Review – Zensah Compression Socks
Hi! Will Thomas here with another trailrunningSoul.com product review. This time it’s all about compression socks. For the past year or two it seems that compression apparel has been all the rage in endurance sports, so when I got the opportunity to test drive a pair of Pro Grade Compression Socks by Zensah I couldn’t resist. I wanted to see what all the hoopla was regarding compression apparel technology.
Now mind you, if it hadn’t been for seeing some of my favorite trail running athletes coming across the finish line in 1st or 2nd place and then hearing them give credit of their great performance to their new compression apparel, especially their knee high socks that looked really out of place lined up next to everyone else in their little ankle socks, then I myself would have a hard time being caught in public with a pair of these socks on.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about trying new things. I just had this idea in my mind that compression socks were for people like my Grandma to wear while recovering from her latest surgery; something about doctor’s order to keep blood clots at bay.
Giving in to the curiosity and hype surrounding compression socks, I went against my better judgment and ordered a pair. I made sure to order the color “sand” instead of white or black, hoping that they would just blend into my skin color and nobody would know I was wearing “Grandma Socks”.
The day my socks arrived I had already put in my miles for the day, but eager to try the socks out I slipped them on just to hang around the house. WOW!!! Never have I got such pleasure from a pair of socks. It seemed to me as if each foot was receiving a personal massage. You know that chilling, tingling, relaxing sensation you feel while getting a massage. Yeah, you get that from these socks. This must be due to the increased circulation you get from the socks.
From that day until now, I have never once felt awkward or weird wearing these socks out into public. In fact I have used them any time I could find an excuse: trail running, road running, adventure racing, mt. biking, hiking, backpacking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, mountaineering, basketball and numerous other activities.
But what I found is that I most enjoy wearing this sock directly after participating in any of the above events. It’s when you are home, feet kicked up watching a movie, or sitting in a chair at the computer all day, or traveling all day. That’s when you get to feel the sock at work, doing its magic.
Another cool thing to note about this sock is the extra padding & support it has in all the right places. They have built this sock to last. It has extra thick material all around the toes, under the arch (arch support) under the heel and up the Achilles all designed with a seamless technology. I really hate when I’m wearing a new pair of socks and I punch a toe through the tip of the sock, or with wool socks that always wear out all along the bottom of the sock from the heel to the metatarsal pads, and the worst for me is rubbing the material thin wear your Achilles tendon rubs along the top back part of your shoe. I’ve thrown out too many socks this year that still had 100’s of miles left in them except that “one hole” that developed somewhere. The ZENSAH COMPRESSION SOCK will last its complete life without breaking down in these weak spots thanks to the extra care they have put into the design. I’ve been abusing this sock for over a month now on an almost daily basis and haven’t seen any sign of distress on the sock.
Another surprise came when I soaked my shoes and these socks during a stream crossing on a trail run. I figured with that extra padding, I would be running on sponges for the rest of my run. Not the case, the socks drained quickly. They didn’t absorb the water, it was within minutes that I felt my feet back to normal and at the end of my run my feet didn’t feel any different then a dry run.
It’s been said the compression socks improve performance, whether that is coming from increased circulation or from the added support I don’t know. I honestly didn’t see any performance enhancement during my activity. I wish I could claim new PR’s or longer distances covered because of the sock, but I can’t say that I have. What I can say though, is I feel recovered quicker from my adventures. I’ll wear the sock for the rest of the day and the next day I’m rearing and ready to go, where as before my legs would have still felt sluggish from the previous day.
The one other downside from the socks came when running on really hot days. Having socks all the way up to my knees and being out in the sweltering heat, my legs felt more hot then usual, but on the contrast, those brisk morning runs sure felt just right snuggled in my compression socks.
So my final overall recommendation: if you haven’t tried compression socks yet, go for it. You won’t be disappointed. They can be a bit expensive compared to your normal running socks, but these aren’t normal running socks. They will last longer, you’ll recover quicker, and you basically get free massages every time you slip them on. Who could ask for anything more from a sock? Now I know why Grandmas are so happy! Try them out, you won’t regret it.
Notable runners wearing Zensah: Marshall Ulrich, Charlie Engle, & Jeff Galloway.
Side note: If you already found the perfect sock and you don’t want to give it up, then give the Zensah Shin/Calf Compression Leg Sleeves a try with your preferred sock.