10 Best Compression Sleeves For Runners
Searching for Compression Sleeves? Take a look at the top-rated sleeves of 2018, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them in a store.
So, what exactly is the difference between a compression sleeve and a compression sock you might ask? Anyone who has been around a bit is likely to know this, but if you’re just starting out might you not immediately be able to tell the difference. They are essentially the same product in a lot of ways but the sleeve generally targets a specific body part. The way compression sleeves work is to allow muscles to slowly build up compression, this means that compression is more pronounced at the foot & ankle and reduced as it moves up the calf and then the lower leg.
This compression style gives compression which combats gravity effects and enables the body to return deoxygenated blood to the heart. Studies demonstrate that with a consistent high compression level the artery walls dilate (compress) which in turn increases the flow of blood at times up to a level of 40% while active and 30% when in recovery, this translates into more nutrients and oxygen flowing throughout the body.
At the same time vein, walls will constrict due to compression which speeds up the flow of blood and this means lactic acid and deoxygenated blood will return to the heart quicker which in turn decreases muscle soreness and speeds up the rate for recovery. Muscles will be stabilized, muscular vibration decreased producing less fatigue due to compression sleeves, compression increases blood flow which results in improved performance capability.
Will compression sleeves become part of your best running gear?
- SKINS Unisex Calf Sleeve
- Memory MX fabric maximises stability
- Zensah Featherweight Sleeves
- Very lightweight
- Danish Endurance Compression Sleeve
- Anatomically Accurate Fit
10 Best Compression Sleeves
1. SKINS MX Calf Tight
- Generally shown to improve power and stamina
- Comes in many different colors
- MX fabric gives consistent compression
- The price is on the higher end of the spectrum
2. Zensah Featherweight Compression Leg Sleeves
- Ultra lightweight
- Thin, breathable fabric
- Chevron ribbing designs helps alleviate shin splints
- Seamless design
- Size is a bit smaller than normal.
3. Danish Endurance Calf Sleeve
- Lab and athlete tested
- Anatomically accurate
- Compression sleeves in general cost more than basic sleeves
4. Saucony Amp Pro2 Arm Sleeve Tee
- Composed of 40% celliant polyester/39% regular polyester
- Flatlock seams ensures comfort against the skin
- Quite reasonably priced
- Seams designed to avoid friction
- Tends to ride up
5. Rikedom Sports Graduated Calf Sleeves
- Graduated compression helps blood flow
- Material stimulates muscles promoting faster recovery
- Great value-to-price ratio
- Too thin for some
12. Pro-Tec Athletics 3D Flat Calf Sleeve
- Contours to your calf, maximizing support
- Firm stitching, allows for a snug fit and no uncomfortable rubbing
- Good balance of support to restriction, allows full range of motion
- Budget friendly
- Only available in black and blue
9. Blitzu Calf Sleeves
- Ribbed design, reduces pressure
- Designed for heavy duty use
- Solid satisfaction guarantee
- limited color options
8. Zensah Leg Sleeves
- Quality constructed, provides firm pressure
- The v-shaped design is meant to provide the same benefits and kinesiology tape
- Machine washable
- Made in the USA
- A bit bulkier than some others
10. 2XU Compression Calf Guards
- Machine washable
- High grade compression
- 360 degree knit construction, consistent pressure
- Wide range of color schemes
- A bit expensive
11. Camden Gear Calf Sleeve
- Nice blend of material, offers appropriate amount of pressure and support
- Helps issues such as shin splints
- Over 1,000+ positive reviews
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Generous sizing range
- Some found the women's designs a bit too flashy
The function is roughly the same between socks and sleeves but there are some critical differences as well. Sleeves give you all the benefits of targeted compression but they allow you to wear a different pair, perhaps a water resistant pair or your lucky ones.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of The Best Compression Sleeves
Compression sleeves have been around for quite a while out there, you can see people wearing them in a wide variety of sports, from football to marathon running. If you are into sports, you may have heard people discussing if compression sleeves actually work on enhancing the performance or if they do not actually make a difference. What we can tell you, is that there must be a reason for marathon runners to keep using them.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Running Shoes
Let’s start understanding what compression sleeves are and what can they do for you, but first let learn some basic concepts about your body before.
Why do my muscles get fatigued?
Your heart pumps blood, which contains oxygen and nutrients, which your body then uses as energy and thus, makes your muscle function. When the oxygen from the blood gets used, a chemical reaction occurs and one the products of this reaction is lactic acid.
