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10 Best Compression Sleeves For Runners

last updated Dec 30, 2018
Compression sleeves have become very popular with runners for several reasons. By holding your muscles and tendons in place as you run a good sleeve lessens the amount of impact your legs experience so you don't get as sore. They also improve your circulation which helps your body to heal faster by delivering more fresh, oxygenated blood to affected areas. They've also been shown to be highly effective at healing shin splints, one of the most common running injuries. Compression gear is available for all different parts of your body, but in this buying guide we're focusing on products designed for your calves, because as runners we know this is one part of the body that frequently needs the most attention.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research

icon
Rockay Blaze
99.2/100 our score
Use
99
Effectiveness
99
Compression
100
Fit
99
Support
99
Rockay Blaze
Why is it better?

Durable and stable

High-quality compression

Lifetime guarantee

Stays Fresh Technology

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Rockay Blaze
Test Winner: Rockay Blaze
Researched Sources
17
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1775
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
18
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By EJ Callanan:

We added three new products to our buying guide with this update: the Physix Gear Sport, the BLITZU, and the Zensah standard compression sleeve. All of these options are very highly reviewed and fulfill their purpose well. The BLITZU is specially designed for people with shin splints so if you have this common running injury definitely check it. out.

Sorting Options
Use Effectiveness Compression Fit Support By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.2
Use
99%
Effectiveness
99%
Compression
100%
Fit
99%
Support
99%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$33.95
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Use
95%
Effectiveness
95%
Compression
95%
Fit
90%
Support
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$17.95
$19.99
See Deal
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Use
90%
Effectiveness
94%
Compression
98%
Fit
89%
Support
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$7.95
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Use
90%
Effectiveness
95%
Compression
85%
Fit
87%
Support
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$27.93
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$31.99
$39.99
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5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Use
87%
Effectiveness
88%
Compression
90%
Fit
83%
Support
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$5.99
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Use
82%
Effectiveness
90%
Compression
90%
Fit
82%
Support
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$27.47
See Deal
$39.76
$44.95
See Deal
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
Use
75%
Effectiveness
88%
Compression
90%
Fit
81%
Support
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$28.00
$40.00
See Deal
$40.00
See Deal
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Use
80%
Effectiveness
84%
Compression
82%
Fit
80%
Support
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$16.83
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.4
Use
75%
Effectiveness
85%
Compression
89%
Fit
69%
Support
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$11.77
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.2
Use
85%
Effectiveness
75%
Compression
86%
Fit
65%
Support
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.01.19)
$35.00
$60.00
See Deal
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Rockay Blaze
  • BLITZU
  • Physix Gear Sport
  • Zensah
  • Camden Gear Calf Sleeve
  • 2XU Compression Calf Guards
  • CEP 2.0
  • SKINS MX Calf Tight
  • Wanderlust
  • CEP Ultralight
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Best Compression Sleeves for Runners

1. Rockay Blaze

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.2
Rockay Blaze
Use
99
Effectiveness
99
Compression
100
Fit
99
Support
99
best offer for today
$33.95
Pros:

Durable and stable

High-quality compression

Lifetime guarantee

Stays Fresh Technology

Cons:

Can be costly

Limited color section

In the field of compression sleeves, there is nothing quite like the Rockay Blaze. This is a brand-new product that is already making a significant impact on the running community. In efforts to stand aside from the competition, this brand took the time to carefully construct this product and provide the benefits that others were lacking. Let’s dive a bit deeper!

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Stays Fresh Technology

What makes this product such a valuable choice for runners is due to its Polygiene Stays Fresh Technology. If you did not know, this is an anti-odor innovation that works to remove or eliminate any odors while, at the same time, prevent the production of any bacterias. Due to this technology, runners can simply hang dry the product after use, rather than having to wash it time after time.

Moisture Wicking

As runners, we all know how important it is to have gear that is moisture wicking. This product was designed from a mix of lightweight mesh that also has added ventilation. What does this mean for you? Well, you can run, bike, or do whatever activity you would like without the fear of any sweat building up.

Cost and Value

In comparison to much of the competition, this product is priced quite fairly, especially when you consider the amount of value it offers. In our opinion, after spending the amount of time we have studied different brands and products, this might just be the best we have seen, as far as value.

