Knee-high best compression socks for running are taking world by storm. Despite the trend, experts are still debating the effectiveness of these socks. However, most runners can attest firsthand to the benefits of wearing them. So, how do they improve your running experience? And what are the best compression socks for running? Check them out below.
Benefits of Compression Socks for Runners
The added pressure of compression socks helps reduce swelling, blood clots, spasms, and cramps in your lower leg. Aside from the compression of veins, the added pressure will restrict your calves from jiggling around. The best compression socks for running will even alleviate muscle soreness and improve recovery after running.
Compression socks not only benefit your blood flow but also protect your legs’ skin from thorny twigs and insects, especially when you’re going on a trail run. It can also add warmth or cooling to your legs, depending on the sock material.
Do Compression Socks Work for Swelling?
When sitting or standing for long periods, your leg muscles may tire of pushing the blood in your veins back to your heart. That and the pull of gravity will cause your blood to pool in your lower leg. The pooled fluids can cause blood clots, swelling, cramps, and heaviness in your leg.
This is where compression socks can help. As their name suggests, compression socks add pressure to your legs to improve the flow of blood. These garments are thus incredibly beneficial for people who sit or stand too long every day. You can also use these socks to prevent the formation of varicose veins.
You can usually see nurses, travelers, and pregnant women wearing compression socks. But because they reduce swelling and improve blood flow, runners have since used it for marathons and trail runs.
The best compression socks for running will not only decrease swelling and fatigue but will also improve your performance and recovery.
Finding the Right Compression Socks for You
You need to consider many factors when shopping for your compression socks.
There are different types of compression socks. Anti-embolism stockings prevent vein thrombosis and serve as nonmedical support hosiery for post-surgery patients. The best compression socks for running are the gradual compression socks. These socks squeeze the tightest in your ankles. As it goes up your legs, the pressure decreases.
The best compression socks for running also have pressure ratings on the label. Buy a pair within the 15–30 millimeter of mercury (mmHg) pressure rating. Most runners, cyclists, and athletes are satisfied with this level of compression.
You also have to check the fabric of the sock. You wouldn’t want to be allergic to something you’ll be wearing all the time. The design will also matter if you want your socks to be in line with the style of your running gear.
Keep in mind that you are buying these socks for running. Buy a pair with suitable padding for your comfort. You should also avoid white compression socks because light-colored socks are easily stained and damaged.
How to Wear Compression Socks
The best compression socks for running will be tight and indeed tricky to wear. But there’s no need to worry. We’ll break it down step by step for you.
- First, insert your hands into the sock. Invert the sock up to the foot part.
- Next, put on the sock and then turn back the inverted side. Once you reach the ankle, start pulling it upward slowly.
- Lastly, smoothen the sock. Make sure there are no bumps!
You can watch this video to guide you on how to wear your compression socks.
The 5 Best Compression Socks for Running
We think these are 2020’s hottest deals for the best compression socks for running.
1. Vitalsox VT1211
The VT1211 is Vitalsox’s best compression socks for running. The gradual compression technology of Vitalsox is patented as the pressure is highest at mid-calf. This compression is great for blood circulation for light running.
The socks are made in Italy with quick-drying polymers and silver to avoid bacterial and fungal growth. The fabric is also breathable, durable, and resistant to moisture. With its unique material, these socks are useful if you sweat easily and profusely.
Our opinions on the heel padding are divided. It’s popular with some of us who claim the padding protects feet from stress. However, some are not happy with the experience. These socks also have ankle support to prevent your legs from spasming.
We also liked this brand for its different colors. I, personally, had no trouble choosing one to match my existing running gear!
However, it has only a 12–20 mmHg pressure rating, with the most compression in the calf area. So, there may be parts where the compression is lower than what your legs need.
|Affordable compared to the other contenders for the best compression socks for running|
|You can choose from a variety of colors (although the design is the same).|
|The fiber is moisture-controlling.|
|This Vitalsox product is made especially for athletes.|
|The socks can be stretched in 4 directions to help you when wearing them for the first time.|
|Too tight compression on the calf|
|It has only a 12–20 mmHg pressure rating, a compression lighter compared to other socks.|
2. CEP Run Socks 3.0
The CEP Run Socks 3.0 makes it to our list of the best compression socks for running long marathons because of the 20–30 mmHg pressure. The firm grip also helps stabilize the calves while running. After your routine run, you may notice a shorter recovery period and reduced muscle fatigue just as I did with these socks.
CEP Run Socks are made with 85% polyamide and 15% spandex, making them breathable and moisture-wicking. These socks may be cooler than your wool alternatives, but they can still be warm on the legs. All thanks to CEP’s HEIQ Clima-Management technology, these socks can always be cozy while staying breathable.
The heels and footbed are both padded to ensure comfort. The specialized design of CEP Run Socks 3.0 also helps prevent plantar fasciitis (characterized by a stabbing pain near the heel), shin splints or pain, and Achilles tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon).
