mundane adventures in running

Gear review: Compressport R2 Race and Recovery calf compression sleeves

One of my earliest memories is of being in bed, ready to go to sleep, and making my mum sit on my legs. Feeling them crushed under her weight, softened by the duvet, was comforting. The constraint, the dull compression was relaxing.

I used to go to sleep with hypnogogic fantasies of being trapped in a tiny space ship, one so small I couldn’t move, where I’d control its direction with joy sticks operated just with my index fingers.

I guess it’s a claustrophilia. It could have turned into an out and out sexual kink: an obsession with being tied up, facesitting, gimp costumes. Fortunately it didn’t, I just really like compression stockings.

Compression stockings are comforting and comfortable to wear. Also, they seem to have some effect on recovery: I recover faster when I wear compression stuff. Now, there are three possible explanations to this, and I am undecided which is the truth:

  1. As described by the people who make them: they increase the blood flow, helping oxygen circulate better, removing lactic acid etc.
  2. They act as a placebo, and my belief that they work helps me recover
  3. There is a confounding variable at play: I wear compression stockings when I am worried about recovery, and that’s when i do everything else right (stretch really well, don’t overtrain, ice baths etc.) and it’s these that have the positive effect, not the socks.

Blah blah. I like compression socks. My last pair, made by Skins, laddered. They have a soft section above the heal, and it just fell apart. So I went to my favourite running apparel store, Run and Become in Victoria to get a new pair. They stock two brands, Skins and Compressport. Given that my Skins one wore out pretty quickly, I thought I’d give Compressport a go. The shops assistant measured me up, chatted about the benefits of compression gear took my money and bid me farewell.

I’ve been wearing them round the house for a couple of days, and they seem to be tight, and err…. there’s not much else to say. Except. Why on earth did they cost £30? They’re not exactly technical. As far as I can see they are just bits of lycra stitched together into a tube. They have some writing on them, but I could easily do without that. It seems mental that they’re so expensive, as much as a technical running tee shirt, or a decent pair of shorts. I guess I could get pharmacy flight socks and they would do the same, but I wish that sportsy ones were just a bit cheaper.

Verdict: they are compression stockings. Great. They are tight tunnels of stretchy fabric to go round my legs. They are also a lovely royal blue. They also cost £30.



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