After my reviews of compression socks last year I am a complete convert to the performance benefits both during and post exercise Joe Friel is heading the same way, you can read his views here. I was contacted by Vital Sox at the tail end of last year and earlier this month I received two pairs of socks from them; VitalSox Compression Socks for running and recovery and VitalSox Ped Lightweight for running.
Based on the patented technology of The Recovery Sock; which redirects the blood from your lower limbs towards your heart in a quicker fashion than would normally happen, from The Recovery Sock website; “…these garments will help to avoid venous stasis (blood pooling in the legs) and swelling. Compression is particularly helpful in depended areas of the body, such as the feet and lower legs where gravity has a greater effect on blood return. Improved blood flow after a workout results in enhanced nutrient delivery and removal of waste products to and from muscles. This creates a situation optimal for muscle repair, reduced stiffness and heaviness in the legs and possibly less soreness…”
The one criticism I had was the lack of padding that would allow me to run in them, for preference I prefer my socks to have some cushioning. Vital Sox have addressed this with the inclusion of Absorber Extreme Cushioning System, (AB-X) this is a designed to provide “long lasting and constant shock absorption”. The question is does it work?
Having run in both the styles I have to say yes it does. Let me break things down; both socks have a series of pads built into the sole and heel area, specifically at the points of impact, at face value it is minimal but it is very effective in providing cushioning. The toe is seamless to minimize any possibility for hot spots or blisters. There is a tight band that runs around the arch and over the upper foot to add some support to your arch as you run; this support is designed to minimize foot fatigue. There is a smooth seam on the heel and this is where they depart in design. The shorter pair end as a “no show”, a little shoe or an ankle sock, my preference is for the latter two types and my sample pair were ankle height. These had a solid ribbed body ending in a rolled top which was logo’d for those of you that care and a not too tight opening.
The full height compression socks, has the similar ribbing and then ended below my knee. Fitwise these easily reached all the way up my calf to below my knee. I had the size large and my calf measures 18' from ankle to below the knee, they could have gone a little higher maybe another inch or two if you have long calves or are taller than me (I am 6’1”). I wore the compression socks several times overnight and they retained their tension very well and also for a whole day post run as well with similar results. Since reviewing ProWash last year I use this pretty much exclusively to wash my sports clothes, Amazon has a great reoccurring deal on it, (see side bar or click here) and then leave them to air dry, they retain and return to their shape very well from this. Finally both socks contain Silver Dry Stat and Micro Supreme which contribute to there wicking, warming and cooling properties; FYI Dry Stat is also used in Salomon clothing that I own and is very effective.
VitalSox also offer cycling, court sports (tennis, squash etc) and multipurpose versions (hiking, basketball etc) which I assume are equally effective.
Overall while I am not running monster miles at this moment I have been very impressed with both the compression sock and the running sock, so much so that I have just ordered some more pairs of the Runners, afterall; man cannot live by samples alone!
Available through various distributors I found the Compression Socks through RunningWarehouse.com for $31.99 and the Runners available from Trisport.com for $8.95; the latter of which is where I ordered mine from.
This is going to be a bit of a review week so hang in there, normal service will resume shortly!