I’m a believer. Yes, I am. I’m not talking Justin Bieber Believer, but a believer that compression socks are good for a runners a soul — or really their calves.
During my first Ragnar Relay and half marathon, I saw all these people wearing the colorful knee high socks and thought they were ridiculous. Why would I want to wear those things? Plus, they are a little pricey.
What are compression socks? They are snug-fitting, over-the-calf socks (some of which start at the ankle). They are supposedly there to improve oxygen delivery to muscles, speed lactic acid removal and stabilize the lower leg for greater muscle efficiency. So I did some research and it turns out there is no proof they actually work during running (ha!). In fact, a study presented at the 2007 American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans suggested “there were no statistically significant differences in maximal oxygen consumption, heart rate or minute ventilation between treadmill runners who wore compression socks and those who did not.”
Yet, I kept seeing people wear them. So I did more research. It turns out that research does show a faster lactate recovery rate after exercise when wearing the compression socks. In other words, they do work to speed up recovery AFTER a strenuous workout or a race.
Finally I caved as I was beginning to think that maybe there really is something to them as all the die-hard runners I met had them. They definitely aren’t a fashion accessory. They must do something.
At my last Ragnar Relay a guy was selling them for $25 each – much less than the $30 to $35 prices I had been seeing. I figured “Why not?”. Plus he had these bright pink ones with a tartan pattern on them that was kind of nice – not that I plan on walking around in them. I put them on my tight calves that night and…..let out a heavenly sigh.
These socks are amazing. Get them. Your calves will thank you.