Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recovery Sock Review ...

For my birthday, my mom and little sister were kind enough to each purchase me a pair of Recovery Socks. I have been interested in trying them out for a while (since I am such a sock lover). But to be honest, the $34.90 price tag has deterred me. So, I was super psyched when I received both the fuchsia (to match my hair) and the lime socks in the mail yesterday.

If you don't know what Recovery Socks are, here is the lowdown from their website:

The Recovery Sock® is not simply a graduated compression sock, but a totally new concept of health for your feet. It is the result of studies and research conducted in the medical field as well as in the world of sports. This synergy has produced an international patent leading to a new concept of FEETNESS.
The Recovery Sock® advantage is that it's compression socks incorporate a Patented Graduated Compression design that enhances and stimulates circulation in the lower leg - making it a superior sock. Recovery Sock's Running and Recovery Socks can help anyone looking for a boost in athletic performance!

- Worldwide Patent
- Exclusive wicking and antibacterial fiber
- Improves oxygen delivery to muscles
- Lactic acid production reduced
- Proven cramp relief
- Tested and used by World Class athletes

Compression is not a new technology; it has been used for years in medical patients with venous and arterial insufficiency. However, the application of this technology to athletics is relatively new. There is clear evidence to support compression use in promoting recovery. Using compression socks after a race or hard workout provide a substantial benefit. These garments will help to avoid venous stasis (blood pooling in the legs) and swelling. Compression is particularly helpful in depended areas of the body, such as the feet and lower legs where gravity has a greater effect on blood return. Improved blood flow after a workout results in enhanced nutrient delivery and removal of waste products to and from muscles. This creates a situation optimal for muscle repair, reduced stiffness and heaviness in the legs and possibly less soreness. Several studies have demonstrated that post exercise blood lactate levels were lower with compression sock use both during and after exercise. Other studies have demonstrated that compression socks do create a major fluid shift in the body. Compression garments are believed to improve venous blood return to the heart and allow for better cardiac output (flow of oxygenated blood from the heart) thereby aiding oxygen delivery to working muscles and increased endurance.

I decided that I would test one pair while running and then the other post-run. Here I am before sweating it up:
So, how did they work? Well, let's say I had high hopes. The socks were challenging to get on, as they are COMPRESSION socks after all. But once they were on, they were rather comfy (and SUPER CUTE might I add). But, if we're being honest here (and you know I always am) I was expecting more. Once they were on, I didn't feel like they provided any more "support" than my standard knee high athletic socks that I usually rock. With that said, I was still interested to see if they made a difference. I planned on a five mile tempo run. I figured that this would be ample time/distance/speed to test them out. Now, I'm not sure if it was. During the run, I noticed no difference from the socks I am currently wearing. In fact, I felt like there was almost too much compression on my Achilles. Not painful, just kind of annoying. I was really aware of it. (Note: this might be due to the fact that I was really paying attention to how they performed.) Overall, I'm kind of on the fence about running in them. They didn't hurt, but I'm not sure that they helped either.

For the second part of my test, I decided to wear my other pair immediately after the run and overnight to see if they helped my recovery time. Usually, when I wake up the morning after an evening run, my legs are tired. I feel it as soon as I get out of bed. Then once I get up and moving, I'm fine. On most days, I am ready to hit the pavement by 9 a.m. (two hours after waking). Today, I woke up and my legs were still tired. But, I noticed it much more in my quads than in my calves. And because of this, I was ready to run by 8:30, instead of 9. Which initially I didn't think of as much of anything. But then I thought about it. If these socks shave 30 minutes of recovery off of a five mile run, then that would be an hour off a 10 miler and two off a 20 miler. And I can see the value in that. I can also see the value in all the things that compression use has been connected to (i.e. reduced swelling, optimal muscle repair, etc.) And because of this, I am going to test them again during my long run this weekend and the recovery period afterward. Maybe then I'll be convinced. But as of right now, I'm not sure that the slightly shorter recovery is worth the hefty price tag, at least for me.

*This review is solely my opinion. I was in no way compensated for my review.


Sarah said...

I have compression sleeves and kind of found the same thing. I definitely don't like them while running, but they do help with recovery so sometimes after a longer run I wear them and then keep them on at night.

saundra said...

The geek in me has come out- sorry. Try wearing your normal sock during the run then recovery socks after. Or recovery socks during the run and your regular routine after. I can't wait to hear your results 'cause I can't drop those kinds of dollars on socks either.

Libby said...

Hmm...I've always wondered about them too. I have a bunch of long socks back in my volleyball days and I feel like they could be the same thing.

Like Saundra-the nerd in me is coming out(my grad school program is sort of like this). The ultimate test would be to compare them at the same time. Wear normal sock on one foot, a recovery sock on the other and do the same(same feet) after/overnight. Although, this would make you look silly because they wouldn't match at all!!! :(

Katie A. said...

I don't think I would wear them on a run short of say 18-20 miles or even a marathon. But, they do look wicked cute!
And I have two pairs of compression socks from different companies and they both work awesome in helping me recover after a long run. One was fairly cheap - $25 bucks, and the other was closer to $50. I will say the $50 pair does feel better - but maybe that is my head playing tricks on me and hoping I paid more and got more? LOL!
Give them another shot - maybe under more extreme running conditions, i.e. - the long run :)

Momma Twitch said... makes me want to get some socks to try out. I'd love to see how much it helps after a long run!

Jen Feeny said...

I've never run with mine but I put my on after all my runs, especially my long runs and I tell you it makes all the difference. They are def a pain to put on but worth the work I think. Test them out a few more times and see what you think. I frigging LOVE mine.

Unknown said...

I like plain old knee high socks! I even cut off the toes and cut a thumb hole for arm warmer sleeves! Work just as well in my opinion.
YOur green socks are super cute though!

Allie said...

They're really cute!
I tried the Invigorators and I loved them, I wear them on all my long runs. I've been wanting to try the recovery socks to see how they compare but they've been out of the fushia in my size. I say give them another try on a long run or try the Invigorators (they're a lot cheaper).

MCM Mama said...

Hmm, I've never tried them. Looking forward to hearing more about your experience with them.

HC said...

Cute socks! I've never tried compression socks either but am looking forward to hearing what you think of them after a long run.

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I have not had to pay for mine so my opinion is slightly scewed. I get calf pain, so I wear my socks the second after my long weekend Marathon training runs... and I play volleyball for 2 hours the next day wearing them And I tell you they work!!

I don't run in them often because they are too tight and hurt my toes.

Anne said...

You look so cute!

Funny how you assume the recovery will be exponential depending on the length of the run...let us know after Sunday's run :)

ajh said...

I have been wondering about and considering these also but deterred for same reason. Please keep us posted.

Jill said...

I want some but they are $$$. Love the colors you got. What a great gift. I'm hoping to win some at some point so I can try them out. They seem to really work. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

i am so glad that you are so honest with your review. i think i will stick with cheaper knee length socks.

misszippy said...

Good to hear your review. I have yet to try any compression socks, but keep thinking I should.