To wear, or not to wear, that seems to be the question on most endurance athletes’ minds.
If you don’t have the time to read through the whole article, the quick answer is to stick to wearing them for recovery only. These socks may help you recover after a hard workout or race with a little less muscle soreness (the same thing you can do for free with ice!).
If you want to know more in detail about it as well as why I say so, read on.
Compression socks have hit the market, and we see all the pros out there wearing them. So why shouldn’t we? Keep in mind that most pros get paid to wear them.
The reported benefits of compression socks range from increasing cardiac output and venous return during exercise to decreasing blood lactate levels and heart rate during recovery. All these finding has been made by the manufacturers them self.
Most studies found out there illustrates that they help more with recovery than during training. They also put a huge emphasis on the specific amount of pressure throughout the sock. Basically that means the socks must apply more pressure at the foot, with less pressure as you go up the calf, in order to avoid constricting blood flow and venous return. The latter is also the main benefit of wearing the compression socks.
If you are a healthy and active athlete with no circulatory problems, you do not need compression socks to constrict your vessels to aide in venous return. Your calves work as a muscle pump with each and every step you take. Also during distance running your muscles break down due to repetitive strain put on them. This is all natural and will make your calves stronger with the adaption from your vigor training. Let’s use an example. Say you’ve only been doing long runs with compression socks on, and one day you forget them. Will your calves be used to taking all the strain? Or will you end up with an overuse injury because your calves are used to being artificially supported?
In my view, use them for recovery only.