These tight-fitting garments have been fine-tuned to be worn by athletes of all disciplines, but you might be wondering about the differences between them.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the differences between two similar types of compression gear: calf sleeves and full socks.
- Calf sleeves
Calf sleeves are pieces of compression gear that are worn over the calves, up to just about under the knee. Calf sleeves do not cover the foot, allowing the wearer to still wear socks of their preference.
- Full socks
Full socks are pieces of compression gear that are worn over the foot and calves to just about under the knee. Full socks cover the foot, obviating the need for an additional pair of socks.
What’s the difference?
A preference for full socks over calf sleeves, or vice versa, is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Some triathletes prefer wearing calf sleeves under their wetsuit during a race, believing that having them on already saves time during the first transition after the swim. Others find calf sleeves cooler to wear in hot weather than their more footsy counterparts.
On the other hand, full socks provide extra ankle support to the wearer, together with additional compression in the foot area, improving blood circulation to the foot as well as the calf. Full socks are also great tools for recovery post-race, as well as for extended periods of sedentary travel, or if you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your feet.
Calf sleeves and compression socks both aid blood circulation to vital areas, and may also be helpful to athletes that struggle with conditions like plantar fasciitis (policeman’s heel), inflammation or shin splints.
In the end, the choice between full compression socks and calf sleeves is really up to an individual.