Last fall when I kicked off training for my first half marathon, I quickly went into investigation mode about the “must have” products for half marathon training. As my miles started to increase, I did more and more research into the best way to promote recovery after a long run. My research led me to compression socks and sleeves.
After asking other runners via posts in several Facebook groups that I belong to, I concluded that PRO Compression would be my company of choice. PRO Compression offers runners both compression socks and calf sleeves, and both are meant to promote the same elements of recovery for runners.
According to PRO Compression, their products “deliver maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood. The moment you put these socks on your feet, you will feel the difference.”
After a short debate between socks and calf sleeves, I opted to go the sleeves route. I figured that by having the sleeves I’d have the option to wear the sleeves both at home to recover as well as out in public with both sandals or with my own socks and shoes.
After my first time wearing my sleeves, I was convinced that I’d made the right choice. The next day, my calves felt amazing, and not tight at all. I felt like I could have gone for another run. It was clear that my sleeves had done what they were designed to do.
Since I purchased my calf sleeves, I’ve worn them after every long run and major race. I wore them around Epcot the afternoon after my first half marathon, and wore them on the plane ride home two days after my first half marathon when I started to feel my calves swelling after the plane took off from Orlando. Since the swelling didn’t go down for several days, I also wore my calf sleeves to work under my dress pants. Nobody at work knew I was wearing them, and they further aided in my half marathon recovery.
At the end of February, PRO Compression hosted a Facebook giveaway. Five winners won a pair of their Shamrock Marathon Socks, and I was one of the five lucky winners! Not only was I excited to win a pair St. Patrick’s day apparel, but I was also excited about the opportunity to compare their socks to their sleeves. My socks arrived just before Rock ‘n’ Roll USA, and I have worn them a couple of times since the race.
Just like the calf sleeves, the socks also promote speedier recovery. I received a pair of the socks in the same size as my sleeves, and found the sizing to be consistent. My socks are just as tight on my calves as the sleeves are.
So which PRO Compression product do I prefer – the socks or the sleeves? Being only 5’3″ I’m finding that the socks come up very high up on my legs. If I wanted I could probably stretch them above my knees. My sleeves do not stretch out on my legs as much as my socks do. In addition, the socks themselves are a bit thinner for wearing in shoes than I prefer, so if I’m going to wear my PRO Compression gear outside of my apartment then I’d prefer to wear my sleeves. Lastly, if you want to wear sandals with your compression gear then the only option is to wear the sleeves.
My final verdict? While I like both the socks and the sleeves for recovery, the sleeves are more practical for my preferences and lifestyle. I’m constantly on the go, and the sleeves allow for more flexibility in terms of what shoes I can wear with them. However, the socks are great for lounging around at home.
Disclaimer: I received my Marathon Socks for free and paid for my Marathon Calf Sleeves. I did not receive any compensation for this review, and as always, all opinions are my own.
QOTD: Do you wear compression gear after long runs and races to help promote recovery? Which do you prefer, socks or sleeves?