Those new to running may look at compression socks and calf sleeves with some confusion. There is the instinct to be a free as possible when running, with comfortable minimal layers. We don’t want to restrict our muscles, or deal with uncomfortable sweat, so why wear such constrictive clothing? These sleeves are actually an incredibly helpful tool for runners, whether professional or novice. They can improve the experience and even your performance. So, what exactly are these sleeves, how are they so beneficial and what features should you look for when buying a pair?
The purpose of these sleeves is actually pretty simple. These thin mesh sleeves act like sports compression socks, adding pressure to the muscles in all the right places. The strong, flexible mesh holds the muscles in place, while also promoting blood flow. The best options provide a graduated approach to the pressure for a better result. These sleeves are a popular choice with professional distance runners and athletes looking to improve times and distances. Yet, there is no reason why novice runners can’t enjoy their advantages too. The following health benefits apply to all runners regardless of experience level.
All runners require a strong, reliable flow of blood in order to reach their goals. Not only does the body need to pump oxygen to the muscles to maintain their strength and function, it also needs to remove waste materials. If this doesn’t happen, you can end up suffering from cramp, pain, and fatigue. This is bad news in the short term because it reduces the likelihood of you going the distance or beating your time. In the long term, you could put yourself at risk of injury.
There is some controversy about the potential of these garments because of a study by Nike. They tested the performance and fatigue of 20 runners – a questionably small sample – some of whom had shorts and some with compression sleeves. The results focused on the fatigue. However, the study also revealed that the garments reduced muscle vibrations in the legs. These vibrations are responsible for micro-traumas and tears, which therefore means that these sleeves can reduce the risk of injury.
On the subject of injuries, these calf sleeve running aids can be a great help to those dealing with injury. A bad injury can keep runners off the track or road for a while. A small strain or niggle is manageable with a little help. These compression sleeves allow runners to get back to training and keep their muscles active, without risk of further injury.
Going back to that concern over temperature and sweat, there is no reason why this should be an issue with the right garments. A well-designed, breathable sleeve should regulate the temperature of the muscles. This consistency adds to the comfort levels, allowing users to work out and run a little longer. The anti-microbial materials should also wick away moisture to keep user cool and dry. These small details could give runners an edge in competitive environments.
A good, supportive calf sleeve needs the right material. It should be strong enough to offer the right pressure, in the right areas. At the same time, it should be light, breathable and comfortable. That is why our compression calf sleeves are made from germanium. These fibers stimulate blood flood at optimal levels and minimize the risk of muscle tears. There is also an alternative design that extends down and around the foot as a compression sock, rather than a sleeve. This sock has the same great materials, but with the added bonus of padding and arch support to reduce foot pain.
Some people turn to these sleeves expecting a little too much. You’re not going to be able to run an extra mile or eliminate all fatigue. However, you can improve pressure and circulation enough to make some small gains and reduce the risk of injury. The added benefits of the temperature and moisture control just increase the appeal further. Give these running calf sleeves a try and see if you can notice the difference.
Written by: D E Bradley