January 25, 2012

Pro Compression Socks

For this review, I purchased the Pro Compression socks through a recent Schwaggle deal. Schwaggle is like Groupon for athletes, and it's run by active.com. The socks are regularly $50, and the Schwaggle deal offered you a pair of socks with no shipping charges for $25. Since my previous two pairs of CEP socks did not do the trick for running a marathon, I decided to try something else, as long as I could find it cheap enough. Plus, when I saw that they had a black pair with pink stars, I really wanted in on the socks. Compression socks can be really boring, so it's nice to see something a little different. These are the limited edition MJ Marathon socks, and in case Pro Compression is wondering, black socks with red or orange stars would be equally or more awesome. 

I ordered an XS because I read somewhere on their site to go down a size if you were unsure. Since I had the problem with the actual foot of the sock being too large with CEP (I purchased a size 3 using the calf measurement chart), I decided to opt for smaller with Pro Compression in hopes that the foot would be tight enough to wear during a race. 

When the package came and I ripped it open, I thought it was a joke. The socks looked like they would be tight on my eight-year-old. Tiny! 


My foot on the left. Infant-looking sock on the right.

Despite looking like they would fit a grade schooler, they went on very easily. I just slipped them on my foot without any significant rolling or wriggling, and once I secured the foot, I easily rolled the rest of the leg up to my knee. The top of the socks hit right under my knee (I'm 5'2"). I maybe could have stretched them a little higher if I had wanted. 

The first thing I noticed was comfort. These socks give you some support without feeling too tight. The CEP socks I tried were much tighter and more uncomfortable if you are wearing them for a long time. Part of that is that the CEP socks are thicker, therefore hotter. Once I had these socks on they felt very light and comfortable, and I could have worn them for an extended period of time. Actually once I put them on, I wore them for the rest of the day. 


Front


Back

The stars are part of a limited edition inspired and designed by Michelle Jones, an Olympic Silver Medalist and Ironman Hawaii World Champion. Pro Compression says that "this full-length graduated compression sock incorporates her signature stars with lightweight construction, stabilizing zone and other great features of our high-performance compression design."

The best part of this sock for me was the foot. It was snug and fitted from the heel to the toe. There were no loose areas that could lead to a blister on a long run. I wore them in my most recent marathon, and the result was excellent. No blisters, and my calves felt fine throughout the race. They were thinner then my normal running socks (Asics), so I did have to snug my laces in a little tighter. I don't mind looser shoes though. Tighter shoes is where bad things start to happen, so I could handle the looser shoes when wearing these socks. 


Race day

I give these socks a thumbs up for fit, how easy they are to put on your feet, and breathability. I can wear these socks all day if I wanted. My CEP socks feel like they offer slightly more compression around the calf, but because of the sizing issue (they are too baggy around my toes), I can only wear them for recovery. Even then, after several hours I usually rip them off because they feel so tight and scratchy around my calves. The advantage of the Pro Compression socks is that I can use them for both competition and recovery. 

No one is paying me for my opinion here, but dang it, I wish they would.