One of the most common complaints people have after running is muscle soreness. It is important to take care of your body and help your muscles recover faster after every run. Other runners are looking for competitive edge by reducing lactic acid. Whatever your reason, running compression socks are a great option.
Using a pair of high-quality compression socks can not only help you recover faster but get prepared for your next run or race. Here are a few tips on what to look for in the best pair of compression socks for training, racing, and recovery.
- 1 Why You Need Running Recovery
- 2 Running Compression Socks Benefits
- 3 Why Do Runners Wear Compression Socks?
- 4 What Makes a Good Running Compression Sock
- 5 Best Compression Socks for Recovery
- 5.1 Top Choice: Rockay Vigor Graduated Compression Socks
- 5.2 Vitalsox Graduated Compression Performance Socks
- 5.3 2XU Women’s Compression Performance Running Socks
- 5.4 Injinji 2.0 Compression Over The Calf Toesocks
- 5.5 CEP Men’s Progressive+ 2.0 Running Socks
- 5.6 Zensah Tech+
- 5.7 CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Night Run Socks
- 5.8 MoJo Recovery & Performance Sports Sock
- 5.9 Sockwell Men’s Elevation Sock
- 5.10 Physix Gear Sport
- 5.11 SB Sox Compression
- 5.12 Blitzu Running Recovery Compression Sock
- 6 Conclusion
Why You Need Running Recovery
Sore muscles can recover faster after a workout if you wear a compression sock with gradient compression. Because of gravity, the muscles in your legs and feet tend to swell and suffer from bad circulation after exercising. Wearing a compression sock will help reduce the swelling as well as any discomfort or pain that you feel after you exercise.
Graduated compression means you have the most pressure or the tightest part of the sock at your ankle with the pressure gradually decreasing up the sock towards your knee. Professional grade compression socks help to increase circulation giving your muscles the benefit of extra oxygen and preventing the risk of blood clots or DVT.
Running Compression Socks Benefits
At your next race, look around at your fellow competitors.
Why? You’ll likely notice that an increasing amount of runners are wearing compression socks.
You may be thinking to yourself, “compression socks? Aren’t those the tight, heavy socks that people with diabetes need to wear for blood circulation?”
If you thought of this, you’re not alone. And not wrong, either!
Compression socks are also used by pregnant women, people that must stand or sit for long periods of time each day, and are even prescribed by doctors for a plethora of different medical conditions.
Just recently, the use of compression socks made its way into the realm of running.
Traditionally, compression socks have been used to:
- Prevent cramping (okay this one undoubtedly benefits runners)
- Lower levels of lactic acid
- Enhance your body’s oxygen delivery function
Despite this, the running compression socks benefits are significant in the eyes of experienced runners.
Why Do Runners Wear Compression Socks?
For a number of different reasons!
Primarily, compression socks allow for more effective blood circulation through your legs.
The tight nature of the socks causes the blood in your legs to circulate back to your heart at a much faster speed than if you weren’t wearing compression socks. Once in your heart, the blood is provided with more oxygen and then funneled back out to your legs.
Simply put, using compression socks while running speeds up the blood oxygen delivery process, allowing for a higher level of endurance during your runs.
Beyond the blood circulation perk, running compression socks benefit runners by controlling the amount of swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet while in use.
Lastly, due to how tight compression socks are, the build-up of fluid in your muscle tissue is much less likely to happen.
Before you pull the trigger and decide to try compression socks out on your next run, talk with your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Arterial insufficiency (arterial disease)
- Skin sensation disorders
- Pulmonary edema
You should always consult with your doctor before trying any new mode of therapy, but if you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, you may not be a great candidate for using running compression socks.
What Makes a Good Running Compression Sock
When shopping for a compression sock, make sure to look for the specific words “medical grade.” Several styles and brands claim to have the correct compression levels but aren’t marked “medical grade” so you run the risk of not getting the correct tightness or quality that you want for the most relief.
