There are a lot of different opinions on how well compression socks help runners. But so many runners swear by them that it’s only natural to assume there’s a reason for it. Actually, there are five! Besides adding an element of fun to your workout wear, compression socks help you perform longer, reduce muscle soreness, prevent swelling, reduce the risk of injury, and control the temperature of the legs.
1. Compression socks enhance runners’ oxygen delivery, which helps them perform longer.
Making sure oxygen is flowing freely to your muscles helps you perform better while you’re on a run. Oxygen flows more freely when blood is flowing through your body faster. Blood naturally circulates through your body on its own, but because of gravity, blood can start to pool in your lower extremities when your legs stay directly below your heart. That’s why so many people experience swelling and soreness after sitting or standing for long periods at a time. Compression socks combat that gravity by squeezing your ankles and becoming gradually less tight up the leg, pushing the blood back up so that it doesn’t have as much of a chance to pool in the legs. It flows faster, which helps your muscles perform longer.
2. Compression socks reduce the amount of lactic acid in your muscles, which then reduces the amount of soreness you’ll feel in the days following your workout.
When you work out, your body produces lactic acid, and when that lactic acid hangs out in your muscles for too long, it makes you sore the next morning. Compression socks help by constricting your veins, which helps the blood in your legs move faster. The faster your blood moves, the faster the lactic acid returns to your heart, and the less soreness you’re bound to feel after a tough workout.
3. Compression socks prevent leg cramps and swelling.
It’s possible that wearing compression socks keeps you from using too much of your calf muscles. The easier you go on your muscles, the less fatigued they’ll probably feel after the workout is over, which means you won’t be as likely to feel many cramps. Additionally, the way that compression socks squeeze the leg prevents fluid buildup, which is what causes swelling.
4. Compression socks reduce the risk of injury.
Compression socks squeeze the ankles, which are some of the most vulnerable parts of the leg. That controlled pressure and support lower the chance that a runner will misstep and twist (or sprain) their ankles. The same could be said for runners’ knees.
In a much more apparent way, compression socks protect your skin from poison ivy, bugs, sunburn, and any other unpleasant things you may encounter on the trail. Runners who enjoy being outdoors or running on rough terrain through the woods can appreciate this!
5. Compression socks help control the temperature of your legs.
It’s no secret that to be a successful runner, you need to stay focused on the task at hand. One of the biggest distractions that a runner can face is becoming overheated, which means they need all the breathable, moisture-wicking gear they can get. Compression socks are made from such a material, keeping the runner’s feet and legs dry, cool, and warm, depending on what the temperature is outside.
On the other hand, if you’re running in cooler temperatures, you need a lot of layers. Compression socks give you an added layer of warmth, but because of their moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating materials, they won’t overheat or overwhelm you. They’re perfect year-round, in all types of weather!
As you can see, a lot of the benefits compression socks have to offer are tied together. The increase of blood flow from your legs to your heart can help muscles work longer, recover faster, and perform better. You can avoid soreness, swelling, and injury, which means you don’t have to wait as long to get back on the trail to conquer your next run. On top of all that, the simple but effective way that compression socks cover the legs provides you with an extra layer of protection from the weather, bugs, twigs, and other elements! All in all, if you’ve never tried wearing compression socks and you enjoy running, they’re definitely worth giving a shot.
Runners should try compression socks to see if they can experience all the benefits other runners have. Unless you have certain skin or medical conditions, there are more potential benefits to wearing compression socks on your next run than not! If for no other reason, you should give them a try because of all the fun colors, patterns, and prints you can find. You won’t find a funner way to express yourself on your next 5k, half marathon, or full marathon!