Breaking into a new walking or running program is great for our health, but sometimes if we do too much too soon our feet and calves take a beating. Whether you are experiencing aches and pains from meeting your 10,000 steps walking goal or shin pain from that couch to 5k running program, compression garments may help. Experienced athletes frequently use compression garments to help prevent injury and to aid with workout recovery. I have used some compression garments in the past, and have been curious about calf compression sleeves.
Run Forever Sports recently sent Feeling Fit, Bit by Bit a pair of their Run Forever Calf Compression Sleeves for review. previously, I have never used calf compression sleeves but I do have a history of shin splints and cramping in my shin area when I do a lot of running (or even a lot of walking in the wrong shoes). Will these sleeves help?
I have used other compression garments including an ankle compression sock prescribed by my doctor when I had a sprained ankle, a compression workout top (recently reviewed) and I have also used those oh-so-attractive compression flight socks on long haul flights (the kind that look like thick knee-high nylon stockings). I mention that, as I am familiar with some of the benefits of compression. I am just new to incorporating compression garments into my fitness routine.
According to Run Forever, their calf compression sleeves:
- Offer true Graduated Compression Support Your Muscles and Increase Blood Flow
- Help you warm up safely and quickly
- Help fight muscle fatigue
- Boost circulation to help you recover faster
- Reduce pain from shin splints
- Are great for frequent travelers (since they help with circulation even when sedentary for long periods of time).
I would agree with many of the benefits–as near as I can tell from use of these sleeves and other compression garments. I tried these sleeves in a few different circumstances:
I wore them for a day when I know I would be sedentary at the computer most of the day. On such days, I tend to feel achy if inactive long enough. On one hand, I am glad because that gives me a very tangible motivation to get active every day. But sometimes it isn’t practical to fit in a workout (i.e. a 10 hour flight). I found my legs didn’t feel as achy as usual. I didn’t feel comfortable wearing these sleeves all day as they are rather snug, but for a few hours they did help. I will try them next time I fly on an airplane, if I don’t have any of the flight socks handy and also if I am stuck working at my desk to meet deadlines.
I also wore these sleeves when I spent an afternoon hanging posters for a local event. For three hours I walked around with frequent breaks where I stood still while hanging a poster. I wanted to look “presentable” so I wore boots rather than trainers. Normally my shins get achy from walking around a lot in boots like these, but not this time. I do think the sleeves helped prevent fatigue. The only issue is they are not that attractive for non-workout wear and are mainly an option if wearing long pants or knee-high boots. (They look great as active wear though).
Finally, I wore them on a treadmill workout. I am not an impressive runner. I lack the focus to do the same movement over and over (as mentioned in my post about Runtastic, if I go jogging I usually do a mix of walking, running, sprinting, stair laps and other exercises). I did a Runtastic running and walking interval workout and my legs felt great afterwards.
There is one thing I would caution you about… The Run Forever Compression Sleeves comes in two sizes: medium and large which basically fit people with calf measurements between 11 and 19 inches (if you have 10 calves you are probably also fine). Be sure and measure your calf to see which if either of these sizes work for you. My main criticism is that I would like to see a larger size range (on both the slimmer and thicker end) represented.
I measured as directed and ordered a medium. I am a 5′ 1″ woman, and I find them difficult to put on and take off. I wear size 6 shoes (Euro 37) and find it difficult to get them over my feet. Once on they are comfortable though they do compress (as expected). They are a little long on me, they can go above the knee. I just wear them a little lower on my foot (the ankle opening at the arch of my foot) to get the right height. This is good for me when wearing for a workout because I have a fairly recently healed ankle sprain and can use the support. These sleeves are slimmer and more comfortable than my ankle compression sock.
I do recommend these if you are wanting to try a reasonably priced pair of compression sleeves. I think I prefer sleeves to socks unless foot support is required as the sleeves can be worn more than once before washing (depending on how sweaty your sessions are). As workout wear, the design is attractive and unisex. I think they are great for people working on couch-to-5k or other beginner running programs as compression garments are thought to aid in recovery and help prevent injuries including shin splints.
Where to Purchase Run Forever Compression Socks:
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Run Forever Calf Compression Sleeves are available on Run Forever Sports website and on Amazon: Amazon listing for Run Forever Calf Compression Sleeves for runners, walkers and more!