colors, patterns, materials, or designs, these calf compressors will motivate you to get up in the early morning and run.  It’s like sharing your personality when you purchase these types of calf compressors.

The styles in these areas are truly amazing and entertaining, from ice cream cones to the statue of liberty. These are typically designed with 10% spandex and 90% nylon. These calf compressors are quite supportive, and they are moisture-wicking for maximum comfort all over the run. They come in varying sizes, so regularly measure your calves to get the best fit. To provide stability and support, they have V-shaped ribbing in the front of the compressors.

4. Calf Compressors With Guards

Shin guard calf socks image

This might be different from the ones that have been discussed earlier. But they work similarly. They are designed to be worn not after a workout but during an exercise. They also provide support in the leg the same way other choices do. They come in different sizes and can fit you when you measure your calves well. You might find them thin because they are primarily designed with lycra and are incredibly breathable. Instead of being thick, they come with flatlock seams on the peak and bottom to limit chafing and enhance airflow. Also, they are antibacterial and work well to wick sweat off the socks during a race. Thus they are less smelly and straightforward to clean and maintain. It’s possible to hand wash the material. It’s breathable without the buildup of bacteria.

5. Ankle and Calf Socks

image showing black and brown Ankle and Calf Socks

If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis or ankle pain, you’ll find incredible comfort by picking these types. The type extends to the midfoot. Thus they offer support between the calves. It’s designed to be anti-odor and comes with small and medium sizes, providing all you need other than the handling of the calf region. They present extra support targeted at the ankle. It’s excellent for anyone battling with foot pain, as they feature a foldable cuff for additional compression. Some users have even recommended it for limiting illness in the calf region, the foot, and most especially plantar fasciitis pain.

Calf Compressors Have Something for Everyone

Calf compressors are excellent products for everyone.  Whether your are simply trying to improve your athletic performance, you are trying to eliminate a medical issue in your legs, or you just want a fun new accessory to spice up your workout look, calf compressors are a great way to go.

There are a host of benefits that calf compressors that can improve your overall healthy and help you become a better athlete.  We highly recommend learning more about these supportive and comfortable products and even discussing them with your doctor. 

In the end, calf compression has something for everyone, and there are a ton of great options out there to consider buying yourself.