Competitor has taken it on them to break down the myths and truths behind the now popular compression sock. While compression socks and tights have become a mainstay in the running world, sought after for their recovery and performance benefits, what if they don't perform as they are supposed to?
There's little doubt surrounding the benefits of wearing compression gear for recovery. By increasing circulation and bloodflow, they are a great recovery tool for bed-ridden athletes. However, the effectiveness of wearing the garments for performance is questionable. “Very little evidence exists (ie. two to three studies out of 15-plus) from a sport and exercise perspective that compression garments improve performance when worn during exercise,” said Rob Duffield, professor at the School of Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University.
A number of studies have found zero difference in running times, VO2 max, oxygen consumption, or heart rates between athletes wearing compression socks and those who aren't. “Most of the research shows that there are no performance benefits,” said sports physiology professor Elmarie Terblanche, from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
However, everyone is different and you may find that compression garments are a great fit for you personally. Also, their recovery benefits are hard to question, so you won't see compression gear disappearing any time soon.