The topic of compression is a divisive one among the running community. Depending on who you ask, compression can be a running essential or just another one of the snake oil salesman's tricks. I tend to fall on the side of the skeptics, as I have never felt any discernible difference when I wore them during or after a run. However, as not to anger the running gods, my running routine does include compression sleeves, but only after 18ish miles, or if I have races scheduled on consecutive days, such as the Dopey Challenge.
So, when the good folks at Tiux reached out to me to try some of their compression socks, I was little apprehensive, given my thoughts on the whole, "do you compress?" conversation. But, I'm here for you guys, so I agreed to give them a try.
To be honest, I hadn't really heard of Tiux before and you may not have either. Reason being, these guys are more about the product and less about all the fluff that drives up cost (marketing/endorsements/middlemen, etc), allowing their product to you at considerably lower cost than most competitors. I think that's commendable, however my day job marketing self says you have to drive a level of awareness to get in runners' consideration sets, and that tends to take some base level of marketing support, in conjunction with reaching out to fine folks like myself to review and discuss. Okay, enough marketing talk, let's talk more about why you came here, the socks.
First off, these are socks, not sleeves, meaning they are enclosed at the bottom. My experience with compression socks vs sleeves are socks are less snug and easier to get on, and these are no different. Second, one can't help but notice the bright green swath of fabric that sits just below the knee when the sock is fully extended. It feels like that fabric is different and offers more compression from the rest of the sock, which I could definitely feel. But, I couldn't help feel like a World Cup referee in them. Third, these socks appear to be greater in whole than the sum of its parts, meaning the sock looks to be built with attention to the nuances of the runner's foot. I've already discussed the top of the sock, while the Achilles has a different type of fabric, as does the top and bottom of the socks. It's kind of like a Frankenstein sock!
As mentioned above, the fit is really good. It's not as tight as what you may feel with sleeves, but definitely feels snug and supportive. I could take a little bit more compression just above the ankle, though. The bottom of the sock "footbed" feels reinforced and padded, which may be great on the run, but works just as well in recovery, as well. Also, my toes don't feel restricted, they have ample room to splay as far as they want, which helps to make the socks feel light and comfortable. This is all well and good, but how do they do after a race?
Last weekend was the first race of my 2015 season (I count Dopey and Ragnar Florida Keys as the end of 2014), and I participated in the Cambridge5k's "Craicfest" (pronounced CRACK-fest). Not having really run since Ragnar a month prior, this race was my "spring training" to shake out the cobwebs and get back in the groove. As suspected, I didn't set the world on fire with my time, and there was some pretty good tightness in my lower calf and foot when I finished. Immediately following the race, I put on the Tiux compression socks for the day to see if they sped up my recovery.
I can't say for certain they were the magic bullet, but the tightness in my calf and foot reduced noticeably throughout the day. I do think, though that the comfort of these socks made wear them the whole day which could have played a part in my legs appearing to recover quickly.
Now, I know every runner is unique and no one should ever run out to the store based on one person's opinion. Compression is a big deal and you have to make sure you are educated on the facts and make smart decisions for yourself. What I can say is, these socks are incredibly comfortable and seemed to be designed with runners in mind. Plus, at their price point, they're an easy choice for being in your long run bag.
Not to mention, these guys donate a portion of sales to the Mines Advisory Group, which helps to protect families from unexploded landmines and ordinances. And, you guys know how I feel about helping out others.
PROS: Comfy, well-designed, inexpensive for what you get
CONS: Tough to find, that green line at the top of the sock bothers me a little bit.
All the legals: These socks were provided to me by Tiux for my honest and uninfluenced product review. I received no monetary compensation for this post.