Running by the Rules

Compress for Success – Part 2


In the May edition of Modern Athlete, we spoke to sport scientist Karen Welman about the effects of compression socks in distance running. She explained how compression socks reduce muscle damage and speed up postrun recovery, and told us that the socks are most effective when you run with them. She also explained how the compression grading works and how to wear the socks.

Before buying, however, it is important to know how to fit the socks properly, says Karen. “Have someone measure the smallest circumference around your ankle, the widest circumference around your calf, and the length of your lower leg from the bottom of the foot to just below the knee. You must be standing up straight because when you sit, your leg muscles relax, so you may get a smaller measurement and the socks may end up being too tight.”

Some of the socks reviewed here are footless sleeves. The area of importance is from the ankle up to the knee, thus the sleeve still does the job but with the advantage of being easier to put on and you can wear your preferred normal socks with them. On the other hand, the full sock may ‘sit’ better while running. Note that the recommended retail prices here may differ amongst individual stores.