2. BLITZU

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
BLITZU
Use
95
Effectiveness
95
Compression
95
Fit
90
Support
98
best offer for today
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$17.95
$19.99
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Pros:

Designed to heal and prevent shin splints

Good all around product

Great fit for lots of different users

Mimics k-tape for extra effectiveness

Cons:

Some users experienced chafing

May come up too high on the leg for some users

This highly reviewed product is designed to heal and prevent shin splints, so if that's a problem for you these are perfect. They got really good responses from customers based on a good amount of compression, not too much, not too little, as well as being made with high-quality and consistency. They are also durable and the company has great customer service.

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Compression and Effectiveness

This option has a medium level of compression. They also have a unique design, with specialized compression zones that mimick the effects of kinesiology tape to help heal and protect your calves. They're very effective at their intended purpose of healing shin splints.

Fit and Support

These fit well, with very few reports of sizing issues, which we've found is fairly rare with this product category. Even though these have just a medium level of compression, the special design gives added support in targeted areas where kinesiology tape would normally go.

Use

These were designed for helping to heal shin splints as well as prevent them in people who are prone to this type of injury. Obviously, they can be worn by other runners as well, and are great for people looking for a well-rounded product.

3. Physix Gear Sport

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.2
Physix Gear Sport
Use
90
Effectiveness
94
Compression
98
Fit
89
Support
95
best offer for today
$7.95
Pros:

High level of compression

Very effective at preventing muscle soreness

Speeds recovery

Cons:

Compression is too much for some

Some difficulties getting the right size

This product got great reviews for their high level of compression which users found extremely effective at helping them run and stay on their feet longer, as well as recover more quickly between running sessions. The durability is good, but there seem to be some sizing issues, so consult the sizing chart carefully, especially if you have large calves.

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Compression and Effectiveness

These have a very high level of compression, something a lot of reviewers noted. For most people it was great, and they found it very effective at helping them to heal things like shin splints, stay on their feet longer, and recover from exercise more quickly. There were several comments about sizing issues, but if you read the sizing chart carefully and take the time to measure your calves you should get the right fit.

Fit and Support

These fit to your calf very tightly. Some users with larger calves experienced difficulty getting them on and feeling comfortable in them, and only a few reviewers felt that they had too tight of a fit. Because of its high level of compression this one gives your calves a lot of support while you run which is why they're so effective at helping to prevent muscle soreness and speed up healing, because they hold the muscle in place so it doesn't jostle around as much and thus has less wear and tear.

Use

These are best for people who know they like a high level of compression. If this is your first time using this type of product, you might want to go with something with a little bit less compression to see how you like it.

4. Zensah

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Zensah
Use
90
Effectiveness
95
Compression
85
Fit
87
Support
90
best offer for today
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Pros:

Great for shin splints

Lower level of compression is perfect for some users

Very effective at healing and recovery

Cons:

Not enough compression for some

Pay attention to sizing chart

This product from Zensah, a leading compression apparel maker, has lighter compression, so if you're new to compression gear or you know you want something that's not quite as tight this is a great choice. They also come in several colors so you can match them to your wardrobe or get a bright neon pair to help you be more visible on the road.

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Compression and Effectiveness

These have a lighter amount of compression that is great for both running and recovery. Overall most users were happy with the compression, and lots of people were able to heal their shin splints with these so they've been proven effective at healing injuries and shortening recovery times.

Fit and Support

These fit pretty true to size, although a few users suggested ordering a size down if you're looking for more compression, which is a good fit. Because of the lighter compression, these don't give the user quite as much support as other options, which is exactly what some people were looking for.

Use

These are best used by long-distance runners and those new to compression gear, so they can ease into the experience to see how they like it before deciding if they want something tighter or not.

5. Camden Gear Calf Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Camden Gear Calf Sleeve
Use
87
Effectiveness
88
Compression
90
Fit
83
Support
90
best offer for today
$5.99
Pros:

Lightweight

Comfortable mix of Spandex and Lycra

Breathable

Extremely affordable

High customer approval rating

Cons:

Plain in design

Inconsistent quality control

The Calf Compression Sleeves by Camden Gear are made for runners to enhance their performance and comfort levels. They help runners make use of graduated compression to increase blood flow, aid in muscle recovery, and improve performance. These compression sleeves may be used as both active and recovery sleeves. Simply put, these are great sleeves that the body perform at optimum levels.

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Size
Currently, there are three sizes offered in these calf sleeves so you have a little bit of control over the fit and the compression. However, the sizing jumps from medium to XL so there is a little bit of a sizing gap. Due to the stretchy nature of these sleeves, smaller size may fit but this can b an issue for some runners.

