What Do Compression Socks Do for Runners? (10 Key Benefits)

When it comes to amateur and professional running, compression socks are not just a fancy accessory. They are necessary for better blood and oxygen circulation, speedier recovery, prevention of injuries, and even improve athletic performance. If you are a runner, you need to invest in a good pair of compression socks and you will see a marked improvement in your performance.

A good pair of pressure socks will also encourage the flow of blood to different parts of the body and prevent fluid retention. And just like other socks, these socks will protect your feet from dirt and also keep you warm.

What Do Compression Socks Do for Runners? Compression Socks Benefits for Runners

1. Improving blood circulation from the lower half of the body back to the heart

Runners tend to experience microscopic tearing in their leg muscles. It’s important to encourage proper flow of blood from the legs back to the heart for faster healing. Wearing graduated compression socks helps to better the flow of blood between the lower and upper body (see compression leggings that prevent varicose veins here www.sweetskinliners.com/body-shape/best-compression-leggings-for-varicose-veins/).

Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks for Men & Women 20-30 mmhg - Athletic Fit. Compression socks that help runners improve blood circulation and oxygen supply in their bodies

2. Increasing energy and athletic performance due to better oxygen supply

As an athlete, you would always want to increase your VO2 max, a measure of the milliliters of oxygen that your body consumes in a minute per kilogram of your body weight. But when the rate of blood circulation is low, then less oxygen will reach the vital organs of your body and this might slow you down.

Compression socks promote blood supply around your body, thus improving VO2 max, and cardiovascular health.

A man measuring his VO2 max, the measure of the milliliters of oxygen consumes in a minute per kilogram of body weight, as he runs on a treadmill
  A man measuring his VO2 max

3. Reducing stress on muscles and other body tissue, thus preventing shin splints, inflammation, and soreness

Muscle stress and strain can lead to injuries, inflammation, and soreness. Wearing compression socks keeps your feet warm when running in the cold and warm muscles are less likely to get injuries. It’s advisable to wear pressure socks with calf sleeves for extra support so that you reduce stress on the calf muscles and body tissue.

4. Protection from the elements when running on a nature trail

When running in the wild or outdoors, it’s important to protect your feet. Compression socks are a bit heavier and they are great for shielding your feet from thorns and dirt. Unlike other types of socks, compression socks are a bit longer, thus such running socks give you full coverage and protection for your legs.

5. Reducing lactic acid buildup during an intense workout or when running 

Every serious runner knows the importance of reducing lactic acid in the body. When you work out, your body produces lactic acid and you need to get rid of it or reduce it because it causes soreness making it difficult to run the next day. Compression socks reduce lactic acid so that your body feels good and fresh.

6. Boosting blood flow during air travel

If you’re a runner who travels frequently or you have to take a flight to the venue of an athletics competition, your legs need some pressure to boost circulation.

During long air travel, blood accumulates in the feet causing the blood capillaries to swell. This might cause a condition known as vasodilation when you’re in a plane. You can avoid this by wearing compression socks every time you take a flight.

7. What do compression socks do for running? – Speeding up recovery after a long run

Daily runners are likely to experience soreness and swelling at some point, but what do compression socks do for running? Pressure socks are meant to encourage circulation in the feet for a speedy recovery. They work by reducing muscle soreness after a workout or a race. If you can deal with muscle pain after a workout or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), you can easily run every day without taking recovery days.

8. Improving blood and fluid circulation when standing or sitting for long

Standing or sitting for too long can lead to blood and fluid retention in the legs. You need this blood and fluids to flow to other parts of the body to reduce or prevent edema. The best way to do this is by wearing graduated pressure socks. They will help improve the flow of blood to various parts of the body even if you are not moving.

9. Keeping warm when running on a cold day

The simple reason to wear compression socks is to stay warm. Just like any other type of socks, they will help you to stay warm. When running on a cold day, you need warmth so that you can stay comfortable and prevent muscle strain.

10. Better quality of sleep when worn to bed

If you want to get better sleep at night, it is advisable to wear compression socks during the day. Compression socks work by reducing fluid retention which leads to disturbed sleep. There are currently studies on the relationship between wearing pressure socks and improvement in sleep.

Types of Compression Socks for Runners

1. Graduated Compression Socks

Graduated compression socks are used in physical therapy. They are also known as medical socks because they are used to treat conditions such as edema and venous insufficiency. Since they are medical socks, they are designed with specific features to help the body heal. These socks have the highest pressure at the ankles and it reduces gradually on the feet.

Hi Clasmix Graduated Medical Compression Socks for Women and Men with 20-30mmhg compression. Knee High Graduated Pressure Socks for Running

2. Anti-embolism Stockings

Anti-embolism socks are designed for bedridden patients. They may have different levels or different designs of compression, but they work to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or clotting of blood.

RelaxSan Anti-embolism M0350A Open-toe anti-embolism knee high socks - 18 mmHg, 100% Made in Italy

3. Non-medical Stockings

These are compression socks that you can wear when traveling or when feeling tired. Unlike the medical socks discussed above, these offer less compression but they are still effective in improving blood circulation. You do not need any prescription to buy compression socks since they are non-medical. Most of them also have uniform compression, unlike medical socks that have graduated compression.


If you are into running, whether as a profession or as a hobby, why wear compression socks when running? Compression socks will do you a great deal in improving your speed and athletic performance, VO2 max, preventing lactic acid build-up, muscle stress and strain, recovery, quality of sleep, and even ensuring homeostasis when you’re on air travel. And of course, these pressure socks can do all that normal socks can do, including keeping you warm and shielding your legs from the elements.

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