Last Updated: January 7th, 2021
Compression gears are a rave nowadays. Everyone is going gaga over it. However, there are too many contradicting stories and theories. This brings us to the obvious question…
Should You Wear Compression Socks While Running?
You should wear compression socks during running if you want to increase circulation in your calves and lower leg. However, you may feel warm due to the increased circulation and tightness from compression. There is no hard and fast rule when you should wear compression socks and wearing them during running is a very good option.
Why should you wear compression socks while running?
Compression socks help your blood vessels to work better. They help to relax the arteries and thus improves the blood flow through them.
This, in turn, provides more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and helps them to relax too.
Not only the arteries but they also have a similar effect on veins. This helps in the improved return of blood flow to the heart.
So, the immediate effect will be that your muscles will not get tired easily and they will be less achy after the run.
Also, the increased flow of blood helps to prevent tissue damage. This also helps the muscles to recover quickly after a tiring running session.
They also tend to sore less and will not cramp as much.
What is the best kind of compression socks for runners?
Compression socks come in various strengths and are measured in mmHg.
The higher the number, the tighter they are.
You should be careful while selecting the compression and it should match your purpose.
For example, if you have to stand all day at work, then compression of 15 to 20 mmHg should be ideal.
It will not let your legs fatigue and you can comfortably wear it all day.
Higher than that will make you uncomfortable and you may have to take it off after some time and the whole purpose of using it will be defeated.
However, if you wear this strength for running it may not work out.
Running is a more rigorous form of physical activity and would need a stronger compression.
Otherwise, you will have to deal with the tired and achiness of your legs post-run.
The ideal compression for running should be somewhere around 20-30 mmHg.
Don’t go higher than that, it will be too tight and uncomfortable.
However, if you need specific examples to check the textile blend and to get an idea of the price tag attached to it, you can have a look at these compression Socks. They are one of the best around and will cost you less than your daily cup of coffee.
Also, if you want to go all out and start wearing compression tights, then this post about compression tights for runners may help you out.
Can you wear compression socks during a marathon?
You can definitely wear compression socks during the marathon.
Although there is no conclusive study that compression socks improve performance, it may benefit you in other ways.
As mentioned above, compression socks improve the blood circulation in your blood vessels making the muscles relax.
Also, it delivers more oxygen to them causing them to work harder for a longer period of time.
The increased oxygen also helps your muscles to recover faster and reduces the soreness post your marathon run.
This reduced soreness is also due to the fact that it reduces muscle vibration during your marathons or your workout as such.
So, basically, you will get a lot of relief from DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) due to the reduced build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.
This is a direct result of the improved blood supply and reduced vibration.
So, to reiterate, you should wear compression socks during marathons.
Do compression socks slow you down?
Although there is physiological evidence that compression socks reduce your muscle soreness, there is no conclusive evidence of it making you slower.
There was an interesting study performed by the Australian Institute of Sports.
They took 12 well-trained male runners and make them run two 5Ks.
Out of these 12 runners, 7 were believers that compression socks work, and 5 were neutral or non-believers.
When these runners ran the 5K for the first time, they were not wearing any compression socks.
However, when they ran the second one, they were all wearing compression socks.
Now, the outcome was, the 7 believers showed a better run time, whereas the nonbelievers showed a worse runtime.
So, the study concluded that it all boils down to belief when comes to performance improvement through compression socks.
And you should not wear compression socks to improve your performance and should not also fear that it will slow you down.
You should wear it, only because, it will reduce your muscle soreness after your workout and will make your life a tad bit bearable after your runs.
Is it dangerous to wear compression for socks too long?
Although many users will say that, it is comfortable to wear compression socks even for 24 hours, I’ll argue otherwise.
Compression socks have shown to improve your circulation in a short period of time.
However, its main function is to compress or put pressure on your tissues.
And o compress your tissues for a long period of time cannot be good.
It can restrict their normal functioning and can even cut off blood flow.
Think about a time when you held your arm for a long time during your childhood…
What exactly happened?
Your arm got a slight dark tinge beneath your skin, and it was icy.
This is also no different. When you are in constant movement, your muscles are putting the opposite pressure on the socks.
Effectively, you are getting a good message out of it.
But when you sit down for rest, there is no counter-pressure from your side, and the compression socks teeth in.
Hence, it is not a good idea to wear it for a longer period of time.
Once you are done with the purpose for which you were using it, don’t wear it.
Do you wear compression socks during or after running?
You can wear compression socks for any time you want.
There is no particular reason to favor it during or after running.
It all boils down to your preference.
If you like the tightness around your legs during running, wear it.
Some feel warm and uncomfortable during the runs. So, they prefer to wear them after the run.
Truly the choice is yours.
Why compression socks feel so good?
As was mentioned above, these socks put pressure on your blood vessels.
This makes them relaxed and the blood flow also increases.
With increased blood flow, your muscles will get more oxygen and will also relax.
Moreover, the buildup of lactic acid is also less if you use these kinds of socks.
This makes the muscles less sore and you don’t have to deal with all the pains afterward.
Also, the material of the socks is made from a mixture of nylon and spandex.
This makes the socks soft to touch and silky smooth and feels like silk on the skin.
Also, due to the stretchability, they fit snugly on you giving you a very comfortable feel.
What are the benefits of compression socks?
Here are some of the benefits of wearing compression socks:
- Improves blood circulation.
- Prevents venous blood from pooling in the legs.
- Decreases the risk of blood clots.
- Keeps your muscles relaxed.
- Reduces the production of lactic acid.
- Reduces muscle vibration.
- Reduces muscle soreness.
Are compression socks good for poor circulation?
Compression Socks help to improve blood circulation.
As mentioned earlier, they relax the blood vessels and the blood flows easily through them.
They relieve the symptoms of varicose veins and soothes aching legs and feet.
Brophy-Williams, N., Driller, M. W., Kitic, C. M., Fell, J. W., & Halson, S. L. (2017). Effect of compression socks worn between repeated maximal running bouts. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 12(5), 621-627.
Kemmler, Wolfgang, et al. “Effect of compression stockings on running performance in men runners.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 23.1 (2009): 101-105.
Ali, Ajmol, Robert H. Creasy, and Johann A. Edge. “The effect of graduated compression stockings on running performance.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25, no. 5 (2011): 1385-1392.
Brophy-Williams, Ned, Matthew W. Driller, Cecilia M. Kitic, James W. Fell, and Shona L. Halson. “Wearing compression socks during exercise aids subsequent performance.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 22, no. 1 (2019): 123-127.
Armstrong SA, Till ES, Maloney SR, Harris GA. Compression socks and functional recovery following marathon running: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2015 Feb 1;29(2):528-33.
Dascombe, Ben J., et al. “The effects of wearing undersized lower-body compression garments on endurance running performance.” International journal of sports physiology and performance 6.2 (2011): 160-173.
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