Measured in Millimeters of Mercury, compression levels are abbreviated as mmHg which is the same way that blood pressure is measured. The sock is physically tested for compression that it creates once it is made. There is a range of different compression levels that can be found when you are shopping that range between 15 to 30 mmHg.
Any garment you wear is better with smooth seams that won’t chafe or irritate your skin. When you are wearing a compression sock, you want to look for socks that have the fewest seams possible or that has stitching that is smooth and flat. As with most athletic wear, the seams on the socks should be less noticeable.
If your recovery socks aren’t breathable, you won’t want to wear them. Manufacturers are trying out different materials to increase the breathability of a compression sock especially for your heel, foot, and toes that get the warmest inside your shoe. However, having a compression sock made of a breathable material that is combined with moisture-wicking will increase the price.
A compression sock can become itchy when they do not allow moisture to escape and can start to create an odor. Wicking works by letting the fabric pull the moisture in and then allowing it to quickly evaporate which is called a capillary action. When you have a material that wicks away moisture, you will be able to use the socks on runs, workouts, or during recovery. When buying a compression sock, look for socks made of elastine and polyester blends as well as synthetic materials.
When choosing your recovery socks, you want them to be long enough to end just under your knee and covering your entire shin and calf. The seam will irritate the back of your knee if it is too high and it won’t provide the right compression if they are too short.
Best Compression Socks for Recovery
With the above things in mind, here are 11 of the best compression socks on the market today, listed in no particular order, except for the bonus pick of the “Top Choice” Rockay Vigor.
Top Choice: Rockay Vigor Graduated Compression Socks
You can read the full Rockay Vigor Graduated Compression Socks Review, but the bottom line is that these socks are the “Top Choice” based on their balance of breathability/comfort and performance. They provide a nice, but not overbearing hug when worn but still provide the performance one can expect from compression socks.
The major difference is in the breathability/comfort. These compression socks have an airy feel to them and don’t distract the wearer while running. This is critical as you don’t want to feel your socks, but still gain the benefits. The moisture wicking is another huge component, as closing in your feet for long periods of time can provide a breading ground for bacteria and fungi.
You can purchase Rockay Compression Socks directly from the manufacturer to ensure they are from the correct source.
|Breathable and moisture wicking||Slightly higher price point|
|Blister prevention with solid support||Need to measure carefully for right size|
|Made from 100% recycled material|
Vitalsox Graduated Compression Performance Socks
One of the more popular running compression socks on the market, Vitalsox Compression Performance Socks feature a special fiber called Drystate that controls moisture and lessens the growth of fungi and bacteria. This also helps to control odor by wicking away moisture and keeping bacteria from contacting sweat. They are also lightly padded without having to deal with bulk so you can slip them on easily with a running shoe.
Featuring four-way stretch, these socks are stretched to give you consistent compression and are washed in a chemical-free fabric softener so they are ready to wear right away. True sized to give you the best fit, Vitalsox Compression Performance Socks also include a flat toe seam for better comfort. You will feel the compression start around your mid-foot preventing certain running injuries like shin splints with they’re arch support.
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|Include arch support||A little on the expensive side|
|Are lightly padded for comfort||Difficult to get on|
|Include moisture control|
2XU Women’s Compression Performance Running Socks
With a fun color selection, the 2XU Women’s compression sock features improved moisture management and airflow. They are designed to provide targeted compression to calves and quads to give you better stability and less muscle fatigue. They feature the only graduated compression technology that increases recovery time and improves your performance.
Made of PWX (Power-Weight-Flex), this signature fabric gives you an unmatched combination of flexibility, lightweight feel, and intense compression. The 2XU Women’s compression sock include a mid-rise waistband for a better fit with a zip pocket in the rear and reflective logos for better visibility. These are a great choice when you need consistent but intense pressure to reduce damage and muscle fatigue when you run.
