Compression Socks vs Compression Calf Sleeves: Which is Better?

If you’re an athlete who is always hitting the gym or an outdoor enthusiast who goes hiking every weekend, then you’re probably long familiar with the muscle fatigue and soreness that takes over after a particularly grueling day. Or maybe you’re one of the many working professionals who spend the entire day on their feet, like nurses or sales reps. Whatever your gig, reducing muscle cramping and discomfort while boosting recovery is near the top of everyone’s wish list. 

There are 2 quick and easy solutions for tired feet: pull on a pair of comfy compression socks or compression calf sleeves! While both are phenomenal at preventing injuries, boosting energy, reducing fatigue, and shortening recovery time, they do have their differences. In this guide, we discuss the benefits of compression socks and compression calf sleeves, so you can add one—or both—into your everyday rotation. 

If you want to prevent injury

Whether you’re running laps or standing for hours, both compression socks and sleeves can help prevent injuries related to straining or stressing out your muscles. The gentle pressure of compression gear also prevents blood pooling—if blood pools in your veins, that can lead to inflammation, varicose veins, and even blood clots. 

Unlike compression sleeves, socks cover the all-important ankle, an area that sees a lot of selling, so they have a slight edge over sleeves. 

Compression socks: 5/5

Compression calf sleeves: 3/5

Winner: Compression socks

If you want comfort

Both compression socks and sleeves improve blood flow by gently squeezing leg muscles, which prevents muscle fatigue and results in an all-around lifted, supported, and energized feeling. 

Just like with injury prevention, socks offer more coverage for ankles and feet than sleeves, which makes them better candidates for boosting all-around comfort levels.

Compression socks: 5/5

Compression calf sleeves: 4/5

Winner: Compression socks

If you want extra support

Compression sleeves and socks act as stabilizers for muscles and joints, which means your lower legs get the extra support they need. 

Depending on what types of activities fill up your days, both socks and calf sleeves are equally helpful choices which will make a difference in your routine. If you’re dancing, for instance, it might make sense to go for compression calf sleeves, while a marathon runner might prefer more coverage to help support their ankles.

Compression socks: 5/5

Compression calf sleeves: 5/5

Winner: Tie

If you want to boost recovery time

After a super intense workout, you feel amazing, right? Your muscles? Not so much. That’s because muscles can get swollen and sore due to the buildup of lactic acid. 

Compression garments can counteract and even prevent it by delivering oxygen-rich blood to your muscles while you exercise and post workout. For shortening recovery time, compression socks edge out sleeves because they deliver that much-needed support to the feet and ankles, which have tons of blood vessels that could use a little extra oxygen.  

Compression socks: 5/5

Compression calf sleeves: 4/5

Winner: Compression socks

If you want to reduce swelling

If you’ve been over-straining the tibia, the large bone in the front of your lower leg, then you likely have shin splints. It’s a very common condition for athletes who put a lot of strain on their tendons and bone tissue, like runners and dancers. 

When you’re in between workouts, toss on compression gear to alleviate the discomfort associated with the condition. If achy shins are the primary area that you want to target, then sleeves might make more sense for you. 

Compression socks: 4/5

Compression calf sleeves: 5/5

Winner: Compression calf sleeves

If you want to reduce swelling

You know that heavy feeling in your legs when you’ve been on your feet all day? Inflammation in the lower legs is a major problem for folks who are constantly on the go, or for those working professionals who have to sit behind a desk with minimal exercise. Peripheral edema, or fluid build-up in ankles, legs, and feet, can also cause stiff joints and aching muscles. 

Inflammation and edema are best alleviated with gentle pressure from compression socks and sleeves, which reduce swelling by improving blood circulation back to the heart. 

Compression socks: 5/5

Compression calf sleeves: 5/5

Winner: Tie

Dress for Wellness and Style

Both compression socks and calf sleeves have their uses, with socks being a bit more versatile than sleeves. When we designed Crazy Compression socks, we weren’t only thinking of active and outdoorsy people, but also about those folks who sit at a desk all day or who are on their feet for hours. We wanted to create a comfortable sock that improves wellbeing while also being a blast to pull on every morning, with fun colors and eye-catching patterns. So, go ahead, grab a pair and see the difference it makes.


You may also like