I was contacted on behalf of Zensah (@zensah) to review a pair of Prograde Compression Socks, which I gladly obliged to do. I have never had special socks specifically designed for running. I usually just wore regular low-cut cotton ankle socks during my runs. Because of the crazy tan lines that we would get while running after school, I would sometimes pull mid-ankle cut socks down to low-ankle level and fold the excess sock under my foot. Sometimes it would be pulled too low and the whole sock would ride below the heal of my foot, which was very annoying. My coach would sometimes run in dress socks because he said that they were softer and felt more comfortable. I’ve tried that a couple of times, but because they’re so smooth, my feet didn’t really have any grip on the actual shoe (unless I tied my shoelaces very tight). I never thought that running socks would make that much of a difference in performance. I know from experience that shoes do because I raced for half of a cross country season with running shoes that made my feet burn within the first mile! The next race I ran with different racing flats and I didn’t have any issues with my feet burning.
Since I have never owned compression socks before, I really didn’t have anything to compare them to. However, after reading what others think of the Zensah compression socks, I have to agree with what most of them have to say about the socks. First off, I’ll point out some of the features that the compression socks state they do:
- Increase Circulation
- Arch Support
- Recovery & Travel
- Improve Performance
Active Ingredients & Benefits
- Zensah Fabric: ultra comfortable
- Silver Ions: thermal regulating
- Pin-Point Compression: promotes oxygen blood flow
- Moisture Wicking Properties: ultra breatable
- Seamless Construction: anti-chafing
- Non-elastic Band: no cut-off of circulation
It actually says this on the packaging:
Warnings: May lead to ultra comfort and improved performace.
The thing I noticed when I was looking at the socks on the website was how it is thicker around the arch and foot area. When I actually got the socks, I thought that a size small would be too tight for me, but since they are compression socks, they seem to be the perfect fit. The seamless technology is cool and I never have to worry about it bothering my feet while I run. When I first ran with these socks, I did feel like there was a difference on my feet. It may have just been a psychological thing, but on that very first run, I ran the fastest time I had on that route and about a week later with the same socks, I ran even faster on that route! The socks provide padded arch support, but I also notice that my feet never burn while running longer distances or in the heat (thermal regulating). I had a long run yesterday and my calves felt kind of sore so I decided to try and wear them after the run to help improve recovery. We’ll see how much the compression socks play an effect.
When I ran back in high school, the only running gear I had were running shoes, regular socks, shorts and a t-shirt (I didn’t get a running watch until my last year of cross country that I bought for $10 at Target or Walmart). Now, I have running shoes, special compression socks, shorts, a t-shirt, a heart rate monitor, 100-lap stopwatch, an iPod Nano & Nike+iPod Sports Kit. At this moment, my times in high school were a lot faster than they are right now. So it looks like all of that extra gear that I have now is not helping me run any faster. But I am still only about 6 months into training and at 6 months into running in high school, I was not as fast as I am now. So maybe all of this gear is helping me run faster, but I know there are more than enough runners out there that feel the need some days to just run without all this technology. I have yet to do that, but will definitely try it out one day.
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