As a runner, compression socks enable you to carry out top-tier performances on the tracks or trail and also help your feet recover properly when you are done running.
This running gear ensures you do not feel any discomfort even when you run for long distances and makes blood flow and circulate more efficiently in your lower body while you run.
In addition, they also prevent blisters and reduce swelling and fatigue on your feet while also hugging them like a glove and giving them the level of support they need.
Plus, they reduce muscle soreness and minimize the risk of muscle strains and injuries by keeping your muscles warm while you run.
However, not all compression socks are meant for athletic purposes, some are made to just help your feet recover properly after standing for a long time while some go beyond running and are basically for treating medical issues such as edema, deep vein thrombosis, and several others.
Even running compression socks have numerous varieties that are built with different features, hence making it difficult to evaluate a lot of them and then choose the best one for you.
So, to save you the time and energy you would have spent to go through that search process, in this buying guide, I have carefully and properly selected, tested, and reviewed the best running socks with compressive effects that you can choose from.
That's not all, I have also outlined and explained the major factors you should take into consideration when you want to select the best pair of socks for you.
But before we get into discussing these factors, let us first of all look at the best running compression socks.
Here are the best compression socks that you can choose from, for your running activities.
Let's now take a better look at each of these socks and why you should choose them.
The Compressport Full Race Oxygen Compression Socks has all the right qualities and features that the ideal running compression socks are supposed to have and this is why I have made it my Number 1 pick.
All thanks to the ultra-soft mesh fabric that they are built with, these socks are as light as a feather and feel like a second skin.
This ultra-light buildup could even make you forget you forget that you have them on. In addition to being featherlight, they are extremely comfortable, flexible, and soft.
This compression gear also boosts your performance on the road by delaying muscle fatigue and aches and using their ventilation and thermoregulation features to ensure your feet don't overheat but stay fresh all the way, hence making them perfect for use in long runs, intense heat conditions as well as in ultra distance races such as trail running, triathlons, and marathons.
Plus, these socks are guilt with zigzag aeration bands that enable your calf muscle to breathe and expand properly when you run and 3D dots that extend up the Achilles tendon to further boost the grip of the socks in your sports shoe and absorb the impact that your feet feel while running.
(Pssst...if you have Achilles Tendonitis, here's a list of the best running shoes for Achilles Tendonitis!)
That's not all, these sports socks are also built with barefoot performance technology that supports your feet while you run and ensures your feet and toes stay perfectly in place when you run.
These socks are made in basic black and white colors with no fancy patterns and designs, unlike some compression socks.
With these exceptional features, it comes as no surprise that this product has so many positive reviews that you will have to search for ages before seeing a negative one.
Ranked as the number 1 best seller in Men's Sports Compression Socks, the Physix Gear Unisex Compression Socks is a multi-purpose compression clothing that is built for top performance and long-term use.
They are also one of my favorite compression socks out of the many I have worn and reviewed.
They are made with graduated compression which boosts blood circulation, which in turn boosts your running performance and enables faster recovery after a workout.
They are built to keep your feet comfortable at all times and offer much compression and support on the heel foot calf area to ensure that your toe area doesn't squeeze your toe joints while you run.
They also absorb shock properly hence minimizing fatigue, and reducing the tendency of your lower legs swelling while/after you run.
In addition, they are built with breathable materials that quickly air-dry the moisture that accumulates on your feet after you wear them for a long time.
This makes them a great option if you are looking for socks you can use to run for long distances and in hot weather conditions.
And with the firm grip that they have on your feet, you don't have to worry about them slipping down your legs while you are on the trail or track.
One of the qualities that stood out on these knee-high socks is the Quality Lycra Fabric that they are built with.
This fabric which is made up of nylon and spandex is very smooth and has no irritation or itching. And even when you are not running, you can wear these socks when going for long flights and walks.
These outstanding features are complemented with a fashionable look and the brand's name on top of the sock. They are also available in a variety of colors.
The fourth edition of CEP Run Socks is currently the latest release in the company's series of running compression socks and the company made sure to build them so well that their customers won't miss any previous series.
These socks are made with lightweight materials which are complemented with dots and panels that make them breathable and comfortable even in warm temperatures.
They are built with a one-of-a-kind compression technology that not only boosts your performance on the road but also minimizes blisters and makes your running shoe fit perfectly.
If you are looking specifically for anti-blister running socks, see this list for the best!
They also have medically tuned compressive yarns that boost the accuracy of their compression.
In addition, they feature the company's unique Smart Dry Extreme Air Technology which enables your feet to adapt to different weather conditions.
When the weather is warm, they keep your feet cool and when the temperature is cool, they keep your feet warm.
Plus, they have a halo top band that holds them in place while you run and eliminates any atom of irritation that might cause you discomfort on the road.
With its 20 to 30 mmHg graduated pressure point and exceptional compressive features that reduce shin splits and delayed onset muscle soreness, it is safe to say these socks have a more precise compression profile than the other socks we tested.
The only complaint made by customers about this product is their high price points. Many customers have acknowledged the socks for being great but complained that they are expensive.
If you looking for compression socks that can help you prevent or gain relief from leg issues such as calf strain and lower leg pains then this pair of Zensah Tech plus socks are the best socks for you.
They have a seamless toe design that prevents your feet from blisters and chafing and are built with graduated compression which boosts blood circulation and hence prevents cramping and swelling while also boosting the recovery time of your muscles.
In terms of materials, these socks are made with the lightweight and durable Zensah Fabric which makes them comfortable, thermal regulating, and moisture-wicking.
This fabric is complemented with an elastic band that goes around the feet and offers both arch support and enhanced comfort to prevent fatigue while you are running.
For a snug fit, the socks are made with a unique design that specifies which of the pair is meant for each foot.
Due to how effective these socks are, it comes as no surprise that they are worn by elite runners and Olympic athletes such as Kara Goucher.
Rockay raised the bar of making running compression socks to the sky but making these socks from 100% recycled materials.
They combined three recyclable materials and created a unique stocking that doesn't only offer compressive effects but also offers a high level of stability.
With a compression rating of 16 to 23 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), these socks are built to provide your feet with great arch support and maintain a high level of comfort and softness even after you run in them for hours. They are built to prevent blisters and also have a seamless toe design.
In addition, they are stretchy and breathable, so they wick away moisture from your feet efficiently.
Plus, they are built with an anti-odor coating to prevent your feet from stinking even after you wear them for a lot of time. And to make sure these socks are true to size, their sizing system comprises both shoe size and calf circumference.
If you are looking for a good pair of compression socks that you can use for running and several other activities such as hiking, long-haul flight travels and active recovery after workouts or standing for a long time, then this is a great option you should consider.
Unlike other compression socks that are usually knee-high, these are mid-calf socks. So, if you don't fancy using stockings that go up to your knee, you can go for this pair.
They are also versatile so even when you are not running, you can wear them for several other activities.
In terms of compressive effects, they are built with a moderate compression rating to gently stabilize your muscles when you run and reduce fatigue, achy feet, soreness, and swelling.
They also help your feet to recover effectively and quickly after a race or a workout.
Meanwhile, they also feature great arch support and high-performance yarns that make them stay stink-free and dry even after being used for hours.
In addition, they have Accu-fit Technology, a medium cushion sole, and seamless toe closure.
The good news is that despite the remarkable features that these socks are built with, they go for a great price and are sure to give you great value for every penny you spend on them.
One of the first things you must check when choosing a pair of running compression socks is the material they are made with.
While running, your feet are very likely to sweat so make sure you choose compression socks that are made with synthetic materials that are breathable and can wick away moisture.
However, you should also ensure that despite the breathable nature of the fabric, it can also offer your feet warmth while you are on the road or trail.
Plus, you must make sure the compression socks are lightweight and stretchable so they don't make your feet feel bulky and hold you back while you run.
Lack of irritation is another key feature you should look out for while choosing socks. Certain materials can cause irritation on your feet and this can make you feel discomfort in the course of running.
You should also choose socks that are built with durable materials that can maintain their quality even after you wash them repeatedly.
Due to the cost at which new compression socks are sold, I wouldn't want to purchase a new pair on a regular basis due to signs of wear and tears on them after short-term use, and I believe you won't too.
Some of the best materials that fit these descriptions include merino wool, nylon, polyester, and lycra, amongst others.
For you to run properly, you do not want to feel any discomfort, and that is why comfort is one constant factor when it comes to choosing any running gear, no matter what it is. And the compression socks aren't left out.
While running in compression socks is meant to help your feet, if you run in the ones that are uncomfortable and too tight around the calves, they can cause your feet to suffer numbness, cramping, and swelling.
So, when choosing compression socks, you should go for one that makes your feet comfortable while also relieving them of tension and swelling.
Bear in mind that how comfortable compression socks are on feet is tied to:
The compression socks you choose for your running activities should also be able to provide your feet with adequate support while you run.
Running in a pair of compression socks that offers your feet the right amount of support will help prevent you from suffering from swelling, fatigue, aching, and injuries, on your feet and around your calves.
Another key feature you should put into consideration while choosing compression socks for running activities is their compression level rating.
This rating shows how much compression the socks provide in order to make blood circulate properly in your feet.
Compression socks are usually built with different levels of compression and you should select the one that has a rating that fits the level of compression you need for what you want to use the socks for.
For example, runners who are looking for compression socks that will offer their feet help with just moderate compression and circulation of blood won't choose socks with the same level of compression and millimeters of mercury (mmHg) as a runner who is looking for compression socks to help him recover from an injury.
The latter needs more advanced help with blood circulation while running and will likely go for socks with higher compression levels.
However, for accuracy and precision of which particular compression level is right for your feet, you can consult a healthcare professional.
Compression socks are usually meant to have a tight fit but avoid getting one that isn't the right size and is too tight, as it could cause you discomfort and hence affect how fast and well you run.
So, before choosing a pair of these socks, make sure you know the size that is best for you and then get it.
Compression socks are traditionally made and known for being knee-high but there are certain compression socks that are made to just the ankle area. A good example is the PAPLUS Ankle Compression Socks.
However, bear in mind that despite both knee-high compression socks and above-the-ankle compression socks offering great compression benefits and having their respective advantages and disadvantages, knee-high socks offer a higher level of compression, circulation, and support than the latter.
Nevertheless, the length you should choose depends on your personal preference, what works best for you, and what you are aiming to achieve with the socks.
And if you do not fancy using compression socks entirely then you can opt for calf sleeves. They can also offer your feet significant compression levels while also helping blood to flow properly in them and enabling proper muscle recovery.
One thing that is common with compression socks is the different colors, styles, and patterns that they are designed with.
And since you would be running around with them for long periods of time, it would be a good idea for you to go for a pair that has a look that is appealing to the eye and matches the look that you like to be identified with.
If you are someone who likes bright colors, then you can go for a pair that carries that look and if you are someone who prefers a simple design and basic look that isn't all shiny, then you should go for a pair that fits that description.
There is usually a black or white version of each pair of compression socks so you can opt for that if you like a neutral and less shiny look.
As compression socks differ in features and looks, so do they differ in costs, as well.
Some are more expensive than others so if you have a specific budget for the gear, make sure you go for one that fits that budget.
The numerous benefits that putting on the right pair of compression socks offers your feet during and after running activities are too good to ignore and as people who have experienced them firsthand, I wouldn't want you to miss out on them.
That is why in this buying guide, I have brought our vast experience in testing running socks and running in general into play and carefully researched, tested, and reviewed different socks with compressive effects so that you can choose from them and save yourself the stress of searching through the countless varieties of compression socks available in digital and physical stores.
In this article, I have also explained the various factors that you should consider when choosing a compression sock for your running activities so that you can make the right choice.
Hopefully, with the knowledge you have gained in this guide, you will be able to choose the best compression socks that can boost your running performance and offer your feet adequate post-running recovery benefits.
Pressure levels are usually measured on a millimeters of mercury (mmHg) scale.
On the scale, 8 to 15 mmHg is mild compression, 15 to 20 mmHg is medium compression, 20 to 30 mmHg is firm compression, 30 to 40 mmHg, and 40 to 50 mmHg is RX compression.
A large percentage of compression socks that are made for running purposes usually have mild to firm compression levels, while RX level is usually used in the treatment of intense medical problems such as blood clots.
Graded compression, also known as graduated or gradient compression, refers to how the level of compression changes from the lower area of the sock to the sock to the higher area.
The reason behind this is to enable blood flow properly and return from the lower part of the leg to the higher part hence preventing swelling around the ankle area.
This is why most compression stockings are usually made with higher levels of compression around the ankle area than around the calf area.
There is no written rule on when and when not to run in compression socks or put them on, generally.
Once your feet are comfortable in them, you can wear them and run in them whenever you wish.
You can wear them for long runs and also wear them for short sprints.
You can also choose to wear them after running for a long period to help your feet recover effectively.
However, if you are wearing them for a run for the first time or you aren't used to wearing them, make sure you carry a backup pair of non-compression socks so that you can change them when or if you feel any discomfort on the way.
I also have a whole page on the benefits of wearing compression socks as a runner and especially as a marathon runner that you might enjoy!
You can wear compression socks as often as you wish and for as long as you want, as long as they fit you properly and they are comfortable on your feet.
You can wear them for running activities and also wear them after running activities to help in the proper circulation of blood in your legs and feet.
In fact, wearing compression socks is a great idea post long run and marathon! Aim to wear them for at least 24 to 48 hours if you can, taking them off when needed.
However, make sure you don't leave them on for too long after use. Ensure that you take them off once in a while after having them on for a long period.
Here is a guide to running recovery sandals if you want the additional benefits after a long run or race.
Compression Socks and Compression Sleeves are built with similar materials and both offer great compression effects with just specific differences so which one is better for you depends on how comfortable you feel when you wear them and your personal preference.
If you feel comfortable when you run in compression socks then use them, and if you feel more comfortable when you use compression sleeves then use them.
Some people prefer not have any kind of sock around their toe areas while some people find that just having compression from their ankle up to their calf feels a little off to them.
You can decide to get both of them and use them and then choose which one works best for you.
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