While good quality and regular training is the biggest key to triathlon, one factor that affects performance is clothing. Triathlon clothing that integrates compression can offer benefits to athletes. In fact, compression socks are becoming popular among long-distance runners and triathletes, in particular.
What Are Triathlon Compression Socks?
These are a type of socks that are designed to produce compressive pressure in the lower limb around the muscles, connective tissues and bones. Typically, compression socks used for running offer compression with the least amount at the top of the socks slightly below the knees and then gradually increases down to around the ankles. When muscles, surface veins and arteries are compressed, it forces the circulating blood to go through the narrower channels. Compression also increases pressure in the arteries, resulting in more blood flow to the heart to prevent blood from pooling in the lower limb which causes muscle fatigue and cramps.
Benefits of Triathlon Compression Socks
- Better delivery of oxygen to the muscles
- Faster elimination of lactic acid
- Prevents cramps
- Improves endurance
- Stabilizes the lower leg to make the muscles more efficient
- Creates compact muscles that lessen muscle fatigue and improves balance
As you can see from the above benefits, compression socks can be very helpful to triathletes during the run, which is the last portion of a triathlon when fatigue starts to set in and cramps can become a problem.
Do They Really Work?
Many triathletes swear on the benefits of triathlon compression socks. However, there has been no conclusive study on how beneficial it really is to an athlete’s performance. What is clear is there is no harm in wearing them during training or on race day. When it comes to recovery, one study did show that wearing these socks after a workout or race could help you recover faster because they minimize muscle soreness. You can try them for yourself and see how you will like them.
Choosing Triathlon Compression Socks
You can choose socks based on foot size; however, this is not the best way since two people can have the same size of feet but the sizes of their calves could differ. A much better option when buying these socks is to choose those that allow you to select a sock based on your ankle and calf size. Of course, the best option is to go for the custom-made ones.
How to Wear Them
When you put on compression socks, make sure the top rests just below the knee. If the socks are too long, don’t fold them at the top because this will cause the compression level to change. Just keep the top of the sock sitting below the knee and smooth out the material carefully so it goes evenly across the calf.