Should I Wear Compression Socks During or After a Workout?

Have you just finished binge watching the Olympics? Chances are you’ve seen both professional and amateur athletes wearing compression socks or sleeves recently. It seems as though compression wear is becoming quite popular in the athletics industry, especially in running circles. And if you ask runners or athletes about compression wear, they are usually quick to list its many benefits. Increased performance, faster post-workout recovery, injury prevention, and so on. But should you believe the hype? Read on and discover the benefits of sports compression socks and cuffs for your workout, performance, and recovery.


What are sports compression socks?

Basically, sports compression socks are knee-high athletic socks that squeeze the calf by applying gentle pressure to the legs. This applied pressure compresses the veins on the surface of the leg, as well as the leg muscles and arteries. This in turn helps your blood vessels work better and promotes better blood circulation. Blood flows more freely and the arteries, which carry oxygen-rich blood to the muscles, can relax. By improving circulation, the blood flows from the legs back toward the heart, preventing blood from refluxing down toward the feet or clotting.

As such, compression socks have numerous medical benefits and are often recommended for people with venous insufficiency or other leg health issues. But they are also very popular for running and other sports. Runners and athletes should look for compression socks with compression levels between 20-30 millimetres of mercury (mmHg), or most commonly reads as mid-to-high levels of compression.


What are the benefits of sports compression socks or calf cuffs for running and other workouts?

Whether you play a team or individual sport, run, or workout, compression socks do provide various benefits. The most common include:

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Reduced muscle soreness
  • Quicker recovery time

Because compression socks help blood vessels work better, they can also prevent swelling and reduce leg pain. But can they improve performance? That’s the million-dollar question!


The intra-workout and post-workout benefits of sports compression socks

As compression socks help blood flow more efficiently to the legs and then back to the heart, they bring more oxygen to your cells. To put it simply, the more oxygen your cells get, the better they function. So, what does that mean for your workout?

  • The enhanced oxygen delivered to your muscles is crucial for performance: the pressure applied by the socks increases blood flow to the heart so you get key nutrients and oxygen to the areas where you need them most during your workout.

Additionally, when you work out your body produces lactic acid. Lactic acid is a waste product that if it stays in your muscles can cause quite some muscle soreness. Typically, the soreness will be worse the following day and may impact any subsequent workouts. Once again, as the pressure from the socks constricts the veins, the blood velocity increases. This in turn helps your body move blood and lactic acid to the heart faster. 

  • The decreased lactic acid means you’ll feel less sore after running or working out and thus have a quicker post-workout recovery.

Finally, sports compression socks can be used to prevent cramping and swelling. As they squeeze the calves, they help blood flow back to the heart and prevent pooling and fluid buildup.

  • The pressure can help prevent cramping and reduce swelling and pain.


But do sports compression socks actually boost performance?

Unfortunately, scientific proof is limited for now. But an Australian study found that marathoners who wore compression socks during a run, performed better on their next run.

As compression socks lead to better oxygenation, many athletes and marathon runners have reported enhanced performance and quicker post-workout recovery. This is likely due to improved blood flow, decreased inflammation, and reduced muscle fatigue.


What size sock should you wear?

It is important to make sure you buy the right size so measuring your legs properly is key. You should always measure legs in the morning when swelling is minimal. And remember to follow the manufacturer’s size chart. If you are between sizes, sizing up is recommended. Supporo offers an easy-to-follow size grid on the back of each box that allows you to measure ankle and calf circumference, and use your standard shoe size as a reference.

Compression socks are commonly worn to reduce leg swelling, pain, and improve blood circulation. They are usually recommended by doctors and pharmacists to people who suffer from venous insufficiency or to reduce varicose veins. However, athletes all over the world have been turning to compression socks and sleeves for their many performance- and recovery-related benefits. If you are an athlete or marathon runner, compression socks can help improve performance, reduce the effects of fatigue, cramps, and heavy legs. They can also improve post-workout recovery, control micro lesions during exercise, and reduce the risk of injury. Shop our range of sport compression socks today and start experiencing the benefits for yourself!