During training, competition, and recovery phase, today's athletes are more and more relying on the power and support of compression garments. Whether you are a professional athlete or an amateur, the use of graduated compression socks or sleeves can help to improve your performance and recovery.

Sigvaris compression for Sport

Athletes discover compression wear

Every athlete is looking for an edge to achieve peak performance. It’s the nature of competition. Athletes of all types wish to improve their endurance, athletic performance, and personal records.  Due to the concept that compression garments can improve blood circulation, boost athletic performance, and speed up recovery, compression stockings and calf sleeves have been gaining in popularity among competitive athletes and weekend warriors alike.

Compression socks and sleeves have become most popular among long-distance runners and triathletes but have now found enthusiasts in many different disciplines. Look around and you’ll see them on all kinds of athletes, from high school football players to Olympic gold medalists.

Do compression socks boost athletic performance?

Compression stockings were originally designed to relieve tired, swollen legs, and to treat a host of medical issues like varicose veins, edema, and phlebitis. The garments enhance blood flow by encouraging the circulatory system to move blood from the lower legs back up to the heart.

Athletes have recognized the benefit of wearing compression socks to improve blood flow during physical activity. In theory, the faster oxygen delivery to muscle cells is believed to result in greater athletic endurance. However, no study has yet proven that there is, in fact, a positive effect on performance.

Since new evidence is still being collected and compiled, the issue remains under discussion. In time, we may be able to determine under which circumstances, or in combination with which other factors, compression wear can make a truly competitive difference for athletes.

Fact: compression wear provides extra support

Some also say the firm, enveloping support that reduces vibration and friction of muscles and ligaments improves mechanical efficiency. Because of this, you may experience less muscle wear and tear during repeated impact with the ground.

Do compression stockings speed up recovery?

Many athletes report a quicker and easier recovery after workout when wearing compression stockings or sleeves, which seem to help muscles regenerate more efficiently. 

These claims have at least been partially justified by research, which shows faster post-exercise recovery on average. The athletes participating in these trials reported reduced soreness, stiffness, fatigue, and tightness in the calves, especially when they kept the socks on for a while after their workouts.

...or is it just the placebo effect?

Could some of the reported benefits of compression socks and calf sleeves for athletes originate from what’s known as the placebo effect? Is the belief that something makes you better enough to make you better? In other words, if it works for you, why wouldn’t you do it? Compression has no negative impact on performance and recovery. 

Even if you can’t exactly explain why and even if there’s no scientific study to support how they make you feel, if the physical support of compression socks or sleeves translates to more physical confidence, then maybe you’ve found your edge.

Buying compression socks and calf sleeves

All Sigvaris products use the basic principle of true graduated compression with the strongest pressure at the ankle. When blood is properly circulated, it restores much-needed oxygen and nutrients to tired muscles that have been deprived during a workout.

Of the compression levels available without a prescription, those designated 8-15 mmHg may not offer the snugger support of 15-20 mmHg socks that athletes usually prefer.

The right fit is also important, so check our instructions for fitting before purchasing.

Further reading