Keeping the blood oxygenated is very important for your performance, as you may already know. When you exercise, your heart runs faster and providing not just enough oxygen for your organs and muscles to function, but also generating lactic acid in the process.
If lactic acid is not removed from your muscles, it can contribute to soreness and decrease on the ability to perform, and if you add the amount of vibration that goes through your legs while you are running, it makes sense why you experience muscular fatigue after a long run.
What can compression sleeves do for me?
The compression sleeves provide graduated compression, from really high at your foot (not all the sleeves cover for feet) and ankle to lower compression at your calf and leg. The effect of that graduated compression is a help in fighting the effects of gravity by making it easier for your body to return the deoxygenated blood and lactic acid back to your heart to get refueled with oxygen. That increases the quantity of oxygen and nutrients flowing through for body. That helps the muscles to function and recover faster.
How does it happen?
Well, the graduated compression increases the speed at which blood flows through your legs by slightly constricting the walls of your arteries and veins. Your blood is pressurized and thus flows faster to and from your heart.
How about the vibration factor?
The graduated compression technology helps to stabilize the muscle and reduces the vibration your muscles absorb while running. That is an extra important factor to increase your performance and recovery when you exercise.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting Compression sleeves
As in any other sports equipment, the size is very important, compression sleeves work the best when used the right way, that includes having the right pair of sleeves in the right kind of legs. As the compression goes from high to low from you ankle upwards, you need to know your leg size for the sleeves to give you their better performance.
There are different types of compression sleeves that match up with your specific runs; whether you do long runs or short runs, there is a perfect shape of a sleeve for you. Some brands specialize in compressing specific muscles rather than the whole leg, some others give you extra breathability, some more give you extra muscle support. Its only up to you to decide which one is your match.
Compression sleeves come in different styles and colors. Depending on the material and the specifications you need for your kind of run, all the brands offer a wide range of colors and styles. If you like running on dirt roads and trail, we recommend you get a darker color of sleeves, as well as a thicker pair, so you can protect yourself from scratches and even from bugs you can encounter during your off-road run.
Q: My legs become swollen after a run. Will compression sleeves help reduce this?
A: Compression sleeves can help reduce swelling in your legs and can be used during or after a run.
Q: I don’t run but I spend a lot of time standing and walking every day, can compression sleeves help me with my day-to-day performance?
A: Yes, compression sleeves help you as much while you run as when you walk or stand for long periods of time. They are not restricted to runners and/or professional sports people, you can buy your own pair and increase your performance while decreasing your swelling and muscular fatigue. Make sure you tell your shop assistant the use you want to give to your sleeves, they can give you the best advice for the perfect pair.
Q: Are compression sleeves good for calf cramps, muscle strains, inflammation and/or other injuries?
A: They are, compression sleeves can make good to you if you have an injury and your doctor has recommended compression treatment. The sleeves will not cure your injury but may help with your recovery. Increased blood flow will help you recover from muscle fatigue and lower leg injuries. Proper rest, massages and medical care is the most important thing you need to have when recovering from an injury.
Q: Do compression sleeves let my legs breathe naturally?
A: Most compression sleeves have really good wicking and drying performances along with great breathability. Moisture management and Odor control are some other technologies you can from different brands. Depending on the climate conditions you use to run in, you can pick for more warmth, breathability, thickness, and shape. You can find from extra warm sleeves you can run with during the cold winter, to ultralight technology that has amazing breathability and coolness.
Q: Are compression sleeves unisex?
A: Some of the compression sleeves in the market are unisex, but we recommend to get your man/woman pair. As the technology of graduated compression works in a very specific way depending on the size of the sleeve, we recommend to get the right size of the sleeve, which has to do with the shape of your leg as well, and that varies if you are a man or a woman.
We really hope you find the information in this guide useful to your search, and learn how compression sleeves work and way they can be convenient for you. So, finding the right pair of compression sleeves is just as important of a process as getting the right kind of reading glasses, you have to know about your body and how it functions in order to get the best performance out of it.
Here’s a list of sources we used while conducting our research:
While researching and compiling our list, we used a wide variety of sources to provide the best and most accurate information. Our research information comes from not only clinical resources but manufacturers, brand specs, and sites that specialize in this particular information that is relevant to our topic.
- Running Rags: Skinny Arms Cold? Try out Some Arms Sleeves, Running enthusiast website, Oct 08, 2013 ,
- Is There Evidence that Runners can Benefit from Wearing Compression Clothing?, National Library of Medicine informational website, ,
- What Does Compression Clothing Really Do to Your Body?, Online fitness publication, ,