This is a non-scientific attempt to explore whether it is merely marketing hype or if there are real benefits in wearing compression socks for serious running or jogging activities.
It is undisputable that compression socks have been making their way into high performance sports (such as triathlons, running marathons, speed hiking etc.) as well as team sports (e.g. football, soccer, basketball and baseball to name a few) for some time now and athletes around the world are using them to run faster and farther than ever before.
Compression socks are not your average protective foot covers by any means. Manufacturers of these stealth looking “super socks” claim to have scientific proof that compression running socks will maximize power, boost energy and accelerate recovery.
Today’s athletic (running) socks no longer just keep your feet comfortable, ventilated and free from blisters. They have morphed into truly functional high-tech performance boosters utilizing graduated compression to increase the blood flow back up the legs, similar to the working principles of compression stockings.
Manufacturers have invested much research and development in high-performance compression socks with patented and special proprietary features. For example, company CW-X’s built-in “Kinesio Support Web” is said to support the calf and arch of the foot, and stabilize the ankle joint for reduced fatigue.
Another example is company CEP’s integrated “Power System”, featuring a defined compression with a scientifically patented pressure profile, which is said to improve blood circulation and enhance performance. Should we be surprised that sports socks have become this high-tech? Probably not.
Taking advantage of the latest developments in synthetic fibers, elastic running socks are specially designed to provide support and relief for the leg muscles. Graduated compression reduces the build-up of lactic acid and speeds up its metabolization, which allows the athlete’s muscles to recover faster than ever before.
The snug fit of athletic socks applies a constant light pressure to the calves, which helps the muscle pump circulate blood faster and thereby providing more oxygen to the muscles. The increased oxygen supply translates into higher endurance and slower tiring of the muscles. Additionally, the knee-high compression socks keep the athlete’s calves and feet warm during the colder months of the year.
Compression socks are in many ways similar to graduated compression stockings…
- It may take some time getting used to the snug fit of these performance improving foot covers.
- It is important that they have a good fit or the benefits they hold will be lost.
- Compression socks come in very attractive eye-catching designs for those of us who like to be noticed for athletic performance and/or fashion choices.
- To get the boost in physical endurance and performance enhancing benefits the athlete must wear his compression socks every time of course.
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