The Benefits of Compression Sportswear

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Runner Wearing Compression Socks


Over the past few decades, sports performance wear has seen new development advances and their product sales has been increasing and accelerating every year.  Each year there are more and more people running, riding, and competing in sports such as running, biking, and triathlons.   The biggest growth has been in the popularity of compression garments among practitioners of all sports and fitness activities, from recreational to the elite level.   But what training advantage can such clothing claim to produce – and is it backed up by science?

The compression sportswear consists of running tights, tops, calf tights, and arm sleeves. From 2012 to 2013, compression sportswear sales had increased 159% (from previous year) as athletes spent approximately $58 million on compression sportswear, according to Leisure Trends Group.  Does it actually do anything or is it just a fashion statement?   Let’s take a look at the history behind compression wear and the recent research into its benefits.



The origin of this diverse genre of compression sportswear lies in the long-time practice of using compression stockings in medicine to treat circulatory problems in the legs.   Pressure applied to veins helped expedite blood transport to the heart.   The augmented “venous return” was a strong selling point of athletic compression gear:     better circulation helps oxygenate tissue and remove lactic acid and other waste products.    Additionally, touted benefits included reduced injury and soreness from less muscle oscillation and improved agility and body awareness.


Benefits of Compression Sportswear
1.  Blood Circulation

One the benefits of compression sportswear is that it helps with blood circulation.   Studies have indicated that athletes who wore compression sportswear with the right amount of Compression Running Socks compression ( 15mm Hg and more), enhancement of blood circulation was observed.    In the study it was observed that more oxygen flowed to the working muscles.

By increasing your muscle blood flow to and from your heart, you increase how quickly you can deliver oxygen to your muscles which are working when you are running.

As a crucial ingredient in the production of energy, the more oxygen you have reaching the muscles, the more energy they can produce and the better they can function.

Also, blood also transports nutrients, so by getting more blood to your muscles, you’re essentially ‘feeding’ them faster, thereby boosting your power, speed and stamina.  Blood Flow and Circulation are two elements in maximizing your run power.


2.  Faster Recovery

Wearing compression sportswear increases blood flow, improves blood circulation which also helps to eliminate lactic acid build up and other metabolic wastes during an intense workout.

When there is more blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, this helps accelerate a faster muscle recovery process and it reduces exercise induced muscle damage.  This process helps reduce the time taken for muscles to repair themselves.

By minimizing muscle vibration you reduce small muscle tears and automatically reduce the soreness in legs the next day.   Compression gear also helps reducing the lactic acid build up by flushing out circulating toxins thus helping you recover faster.   If you wear them for recovery, you will get all the vascular benefits and speed up your recovery.


3.  Prevent Injury

The final benefit of wearing compression sportswear is it helps prevent muscle injury.  When you wear compression sport socks, you help several muscles prevent injury.

Studies have indicated that when you wear a compression sport sock, you benefit by eliminating each of these muscle injuries:

  • Shin Splints:
    Reduces vibration, increase oxygen and promotes healing
  • Calf Cramps:
    Increase oxygen to optimize muscles, removes lactic acid
  • Achille Issues:
    Increases oxygen to the Achilles; padding prevents damage
  • Pulled Muscles:
    Increases blood flow to increase warmth in the muscle




The main benefits of compression sportswear is that it helps enhance athletic performance, power, speed and stamina.   Compression sportswear helps for faster muscle recovery process and helps prevent muscle injury.

Common and popular running compression garments are shorts, tights, tops (sleeveless and longsleeve), and compression sports socks.   There are many manufacturer brands of compression sportswear such as Adidas, Brooks Running, CEP, Nike, New Balance, Mizuno, and Under Armour.

The benefits of wearing compression sportswear are the following:

  • 1)    Helps relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness
  • 2)   Reducing the time taken for muscles to repair themselves
  • 3)   When the right amount of compression is used ( 15 mm Hg and more),
  •        enhancement of blood circulation.  More oxygen to working muscles
  • 4)   Compression wear help cool the body by wicking sweat from the body and allowing
  •        it to disperse faster
  • 5)   Reducing muscle soreness during post workout recovery





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