I picked up a couple pairs of OS1st CS6 Calf Compression Sleeves recently to see if they would provide any benefits to my running. I’ve worn them for a bunch of runs now and I have to say, I really like them.
I’ve worn compression gear on my lower legs in the past, but always chose socks and not sleeves. I’ve run in both Sugoi and Tiux compression socks and found both provided similar benefits in terms of reduced muscle fatigue and soreness and shortened recovery time between runs.
Compression is a bit of a hot topic in the running world, with some saying there’s no benefit while other runners swear by it. I’m not going to get into that whole debate, other than to say that I personally like compression gear on my calves in particular and I believe that it provides real benefits both physically and mentally.
Fit and Feel
The OS1st sleeves are about $50CAD a pair and I bought mine via Amazon.ca. They actually come from CT Medical Depot in Milton, Ontario, through. I chose the medium size, based on the sizing chart on the OS1st website that provides guidance based on measurements of your calf and ankle.
The sleeves fit really nicely. They are tight, but not too tight, and I had no trouble getting them on and off without injury (a serious concern, if you’ve ever used compression socks). I found it helpful to put them on while already wearing socks as they slide better over the heel.
Taking them off is a bit of a challenge, but what works well for me is to first lower the tops down to mid-calf, then to pull the ankle end down over my heel (with socks still on) and then I pull the top side down over that. The sleeve slides off, ending up inside out.
I’ve washed them a couple of times now as well and they are holding up nicely. I hang them to dry like I do with all my running gear.
As I said, I’ve worn them for a bunch of runs including a 24km long run on Sunday at a pretty fast pace. Over all I found the sleeves provided a reduction in fatigue over the course of the run, and contributed to faster recover and less soreness in the hours and days following.
I run every day and that often means running on tired legs. Even after an 80km week last week, I felt good heading into my runs this week and I credit the compression for taking away some of the normal soreness that I would have expected after a big week that ended in a big run like that.
As mentioned, I’ve run in compression socks before. I had a couple of reasons for going with sleeves this time. First, I am pretty particular about my socks. I’ve always run in Wrightsock double layer socks to avoid blister issues and to add that little bit of cushion. Second, I actually wasn’t a fan of compression on my feet. I also found the full socks to be quite difficult to get on and off, which may be related to my size 13 feet.
The sleeves allow me to wear my preferred socks and still get the benefit of the compression where I need it and avoid it where I don’t.
All in all, I think the OS1st CS6 Calf Compression Sleeves are a great product. They look great and the branding is not over the top. The compression amount feels right to me – not so much that I have to struggle to get them on and off, but also enough that I can feel the difference on my legs.
I also found they provide that little bit of extra warmth this time of year that’s allowed me to run in shorts when I normally would have opted for tights. I’ve been out in -2º Celsius weather in shorts with the OS1st sleeves and felt about the same comfort level as I would have with full tights.
One last thing I’ll mention is that these sleeves make me feel like a better runner. I blogged about that separately and I really, honestly believe that looking the part and wearing some of this gear contributes to a better mindset that results in better running form and performance. I see athletes I respect and look up to wearing OS1st gear and when I put the sleeve on, I feel just that little bit more “pro” than I do without them.
Note: I purchased the sleeves I reviewed and have not been compensated or influenced by anyone for this review. The links out are Amazon Affiliate links and I do get paid a small amount if you use the links and purchase the CS6 calf sleeves through Amazon.