• Tue05August 2014
  • Pull your socks up running-style – my search for running compression socks

    Running socks are kind of like Netflix, you can quite happily live without access to the multitude of hot new TV series. But once you’re hooked, it’s kind of hard to break the cycle. You take the time to pick and choose which series you’ll watch, save for later or keep for special occasions. Do you see where I’m going with this? Yep, this is how I view my running socks.

    The sock drawer

    My failsafe everyday pairs that keep my feet in good nick when training (mostly from Primark or Christmas presents from my folks), those that I specifically pick out for shorter races and then my extra special soft (Balega and Sole socks) for when I need a bit of extra comfort on those long-haul marathons. They feel like silk against the skin and make all the difference (in my mind anyway).

    Training socks

    A small selection of my running socks – including my school hockey socks

    The only thing missing in my sock drawer is a pair of those up-to-the-knee compression socks. Now I have in the past worn Boots air flight socks under a pair of my school hockey socks (and they still have my name-tag sewn in). They work in pretty much the same way as normal compression socks, supposedly increasing blood circulation and slowing down muscle fatigue.

    Just long socks?

    To be honest, I’m not even sure that this is true – I just like to wear them as a pseudo security blanket. I’m also not bothered that when I’m wearing them I could give Nora Batty a run for her money in the wrinkly stocking department. What has annoyed me in the past, however, is their failure on more than one occasion to stay up. Running a 17-lap 26.2 mile race on tarmac is difficult enough without the worry of your socks bagging around your ankles and that urge to pull your socks up.

    So in my preparation for the big one next year when I will be running on sand, grit and god knows what, I’m looking for anything to stop the sand from touching the skin of my feet without cutting off my circulation. Cue my fascination for long compression socks. And if they do help with muscle fatigue like they claim then bring it on.

    Desperately Seeking Socks

    Instead of just Googling/ using Bing to search for running compression socks, I asked the Twittersphere what they would recommend. Thinking that I would have to sell my boyfriend’s fine collection of CDs and DVDs to be able to afford a few pairs of socks (I’ve seen some for £35), I was quite surprised that all the answers apart from one were under the £15 mark:

    1. Balega compression socks 

    Not sure why I was recommended these as think someone got the wrong end of the stick. The thought of Balega compression socks did get me very excited but alas I have been unable to locate these anywhere. If I was a diva, I would demand that the Balega people design a pair with reinforced toes and extra padding around the heel as well as comfort grip around the top of the sock enabling the apparel to gently and firmly support my calf. Go on Balega, give my calves a cuddle. Pretty please.

    2. Karrimor compression socks, £6, Sports Direct

    Sports Direct may be the big bad sportswear equivalent of TK Maxx but you can find some real bargains. At just £6 a pop on the website (and £3.99 apparently in-store), I’ll be buying plenty of these to test out. Thank you Laura from Life Laura London for this purse-friendly suggestion.

    3. Lidl compression socks

    Lidl do compression socks? Apparently so. Another bargainous suggestion from the amazing Ultra runner/ runner in general Cat Simpson – she’s not a fan of compression wear but definitely knows a thing of two about socks.

    4. 1000 Mile Ultimate Compression socks, £11.99, Wiggle

    As recommended by Steph from A Magpie in the Sky, these will not blow the budget sky high and are, as Steph says: “Like a little hug for my calves and seems to help stave off night time cramps!”

    Well that’s a few to get me started but please let me know if you can recommend any alternatives.


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