Athletes, runners, and gym rats wearing tight-fitting undergarments is a common sight today. So common, that compression gear may seem more like a fad instead of a necessity for active people. However, compression clothing has actually been in existence for a long time. Compression socks were primarily used for patients with venous disease or diabetes as well as by airplane pilots because they are designed to help the blood flow down towards the feet. This was particularly helpful for those who had to remain seated for long periods of time or had problems with serious blood clots. Eventually, the sports industry realized compression socks are beneficial for athletes and active people too, and now, these types of clothing have become a necessary part of their gear.
List of Advantages of Compression Socks
1. They aid with recovery.
Snug-fitting, knee-high compression socks can increase circulation and reduce the build-up of lactic acid. This means healthy blood and oxygen can flow better, assisting muscles to recover faster. Some runners and athletes wear compression gear while training and racing or playing while others use them after.
2. They provide additional protection.
When you play or work outdoors, it is not surprising to end up with mud-covered legs or with a few scratches and bruises. Compression socks can cover up and protect your legs, and even serve as an additional layer for avoiding sun burn if they include SPF in the fabric.
3. They come in different styles.
Whether you like them in neon pink or prefer the more classical black, there are just a variety of colors and designs to choose from. Plus, they are made from different fabrics. Like Spandex, Lycra, CoolMax, nylon, polyester, and wool, providing plenty of options for those who might have skin reactions to certain types of fibers.
List of Disadvantages of Compression Socks
1. They can be too tight for some.
Because compression socks are usually tight-fitting, some people who are not used to wearing tight garments can feel restricted and uncomfortable. Also, the optimal pressure points for some kinds of compression clothing may not work so optimally with certain body types.
2. They are uncomfortable to wear in certain conditions.
Wearing an additional layer of clothing that covers up most of your legs can be too much for some, especially during summer days. Even if most compression gear are designed to wick sweat, there is still less air flow. And even if you just wear them after working out, being covered up is much more uncomfortable at a time when you would rather just be airing your body out.
3. They cause itchiness and dry skin.
Some people may just have extra sensitive skin while others’ epidermis react when it cannot be aired or dried right away after breaking a sweat. If you feel itchy or have dry skin due to compression socks, it is recommended to apply a moisturizing lotion before and after wearing them.
There are so many kinds of compression socks you can choose from today, so make sure you get a pair that is perfect for you. Don’t hesitate to ask experts for advice and to do your fair amount of research before buying.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.