CEP socks come in one design only but in at least five different colors.
The only downsides we found for these compression socks are the costly price and limited sizes. They only have three sizes, so be sure you got your calves and ankles measured before purchasing.
|Made of durable material|
|It has a medical-based high gradual compression rating of 20–30 mmHg.|
|Promotes recovery and performance|
|The material is breathable and warm.|
|Costly compared to most compression socks for running|
|There are only three sizes to choose from, very limited compared to others.|
3. Swiftwick Aspire 12
The Swiftwick Aspire 12 is another one of our choices for the best compression socks for running in 2020. The company released this line in 2011, yet it continues to be one of the best-selling socks for recreational and outdoor activities.
It is made from Swiftwick’s signature Olefin fiber. This fiber is lightweight and breathable, and the footbed has a mesh cushioning. If you want to avoid sweaty legs and feet, the Swiftwick Aspire 12 may be ideal for you.
The material is also knitted for maximum support for your leg muscles. This attribute makes it an ideal choice for the best compression socks for running and recovery. All of these features improved our performance and provided overall comfort. We also appreciate Swiftwick’s advocacy for the environment and sustainability.
With a gradual pressure rating of 20–30 mmHg, this product has the strongest compression among the other entries in this list. However, some of us find that this rating is just too tight.
|The Swiftwick Aspire 12 has a very firm grip from your ankles to your calf.|
|Average price for great value|
|The sock has a Y-shaped heel to prevent slipping.|
|The materials and knitting of the sock make it moisture-free.|
|Swiftwick also uses materials produced with minimum waste and energy consumption.|
|It is available in only two colors and designs.|
|Its compression is too tight for some runners.|
4. 2XU Compression Performance Run Socks
The 2XU Compression Performance Run Socks are one of the socks with a higher pressure rating. With at most 25 mmHg at the ankle part, these socks are great for runners with poor blood circulation.
The socks are made of nylon and Invista Lycra, aiding your blood flow. The socks are knitted to allow moisture control and breathability. It also keeps your calves from bouncing too much while running, thus decreasing muscle fatigue.
However, the 2XU Compression Performance Run Socks’ breathable material makes it less suitable for colder days. If you want to keep your legs and feet warm when running in the winter, avoid wearing a pair of these socks.
What I found unique about these socks is its seamless toe cage. This tiny detail helped improve comfort, and it made my feet feel free despite wearing running shoes. Another feature that sets these socks apart from the other contenders for the best compression socks for running is its radiation-resistant material.
|It is made with 360-knit construction to allow maximum support on your ankles and calves.|
|The designers also crafted a vented toe area to allow air circulation and prevent both sweat and blisters.|
|With fabric that has a UPF of 50+, the 2XU socks may be the best compression socks for running during hot summer days.|
|It has poor warming.|
|It is only available in limited colors and design.|
5. X-Socks Run Energizer
Last on our list of the best compression socks for running is the X-Socks Run Energizer.
The famous X-bionic team is behind the X-Socks Run Energizer. So, if you’re a fan of certain brands like X-bionic, this compression sock will be great for your collection.
They have a moisture-free technology helping you avoid blisters brought by excessive sweat and heat. If your feet are more prone to stress, their padding technology might just be perfect for you.
The sock is also made of an elastic X-Cross Bandage, which supports muscles and tendons when you’re running. All of these patented technologies unique to this model make X-Socks Run Energizers one of our picks for the best compression socks for running.
This support and cushioning are what I really loved about these socks. When I went running on uneven terrain, my feet weren’t fatigued that much. I even used these socks once with one of my older and heavier running shoes. Miraculously, I felt less pain compared to when I used other socks.
The only things I’ve had trouble with this product is its color, design restrictions, and cost.
|The Lambertz-Nicholson Achilles Tendon Protector 4.0 adds to the outstanding comfort of these socks.|
|The material is breathable and cooling.|
|X-Bionic patented the socks’ Air-Conditioning Channel 4.0, which pumps air to your legs.|
|It is the most costly among the compression socks in this list.|
|The sizes are limited.|
My Pick for the Best Compression Socks for Running
Because of its tight gradual compression grip, Swiftwick Aspire 12 is my pick for the hottest deal for a compression sock. Its tight 20–30 mmHg compression has lowered muscle fatigue and swelling and improved my blood circulation.
At an average price, the Swiftwick Aspire 12 is already a valuable purchase with its lightweight, breathable, and durable material. Aside from this, the comfort from the paddings is something I can’t find from other socks! Although it only comes in two designs, I feel content because the colors are neutral and earthy.
Choosing the Swiftwick Aspire 12 also makes me feel helpful because of their advocacy for sustainable materials. So, if you value firm compression, comfort, and social responsibility like me, purchase the Swiftwick Aspire 12.