Monday, May 16, 2011

REVIEW: Sigvaris Athletic Performance Socks

It's time for another review.  Today we take a look at these puppies! (product HERE)

Ok, not quite "puppies.
Product: Sigvaris Athletic Performance Socks
Color:  Black
Size:  ML

My measurements
Foot size:  10-10.5
Ankle meaurement:  8.5" (22.5 cm)
Calf measurement:  14.5" (37 cm)

What does Sigvaris say?

"When an athlete slips on a SIGVARIS Active Therapy sock,
his or her legs will instantly feel supported and comfortable..."

1. A built in Achilles tendon protector that reduces vibration on vulnerable ligaments.
2. A footbed cushion zone and toe protectors that help to keep feet blister free.
3. Every pair is manufactured with latex-free, high-tech fibers that provide odor and thermal control while keeping the feet incredibly dry.
4. An Extra-wide comfort top band that keeps the sock comfortably in place.
5. True 20-30 mmHg graduated compression.

67% Dri-release Polyester
26% Nylon
7% Spandex

What do I say?

Abridged Version

    Pros                                                                                        Cons     
Extensive measurement system                                                         Lack of color options        
Extremely comfortable                                                              Warming on cloudy days
Do not move (great compression)                                                         Heat up in the sun           
           Visual appeal of the stitching
             Superior moisture wicking
              Graduated compression
       Feeling more "refreshed" the next day

Unabridged Version

Out of package thoughts
When I took the socks out of the package (about two minutes after I received the box), my first thought was "wow, these things are thick compared to my calf sleeves."  When I tried them on, which took at least 7-9 minutes, I was impressed at how well they really compress on the whole leg.  They are difficult to adjust, but that's because they're doing their job and aren't loose enough to easily grab ahold of.  After they were finally on (and I did the above pictured photo shoot), I must say I liked the gray swirls stitched into the socks for the visual appeal, though additional colors thank black or white might be nice for other more colorful folks.  Overall, they were a BEAST to get on, but they were comfortable and certainly did their job at compressing.

Short Run Thoughts
Next test was a short run.  I pulled the socks on, slipped on my shoes, and immediately noticed that despite the socks feeling thick, they felt much thinner than my normal running socks once I put my shoes on.  I even had to lace the shoes up a little tighter to keep from having too much room.  I headed out the door and did three miles on a cloudy day in the mid fifties.  Overall, these things are extremely comfortable to run in!  Even just considering the lower portion of the sock, I started wondering if Sigvaris even makes regular ankle cut running socks.  The only possible downside on this first run was that the gray stitching that I mentioned liking for visual appeal above began fraying slightly.  That, however, was because my shoes occasionally hit the opposite calf when they swing through and they hit the stitching.

Long run thoughts
The next test was a long run.  I headed out for a 7+ mile run on a cloudy, high forties day.  The foot portion of the sock remained extremely comfortable.  The upper portion of the sock stays put very well; I've never seen or felt it slip even a millimeter.  The top band does it's job perfectly and does so without losing any degree of comfort.  Since it was a bit cooler on this day, I must remark that the sock actually helped keep my legs a bit warmer than usual; much like an intermediate between full running tights and just my running shorts.  Therefore, I moved onto the next test.

Warm Day Run (70's and cloudy)
I purposefully picked a hot day to head out with these socks; mid seventies but still cloudy.  I headed out for a 3-4 mile run and came to the conclusion that I was happy it wasn't sunny.  The choice of black socks means that the sun will certainly heat them up, which is great for cooler days, but not for me on warm days.

As a bit of background, I will wear running tights when it goes below 40 degrees.  Once it pops above 40, I go with only the running shorts.  At 45 to 55 degrees I wear a sleeveless shirt and anywhere above 55, I go topless because I find any tech shirt I've ever worn useless to keep up with my sweat rate and it only serves to keep me warmer.  Overall, heat is one issue I personally deal with a lot, but that may not be the case for you.

Anyways, back to the warm day run.  My conclusion is that the black Sigvaris socks would be much better suited for cooler days and I would choose the white socks for higher temps.  With that said, however, on my cooler cloudy day runs, I admit that the socks still kept my calves warm compared to say my knee or thigh.  Therefore, aside from the color, the sock itself seems to have a warming effect which is to be expected.  This may mean that even the white sock would be too much added warmth for me in the summer months, but I can't say that conclusively.

Wearing them around
These socks are called "Athletic Performance Socks" and therefore are meant moreso for use while running as opposed to other Sigvaris socks which are specifically labeled "Recovery Socks."  However, I still put them on and tested them while just hanging out around my apartment.  Just the same as on the run, they felt great.  They continued to be an extremely comfortable sock on my foot and have never bothered my calves by being too tight or loose.  They also add a bit of extra warmth when it's a bit cooler.

Post-Run Thoughts
After both the short and long runs when I wore the Sigvaris socks, I noticed that my calves seemed to feel slightly less used.  By that I mean that after running 7+ miles, they felt like they had run maybe 3.  My calves felt more refreshed and able to take on more of a workout.  I don't mean to say that there was a HUGE difference like I could all of a sudden run an ultramarathon with these socks, but that come tomorrow, my legs would be more refreshed and ready for the next workout.  Since the key to success in endurance sports is fast recovery, I certainly can see how these socks might give you a little boost. 

Additional Thoughts
- As I mentioned, these are incredibly comfortable even just as socks from the ankle down
- I never took these socks off after a run (even 7 miles) and felt added weight from accrued sweat.  I'm used to my other socks being damp after even a 3 mile run, so the fabric works VERY well to wick away sweat.
- The socks use graduated compression, which from a scientific standpoint is the best way to go.  Single state compression won't help your blood move back UP your leg as well.
- Sigvaris has a very extensive measuring system compared to other companies including shoe size, ankle measurement, and calf measurement.  It may seem daunting, but I simply gave them my measurements and they sent me my size.  I have zero complaints on size, so the multitude of measurements serves a useful purpose.


For those at all interested in the Sigvaris Athletic Performance Socks, the Sigvaris line, or even compression socks in general, check out the following website

This site carries most of the top brands of compression socks.  And the lady running the live chat - her name is Jackie - is more than ready to answer any specific questions you have or even simply let you know what size or type of sock is best for you based on your measurements or use.


1.  Do you have any questions, comments, thoughts?

2.  If you own a pair, what brand and style of compression socks do you have?

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 


Dr. said...

Nice little ballet pose you have goin' on there in those socks!! :)
I want compression socks so bad!!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

aaww, your puppies are so cute...LOL! I love my compression socks. I have no brand loyalty but the one's i bought were on sale and they are TwinCities in black. I just think they look cool and I wear them when it's 40 or below in Florida.

Michael said...

I have yet to wear compression socks when actually running. I do love the CEP Compression socks for recovery. These sound pretty good though, if I decide to actually run in a sock. Just can't make myself run in knee socks....yet.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

@ Michael - I was quite weary about running in knee socks! But I'm a complete convert (only aside from heat issue). These socks feel GREAT while running! I was quite surprised.

Richelle said...

I've worn compression tights before but not compression socks. I'll have to try them sometime. Thanks for the review!

Teamarcia said...

I wear them for recovery but never for running as i am very blister prone....may have to give it a try...

Coy Martinez said...

I sometimes run my longer races in Sugoi, something like that. I'm like you though, I'm funny about them warming me up too much! Those you reviewed seemed to be a bit tighter than the ones I have.

I sometimes sleep in mine, the legs feel great the next day :)

Stephanie said...

I used to love running in actual knee socks. I could see myself falling in love with compressions like these. You do such thorough reviews!!