Running today—nine miles, some of it quite steep, on Mount Tabor—a guy fairly skipped by in compression socks. I've been contemplating the goofy-looking hosiery since it started popping up in triathlon blogs and discussion forums more than a year ago. Running Times had a little article that dissected their purported benefits.
A study presented at the 2007 American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans suggested there were no statistically significant differences in maximal oxygen consumption, heart rate or minute ventilation between treadmill runners who wore compression socks and those who did not. According to the study, conducted at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, subjects did, however, show a faster lactate recovery rate after exercise when wearing the compression socks, suggesting that compression socks might speed recovery after a strenuous workout or a race.And yet, they do look stupid. On Slowtwitch recently, somebody asked whether he should put them on at T1 (for the bike) or wait until T2 and just wear them while running. One commenter said, "I say go full-retard and put them on at T1. I love riding in my compression socks. Why wouldn't you want to maximize the benefit?" But this was not the final word. Later, came this advice: "Go extra special retard and wear some of those compression calf sleeves without the socks, even in the swim."
I'm ordering some.