Why Wear Compression Socks When Running?

Whether you’ve recently taken up running or consider yourself a seasoned runner, you should always look for ways to improve your performance and results. These days, there are all kinds of different gear and accessories that promise to optimize your workouts; it can be difficult to weed out the “hype” from the legitimate products.

Still, when it comes to performance-enhancing running gear, you can’t go wrong with a pair of simple compression socks. If you’re not already slipping on a pair of compression socks before you head out on a run, now is the time to start. Consider some of the many benefits of compression socks when running, as well as what to look for when shopping for your first pair.

What Are the Benefits of Compression Socks When Running?

Compression socks have many benefits for runners

Why wear compression socks when running, anyway? There are numerous benefits to consider, ranging from comfort to performance factors.

Protect Your Legs

If you tend to wear shorts while running, your legs can be exposed to all kinds of dangers. Scratches from twigs and branches on your running trail, rashes from poison ivy, and even insect bites are all potential problems to be aware of as a runner. 

By wearing compression socks, however, you can enjoy some added protection against the elements — even while running in shorts. This is because compression socks are designed to cover your calves and come all the way up to your knees. While they won’t protect you from every possible scratch or injury, compression socks do give you some added peace of mind.

Reduce or Prevent Swelling

Swelling is a common problem for runners because while running, vein valves can move from their optimal positions and pool with blood. This, in turn, can cause swelling and pain that not only affects your run but may leave you sore and uncomfortable for hours after your workout as well.

Compression socks have been proven to help reduce and even prevent swelling by helping to keep vein valves in their proper place. This, in turn, can make your running routine more enjoyable and save you from the discomfort of swollen legs after your workout.

Enhance Your Performance

One of the most notable benefits of compression socks is the fact that they improve blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body. This can help runners enhance their overall performance and possibly even their stamina.

When you wear compression socks during a run, increased circulation allows the muscles in your legs to receive oxygen more efficiently. As a result your muscles are less likely to tense up and spasm. Meanwhile, blood circulates more efficiently throughout the body, which can help to keep your pulse under control and allow you to run faster or farther than you would without compression socks.

Keep Your Legs Warm

Last but not least, compression socks can help to keep your legs warmer, even on cooler days of the year. Because many runners prefer wearing shorts over running tights or pants, the added warmth offered by compression socks may help you continue wearing shorts for longer — even as temperatures drop.

What Should I Look For in Compression Socks for Running?

There are many options for compression socks

Ready to shop for your first pair of compression socks? There are a few important things to look for before you buy.

The Right Size/Fit

Sizing and fit are the most important factors when buying compression socks. After all, socks that are too tight will be uncomfortable to wear, and socks that are too large will not provide proper compression and may slide down while you run.

As you shop, look specifically at the recommended shoe sizes and calf measurements for each pair. You probably already know your shoe size, but you may need to use a fabric ruler to get your calf measurements.

A Breathable Material

Compression socks are available in a wide range of materials, but it’s best to stick with breathable fabric options for the greatest comfort. This may mean shying away from thick cotton varieties and stick with cooling and moisture-wicking polyester fabrics instead.

A Style You Love

Finally, don’t overlook style when selecting compression socks — especially if you’ll be wearing them with shorts. If you do a lot of running on trails, you may also want to consider color carefully. White and other light-colored socks will be hard to keep clean, so darker colors or socks with patterns may be a more suitable option.

Three Examples of Compression Socks You May Want to Try

We have chosen 3 different examples of compression socks that we think are worth looking at for your running routine. All three are suitable for men or women.

1. Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks for Men & Women

These compression socks are a mix of Nylon and Spandex providing you with a great moisture-wicking product however, they have many other benefits too. They also come in 8 different colors and patterns.

2. Calf Compression Sleeves – Leg Compression Socks for Runners

Our second choice is a leg sleeve rather than a full sock so the feet are completely omitted which may be your preference. They are another Nylon and Spandex mix and are available in 14 different colors and patterns.

3. CHARMKING Compression Socks for Women & Men

The last selection we have made is for those of you that want to brighten your day with something functional but a little more fun while you run. They have a moderate level of compression, 15-20 mmHg, and as such are not considered medical class, however, they may still meet all of your needs. You can learn more about the levels of compression for socks, sleeves and stockings here.

The Final Word on Compression Socks When Running

The right pair of compression socks can go a long way in keeping you comfortable and even enhancing your performance as a runner. From improving circulation to providing added protection for your legs, it’s amazing what a simple pair of socks can do. And with a little shopping around, you can find the perfect pair of compression socks to suit your needs!