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Leg Compression Sleeves – Complete Guide (with Pictures!)

Last Updated March 6, 2021

image of thigh high compression sleeves for leg

Leg compression sleeves are incredibly popular with runners, and you may be wondering why. This guide will go over the benefits of compression sleeves for both athletes and non-athletes.

It will also discuss the different types of compression sleeves available and ways to ensure you purchase a quality product.

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Leg Compression Sleeves

image showing a man running while wearing compression sleeves

Leg compression sleeves use graduated compression to help ease discomfort and pain. They are an effective treatment for restless leg syndrome, shin splints, leg cramps, plantar fasciitis, and DVT, among other conditions. Compression gear can also be worn during exercise to reduce the risk of muscle damage and injury.

Many people use compression therapy every day. They find that a quality sock can make a huge difference.

meme of knee pain

Compression sleeves reduce the impact on your legs by holding tendons and muscles in place while you run. They also enhance circulation, which in turn helps the body to heal more quickly after an intense workout. Runners who are susceptible to shin splits appreciate that compression sleeves can help prevent and treat this all-too-common problem.

Although compression sleeves for the arms are also available, this guide will mainly focus on compression sleeves for the legs.

image of black compression sleeves for legs

Compression Socks vs. Compression Sleeves

Compression sleeves are very similar to compression socks. Both improve circulation in the legs which can decrease pain and swelling. The main difference between the two is that compression sleeves do not cover the toes and feet. They are designed to be more like a tight leg warmer than a sock.

While compression socks are great for people recovering from surgery and suffering from severe circulatory disease, compression sleeves are great for athletes and people with milder leg pain. These are some of the reasons people may choose compression sleeves over compression socks.

Ease of Application

Unfortunately, compression socks can be difficult to put on and take off. Many people find it easier to apply and remove compression sleeves since they don’t have to ensure a proper fit over the foot. This is especially convenient if you need to change your compression gear frequently.

Great for Any Weather

Many people don’t like wearing compression socks in hot weather because their feet can’t breath. This is why many people prefer compression sleeves in the summer. They can provide support for the leg and ankle without being too hot or too bulky.

In the winter, however, compression sleeves are also great because they can easily be worn under clothing. It’s relatively simple to layer them under a pair of wool socks or cozy leggings.


If you want to show off your compression sleeves, however, they are also available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Bright colors can help runners be safe and stand out on the road. Alternatively, if you play a team sport, you can choose colors and patterns that match your uniform to blend right in.

Easy to Add to Lifestyle

Leg compression sleeves are actually the ideal way to live a pain-free lifestyle for most people. They can be worn before, during, and after athletic training. They can also be worn any time you feel tightness or weakness in your legs.

There are 8 main types of leg compression sleeves, which we will cover in detail below.

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8 Different Types of Leg Compression Sleeves

Under this section, you can read about the features that compression sleeves may have. Keep track of any that may be beneficial to you in your health journey.

1. Leg Compression Sleeves With Anti-Odor Technology

Smelly socks are the result of excess bacteria growth. They can be unhygienic, uncomfortable, and unattractive. Fortunately, some leg compression sleeves now come with anti-odor technology. It helps get rid of stinky bacteria and leave both your socks and legs feeling fresh. These sleeves are perfect for athletes and anyone who suffers from foot odor.

None of the benefits of compression gear are sacrificed when anti-odor technology is added. These sleeves still offer high-quality compression. The only downside is that, since this is a newer technology, they tend to be costly. For the same reason, there is also a limited range of colors available.

2. Leg Compression Sleeves with a Specialized Compression Zone

Leg Compression Sleeves with a Specialized Compression Zone

There are compression sleeves that are designed to mimic the effects of kinesiology tape. That is, they are specifically made to heal and protect runners’ calves. These compression sleeves are popular with athletes who are prone to shin splints and who need extra lower leg support. If that sounds like something you frequently have to deal with, then compression sleeves with a targeted compression zone might be right for you.

3. Leg Compression Sleeves With High-Level Compression

The most common compression level is 20-30 mmHg. Sometimes, however, people may see more benefits with stronger pressure. Fortunately, compression sleeves are also available at higher compression levels. They will fit the calf tightly and offer a lot of support. Athletes wear them to help with serious shin splints and severe muscle soreness.

If you are new to wearing compression socks, you probably want to start out with a lower level of compression. If you find you need more pressure, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you if a stronger compression level is right for you.

In addition, make sure you have especially accurate sizing when wearing tighter socks.

4. Leg Compression Sleeves with Full-Range Compression

Most compression sleeves are graduated. This means that they offer the strongest compression at the ankle and the lightest compression at the knee or top of the sleeve. They are designed to be durable, and they help with workout performance. Many runners say that this type of compression gear enhances their stamina and muscle strength while making the legs feel lighter and more energized. Additionally, since most compression sleeves offer graduated pressure, there are a lot of designs and colors available.

5. Sleeves For Runners

Leg Compression Sleeve For Runners

While runners can wear any type of compression sleeve, some designs may be more beneficial than others. These particular sleeves are designed to help with performance and comfort. With a compression sleeve designed with runners in mind, you will be sure to have increased blood flow, better muscle recovery, and faster run times.

Compression sleeves for runners come in three sizes: medium, large, and extra-large. They are made of a blend of lightweight spandex and lycra that stretches to fit most legs. These socks also tend to be reasonably affordable.

6. Sleeves with Stability and Support Design

Some compression sleeves are designed to be extra durable. This enables them to be extra supportive for all athletes, not just runners. Typically, compression sleeves with extra support will have a stretchy, flexible design that delivers a snug yet comfortable fit. This will ensure your workouts and recovery are free from any leg fatigue, stiffness, and pain. Extra durable compression sleeves are typically made from a lycra blend.

7. Sleeves with Upgraded Performance

full length compression socks

These compression sleeves are specially designed to prevent swelling in runners, though they can help with other leg problems. Typically, they offer 20-30 mmHg of compression and are made of high-quality materials.

Though these compression sleeves tend to be a bit more expensive, they are available in many different colors.

8. Compressions Socks with Soft Fabric

Finally, there are extra soft compression sleeves for those whose legs are easily irritated. Though they fit snugly like any compression sock, these compression sleeves feel more comfortable. They are available in many different styles and still provide excellent support.

How to Choose the Right Compression Sleeves

When purchasing any compression gear, you need to ensure you get the right size and the right compression level.


For most clothing, it’s okay to approximate your size. With compression socks or sleeves, however, you need exact sizing. Otherwise, the compression zones will not line up with the right parts of your leg. Not only can this prevent you from getting benefits from your compression gear, it can also cause further harm in some cases!

Compression sleeves are easier to size than compression socks because you only need to ensure a fit on the legs, not on the legs and feet. Have a friend help you measure the length of your leg from floor to knee and the circumference around the widest parts of your calves and thighs. Then, compare these measurements to manufacturer’s size chart before purchasing your compression sleeves.

Compression Level

Compression levels range from about 8 mmHg to 60+ mmHg. The lowest levels are for people with mild symptoms and are available over-the-counter. The highest levels are only for people with advanced leg disease under a doctor’s close supervision.

Generally, people using compression sleeves are athletes or have mild to moderate leg ailments. Most will need 15-20 mmHg. It’s always best, however, to check with a doctor before beginning compression therapy. Your physician can give you tailored advice, even if you are getting gear with a lower compression level.


Want to Stop Leg Swelling Now?

ComproGear Compression Socks are designed to stop swelling instantly!

Click the button below to see the lineup of ComproGear Compression Socks: