Need the benefits of compression but don't want to part with your favorite socks? Compression leg sleeves are essentially just compression socks without the foot portion and provide the same benefits so you don’t have to ditch your footies! Here's everything you need to know about compression leg sleeves (I guess we’ll throw in some of our favorites too).
Compression garments for runners are made up of gradient elastic and other materials that gently squeeze the subcutaneous tissue of the leg (calf area) and ankle with 15-20 mmHg or 20-30 mmHg of pressure. This pressure decreases as the garment moves up towards the knee, which offers a slew of benefits (that we’ll get into). A sock or calf sleeve labeled 15-20 mmHg is 20 mmHg at the ankle and 15 at the calf.
Whether you wear compression leg sleeves or compression socks is based on your personal preference because they both provide the same benefits for your legs. If you have a favorite pair of no-show socks you prefer to run in, no worries! We suggest you grab some compression sleeves so you can keep your favorite socks and still make your legs feel better during your run. Many athletes, especially runners who wear compression socks or sleeves, swear by them. I mean, check out all these awesome benefits.
Benefits of Compression Leg Sleeves
- Add Protection. Compression leg sleeves protect your lower legs from dirt, stones, branches, small scratches, abrasions and other things like poison ivy or whatever else you might “run” into on the trail. The pressure they provide can also help stabilize lower leg injuries.
- Prevent Swelling. Compression therapy helps prevent swelling by improving blood flow.
- Regulate Temperature. Wearing compression sleeves can help regulate your body temperature. Putting pressure on your legs and gradually decreasing that pressure towards the knee, helps get your blood flowing back towards the heart, thus regulating your body temperature. Compression garments can also help keep your lower legs nice and warm during your runs, keeping your muscles limber, which is an added bonus.
- Improve Performance. The gradient pressure from compression garments increases blood flow to the legs and feet which improves endurance so you can knock out that extra mile. When the foot strikes the ground during a run, it sends vibrations up the runner’s leg and causes it to shake. This can damage muscles, leaving your legs sorer, especially if you are a long-distance runner. Compression helps improve muscle movement by squeezing your legs and muscles to provide stability and ultimate comfort during your run.
- Aid Recovery. Compression garments help in your recovery process by reducing muscle soreness and decreasing swelling and DOMs after your run.
- Collect Dirt. Dirt gets on your compression sleeves, not you!
- Coolness Factor. You can look totally legit and cool!
Best Compression Leg Sleeves
Pro Tip: Make sure to measure your calves for proper sizing.
Sporting the same compression performance as the Run Sock 2.0, the Calf Sleeves 2.0 pair perfectly with your favorite pair of socks. Increased blood flow with the added protection of muscle support make these a perfect addition to any training or race day.;
Safety is the number one priority when darkness falls. The new CEP Night Calf Sleeves are neon green and feature side reflectors for improved visibility in the dark. The eye-catching safety color and reflective properties ensure that you always run safely, no matter what time of day or night you run.
Smartwool PhD Compression Calf Sleeve - $39.95 / $19.98
With 20 to 30 mmHg of graduated compression and mesh zones for moisture management, these compression calf sleeves are highly-engineered to help improve overall recovery.
Under Armour UA Hockey Armour Sleeve - $49.99 / $29.99
UA's Hockey Armour Sleeves are made in the USA from Level 4 Cut Resistant fabric. Light compression from shin to ankle improves circulation and reduces recovery time for fatigued muscles while ArmourDry and ArmourBlock technology team up to keep feet dry and odor free.
RecoFit Calf Compression Sleeve - $45.00
Uniquely designed gradient compression sleeves support the lower leg’s muscles and circulation from the ankle to the knee. Features RecoFit’s technical, carbon-based, high-compression fabric that disperses heat and moisture, is naturally bacteria-static, helps muscles warm up and blood oxygenate faster and reduces muscular vibration. Patterned in a left- and right-leg-specific design, look inside below gripper for directions. Sold in pairs.
Relieve Pain Caused by Sore Aching Legs and Feet, Cramping and Shin Splints with OS1st’s Light, Comfortable Calf Sleeves.
A growing trend among competitive athletes and weekend warriors is the use of graduated compression socks to help improve their athletic performance and recovery.