Support
These sleeves have plenty of stretch and consistent graduated compression so even if these seem small they fit well and offer firm support. This is important during a run as it will keep your muscles from tiring as quickly and will also help to protct your legs against injuries and muscles strains.

Style
Some users liked that these sleeves weren't as long as some other designs, so it was better suited for those with shorter calves and those who wanted more targeted compression. They are a bit plain, but the design certainly isn't obnoxious so you could wear them in almost any situation.

Price
Available in pairs, these are incredibly affordable. Great for those new to compression sleeves and those looking for something with a little more support, they are more than worth the cost. If you are looking for a good investment for your running gear this is a good choice!

6. 2XU Compression Calf Guards

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
    2XU Compression Calf Guards
Use
82
Effectiveness
90
Compression
90
Fit
82
Support
85
best offer for today
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$39.76
$27.47
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$44.95
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Pros:

Machine washable

High-grade compression

360-degree knit

Consistent pressure with Lycra blend materials

SPF 50 sun protection

Lightweight and Breathable

Huge range of sizes

Wide range of colors

Cons:

More pricey than others

Looking for a high-end sleeve that is bound to up your performance? Your search ends with the 2XU Compression Calf Guards. With a highly specified compression gradient engineered into these sleeves you will get tight where needed and flexibility where needed.

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Size

There are 8 sizes to choose from which does provide more customization when it comes to fit but it also means you need to be very careful when choosing your size because it will directly affect the amount of compression you get. This can take some trial and error, especially for beginners, so it is advised to buy one set first then buy more if you like the fit and feel.

Support
A Lycra knit construction helps create a comfortable and firm amount of compression that keeps a tight fit while you exercise. Some users, however, have had issues with threading coming loose with time, contributing to looseness and eventually causing the sleeve to come apart.

Style
These are cut a little shorter so they will be a little more concentrated on a specific area and will fit shorter calf sizes. The simple sleeve design is also easy to slip on and off. You can choose from a decent selection of colors both bright and muted.

Price
The price for these sleeves can definitely get pretty high, but if you pick the right size and color they can be very affordable. They are an investment into your overall running and workout experience and it is important to look at them in that way when you buy them.

7. CEP 2.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
CEP 2.0
Use
75
Effectiveness
88
Compression
90
Fit
81
Support
85
best offer for today
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$28.00
$40.00
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$40.00
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Pros:

Durable

Available in different colors

Graduated compression

Very comfortable and high-quality

Cons:

Can be costly

If you are wondering if you read the title right, you did! That's right, another product from the CEP brand. The 2.0 Performance Compression Sleeve is easily a top contender for the throne. Here, we have a graduated profile product, offering some of the best support we have seen during our research. Let's see what it has to offer.

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Expert Support
When it comes to purchasing gear from this industry, it's important to find a product that offers quality support. This specific choice can help protect a runner's leg from swelling, soreness, and can even protect from a list of common running ailments.

Improving Blood Circulation
Another impressive feature of this product is its ability to improve blood circulation. This can be directly attributed to the companies precise graduated compression of 20-30mmhg yarn.

Cost and Value
Like the first two products, this item is priced quite high in comparison to other brands and products. Now, unlike this first two, this product offers the largest selection of colors and designs to pick from. In addition to it, it offers graduated compression, impressive support, and promotes the best possible comfort.

8. SKINS MX Calf Tight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
SKINS MX Calf Tight
Use
80
Effectiveness
84
Compression
82
Fit
80
Support
83
best offer for today
$16.83
Pros:

Large range of sizes

Many colors to choose from

Soft and comfortable

Strong compression

Breathable and lightweight

Slightly more coverage than other calf sleeves

Flexible

High customer approval rating

Cons:

May be more expensive

Not the most durable - may lose compression with time

Soft fabric and a snug fit, these sleeves go a long way toward babying your legs. There is also a lot of science built into the Skins, with gradient compression designed to deliver more oxygen to your working muscles. Overall these are a solid pick.

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Size
There are 5 different size options to choose from and it's important to select the appropriate size because it will directly affect the amount of compression you get. Luckily, the more sizes they offer the more options you have and the more accurate compression you'll get as long as you get your size right.

Support
Gradient compression helps offer support where you need it. Many users appreciated how firm the compression was and that it held up over time and with multiple uses.

