If you’re a runner, chances are you never leave for a 5K without your heart rate monitor and iPod. The next time you run, consider adding compression stockings to your must-have list. Research shows that support stockings, or calf and shin sleeves, improve running performance during both short, intense sprints and longer distance runs.
In this study, middle-aged runners ran on the treadmill while wearing support stockings. The German researchers who conducted the study, published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that runners could run longer and had significantly better performance during both sprints (anaerobic exercise) and longer distance runs (aerobic exercise) when they wore the stockings.
Stockings for runners look a bit like leg warmers. They’re worn from the ankle to the knee, so runners also wear regular running socks over top of them. Here are a few brands and styles very popular with runners:
- CompressionZ Compression Socks Pink 20-30mmHg
- BeVisible Calf Compression Sleeve
- Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves
Not only do the stockings keep runners’ calves warm during colder runs, but like stockings used for medical purposes, those used for runners also improve blood circulation and blood flow, allowing runners to run longer and faster. In addition, the stockings offer support to the calf and shins, reducing the likelihood of shin splints.
If you choose to wear compression calf sleeves, make sure you care for them properly. Check out How to Wash Your Compression Stockings.