I’ve been wearing Sigvaris compression socks for the last two days, since completing the Shamrock Marathon. I have several pairs of compression socks, but Sigvaris are my favorite, and I’ll explain why in a bit. Full disclosure – I won a pair when I entered a contest on the Sigvaris facebook page. I already owned a white pair and let’s just say that they needed to be washed more often. I was looking forward to getting my “princess purple” pair but was a little disappointed when a black pair arrived in the mail. Only the reflective stripes on the back are purple. Sigvaris has definitely not jumped on the color-craze bandwagon. Good for them.
But before we continue, what are compression socks? Remember all that buzz in the media not so long ago about people getting cases of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) on long-haul flights? Or, remember the thick lumpy tights your granny used to wear? The first compression socks were medical devices, developed to help circulate the blood back to the heart, and were worn by people who stood up all day, passengers on long-haul flights, people with varicose veins, and diabetics. And dear old granny.
At some point – maybe when Paula Radcliffe started appearing at races in knee high socks (she actually switched to skin-tone socks because people made so much fun of her) – people realized that these socks could benefit athletes in their recovery phase by helping muscles regenerate more efficiently while aiding in the removal of lactic acid.
Compression socks started popping up on athletes. Then all hell broke loose and everyone started manufacturing compression this and compression that. Shoot, now you can squeeze your entire body into a compression suit if you so desire. However, the research performed to date indicates that, while compression does benefit/speed-up recovery, there is no evidence that it aids in performance. However, lots of people, including Paula Radcliffe, wear compression socks/tights/calf guards during races. It certainly doesn’t hurt. I admit, I like the way compression gear feels, particularly compression tights, and don’t really like to run in the non-compressive gear any more, except in summer time!
What is known from the medical data is that graduated compression is most effective in circulating blood back to the heart, and this is where not all compression socks are created equal.
When I put on my Sigvaris socks I can feel that they are tighter at the ankles than at the top of my calf muscle. The compression socks actually act as a layer of muscle, gently squeezing stretched vein walls. They come in 4 different sizes for men and women, ensuring each individual gets the right fit.
You can see from the picture that the sock really follows the shape of the leg. My other compression socks don’t do that. What’s also different about Sigvaris is that, rather than being an athletic wear company, they are part of an internationally active medical device group that focuses on the development of medical compression garments. Yes, they probably developed your granny’s compression tights.
I was not paid to conduct or write this review and the opinions in this article are my own.