Many runners swear by them, from top athletes to novices. Compression Sleeves and Socks really work, yet you hardly ever see them. Not surprising really as they are rarely stylish and likely to attract the ridicule of your other half and children.
There is plenty of science behind the use of calf sleeves, in the study they looked at whether runners were less sore using calf sleeves, and found that there was a slight trend for less pain when using sleeves after running to recover.
Other studies have looked increases in endurance when using Calf Sleeves, taking a group of good runners (40m 10km times) he found that they could run faster on treadmills than those without calf sleeves.I have been wearing compression sleeves after my runs for a few months now, after both running and cycling. I find that I do feel a little fresher and have less tension in my calfs. Maybe its all in the mind, but even if it is it still helps!
Still it has lead me to rationalize the purchase, so here are some valid, non science reasons to wear compression sleeves:
Calf Sleeves Reducing Swelling:
Actually this is a bit sciency! Calf sleeves have been proven to reduce swelling, and the do a great job. Perfect for post marathon recovery, especially if you have picked up a Shin Splint or some muscle strains.
Keep your legs clean:
My local run includes a few miles of forest trails. In the summer these are dry as a bone, but come winter they can turn into a mud bath. Running in calf sleeves can keep the mud off the legs, then the sleeves just need a rinse off after.
Keeping your legs warm with Calf Sleeves
I don’t mind running in the cold, so long as its dry and still. When the rain comes though temperatures can plummet, this is when calf sleeves are perfect! The lower legs and feet are the parts of me that get cold the fastest, and I like to use neoprene sleeves to keep toasty!
Running on the road or pavement is fine, there is nothing to damage your legs. When I am mountain biking, hill running, or on rough terrain I can often pick up small scratches especially when near gorse or sharp bushes that are over growing the trails. Thick calf sleeves provide that extra level of protection from the physical elements.
If you are looking to pick up a pair of compression sleeves, then its worth considering a few things. You need a good measurement of your calf. This is easy if have tape measure, if not take a strip of paper and run it round the thickest part of the calf then measure that on a ruler. When you have a good accurate measurement then buy a pair that will give the right amount of compression without being too tight.
Also the color is important, if you want to wear them for dirt protection white tends to become stained. If you want to run in the evening then reflective sleeves add a small extra bit of visibility in the dark.
A couple of tips before you make a purchase: Don’t buy white (see item #3). Also, make sure you measure your calves for proper sizing. Too tight and they’re uncomfortable and impossible to put on. Too loose and they don’t provide enough compression and slide down on the trail.
If you think that Compression sleeves are just the thing to help your recovery, we have Calf sleeves on the market reviewed here