Science Behind Compression Socks/ Leggings: Do You Really Need One?

More and more people are now wearing compression socks and many say it’s helped improve their performance, but does it really work? If you’ve never worn these before, it’s best if you learn just what these are and what they’re for. As you’ll see they’re more than just your typical socks or stockings.

What are Compression Socks/ Leggings?

These are specialized socks or leggings which prevent or minimize the spread of thrombosis, phlebitis, edema and other venous disorders. These compression leggings come in different styles and sizes, but they’re all elastic, compressing your limbs.


How do Compression Leggings and Socks Work?

The purpose of these leggings / socks is to increase pressure on your lower legs, which reduces discomfort and swelling. These leggings also ensure
blood flows smoothly
, which is essential for improving performance. These leggings may also be prescribed by a physician if there’s insufficient blood flow in your legs.

Is the Science Behind Compression Valid?

Apart from the health benefits, there is also evidence that compression socks and leggings can help improve running performance. It seems incredible how these socks / leggings can help athletes but the evidence in its favor. In 2009, Higgins, T., G.A. Naughton, D. Burgess conducted a study on the effects of using these socks, and the results showed increased velocity and greater distance covered by the participants.

Another study was done by Kemmler, W. S. Von Stengel, C. Kockritz, J. Mayhew and A. Wassermann, specifically on the effect of these compression socks / leggings on runners. Based on their extensive research they concluded that the socks enhanced performance and increased their endurance threshold.

Advantages of Using Compression Socks and Leggings

• Compression socks and leggings are ideal if you’re coping with lymphedema (swelling of body tissues) or varicose veins.

• They’re also good for post-thrombotic syndrome prevention.

• They’re also available in a wide range of sizes, styles and varying compression levels.


The only disadvantage to wearing these is it will feel uncomfortable at first. The compression level might hamper your ability to move, but you’ll eventually get used to it. The other thing is, since there are different types of leggings, you need to spend some time finding the right fit. However, it’s really a small matter when you consider the benefits it brings.

When is the Best Time to Use Compression Socks/Leggings?

You wear these socks during the daytime and remove them before bedtime. For the best results, you should have at least a couple of these leggings. With two pairs you can still wear a pair even as you wash and dry the other. Speaking of washing, you should wash them at 104ºF / 40ºC and dry.

These are general guidelines only: refer to any cleaning instructions that came with your socks.


Compression socks and leggings are not just fads, as there is strong scientific evidence proving they work. As we have mentioned earlier, these leggings are designed for venous ailments, but it’s also going to give you a performance boost. If you’re looking for a quick but effective way to maximize your speed, these leggings will do.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *