Should runners wear compression socks?


When you think of compression socks, you’ll more than likely think of something that inactive people need to wear to decrease their risk of DVT, varicose veins and blood clots. But more and more runners are turning to compression socks to improve their overall performance and help with recovery times.

Why are they effective?

The theories around compression socks being beneficial for runners stems from the graduated compression that runs from the ankles up the calves. This improves blood circulation and removes lactic acid build up so that runners are able to perform better and recover faster.

Compression socks also reduce the soreness that is felt after long runs, with a theory that this is due to decreased muscle vibration.

runner's legs feeling sore

What do the studies say?

Of course, it’s not necessarily a good move relying on word of mouth to trust a product is going to be right for you, and we should look towards what studies have been done on compression socks for runners.

Different studies have been conducted both on and off the track, and while some results contradict each other, there is definitely a lot of agreement about the recovery benefits of wearing socks. There haven’t been any negative study results to say that they cause more damage than good, which is certainly promising.

One thing to consider though is that while there are no studies that show that your run performance is directly affected while wearing them, you’re more able to get into the next run or workout quicker, and this in turn can help with building muscle and stamina.

What about elite runners?

Many top runners and record holders such as Paula Radcliffe, Benitta Johnson and Chris Solinksky swear by compression socks when they are running long distances and even while working out. Top athletes praise the recovery benefits that they get, and you’ll now see more and more people at this level using them.

Finding the right pair

For compression socks to be beneficial, the level of compression needs to be graduated throughout. What this means is that the greatest compression should be around the ankle, and then it decreases as you move up the leg.

Socks need to fit correctly, and this means choosing the right level of compression and the right size for your body.

When to wear them

Some runners wear their socks in their recovery time, while some will wear them throughout training to fully reap the benefits. It’s usually a good idea to have a lighter compression to wear while active and a heavier compression for recovery.

Are you a runner needing compression socks?

It can be a little daunting buying your first pair of compression socks if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for or what size you need. Our expert team at TXG Socks will be delighted to talk you through the sports range that we stock for runners, so feel free to give us a call on 0800 894 769.

Please note: The information provided here is for general information only and is not intended to act as medical advice. We advise anyone interested in this subject to seek qualified, professional advice.


About Heather Gatland

Chief Sock Checker at TXG Socks

After finding that compression socks sped up the healing of an injury, Heather wanted to help others do the same, so founded TXG Compression Socks in Australasia in 2013. With her 6 years of ‘hands-on’ experience working with medical professionals, extensive business experience and Chartered Accountant qualification, Heather knows all the ins and outs of the compression socks market. Heather’s goal of helping baby boomers, like herself, has finally come true. Heather loves researching and sharing her findings on the TXG blog as well as enjoys supporting her customers to get back to feeling happy, energised and active.

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