I had no idea why anyone would wear long neck socks. I thought soccer players wear them to protect their shins from accidental kicks. Or for some older runners or female runners, they wear them to make a fashion statement, albeit not my kind of fashion, I thought.
Well, it turned out that runners wear them for a reason. It was to speed up their recovery by helping blood flow better through stretched and tired blood vessels. Only after watching training and post recovery routine videos, I learned that all the colorful long neck socks were not just for the looks.
So after learning that they could help with recovery, I started looking at getting a pair for myself to test. And I discovered that there are many choices available.
Many claiming their medical benefits of wearing them, and even more with fancier graphics by dozens of manufacturers. Yet there were mainly 3 choices:
- Compression sleeves
- Compression socks
- Compression tights
I figured that getting socks would make the most sense because it’s easier to put on then tights, yet would be more effective than sleeves without foot compression. So I started to look for the most reputable brand, and found CEP. From what I could tell, CEP has been making sports medical compression socks over many years, and considered as a gold standard.
So I got a pair of CEP compression socks. I got my pair around early February, and think I paid around $50 on Amazon. It comes in 3 sizes, and I ended up getting a middle one, size 4. As a reference, I am about 6-feet tall weighing around 172 lb.
A few things that I noticed right away.
- The socks felt that they were made with attention to detail, and had a good built quality to them.
- The socks had a sock for left foot and another for right. I think it was because of different compression points depending on the left or right foot.
- At first it is not easy to put them on. They are meant to be worn tight, and there is a technique to putting them on easily. I saw many YouTube videos demonstrating the technique. Hers is one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdgT6-bc9Zk.
- Although they were difficult to put them on, once they are on it did not feel restrictive on my legs. They were definitely tight, but they were not uncomfortable.
After the initial try, I must have used 3 or 4 times after my long runs. Most importantly, I put them on after my marathon to help with my recovery. I must say I do not have any solid evidence that the socks actually helped speed up my recovery, but the feel of having tight socks compressing my legs was nice after long race. Especially after suffering leg cramps on my both legs toward the end of marathon, they felt great on my legs.
I think for nothing else other than having a tight compression feel on the legs after long race, it’s worth trying them out.
From the description, CEP actually recommends running with the compression socks on. I haven’t yet tried it myself. If I try, I would have to pick early morning run. I still think that long neck socks are not a kind of fashion statement I want make, and would feel self-conscious if I get spotted by someone.