- MCS (Muscle-Containment-Stamping) applies run-specific targeted compression to quads and calves for reduced mucle fatigue and greater stability
- The only graduated compression technology proven to improve performance and speed recovery
- This item is made of our PWX (Power-Weight-Flex) signature fabric that provides an unparalleled combination of powerful compression, lightweight feel and maximum flexibility
|Lessens muscle fatigue||Material is too itchy for some users|
|Helps manage moisture issues||Has a top band that may dig into your skin|
|Available in assorted colors|
Injinji 2.0 Compression Over The Calf Toesocks
Enhancing circulation, the Injinji compression sock helps to lessen blisters while providing proper toe alignment. These imported socks give you graduated compression from 18 to 30 mmHg while minimizing muscle soreness. Plus, they also include hotspot and blister prevention while they keep your feet comfortable as you pound away on the pavement.
The five-toe anatomical design gives you toes a natural grip while the compression elements lessen muscle soreness in your feet and lower legs. The Injinji compression socks are the perfect choice for those that are tired of achy feet and heels or that do a lot of downhill running. Designed to help you with training, the Injinji compression socks are also great for post-workout healing.
- Minimizes muscle soreness
- Proper toe alignment
- Graduated compression 18 – 30 mmHg
|Features a unique five-toe anatomical design||Run a little small|
|Provides correct toe alignment||Takes a while to remove and put on|
|Gives you a padded heel for downhill comfort|
CEP Men’s Progressive+ 2.0 Running Socks
With enough compression to provide relief from your aches and pains, the CEP Men’s Progressive Run Socks feature between 20 to 30 mmHg graduated compression to increase circulation and support muscles. Lessening the start of muscle soreness, these socks are perfect for hospital rounds, factory shifts, and running marathons. The top band sits right below your knee to keep the sock in place while the sock will mold to your feet and not restrict your toes.
With a new dynamic footbed, you get the correct combination of support and comfort while the included arch support lessens discomfort, pain, and fatigue. Protecting and stabilizing ligaments and tendons, the CEP Men’s Run Socks are the perfect socks for any type of runner thanks to the scientifically enhanced materials that provides incredible compression and comfort. The unique knit of the socks increases airflow to cool your skin helping to reduce your body temperature in humid climates.
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|Socks don’t restrict your movement||Sizing is inconsistent|
|Includes arch support||Materials on the heel tends to bunch up|
|Comes in a variety of colors|
Reducing injuries and shin splints, the Zensah compression sock were designed by athletic trainers to target shin splints. Using v-shaped chevon ribbing found on the front sleeve gives you the same relief as using kinesiology tape. From novice runners to Olympic Athletes, the Zensah compression sock is a favorite with athletics due to their incredible comfort and moisture wicking ability. You stay dry with these lightweight socks even during tough workouts and runs, plus it features anti-odor technology to keep away bad odors.
Leg sleeves help to reduce cramps in your calves, micro tears, injuries, and fatigue while improving muscle stabilization. You also get faster muscle recovery and better circulation improving blood flow and venous return. The Zensah seamless technology makes these socks comfortable against your skin lessening rubbing, irritation, and blisters normally caused by seams.
- SHIN SPLINT RELIEF: Engineered v-shape ribbing to precisely target shin splints for all activities
- MOISTURE WICKING: The sleeve will stay dry and lightweight during the toughest runs and workouts
- FASTER MUSCLE RECOVERY: Graduated compression will improve circulation by increasing blood flow
|Provide true graduated compression||The foot portion tends to run a little large|
|Great targeted arch and ankle support||Some users find them really hot in warm temperature|
|Features anti-slip cuff|
CEP Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Night Run Socks
Perfect for night time runs or low light conditions, the CEP Night Run Socks features reflective silver and high visibility neon accents. These are strategically placed so others can see you on the road when it is dark. Moisture is wicked away with special air channels that keep your skin dry while your legs and feet stay comfortable. Throughout your lower leg, you will feel graduated compression to lessen fatigue while improving power and recovery time.