Style
There are over 10 colors and some patterns to choose from with these sleeves so you can customize your look. Each pair has a large, dominating logo that may easily wear away with washing. Some labels recommend hand washing and air drying to avoid this kind of problem and to prserve the look and feel of your compression socks oveer the long-term.

Price
These have the largest price range on our list, so be aware of the cost of different size and color choices because these could easily become very costly. However, at their lowest possible price they are very affordable.

9. Wanderlust

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.4
Wanderlust
Use
75
Effectiveness
85
Compression
89
Fit
69
Support
84
best offer for today
$11.77
Pros:

Affordable

Many different colors to choose from

Breathable and moisture-wicking

Nylon and Spandex blend

Comfortable and flexible

High customer approval

Cons:

Limited sizing

Runs small

If there was a product that we were excited to share today, it was the Wanderlust Compression Sleeve. While it may not offer the extensive innovation and technology of the first three products, it does have some features that make it a top-contender on our list.

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100% Satisfaction Guarantee
When evaluating products, we always like to see how brands assure consumers that their product is worth it. Here, the manufacturer is offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, if you are unhappy or don't love your new product, you can return them.

Non-Slip Cuff
This product was designed so that, when you are running, it won't slide down like many other products/brands. Additionally, this material also includes moisture-wicking properties, helping to prevent the build-up of sweat or bacterias.

Cost and Value
If you are looking for a deal, this is the product for you. Not only is it priced significantly below many of the other competitors, but it also offers near equal value to the greatest items out there. The biggest downside to this product is that it's only available in one color.

10. CEP Ultralight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.2
CEP Ultralight
Use
85
Effectiveness
75
Compression
86
Fit
65
Support
85
best offer for today
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$35.00
$60.00
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Pros:

High-quality compression technology

Progressive performance innovations

Great color choices

25% thinner than previous models

Cons:

Expensive

Consumers can anticipate that this product is designed with some of the best features, from the best materials, and some great designs.

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Progressive Compression Technology

This product is designed with the company's Progressive Compression Technology. If you are not familiar, this is a specialized innovation that provides runners with the best possible support and stability. Through this, this technology can help reduce the rsik of shin splints and other common running injuries.

Great Color Choices

A strength of this product and brand is the wide variation of color options that consumers can pick from. Whether you are looking for something dark, bright and colorful, or neutral, they have something for everyone.

Cost and Value

In comparison to other brands and products, this product is price quite high. In fact, it's quite relative to the number one product on our list today. Now, with that being said, we would like to stress how important it is to consider its value. This is one great product and will last for many, many running miles.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Compression

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 helpful 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?
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.

Effectiveness

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 of 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.

Fit

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.

Support

Support is an important aspect that must be carefully considered in order to find the best compression sleeves for your running needs. 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.

Use

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. 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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Compression
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2
Effectiveness
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3
Fit
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4
Support
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5
Use
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Get the fit right

The appropriate amount of compression is what you're going for here, so the sleeves should be quite snug. However, if your legs go numb, you should probably size up a bit. Cutting off the circulation is the opposite of what you'll want to accomplish with compression sleeves. There are plenty of sizing guides out there to help.

Don't skimp

If you're going for compression sleeves, chances are you're getting serious about running. Make sure to read what other customers are saying about the products you are interested in. And, make sure durability is one of the main points you pay attention to. You'll probably have to shell out a little more money on a great pair, but if they work better than others, they're probably worth it.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

Your heart pumps blood, which contains oxygen and nutrients, which your body then uses as energy and makes your muscle function. When the oxygen from the blood gets used, a chemical reaction occurs and one of 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.

This is where compression sleeves come in.

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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: Will 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:

Most compression sleeves come in unisex sizing. It's always important to measure for your size and compare to the size chart in all sizes so you can get the closest fit and feel your best while wearing your compression sleeves.

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. The compression keeps blood and fluids from pooling in the legs. This is what causes swelling and tenderness so compression sleeves can do wonders for this.

Sources

  1. Runner's World, Running Rags: Skinny Arms Cold? Try out Some Arms Sleeves, Running enthusiast website, Oct 08, 2013
  2. US National Library of Medicine, Is There Evidence that Runners can Benefit from Wearing Compression Clothing?, National Library of Medicine informational website,
  3. Fitness Magazine.com, What Does Compression Clothing Really Do to Your Body?, Online fitness publication,