I particularly like to use the Lily Trotters brand of compression socks. The important thing to look for with compression socks is the pressure. A good compression sock should have 15-20 mg HG pressure and constructed so that it offers graduated compression (tighter at the ankles and less pressure as it goes up). This allows for better circulation and helps get the blood back to the heart more easily, which improves recovery and promotes healing.
The concept of compression has been around for years. If you have ever had surgery you are often sent home wearing compression stockings. The reason for this is that it reduces your chances of getting at DVT (deep vein thrombosis aka blood clot) and improves circulation, prevents swelling and help maintain vascular health. As we age, this becomes even more important. There is science to back this up. If it can help support the veins in your legs, why not use them?!
I use compression socks in training, racing and in my everyday life. The reason I particularly choose the Lily Trotters brand (in addition to the obvious good fashion) is that they have different lengths and features. All of their socks have the basic “Signature” graduated compression and reinforced seamless toe preventing buckling and rubbing in the shoe. All runners know the major blister problems that can be caused from a bumpy seam! With Lily Trotters, you don’t have to worry about this.
All of their socks also have a cushioned heel but the “Elite Sport” sock takes it one step further and offers a fully padded comfort-foot and reinforced shin panel. This makes them comfortable and extra durable so naturally this is what I choose for racing, and trail running. The “Over the Calf” (OTC) length, go up to just under my knees and give me extra support and protection from rugged terrain and brush. I have friends that use the taller socks to protect their tattoos. The Elite crew sock length I like to use while hiking as they are just over my boot and offer the cushion on the bottom, and extra arch, ankle & Achilles support etc. As with all of their socks they are antimicrobial and moisture-wicking. This is a huge bonus on the trails especially for multi-day use! I have been known to wash them in a nearby stream and hang them up in a tree by my tent in preparation for the next day of adventuring.
After racing, long runs or a long outdoor hiking I like to easily slip into the “Silky Solids”. These socks are lighter and more stretchy which I prefer when I wear them for long periods of time. This gives me the compression benefits and they feel like they hug my legs. Often needed when I ask so much of them on the trails and roads! These are also great when I am sitting for long periods at my desk working or traveling on flights to races.
I am super excited they have now come out with the Bobby Sox! This ankle sock won’t slip into your shoes like the traditional no-shows and offers a cushion bottom along with all the other benefits that I don’t see in other socks. The bright colors also offer more visibility and safety for runners on the roads.
I highly suggest compression socks for people that are overweight or pregnant since extra weight can put a strain on the circulatory system; compression socks can help alleviate this and prevents the blood from pooling in the tissues. Lily Trotters also offers a wide-calf version for folks with larger calves.
As athletes we ask a lot from our bodies. Be sure to give your body the care it needs to recover quicker and perform better. Slip on some compression socks, kick up your feet and allow the muscles time to rest, rebuild and recover so you can hit the next training session, race or outdoor adventure refreshed.