Targeted 20 to 30 mmHg graduated compression in the mid-foot and ankle increase circulation and support muscles while lessening soreness. The Halo top-band lands fall right under your knee so the socks stay in place and the unique knit keeps your body cool. These are medically designed socks that are created to recirculate and recharge the blood in your feet and legs for the best recovery after exercising.
- Proven medi compression for optimum recovery and performance
- Perfect heat and moisture management for comfortable feet
- Anatomically padded foot section for unmatched wearing comfort
|Great reflective accents for better visibility||Sizes run tall|
|Features air channels that wick away moisture||Can be hard to put on|
|Includes and extra-flat toe seam|
MoJo Recovery & Performance Sports Sock
Featuring graduated compression and a thick material, the MoJo Recovery Sock enhances circulation while reducing the buildup of lactic acid. Promoting recovery, these compression socks fit the tightest at the ankle and gradually decrease in intensity for a pumping effect up the leg. Plus, both feet are indicated so that you get the best fit and compression for each foot.
With a firm stretch and feel, the MoJo Sock helps you to recover faster and are perfect for leg cramps, edema, swelling, and aches in your calves. These unisex socks feature a compression sleeve that is medical grade and designed to deliver oxygen to your muscles. They are also engineered to follow the contours of your foot and include flat seams for less risk of blisters and pressure marks.
- Sold Per Pair - Mojo Compression Socks
- See Pictures for Size Chart - 20-30mmHg
- Comfortable Top band keep socks in place
|Perfect for athletes||Can be difficult for some to put on|
|Enhances circulation||Material tens to snag|
|Reduces blisters and pressure marks|
Sockwell Men’s Elevation Sock
Providing a high level of consistent tension, the Sockwell Men’s Elevation Sock gives you between 20 and 30 mmHg compression to your running hot spots. With this effective defense, you can lessen ankle pain and shin splints. Constructed of merino wool, this responsive sock is very comfortable, flexible, and gives you a good level of mobility.
The Acufit technology uses spandex throughout that sock to make sure the sock retains its form and fit throughout the day. Plus, the sole of Sockwell Sock gives you a nice layer of padding to make each foot strike more comfortable.
- RECOMMENDED FOR: All day/everyday wear, flying and travel, prolonged sitting or standing, exercise, recovery, and pregnant women. Ideal for those who work in professions that demand prolonged standing: nursing, healthcare, retail, or even construction
- 4 ZONES OF FIRM (20-30 mmHg) GRADUATED COMPRESSION: helps to minimize swelling, reduce fatigue, stabilize muscles, and provide plantar fasciitis relief. Energizes legs and feet.
- COMFORT & PERFORMANCE FEATURES: Accu-fit Technology, Graduated Compression, Turn Welt Top, Arch Support, Seamless Toe Closure, Ultra Light Cushion Sole.
|Made of Merino wool||Some users find the sock too tall|
|Features Acufit technology|
|Gives you a light layer of padding|
Physix Gear Sport
Designed to give you a comfortable and healthy running environment, the Physix Gear Sport is one of the highest rated compression socks on the market. These compression socks are made to last as they are double stitched and use an anti-bacterial fabric that washes well without losing any compression. Perfect for reliving varicose veins and leg swelling issues, the Physix Gear Sport help to wick away moisture rapidly in just a few hours.
Made with careful construction and comfortable material, the Physix Gear Sport feature stay-put cuffs and no stitches so the socks will stay in place without irritation. They are easy to pull on and breath well in very hot weather. Not only are they durable, they also have a very fashionable look and come in an assortment of colors.
- STYLE AND CONFIDENCE ON YOUR LEGS Finally! A Durable Compression Sock designed to last, without compromising quality or Comfort. Double stitched Fabric your legs will thank you. Feel the immediate Comfort and remarkable design of your new Stamina Long Sock Tights. The Perfect Work, Cycling, or Ski Socks. Quality stitched & Easy to get on even though they are a compression sock! They Wash well without losing compression keeping all the Excellent vascular toning benefits.
