If you’ve been reading the past few posts here at Top Running Tips you’ll know that while training for the Asics Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon I ended up with serious shin splints a week before I was due to race. I did no running during the last week and a half in the hope that the pain might miraculously disappear.
It didn’t, so I got hold of a pair of Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves which arrived on the Friday. I wore them all of Friday and Saturday and did the unthinkable by running in them for the first time during Sunday’s half marathon.
Here’s how it went and what I think of this product…
What Is Compression?
The aim of compression is to improve the delivery of oxygen to the muscles, to speed up the removal of lactic acid and also to stabilize the lower leg for more efficient use of the muscles. This is done through the compression of the surface veins, arteries and muscles where the blood is then forced through narrower channels this offers protection and assists recovery.
In short the Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves have four main purposes;Increase circulation and oxygen blood flow to muscles for endurance and heightened performance.Use pin-point compression through ‘chevron pattern technology’ to prevent/ease shin splints.Offers extra support for lower legs, stabilizing calves, shins and the Achilles.Speed up recovery time and also reduces inflammation and swelling.
When I first pulled on the sleeves I was a little sceptical about whether they would stay up or slip down once I started running. I was also confused as to why they made a sleeve and not a sock, how was a sleeve better than a sock? I was also worried about how comfortable they would be to run in seeing as though my first try would be on a 21.1km run, not the kind of place you want to deal with chaffing or a rash.
After running 21.1km with shin splints in both legs wearing the Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves, having NEVER run in them before, I’m highly impressed and I’m pretty sure they reduced the disadvantage I had from my shin splints.
The sleeves were comfortable with no chaffing or rash. The sleeves have no seams at all and the fabric is really soft and light with excellent wicking capabilities, I never once felt too hot or restricted at any time.
The size was just perfect and the sleeves never moved an inch the entire race, which means I got the sizing right! Choosing the correct size is uber important but really simple; using your height and calf size for a pretty much custom fit.
How To Size Your Compression Leg Sleeves
XS/S: Calf Size: 9.5″ – 12.5″ Height: 5’3″ and belowS/M: Calf Size: 12.5″ – 15″ Height: 5’4″ – 5’10″L/XL: Calf Size: 15″ and up Height: 5’11″ and up
I now totally understand why they decided on sleeves as opposed to full socks. The sleeve allows for the lower leg to be pin-pointed, having a full sock would detract from the calf and shin support. After all, I’m using the sleeves to support my lower legs not my feet.
The sleeves have incredible construction; with ‘rings’ at the top and bottom to ensure a firm grip without restricting blood flow. The ‘chevron’ type pattern is used to achieve pin-point compression which can be felt the moment you pull the sleeves on.
I’ve been washing them daily and so far they have kept their shape and compression capabilities and by the looks of things will do for a long time to come. They come in various different colours so if you’re a fashion conscious runner you can add some pizzazz to your running kit.
The sleeves gave me the support I needed where I needed it so that I could finish the race.
I doubt whether I would have run across the finish line without them, it’s quite possible that I’d have had to walk instead.
I have been wearing my compression sleeves every day since the race as part of my R.I.C.E regime for my shins which are still tender.
I would recommend these to any runner’s who need extra support to prevent or ease shin splints or calf strains.
What’s The Difference?
The Compression Leg Sleeves and the Shin/Calf Compression Sleeve are exactly the same products the only difference is that the Compression Leg Sleeves are sold in a pair – i.e. two sleeves in total. Where the Shin Splint/Calf Compression Sleeve is sold as a single unit – i.e. only one sleeve. They are the same product offering the same features and benefits. The only difference is in the quantity.
To read more about the sleeves check out the Zensah website.If you want to pick up a pair for yourself go to Zensah if you live in the USA or Canada.If you are in the UK check out Global Bike – they are the cheapest and offer free delivery in the UK.
I rung them up and they were really helpful with figuring out my size (converting from meters into feet and inches does my head in!) and they were really great about getting a pair to me in double time once I completed my order online. Really great customer service, thanks to Dave!
PS: I have contacted Zensah requesting a pair of Compression Leg Sleeves to offer as a giveaway here at Top Running Tips, fingers crossed that they are kind enough to oblige and one lucky reader will win a pair of these cool compression sleeves!
Pictures of Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves from Zensah.com