As runners, we know compression wear is a “thing” and I’ve experimented running in compression capris as well as compression socks and found that I really prefer knee-high compression socks because the compression capris felt like I was stuffing a 20 pound sausage into a 10 pound casing. Freedom on the quads yet compression support on the calves, feet, and ankles really works for me on my longer distance runs. I can truly feel a difference in my recovery with a compression sock- my legs feel better quicker and aren’t as sore as they are without the socks- and when you’re marathon training, that’s a very good thing.
The benefits of donning compression while running are debatable, as this Active.com article explains, but wearing compression socks DOES increase circulation and blood flow, therefore reducing swelling and speeding up post-run recovery- basically, compression socks act as a portable ice bath for your hard working legs. (Plus, some runners claim compression socks improve endurance thereby making you faster and I need all the help I can get so, hey, why not?)
Following is a review of my 3 favorite brands of compression socks- PRO Compression, Zensah, and CEP Compression– plus, thanks to the kind folks at CEP, a giveaway for your very own pair of the EXACT SAME compression socks Meb Keflezighi wore when he won the Boston Marathon! Keep reading to find out how to enter to win…
The first compression sock I ever tried was PRO Compression’s over the calf marathon socks and was immediately hooked- the price point is decent and they provide a good deal of support and breathabilty while running. I love that they also come in sundry different colors and patterns and consider the 8 pairs I own a collection of sorts that I WILL keep adding to! (They have a stars & stripes pair right now I MUST have!!!)
PRO Compression, however, are a little less customized as you have to chose between small/medium/large but for me, the medium fits just fine and I like wearing my PRO Compressions not only during long runs but afterwards too, for recovery, as they are light weight and very comfortable.
So if you’re new to trying compression socks, PRO Compression is a great place to start- sign up for their sock-of-the-month newsletter and get 40% off that month’s featured pair plus free shipping so there’s no reason NOT to give them a shot and see if they work for you!
In training for my second marathon, I decided I wanted to step it up and try a compression sock that provided even more support, so I tried the Zensah argyle compression socks and this pair, by far, gets the most use. The Zensah’s are a lot sturdier/heavier so a bit hotter than the PRO Compression, yet the graduated compression in the Zensahs (meaning that the greatest amount of compression is located in the ankle, less in the calf area) provides support from the base up and really feel like a big bear hug around my legs.
Zensah’s compression material is thicker than PRO Compression or CEP’s, so they also provide fantastic protection on the trails- whenever I complete a trail run in these, they are covered with sticks, pokey things, and brambles! I can’t imagine how many scratches, gashes, and evil plants I’ve avoided with these great socks!
The Zensahs also only come in small/medium/large and have the “left foot”, “right foot” distinction; however, the toe area is a tad too large for me and I even wear a size 10.5 running shoe (!!!). The medium Zensah compression sock works fine but depending on how I put these on (a whole ‘nother workout in and of itself!), the fabric can tend to bunch under my toes and has, quite a few times, resulted in nasty, painful blisters. Despite that, I still wear these when I need greater support, like when I’m doing double digits or a really hard trail run.
I’ve been injured for the past 4 months and, coincidentally, right when I got the approval to start running again, CEP Compression sent me a pair of their Progressive+ Run Sock 2.0 (again, the same ones that Meb wears!) to try out and I am absolutely in love with these! Foremost, the fit is customized- measure the circumference around the largest part of your calf and chose your size therein so the sizing is a lot more accurate than the others- these CEPs fit perfectly, without any extra fabric bunching underneath my toes or around the ankle.
The compression fabric of the CEPs aren’t as light as the PRO Compressions, nor as heavy as the Zensahs, somewhere right in between. Honestly, I like the differing fabric weights of these different brands as I use them for different running and recovery purposes and the mid-weight of the CEPs are perfect for short runs and since that’s all I am allowed to do right now, they are working out very well and I’m looking forward to taking them out on longer runs in the future.
The CEP compression socks also have different compression zones within the sock as opposed to a graduated structure (Zensah) or an all-over-one-type compression (PRO compression). CEP compression targets the arches, calves, and achilles tendons therefore providing a very different leg-feel, these feel just as supportive without any tightness, in an invisible kind of way- I can barely tell I’m even wearing them when I’m running, they are great at wicking my sweat plus they feel and fit oh so well!
So if you are encouraged to take on the suggestion of compression and want to enter my giveaway for a chance to win your very own pair of CEP Progressive+ Run Sock 2.0, here’s how:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
All entries must be accounted for by the Rafflecopter. To earn entries, just follow all the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget above: “like” Running4theReason on Facebook, “like” CEP Compression on Facebook, leave a comment on this blog post telling me what compression brands you like and why you like running in compression gear, and/or tweet about the giveaway, following & tagging @LauraRunning and @CEPCOMPRESSION.
Please count each of your entries in the Rafflecopter widget only (NOTE: I validate every single entry and reserve the right to delete any entry that is not 100% authentic- for example, if you claim an entry by saying you left a blog post comment and I see that you actually did not leave a comment, that entry will be deleted), email submissions will not be accepted. The lucky winner will be chosen on July 7th (when I get back from vacation), and his/her name will appear here on the Rafflecopter widget so come back on 7/7 to see if you won and good luck!