Compression gear?

Hi all

I am looking for some advice on compression gear. Basically I have really tight calves (and to a lesser extent hamstrings) and I am looking at getting compression gear - tights and/or socks. I am very clueless though on this and have found it hard to get an idiots guide to compression gear despite hours of reading reviews of the stuff. Bascially I think I will get the socks for when I wear shorts and the tights for when not. However what are peoples experience with them - especially the tights? I see there are recovery ones and ones for whilst you are running but there also "base layer" ones - which should I use?!  I will only wear the tights for outside running in the winter probably (although should I also wear them at the gym?!) but I would not wear anything on top of them so a base layer doesnt weem right - but am I completely wrong? Also in terms of brands and prices - I have seen the really expensive skins and 2UX (or something similar!) and want to know if these are worth it or there are fine cheaper ones?

Sorry for all the questions but if anyone has any advice (or links to advice already given!) I would really appreciate it.

Thank you in advace



  • The shorts and tops are good at preventing chafing and as a base layer in cold conditions but I doubt there's any proven evidence regarding the recovery. The Nike stuff is pretty cheap in Sports Direct. A lot of it looks very overpriced but some runners love a gimmick.
  • I'm with Intermanaut. Placebo.

    If you need them Red Venom are a lot cheaper.
  • Compression gear is obviously a big market these days and there have been numerous studies done which have proven that the garments improve performance and aid recovery.  If you go to the websites of any of the brands you've mentioned you'll see links to this sort of thing.

    As well as links to studies, you'll also see that the way the companies make their products differ, so as with other running kit, it might come down to which ones your friends recommend, which ones you've seen good reviews for etc.

    I guess with many things when it comes to physiology (training, diet, supplements etc) just how much benefit you'll get will vary from person to person.

    Compression socks seem to be getting overtaken in popularity by the calf guards which are made from the same material as the tights and shorts.

    Some companies have specific recovery ranges, others have products that can be used for exercise and recovery.

  • Any independent studies that prove it though ?
  • Does seem to be... although in amongst the various ones done from a sport and medical point of view you may need to do some detective work to make sure to find out if any of the individuals or bodies have any sort of link to the manufacturers.

  • Pubmed has nothing useful at all, and other science web sites show research that says no effect on performance.
  • Thanks all yes I know what you mean about placebo but I have really bad circulation in my lower legs anyway and find flight socks really help when I wear them when I have really long weeks of work sitting down all day. I do like the look for the calf guards with the stirrups but then I think I would just get the socks instead. Does anyone know the difference between the base layer and just the normal tights?  Is onw more of a thermal base layer or is it just another way of selling the same thing?  Thank you all again for your responses

  • Totally disagree with Cougie and agree with Intemanaut. Pure placebo
  • @SR NLR - Cougie's in the "placebo" camp, too.

  • RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is proven to assist in injury treatment and recovery.  True that no evidence exists that compression improves performance if worn during exercise, but compression wear certainly has benefits around heat/cold management and i never do long runs without my compression shorts on.  Its the only way I've found to stop chaffing my undercarriage on runs over 20 miles.

  • I believe that socks and tights have definetely helped me, particular since I've upped my mileage, as I do suffer from stupidly tight calves. I use 2XU compression. I would also advice investing in a foam roller for easing out the calfs before and after training.

  • Having had calf muscle problems whilst migrating to zero or very near zero drop shoes I find calf guard or long compression socks both during and after running help me. What, if anything, they do for others, I do not know (or care).

  • I, ludicrous
  • I rate compression stuff as recovery after a heavy workout, but not particularly for tight calves etc. Stretching is the answer.


  • I wear compression sleeves whilst running, and compression socks for recovery that evening- I don't know if they are actually doing anything, but I definitely feel better for wearing them! image

    Many runners have talked about the benefits from wearing them, and whilst scientific results are mixed they generally seem to improve blood flow, reduce muscle vibration and decrease muscle soreness and damage both during running and after. They seem to be particularly beneficial for people with tight calf muscles or calf pain. I was suffering from shin splints and after my recovery, I invested in the compression sleeves as well as increasing my stretching program and increasing my calf exercises and foam rolling too. 

    Have  a look at these links:,7120,s6-240-320--13591-0,00.html



    There's heaps of articles if you google it! 

    As an aside I chose sleeves over socks, as then I can wear them multiple times before washing and have clean socks for every run! image

  • These are the ones I have:

    PS. Sorry for bombarding you with posts! image

  • I use the 2xu calf guards and found a real difference in my calves especially on long road runs while marathon training. When reading reviews when i was looking initially 2xu came out on top with female runners, and ive been really pleased with them. Stirrupped guards have reportedly been problematic with causing rubbing to the foot and i personally didnt want socks for the same reasons as BekiC but also coz im just so fussy about my running socks too!

  • I always run in calf guards except in winter when I run in compression tights.  

    There have been some studies indicating that compression where increases power output and reduces fatigue.


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