Disclosure: I was provided Bio Skin calf sleeves at no charge for the purpose of a product review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own, and I am not obligated to give them a positive review. If I hated them, I'd tell you.
I think hot pink compression socks during a race look really cute, but is there any real benefit outside of my fashion sense or is it all in my head? I generally prefer compression calf sleeves to socks, only because after wearing them for a long time, I don't like the way the compression feels on my toes.
The benefit of compression socks or sleeves for runners is that they are said to increase circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up. This can help to stimulate blood flow and help your legs recover faster from a hard or long run. But does it really work?
|compression for runners: Fashion or function?|
link within this article is an affiliate link, which means if you decide to buy I get a small percentage, which supports running this blog). I did a little Internet research about their company and products and I was pretty impressed initially. This is what they had to say on their site about the benefits of compression.
"When running, your calf muscles help raise the heel and propel you forward, while your shins provide stability and support. Not surprisingly, the two most common running injuries are shinsplints and calf strains. High-level compression allows athletes to prevent injuries, train longer and recover faster. Compression sleeves are commonly used during a run, but are also effective directly afterwards. Along with stretching, use Bio Skin as part of your post-run routine to help your legs recuperate."I've been struggling lately with shin splints, so when I had the opportunity to review the Bio Skin compression calf sleeves, I jumped on board. Maybe they could help with my problem and if any of you were struggling with the same thing, they could help you too.
In my initial conversations with Bio Skin I had to tell them what size I needed for my sample. I went to their site, looked at the sizing chart, measured my calf muscle and was shocked that I needed a size large. I have never purchased a large in compression before, always a medium. I emailed them and asked if this was correct. They explained that Bio Skin is a tri-laminate material that yields more compression than a standard knitted sleeve and warned that most people take a couple days to adapt to the compression.
When the sleeves arrived, I found out that they weren't kidding. I'm glad I listened to the advice and got the large, because the medium probably wouldn't have fit over my calf.
When they said high level compression, they meant it. They were much tighter than any of the compression sleeves that I have ever tried (and I've used most of the common brands that you probably know). I liked the super tight feeling and didn't feel any discomfort, but they did warn it might take a few days for some people to get used to it. My only complaint is that they are pretty difficult to get on and off, pulling over my foot was the hardest part. But once they were on, they felt pretty good! I really like that tight feeling on my legs.
As I said, I have been struggling with shin splits. This was my first week of wearing the sleeves and I did notice a considerable drop in pain, although it did not completely go away. I ran three times this week on the treadmill. I wore the Bio Skin compression calf sleeves during my runs, then I left them on for the rest of the day under my pants.
Because of my (newly developed, annoying) shin splints, I usually run on the treadmill until my shins are on fire, then finish my workout on the elliptical. By the last day, I could still feel a little pain, but it was not so bad that I had to switch to the elliptical. I was happy to do my whole workout on the treadmill. I am not an advocate of running through pain. If you feel actual physical pain, it is your body trying to tell you something, and you should stop what you are doing. But the pain was minimal enough (and drastically decreased from the usual) that I could work through it.
I also should mention that I have been doing shin exercises and stretches, that are probably contributing to my decrease in shin pain. I think a combination of the compression sleeves and shin strengthening exercises are effective for reducing shin pain while running.
Click here if you want to learn more about Bio Skin or purchase compression calf sleeves.
Do you ever wear compression? Do you wear them for fashion or function? Do you notice a difference in your recovery time? Tell me in the comments!
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