Do Compression Socks Help You Run Faster

Do Compression Socks Help You Run Faster? EndurElite Chief Endurance Officer Matt Mosman discusses the latest research on compression socks and if they can help endurance athletes perform better.

Do Compression Socks Work?

  • Previous research has demonstrated that compression gear can help runners, cyclists, OCR, and other endurance athletes recover more quickly.
  • Very few studies have examined the effects of compression socks on performance during exercise.
  • Researchers brought 12 runners to the lab on 2 separate occasions and had then do a 5k time trial followed by 60 minutes rest and then another 5k time trial.
  • On one occasion the runners wore compression socks and on the other, they did not.
  • After crunching the data, the geeks discovered that on the occasion when the runners wore the compression socks that their 2nd 5k time trial was only 6 seconds slower compared to their first.
  • When the didn’t wear the compression socks they were 17 seconds slower
  • Take home point? Compression gear will highlight your bodacious body and may help you run faster

Full Video Transcription:

Good morning, family of fast, Matt Mosman, the chief endurance officer over at EndurElite. In previous videos we talked about compression gear and its ability to promote recovery. But what about using compression gear to actually perform better? That's what we're going to look at today as it relates specifically to compression socks.

How Do Compression Socks Work

So the whole theory behind compression gear is it can reduce muscle isolation or vibration, maybe improve oxygenation of the muscles and maybe help you run a little more efficiently. But up until this point, most of the research has been done on recovery and not performance until now. A new study came across my desk actually looking at the effects of wearing compression socks on endurance or running performance. So, let's discuss this study a little bit and see what happened.

What Did The Compression Gear Study Examine

So, what happened is researchers had a group of runners come on, come into the lab on two separate occasions and do a five-kilometer time trial on the treadmill. Now during all these tests, all the runners were blinded so they didn't know how fast they were going or the distance they were going. They were just basically saying, "Hey, go faster "or "Go slower," etc. So, two occasions came in for a 5K time trial. During one occasion the runners wore the compression socks and on the other occasion, they did not wear the compression socks.

So what they did is they did a standard warm-up, there was just like four by four more intense efforts to warm the body up. They did the 5K time trial, they rested for 60 minutes, repeated the warm-up and then did a second 5K time trial. So, they did both of these for the runners wearing the compression socks and then also while not wearing the compression socks. So they did this study, they crunched all the numbers, etc. And what they found was actually pretty interesting.

What Results Were Discovered On The Compression Socks

They found during the 5K time trials when the runners wore the compression socks, that they were only about seven seconds slower on their second 5K time trial compared to the first. Now, when they didn't wear the socks, they were about 17 seconds slower on their second 5K time trial compared to the first. So it appears on the surface that when the runners wore the compression socks during both 5K time trials that for some reason they were just a little bit less slower and hence maybe performed a little bit better. But why is this? You know, it really goes back to...and here's what the research has assumed.

They assumed that when the runners wore the compression socks, it reduced muscle vibration or oscillation. So it may be decreased fatigue. It increased oxygenation of the muscles. So more red blood cells, more oxygen going to the muscles, usually those muscles perform better. And then also maybe, just maybe, the compression socks made the runners a little more efficient. Now I'm adding a lot of maybes to this because this again is only one research study on the effects of compression gear on running performance. There needs to be a lot more done before we can get closer to an answer, if, you know, wearing compression socks outside of functionality can actually increase performance.

So, that is all I have for today on compression gear, specifically compression socks, my endurance friends. If you have a buddy that likes to show off their bodacious body in compression gear and are wondering if it does anything for their performance, please share this video with them. If you want other videos like this on endurance training, nutrition supplementation, my random musings, and bust in the BS, subscribe to the EndurElite YouTube channel or head on over to the EndurElite blog at www.endurelite.com. Get social with us. We are on Instagram and the FamilyOfFast Facebook group. And until next time, my endurance friends, stay fueled, stay focused, stay fast, and stay informed.