Disclosure: I received a pair of 2XU Vectr Socks and Performance Run Calf Sleeves as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and Check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.
Since I started running, part of my journey has included figuring out what gear is actually essential. That is, if I invest in a specific piece of gear, am I going to receive an adequate return on said investment? Runners often rave about compression gear and foam rollers, claiming that they help speed recovery time. When I was invited to test our the2XU Vectr Socks and Performance Run Calf Sleeves as a set, I was genuinely curious to see what the fuss was about and decide if they were essential to incorporate into a routine.
As for those that attest to the benefit of compression socks, I can definitely say that I was pleased using these products together. By having the socks and the sleeves, you’re afforded more versatility in how you choose to use them. If it’s super hot, you’re not bound to the sleeves, and can simply slip them on after you finish your workout to gain some of the benefits of compression.
However, these are two separate pieces of gear, and testing them at the same time I think highlighted their differences. Here are some key featuress that I noticed with each of the pieces of gear:
First, the Performance Run Calf Sleeves. These are meant to fit tight – I ordered a small based on the size guide and felt that they fit just right. They were not constricting, but they did fit securely. The sleeves were also well-made. Though I did not test them in cold weather, they felt thick enough to keep my legs warm (they were a little hot in 70 degree weather, but I’m sure that’s normal). As a testament to the durability, my dog, Daisy, managed to get ahold of these a couple times and they are still in good shape. No holes or anything – though I did take them away from her quickly.
She may look innocent, but she’s actually plotting the right time to sneak over and steal my socks and sleeves once I take them off.
Despite running less since the Austin Half, my calves and feet have not been sore since wearing them. In my (unprofessional) opinion, the sleeves could possibly help prevent shin splints. I’ve been advised to wear a soft calf sleeve in the past to rehab shin splints and the calf sleeves reminded me a lot of them.
However, putting on these calf sleeves is kinda confusing. The outline on one side looks like it should go over your calf, but it actually goes over your shin, which is counter-intuitive. Truthfully, I didn’t realize I was wearing them wrong for a while, but the good news was that, even when worn incorrectly, they still feel good. Just take note and pay close attention when you are putting them on!
In contrast, the Vectr Socks were very lightweight, definitely lighter than what I normally wear, and VERY breathable. Overall, I really liked this! I did feel my shoes rub and slip a bit in places they normally do not, which I think was due to the lighter fabric and composition of the fabric. Another pro is that they are foot specific, meaning the socks are built for each of your feet to give the optimum fit at every point. I also recommend sizing down for the Vectr Socks, if you are remotely in between sizes. In running shoes, I wear a size 8. In street shoes, I am a 6.5 or 7. In running socks, I usually wear a medium, and after consulting the size guide (link here, click “size chart”), that’s what I ordered. However, they did not fit as snugly as other socks I wear. They were comfortable, but compared to the calf sleeves, I did not feel the same amount of support.
Using both items has helped me recover more quickly than if I were wearing regular ‘ole socks, and I definitely think they are worth investing in if you’re serious about improving your running. I actually had my eye on a similar pair of 2XU socks, so I am so glad I was able to test them (thanks, 2XU)! Both the calf sleeves and the socks come in a variety of fun colors! Make sure you hide them well from your dog (or cat) and hand wash them in cold water with no dryer, to ensure they have a long, happy life.
If you’d like a pair for yourself, 2XU will give you 15% off full price products with the code TRAIN15 (cannot be used with any other offer, valid until April 30, 2016). With the discount, the pre-tax/shipping cost comes out to be roughly $51 (normally $60). This is comparable to other options on the market, with the added benefit of versatility.
Have you tried compression socks? What did you think?
Cheers to trying new techniques to become a better runner!