Compression technology is a balance between too much and too little. Err on the side of too much and you restrict circulation and limit performance benefits. On the other side of things, if there’s too little compression the effect is minimal and you’re really just wearing an expensive fashion accessory. The other balancing act is that between compression and breathability. Since most races are in the summer months, restricting the breathability of the body with more clothing will, in my opinion, simply create more sweat, raise the body temperature and limit any potential benefits from the technology. It all has to work just right to provide the necessary performance benefit. In my opinion the Compressport sleeves
have been designed to balance all of these competing issues. In hot summer conditions they seem to breathe well and provide adequate wicking while still providing strong compression. The compression is the greatest of any of the compression socks or sleeves I’ve used (Zensah, Salomon). At first I felt it might be too much compression for races and better for recovery so I contacted the company about this. The company representative stated that greater compression is necessary during performance while less compression is better for recovery. More specifically, the Compressport are designed with “optimal compression for race and active recovery use” according to the company rep. So I continued to pound away at my training and race schedule with the use of these sleeves. I used them during my 50k Lost Soul Ultra this September and I felt the strong compression provided fresh legs for an extended period of time and helped me achieve a 25 minute personal best.
It may seem trivial to some, but one of the real positives of these sleeves is their ability to avoid grabbing burrs or thistles. My Zensah socks, which use a different fabric usually end a run with a collection of the local grasses, thistles and other plant life attached. Getting these out in the wash are even tougher. The Compressport sleeves catch very few grasses and thistles due to the smoother fabric, thereby allowing for easier cleaning and quicker reuse.
The sleeves come in four different sizes based on maximum calf size and height. The sleeves provided for testing fit quite well despite only four size categories. They come in six unique colour designs, including a custom Canadian edition. After testing these sleeves extensively, Compressport appears to have achieved a thoughtful balance in all aspects of compression technology for trail runners.