I recently picked up my first pair of CEP Compression Socks. I’ve been eye-balling these socks for a number of months, but was on the fence. In my research I found that, depending on the person, they either preferred to wear them all the time, or they preferred to wear them for recovery only. I finally decided to take the plunge and give them a try.
When I was at my local Fleet Feet Sports store in Mishawaka, IN, I was faced with the choice of the full sock or the calf sleeves. I’ll tell you more about why I choose the full sock over the sleeves later on.
The first thing that came to mind was that they were going to be SUPER tight. I had visions in my head of my knees and thighs swelling to twice their size, bulging over the tops of the socks. (Getting measured and purchasing the correct size is the key to a comfortable fit!) The other thought I had was that they would make my legs feel too warm.
The Test Run:
My first run in them was a 3 miler in 80 degree temps. I went out during my lunch hour, at work. If I had thought about how hot it was outside, beforehand, I probably would have decided against wearing the socks that day. Why would I want to wear knee high socks on one of the hottest days? However, I’m glad that I didn’t take that into account and just put them on. Now getting them on can be a challenge. I’m thankful that Brett, at Fleet Feet Sports Mishawaka, explained how to properly get them on. I got them slipped on without a struggle. Here is a YouTube video of just how easy it is.
Now, right away, as soon as I slipped them on, before I was even out the door, I couldn’t believe how comfortable these socks were. They weren’t too tight, they were just right. It wasn’t until the end of the first mile when I started to think about the heat. I’m finally realizing just how warm it is and I’m wishing I had brought along some water for my run, and then it dawns on me that my legs don’t feel hot at all, they actually feel a bit cool. The rest of the run, I’m thinking “I like these socks…I think I really like these socks…I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to get a second pair.”
I finished my run and sat in the shade of the pavilion in the corner park for a picture. Don’t you just love that I chose to pair them with my Lemon Glycerin’s! One of the guys at work said I wasn’t quite bright enough. I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic.
After the 3 miler, I was quite tempted to leave them on for the rest of the day, under my jeans. But I decided to take them off. I was afraid that they would be stinky and would make me smell the rest of the afternoon.
My next run in them was an 8 miler on the following Saturday. I hadn’t washed them yet, and gave them a good sniff to make sure they weren’t too offensive…and there was no smell! Yay! (This is because, upon further research, they contain antibacterial and order-reducing properties). They felt just as good during and after the 8 miler as they did during the 3 miler. They were comfortable and cool, and I ended up wearing them the rest of the day. I did the smell check one last time after my shower, before putting them back on, and was surprised that they didn’t stink at all. I’ve got a half marathon scheduled for this Saturday, and I will definitely be wearing these socks during my race, probably afterwards as well. They just make my legs feel so good.
Here is where I’ll go into some detail about the science behind the CEP Compression sock, why I choose the full sock over the calf sleeves and how beneficial these socks are.
The reason these are referred to as a Progressive+ Compression sock is because it is much tighter at the ankle than at the thickest part of the calf. From ankle to calf it’s measured at 20-30 mmHg, and then there is a consistent compression of 18 mmHg over the calf. (An mmHG is the unit in which blood pressure is measured.) This helps encourage and activates the flow of the blood in the muscles. This is part of the reason that I went with the full sock vs the calf sleeve. I wanted to be sure to have the compression all around my ankle and not just start above it. Since I had been fighting some off and on posterior shin splints, I really felt I needed something that really encompassed my entire ankle.
When you run, or exercise, the soreness afterwards is caused by micro tears in your muscle fibers. The compression helps keep these micro tears from occurring, thus giving you quicker recovery time. Studies show that CEP socks increase the flow of blood, which in turn helps prevent muscle soreness and cramps and can even reduce the chance of getting shin splints.
And this explains why my legs felt cool while running in them. They contain heat and moisture wicking technology and an open-pore mesh structure in the calf, allowing for excellent ventilation.
Overall, I love these socks. I’m definitely going to need to get another pair…or two. I can see myself wearing these with every run, and then even leaving them on afterwards for a while. I highly suggest, if you’ve thought about them in the slightest, to go ahead and give them a try. You’ll be glad you did.