Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Tiux brand compression, as I was provided a pair of socks to review. However, all opinions are 100% Novel Runner’s.
Compression is one of those hot topics (see also: maximalist vs. minimalist shoes, heel vs. forefoot strikers, road vs. trail races) that divide the running community. I happen to be a fan of compression. When I first started running/racing six years ago, I dealt with some pretty aggressive shin splints that sidelined me for several weeks. Back then, I was limited to those thick, uncomfortable, overpriced neoprene compression sleeves carried by most major athletic chain stores, simply because I didn’t know any better. A few years later, I discovered lightweight, medical grade compression socks/sleeves designed for athletes and my life changed forever.
The benefits attributed to compression socks/sleeves are two-fold:
1. Compression socks/sleeves hold your muscles, tendons, and ligaments in place while you’re running, reducing shin splints & muscle strain/fatigue. The theory is that the pain most commonly associated with shin splints is actually caused by muscles and connective tissues separating from the tibia (shin bone). I personally believe running surfaces associated with increased torsion (e.g. treadmills, sand, mud, etc.) aggravate shin splints more than surfaces associated with increased impact (e.g. asphalt, concrete). By avoiding the treadmill, icing my shins after every run, and wearing compression socks/sleeves as needed, I haven’t had any reoccurring issues with shin splints.
2. Compression socks increase circulation/decrease fluid retention to facilitate post-workout recovery. The theory here is that compression increases oxygen delivery to muscles post-workout, reducing the duration and severity of DOMS + general weakness/fatigue. Obviously, there’s a lot more room for placebo magic here. It’s hard to gauge for yourself whether compression makes a significant contribution to your post-race/workout recovery. I personally believe my legs feel fresher after wearing compression socks a few hours after a hard race/workout. Notice I draw a distinction here between compression socks and sleeves. Graduated compression socks pull fluid up from your feet, while compression sleeves may actually encourage fluid to pool in your feet, which fact actually works against recovery. While I enjoy wearing shin sleeves to race, I always prefer socks for recovery.
I’ve tried many brands of compression socks and I’ve never been completely satisfied with the fit. I may be somewhat of a difficult customer, since I have thin, narrow feet and extremely muscular calves. Typically, compression socks that fit my feet tend to squeeze the life out of my calves (which probably decreases circulation); on the flip size, compression socks that fit my calves tend to flop around on my feet.
Tiux socks are the first socks I’ve tried that fit my feet and my calves proportionately.
I am 5’1″ and lightweight. Here are my relevant measurements:
Shoe size: 7 Women’s
Ankle circumference: 20.5 cm
Calf circumference: 31.5 cm
According to Tiux’s sizing chart, I could technically wear a small or an x-small.
However, when it comes to deciding between two sizes of compression socks/sleeves, it is generally recommended you size down.
Tiux socks are ordinarily half the price of popular brand name compression sleeves, but I think they offer twice the quality. For one thing, Tiux socks feature a lot of extra cushioning, which makes a big difference after 7/8 miles on the road. I’m also really impressed with the compression offered by Tiux socks; I find it’s much more comfortable to run fast when my muscles feel secure. I’ve been having a lot of fun doing post-long run strides in my Tiux socks.
Would I recommend Tiux? Absolutely. If you’re a fan of compression, I think you will prefer these socks to the brand you’re currently wearing. You will certainly prefer the price. If you’ve never tried compression socks and you’re dealing with calve strains or shin splits, you should definitely give them a shot. Compression socks/sleeves (along with icing and maximalist shoes) are a crucial ingredient in my tried and true anti-shin splint recipe.
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