In my post on preparing for race day, I mentioned that I always wear compression socks before and after a race or hard workout (or whenever my legs need a bit of recovery help). After a race, I literally put them on as soon as I get out of the shower, sleep with them on, and don’t take them off until the next morning. I believe that doing this helps me recover FAR more quickly than I would otherwise, and (along with my foam roller and a good post-race meal), I consider my compression socks my most important tool for recovery.
Benefits of Compression Socks
Compression socks have been said to have the following benefits:
- increased oxygen delivery to muscles
- increased blood flow and decreased lactic acid build-up in muscles
- increased performance
- minimized muscle fatigue and cramping
Elite runners, Cross-Fitters, and many other athletes wear compression socks before, during, and after exercise. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to do what Kara Goucher, my idol, is doing? :)) (picture source)
I got interested in compression socks several years ago, because many runners I knew spoke highly of them, but I checked out the research before buying them. What I found was somewhat of a mixed bag. Here are a few highlights:
- Compression socks have been found to increase blood flow when at rest, when you are NOT exercising (that link does a great job at summing up a lot of the research on compression, and provides author names for various studies)
- Wearing compression socks after exercise has been proven to decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery, including reducing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) 24-hours after a fast 10-K
- Graduated compression socks (tighter at the ankles, looser as you go up the leg) show best effects
- Blood level of lactic acid was decreased after wearing compression socks
- BUT … there are very few studies that show any benefit of wearing compression socks DURING exercise. Studies have shown no change in running times, VO2 max, oxygen consumption, or heart rates, and only minimal difference in time to exhaustion.
I believe that research and proven results are very important, but I also really believe in doing what works for YOUR OWN body. So the effects that I feel after waking up the day after a race are most important to me, and I truly can feel a big difference in my recovery! (Side note: holding your legs up while trying to take a picture like this is a good ab workout – ha!)
When I first bought compression socks, I researched various brands and decided that Eurosock was the best product for me. I like their graduated compression, the research they put behind their products, their materials and technology, and the silver in their socks (which has antibacterial/ antimicrobial/ antifungal properties). The price point was in line with or better than other similar products ($35 each), so I was sold. After about a year of wearing my Eurosocks a few times per week, I wore holes in the heels, and didn’t think twice about purchasing another pair. I have never worn another brand of compression socks, so I can’t compare, but I know these work for me!
When I reached out to Eurosock, they sent me a pair of compression socks and a pair of running socks. Because I already own two pairs of compression socks, I want to offer this pair to YOU! But first, let me tell you about the running socks (which I kept for myself to review). The socks were a little thicker than I am used to, and came up slightly higher above my ankle. It felt funny at first, but the way they hugged my foot made me feel like I had a lot of support. They did not cause any blisters or uncomfortable rubbing, and I got used to thickness within a few steps. On a hot summer Texas day, they did get pretty soaked, so I’d recommend them for cooler temperatures over hot ones. Overall, I liked the running socks, but they weren’t particularly special to me – I’d purchase them again, but wouldn’t go out of my way to do so. (The compression socks, on the other hand, I ADORE … in case you weren’t already sure :)).
(As I mentioned, I purchased my first two pairs of Eurosocks with my own money. I was given the running socks that I kept and the compression socks that I’m giving away to you free of charge. I will pay for shipping out of my own pocket, and I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are always my own!)
Compression Sock Giveaway! <<GIVEAWAY IS OVER>>
Because I’m such a believer in compression socks, I want to share the love with you! Here’s your chance to win your very own pair of Eurosocks compression socks! (Note: I had to choose in advance, so I chose Medium, which fits Men sizes 8-10 and Women sizes 9-11 … but I wear 7.5 and they’re fine for me. I also chose pink, because it’s the best color ever!)
There are three ways to enter, and one of them is to suggest an improvement to my blog. I am going through Katy Widrick’s Octoblog challenge, where I make at least one small improvement to my blog each day, so if there’s something that’s not working for you, or something that could make your Lyons’ Share experience better, please let me know! (You may have noticed the signature on today’s post, or the mobile-optimized website, which were yesterday’s improvements!).
You must enter using the Rafflecopter plug-in below (you have not entered until you click the green “+1” symbols). Giveaway will stay open until Saturday 10/5/13 at 11:59pm CT, and I’ll announce the winner in Sunday’s post! I’ll ship anywhere, worldwide, but it will be the cheap-and-slow version!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
So tell me in the comments… Compression socks – yay or nay? Do you have any suggestions for my Octoblog Blog Improvement Challenge?