A review of Zensah Compression Socks by Allison Linnell
As runners/triathletes/cyclists we are used to the majority of society telling us we are crazy. When others ask about our weekends, we eagerly recount the details of our 22 mile long run, through a hurricane, with blood oozing from our shoes due to blisters. The poor soul, who probably expected an answer detailing your club-hopping adventures through South Beach, then becomes increasingly wide-eyed with horror as you go on to tell them about the long ride the next day, followed by a run off the bike, and a swim later in the afternoon. Then, with a cheeky grin, you pull up the leg of your crisply ironed trousers and reveal the fluorescent tie-dyed compression socks below, explaining that these are no ordinary socks, this compression is how I am going to be able to run another 12 miles tomorrow morning!
When looking into the benefits of graduated compression wear, including the compression socks and calf sleeves designed by Zensah, I turned to the scientific literature. However, it was difficult to find many studies with proper controls and a large number of test subjects. There is literature supporting the use of graduated compression socks in aiding recovery after running, and these types of socks have been used for many years by diabetics and those with vein and blood flow problems.
While traveling, no matter how much I try to avoid it, I always exit the plane with “cankles.” I will continuously hydrate and bother the people next to me so I can stand up and stretch every 30 minutes, but I still cannot evade the swelling of my calves and ankles after flying. This is not the ideal situation, especially when most of your flying is to and from races. I tried my first pair of Zensah compression socks while flying, figuring this would be the ultimate test for my situation. To my surprise, when I exited the plane I was actually able to see my ankles! They worked great as travel compression socks.
I recently tried wearing the Zensah compression socks on long runs and have noticed that my legs feel fresher during the second half of the run. I still have yet to try them during track workouts or shorter runs, but am expecting a similar experience. On days where I have a hard workout before a long day of class, I will make sure to put them on before I have to sit for seven hours in school. I can usually avoid feeling stiff during my workout on the next day when using compression socks as part of my recovery.
Endurance athletes are a different breed. While the common population may not understand why we put ourselves through hours of “torture” and enjoy it, we don’t understand how they could not find enjoyment in these activities like we do. Through ice baths, blister remedies, and 4am alarm clocks, we look for ways to improve our performances and continue to enjoy our sport. Compression socks offer benefits to athletes which may help us to train harder, faster, and longer each day. I would say that this is worth the $49.99 investment, especially when you win your next race!