Thursday, 23 May 2024


The 5 Best Calf Compression Sleeves of 2023

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Compression technology has been useful for medical conditions, certain illnesses and for post-surgical treatments. But now, it’s been incorporated into the fitness and sports industry.

So, do compression garments actually work? To learn more, read all about compression sleeves and how to find the best calf compression sleeve for you.

What is a calf compression sleeve?

A calf compression sleeve functions like any other compression material. It’s a tight, elastic garment that’s often worn to improve circulation. But it’s tailored for your calves.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a compression sleeve, you’ll need to have some background knowledge of the physiological effects.

Oxygenated blood travels away from the heart and through the arteries. The oxygenated blood reaches all the muscles, tissues and cells in the limbs of our body. Then, once nutrients and oxygen are exchanged, the blood that is leftover is deoxygenated. The deoxygenated blood and waste products flow back to the heart through veins and become oxygenated again in the lungs.

Proper blood circulation is necessary for our muscles to work at their best. While exercising hard, we’ve all felt that burning sensation in our muscles. That burning is actually lactic acid build-up. And lactic acid is what causes muscle soreness and pain.

In order for our muscles to recover, that lactic acid needs to be removed from our tissues. Which you now know is removed through blood flow and circulation. In addition, as we exercise, the impact and force affects our muscles and causes them to become fatigued.

Compression sleeves work to enhance your circulation. The sleeves are tighter near the bottom of your leg and looser further up the leg. This design is supposed to hinder the effects of gravity and encourage blood flow back to the heart. This would in turn, make for faster muscle recovery. Plus, because the compression holds everything together, your muscles would be vibrating less, resulting in less fatigue.

There’s conflicting evidence on how much of an effect calf compression sleeves have on sports performance. But a literature review has recently analyzed the effects of compression material and athletic performance and recovery.

The review evaluated 40 different studies. It didn’t show evidence that compression sportswear increased performance, impeded pain in muscles or caused recovery immediately. It did however show a beneficial effect during the recovery period. In 5 out of the 8 studies on exercise performance, the participants improved. Also, in 5 out of the 6 studies regarding muscle pain, participants found the pain was reduced. With that said, more research is needed to evaluate the correlation between compression materials and exercise.

What to look for in a calf compression sleeve?

There are so many calf compression sleeves to choose from. Here’s what you should consider.

  • Type:
    Some calf sleeves come with a sock portion, some end at the ankle. It really depends on the use of your sleeves and how comfortable you are with each type.
  • Pattern:
    There are flashy patterns or simple and muted compression sleeves. You can pick whatever you’d like based on what you’re wearing them for. Maybe you want to stand out at the gym or match with a uniform. Or perhaps, you just like to keep it casual.
  • Size:
    Be sure to check if they’re mens, womens or unisex. They’ll have other features like varying amounts of support. Again, it really depends on what you’re using them for and if you have any underlying medical conditions. The main thing is you want to be comfortable while you’re exercising.
  • Material:
    Choose the material based on its function. If you’re sweating a lot, you’ll want a water-wicking fabric and sleeves that will stay up. Check the specific features of the sleeves and match them to your needs.

2XU Compression Calf Guards

  • Type: Sleeve
  • Pattern: 2 different solid colors with design
  • Size: unisex, based on calf size chart
  • Material: nylon spandex
  • Price: $44.95 USD

The 2XU Compression Calf Guards offer a quick drying, antibacterial odor protection compression fabric. It has a graduated fit and low-profile design so it can be worn anywhere. And it has flat seams to reduce chafing. They have other versions with lighter support if this one’s too restricting for you.

Rymora Calf Compression Sleeve

  • Type: Sleeve
  • Pattern: 4 different solid colors with Rymora logo
  • Size: unisex, based on calf size chart
  • Material: 54% nylon, 39% polyester, 7% elastane
  • Price: $14.99 USD

The Rymora compression sleeve features a non-slip cuff, graduated compression and achilles support. It provides breathable, moderate support for any kind of sports, exercises, injuries and more.

Blitzu Performance Compression Calf Sleeve

  • Type: Sleeve
  • Pattern: 8 different patterns with Blitzu name on top
  • Size: unisex, based on calf size chart
  • Material: unknown
  • Price: $19.95 USD

The Blitzu sleeve is another great option. It’s available in 8 different colors and has graduated compression of 20-30 mmHg, a non-slip cuff and vertical ribbing. It’s designed for everyday use and outdoor exercise.

Zensah Compression Leg Sleeve

  • Type: Sleeve
  • Pattern: 15 different solid colors with Zensah name on top
  • Size: unisex, based on calf size chart
  • Material: 90% Nylon / 10% Spandex for solid colors, 49% Polyester/41% Nylon/10% Spandex for heathered colors
  • Price: $40 USD

The Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves boast 15 different colors, a moisture wicking and anti-odor material, graduated compression and 3D ribbing. It’s perfect for everyone and all activities.

Run Forever Sports Calf Compression Sleeve

  • Type: Sleeve
  • Pattern: 11 different solid colors, 1 American flag pattern
  • Size: unisex, based on calf size chart
  • Material: Nylon spandex
  • Price: $17.99 USD

The Run Forever calf sleeve has professional grade compression of 20-30 mmHg, a non-slip cuff, slim cut fit and is a universal fit for all athletes. And, they provide a lifetime replacement or refund policy.

As mentioned, the jury’s still out if calf compression sleeves really make a difference while you’re exercising. But there does appear to be clear benefits to reducing muscle pain and recovery time. Whatever your decision is, just be prudent in what you’re buying and if you do have any injuries, we ask that you consult your doctor.

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