To the untrained eye, a leg sleeve looks like a knee-high sock that’s been severed at the ankle. In many ways, that’s true, but not when you consider the inherent health benefits of wearing graduated compression leg sleeves. Compression leg sleeves, or calf sleeves as they are also commonly known, offer quite a bit more than just the top part of a sock, and more than enough benefits to justify investing in a pair. You may just find yourself unwilling to run without them, and here’s why:
As is true of compression running socks, compression sleeves offer the circulatory health benefits of graduate compression technology to maintain healthy blood flow from the legs to the heart. Graduated compression will help ensure a speedy recovery, reduce swelling, ward off muscle spasms and shin splints, and keep runners running harder and more often. As for the argument of sleeves vs. socks, compression sleeves simply offer an alternative to runners who may wish for more ankle freedom. They also make an athlete look more serious about his training. If you are, why not look as such?
Another benefit of compression sleeves vs. socks is a practical one; compression leggings offer runners external protection against the unmitigated great outdoors. The real world is full of dirt, mud, rocks, sticks, and other naturally-occurring elements capable of inflicting nicks, scrapes, bruises, rashes and climatic discomfort. Compression sleeves are an added defense barrier between vulnerable human flesh and a world full of clandestine booby traps.
If you visit the community forum concerning leg sleeves on Runnersworld.com, you’ll find countless runner testimonials from runners who can speak affirmatively to the benefits of compression leg & calf sleeves. Community contributor ‘Amplify2458’ says that while sleeves aren’t necessarily some one-stop miracle cure, they do make a great addition to a complete healing regiment, commenting: “I’ve had some good success with compression sleeves for my knees. …Strength training and yoga were also a big help. I think compression gear is just one ingredient and not the (single) answer.” Aubuti writes [sic], “I started wearing [compression calf sleeves] a couple years ago when I had minor shin splint problems, and they certainly made me feel better.” While Sunofbeach writes, “I train with them all the time now. So far so good.”
Be realistic; compression leg sleeves aren’t the be-all, end-all to a more powerful run. But they are a good step in the right direction!