Your Expert Guide: Compression Socks or Calf Compression Sleeves

Your Expert Guide: Compression Socks or Calf Compression Sleeves

When it comes to compression clothing, one size does not fit all. Depending on your body, the level of activity you do throughout your day and the kind of support your body needs, you could require different types of compression apparel.

A compression sock may not always be ideal and there are times when a calf compression sleeve might be the best choice. The best way to identify which one will work best for you is to understand the differences and pick what matches your needs.

What Is Compression?

Compression helps your blood circulate properly throughout your body. By fitting snugly around your core muscles, the compression socks prevent the blood in your body from staying in one place. It is forced to continue circulating back to your heart. That’s why high-quality compression products have that signature tight fit. For people who are standing for long periods of time for work, gravity is working against your circulation. It’s harder for the blood to flow upwards from your feet to your heart without an extra push from the compression socks.


Additionally, when you exert yourself during an intense training session, your muscles require quick circulation in order to recover. Without good circulation, all muscles will stay tight after a workout, which means they’ll also likely get sore and swell.

Compression promotes your body’s natural functions and helps speed up their processes. Compression socks keep blood from staying stagnant in your feet, which could cause swelling. A calf compression sleeve, on the other hand, gives you extra support during a workout to concentrate blood flow to the muscles that need it most.

Types of Compression Products

PRO Compression offers a variety of over-the-calf (knee-high), mid-rise and low compression socks. Each is based on the graduated compression design that PRO Compression is known for. Our graduated compression design means that the compression gets tighter the farther away the material is from the heart. For example, on our Marathon sock, the compression is tightest by the arch of the foot and loosest at the opening, by your knee. 

So whether you’re wearing a low compression sock that doesn’t go above your ankle or one that reaches up to your knee, you’ll feel the benefits of graduated compression. You may find that one style works better for you during your workouts and another style that’s best for your workdays. It’s helpful to experiment and see what feels good for your body.

In addition to socks, we also carry calf compression sleeves. There are times when socks might be the better choice, for example throughout the day or during travel. But there are times when a calf compression sleeve is ideal, such as supporting movement during training sessions or for use on strenuous runs.

What is the Difference Between Compression Socks and Calf Compression Sleeves?

PRO Compression Graduated Compression Calf Sleeves 

Knowing the difference between compression socks and a calf compression sleeve can have a huge impact on your recovery time. For some activities, a calf compression sleeve might actually do more harm than good, so it’s important to do your research first. 

The most important difference to note between compression socks and a calf compression sleeve is where the compression product ends. With a calf compression sleeve, the second opening towards the ankle can be restrictive if worn for long periods of time. The blood can actually pool in your foot, causing the swelling you’re trying to avoid. Conversely, compression socks only have one opening, which keeps the blood circulating at all times, no matter how long you’re on your feet.

Each compression product will support your muscles and ligaments while you move, but compression socks are the much better choice if you plan to wear them for a long period of time. However, a calf compression sleeve is perfect for an intense training session or an activity that requires you to be barefoot or use specialized footwear.

How to Know Which Is Best for You

Obviously, everyone’s goals and needs are different, so there is not a single right answer when it comes to which compression product is right for you. The best way to understand which one you need is to experiment. Test each product and see how your body feels. 

Here are a few details to pay attention to when you’re deciding which is the right choice for you.

Signs You Need Compression Socks

Almost everyone will benefit from wearing some version of compression socks. However, here are a few signs you should think about buying them:

  1. Your feet and ankles are constantly swollen at the end of the day
  2. You plan to travel for a long, international flight where your movement will be restricted
  3. Your feet ache at the end of each workday
  4. You are in need of recovery after a long bout of exercise

Signs You Need a Calf Compression Sleeve

Someone who needs a calf compression sleeve might experience one or more of the following: 

  1. You workout with high-intensity multiple times a week
  2. You need a little extra support for fast movements
  3. You notice aches and pains during your workout that weren’t there before
  4. You have a favorite pair of low socks and want to pair them with a compression sleeve
  5. You need a quick and easy way to get in and out of your compression apparel

These are not the only signs that you should follow in order to buy compression socks or a calf compression sleeve, but if you can identify one or more of these experiences in your own life, it might be time to consider wearing compression products during your day.

Compression Socks and Calf Compression Sleeves Available at PRO Compression 

Now that you know all the differences between our compression products, you’re probably ready for a pair yourself. We’re so glad you’re excited to try them! If you’re ready to buy your first compression products, browse through our line of compression socks and compression sleeves. We release new colors every month, so there will always be something new waiting for you. You can even mix and match your favorite colors and designs to really stand out at work or during your training sessions!


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