- BECAUSE PUSHING YOURSELF THAT EXTRA MILE MATTERS! Get your legs properly geared up for work, play, and everything in between! Great for day and night use, and perfect for those who are on their feet most of the time. With our socks, the compression and support are perfectly located on the heel foot calves so the toe area wont squeeze your toe joints. Provides instant comfort support, with moisture wicking properties that rapidly air dry in a few hours.
- TAKE YOUR GAME TO THE NEXT LEVEL Comfortable material and careful construction. No stitches in places where they'll rub or rip together. Stay put Cuffs Soothing feeling at the bottom and sides of foot with no pinching seen with lesser quality socks without ankle support. Fall in love with your new Stamina socks easy to pull on. and they breath! Use in extremely hot weather crossfit through mud water wall/crawl/rope climbs and half marathons. Perfect for extreme races and long runs!
|Features moisture wicking||Can cause your skin to be itchy|
|Machine washable with anti-bacterial material|
|Increases your circulation|
SB Sox Compression
One of a kind socks that fit just right, the SB compression sock gives you the perfect compression with a wide variety of circumferences. These are anti-odor, breathable, and lightweight socks that feature a moisture-wicking fabric. A silicone grip gel that gives you a frictionless and soothing fit. With improved circulation, these compression socks reduce the buildup of lactic acid and pain in your knees.
Recommended by trainers and doctors, the SB compression sock gives you relief, comfort, and support without hindering your mobility. Featuring a bottom cuff and no-slip top to comfort while the form-fitting socks and breathable fabric helps you to maintain join stability no matter what you are doing. These compression socks are perfect for athletes, runners, office workers, and anyone that is on their feet all day.
- ✅ Finally – A Knee Brace That Fits Just Right - Tired of wasting money on overpriced knee braces that just aren’t sized right? We are too – which is why we designed our knee brace to provide the perfect compression, smoothly fit your knee/leg, and cover 4 different sizes with a wide range of thigh circumferences including yours (see the 4th image for the size chart)!
- ✅ Premium Design Features - If you LOVE our other products, you will LOVE our knee brace! Designed with lightweight, and breathable fabric, our knee support is the perfect solution for alleviating knee pain and arthritis during year-round physical activity. Also, the silicone grip gel provides the soothing and friction-less fit you need!
- ✅ Improved Blood Circulation With Compression Support – Our compression technology provides the ideal compression to provide the maximum boost to your blood circulation. Better oxygen circulation provided by our compression knee sleeve helps reduce lactic acid build up and aids pain relief in your knees. Why let yourself suffer any longer? Let our compression knee sleeve help you promote recovery, reduce injury, and feel great again!
|Uses a fast-drying material||Sizes run large|
|Features a four-way stretch|
|Provides consistent circulation and arch support|
Blitzu Running Recovery Compression Sock
Providing great support and compression, the Blitzu Sock uses true graduated compression that increases oxygen flow and blood circulation. Furthermore, they also stop swelling, fatigue, and cramping while helping muscle recovery. With a durable compression between 20 and 30 mmHg, these compression socks feature a shock absorption effect that reduces fatigue and swelling instantly.
Created for outdoor activities and everyday use, these one-of-a-kind recovery socks combine the performance of compression fabric with the stability of kinesiology taping that supports your calves, ankle, arches, and heels. The Blitzu Sock are professional grade quality that uses a 360-degree stretch for better durability and flexibility. Specifically made for comfort, these socks will keep you on your feet all day long.
|Available in stylish and fashionable design with several sizing options||Sizes run small|
|Provides flexible comfort with a reinforced heel|
|Uses a moisture wicking material|
Tired of muscle soreness after every run or workout? Compression socks can help you recover faster and get ready for your next workout. Consequently, it is important to take care of your body… alleviate any soreness or muscle complaints before they become a more serious issue. Our running injuries guide can help you if you get injured.