Earlier this month my Seattle Triathlon LUNA Chix forum was talking about compression socks. I had posted that a cheaper way to get compression socks was through a medical supply store. I have bought mine through Discount Surgical Stockings. They're less expensive and really good quality. They are not as cool looking as the athletic brands, but the do the same thing and are way cheaper.
That led to the inevitable question as to what are the benefits of wearing them.
From what I've read, compression socks are supposed to help you recover faster because of increased circulation. That's the jist of my understanding. But there has been some controversy on whether it is true or not. For a more detailed explanation, here are two blog posts from my favorite triathlon guru, Joe Freil:
Can Your Socks Make You Faster?
and later he followed up with a Compression Sock Update
It's also interesting to read people's comments at the bottom of his posts.
MY personal experience-
after a hard run it feels really good to have a pair of tight tights on. your muscles are swollen and they kind of suck everything in. I'm not sure it helped recovery, but i like them. I've also worn the tights and socks to work out in when i'm dealing with an injury because i'm a little overtrained. For example if my quads are really sore i'll wear the tights. Or if a calf is feeling injured i'll run in the socks. It's kind of like putting an Ace bandage on; it helps the swelling with compression and holds things in place. Make sense?
I would be curious to read other's impressions.