How to Select the Best Compression Socks for Your Next Run
For both casual and professional runners alike, the proper training gear can help in maintaining good form and function for better performance. It’s little wonder, then, why compression socks have been growing in popularity. Worn properly, they can provide enormous benefits such as better blood flow in the leg muscles, quicker recovery, and less soreness and cramping. In this article, we’ll be going through some things to consider when choosing men’s compression socks for running.
Keep an Eye on the Size
Unlike normal socks, you can’t exactly base the size and fit of compression socks on your shoe size. Instead, you’ll need to know your exact foot length (taken from the heel to the tip of the toes), ankle circumference (taken at the narrowest part), calf size (taken at the widest portion), and foot arch (taken by wrapping the measuring tape around your foot while it is flat on the floor).
In addition, the exact measurements for sock sizes may differ between brands, so you should always pay attention to each company’s sizing guide. Most of them will rely on your shoe size, but some will also provide the range of calf sizes appropriate for a certain sock size to help you estimate which size would fit best.
Know the Level of Compression You Require and When to Apply Them
Compression socks for running typically feature higher calf pressures of 15 to 30 mmHg. This makes them a bit similar to those used for medical indications such as peripheral edema and deep vein thrombosis.
That said, socks for regular activities like walking or working in an office require much lower pressures. Generally speaking, the right fit is snug but not painfully tight, with a feeling of support rather than constriction.
The frequency and duration of wearing the socks will also vary depending on your level of activity. If you run competitively, for example, you may want to stock up on many pairs since you will likely wear them for extended periods. If you run as a hobby, having one or two pairs may suffice.
Choose Your Sock Material
A wide assortment of fabrics can be used to make compression socks. There are socks made of nylon, spandex, polypropylene, recycled yarns, or combinations of these materials. Each fabric features different characteristics with regard to cushioning, breathability, wicking ability, and antibacterial properties.
For running, socks that are breathable and wick moisture away from the skin are ideal, considering that you’ll sweat more during periods of intense physical activity. You may also want to invest in pairs that come with antibacterial properties so that your feet can stay odor-free.
Stay True to Your Style
It’s true that compression socks are more for function rather than expression. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to pick ones that look boring. Fortunately, there are many different options available on the market, so you’re sure to find pairs that let you express your personal sense of style.
In addition to classic solid colors, you can now get compression socks that come in various patterns and designs. You can choose from bright multicolored compression socks to dark patterned compression socks. Choose whatever works best for you!
Find Out Where to Get Them
As with other types of clothing, there are many brands that offer good quality compressions socks. However, some of them operate purely online or via brick-and-mortar stores, so consider this when deciding where to shop.
For example, those buying compression socks for the first time can benefit from trying them on in a physical store. That way, you can not only get a better idea of how they’ll actually look and feel, but the store employees can also help you make the best choice in terms of size and fit.
Should you decide to buy your compression socks online, make sure to find out whether they accept returns or refunds in case you receive the wrong size or color. Also, check if they allow you to exchange your socks for a different pair in case you find out that they don’t fit you as well as you’d like.
If you run but also have a medical condition that requires compression in the lower extremities, it is best to stick to high-quality, medical-grade compression socks from a trusted source. Depending on your insurance, the costs of purchasing these socks may be covered by your plan.
Pair Them with Good Shoes
It’s a must to pair good compression socks with good shoes, as they can make or break how well you perform during your next run. When choosing the best shoes for your needs, consider cushioning and breathability in the same way you would for socks. Shoes that offer a great fit won’t compromise your blood circulation and will provide enough support to your feet, resulting in more comfortable and efficient running. It’s also a good idea to wear your compression socks while trying on different shoes so you can get a more accurate fit.
Gone are the days when compression socks were only used by people with diabetes and other medical conditions that affected the lower extremities. These days, these special socks are available for anyone who wishes to maintain good blood circulation in their legs, and that includes runners. With the simple pointers shared above, we hope that you find the perfect compression socks for your next run.