Compression Boots For Runners
As a regular runner, I can testify that recovery is just as important as the run itself. That’s where compression boots for runners come into the picture. They use a scientific technique known as pneumatic compression. This involves filling up air in the boots that apply pressure to your legs, increasing blood flow and speeding up recovery.
After a long run, lactic acid builds up in the leg muscles, causing soreness and fatigue. Compression boots for runners and other physical sports could help flush out this lactic acid, reducing muscle soreness and improving recovery time. Since I started using compression boots, you’ll see a significant reduction in my post-run muscle tightness.
They’re super convenient. You can use them while reading, watching TV, or just winding down for the day. If you’re serious about your running and want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to recover properly, investing in a pair of compression boots is a good idea. Remember, your legs put in hard work during a run; it’s only fair you give them the care they need post-run.
Best Compression Boots For Runners
Today, I’d like to share my top 3 picks with you. I’ve done my research and looked at the advantages and disadvantages (pros and cons) of each compression boot in the following section. I’ll start off with an overview of the key features and functions of each one, then list the pros and cons. The 3 models featured in this guide aim to cover all budgets.
RENPHO Legs and Feet Massager - Best Budget Pick
The RENPHO Legs and Feet Massager is highly sought after by runners on Amazon for its exceptional affordability compared to other models. This remarkable device offers a comprehensive compression massage experience that targets your calves, feet, and thighs, effectively relieving muscle tension and promoting faster post-run recovery. With 3 x 2 airbags, the RENPHO compression massager provides a rejuvenating massage, enhancing circulation and soothing tired muscles.
One standout feature of the RENPHO Legs and Feet Massager is its convenient 20-minute auto-off timer, allowing you to unwind and relax without manually turning off the device. Additionally, it offers 3 different intensity levels, giving you the flexibility to choose the perfect pressure for your individual needs, ensuring a tailored massage experience every time.
Portability and ease of use are key strengths of the RENPHO massager. Its compact and travel-friendly design allows for easy carrying wherever you go, making it an ideal companion for runners in need of on-the-go recovery. Moreover, the user-friendly control panel ensures effortless operation, while the use of high-quality materials guarantees long-lasting durability, providing you with a reliable and effective recovery solution. With it’s attractive price point, the RENPHO offers a great option for compression boots for runners who want to give this type of a device a try.
RENPHO Pros & Cons
- Affordable compared to other premium models, which we’ll feature later in this guide.
- Adjustable intensity settings to tailor the compression to your needs depending on the session you’ve just done.
- 6 massage mode give you control over your recovery session.
- Some users report the massager can be a bit noisy
- Not as powerful as some would prefer
FIT KING Compression Recovery Boots - Mid-Range Pick
The FIT KING Compression Recovery Boots offer an unmatched experience for runners, athletes, and gym-goers. Using air compression for a restorative massage, they target your entire legs, providing immediate relief after intense exercise. This makes them a fantastic addition to your sports gear, reducing soreness and speeding up recovery.
These compression boots have 9 intensity levels and 3 modes. The 10 professional massage programs simulate the effect of human hands (in theory!!), catering to various needs – sports recovery, leg pain relief, or daily relaxation needs. The smart sensor system adjusts pressure and inflation volume based on leg size, ensuring a safe, personalised massage every time.
Just a 30-minute session with the FIT KING Compression Recovery Boots reduces muscle soreness and stiffness. The large LCD screen allows easy customisation of private physiotherapy treatment. Plus, the handy carry storage bag makes it portable for travel. Whether relieving leg pain, improving blood circulation, recovering quickly, or releasing tense muscles after exercise, the FIT KING leg massager is a gift that keeps on giving.
FIT KING Compression Recovery Boots Pros & Cons
- Accurate pressure adjustments based on leg size
- Short recovery time after usage
- Versatile with multiple intensity levels and modes
- I have not yet identified any based on the research – price point might be an issue for some, though.
Hyperice Normatec 3 Recovery System - Best Premium Pick
The Hyperice Normatec 3 Recovery System is a highly advanced dynamic air compression boot system and an update by the Hyperice brand. Designed by an MD and PhD, it is the original, most tested, and scientifically backed system available. Using biomimicry, it replicates natural muscle pumps and one-way valves in the legs, making it highly effective for recovery.
With seven compression levels and patented Pulse technology, it delivers precise treatment to five zones using ZoneBoost. For example, after a long run, I could set it to a higher compression level to help flush out lactic acid in my thighs. The refreshed design features an intuitive interface, reduced weight, and next-level features and customisation through the Bluetooth-connected Hyperice App.
Normatec 3 by Hyperice also offers compression therapy for the hips and arms, ensuring full-body recovery. In a nutshell, the Hyperice Normatec 3 Recovery System enhances your recovery process, allowing you to return to your running regimen feeling refreshed and revived.
Hyperice Normatec 3 Pros & Cons
- Advanced and scientifically backed dynamic air compression system
- Versatility in treating different body parts
- High levels of customisation through app connectivity
- The investment might be considerable for some, and you’ll need to weigh up if it’s justified when cheaper options are available.
What Is Pneumatic Compression?
Pneumatic compression is a therapeutic method used to enhance blood circulation and speed up recovery. It involves the use of inflatable garments, like boots, which are wrapped around the limb. These garments are then sequentially inflated and deflated, mimicking the natural muscle contractions and pumping action in the limbs. This process helps to increase blood flow, reduce swelling, and promote the removal of waste products such as lactic acid from the muscles. It’s a technique often embraced by runners and other athletes to aid recovery after intense training sessions or races.
However, it’s important to note that the science behind pneumatic compression boots and devices isn’t entirely settled. While many athletes swear by their compression boots, claiming significant improvements in recovery and performance, some studies suggest that the benefits may not be as pronounced as perceived. It is postulated that the beneficial effects, in some instances, could be attributed more to the placebo effect than to the physical process itself. This implies that the belief in the effectiveness of these boots can make the wearer feel better and recover faster, even if the actual physiological impact is minimal. As with many treatments, individual experience may vary, and what works wonders for one runner might have negligible effects on another. Research in this area is ongoing, and runners are encouraged to approach this recovery method with an open mind and realistic expectations.
Studies & Research Into Compression Boots
Pneumatic compression devices (PCDs) have been extensively studied, but there is a significant difference between what the marketed theories suggest and the actual performance benefits. Some studies indicate that using PCDs helps clear muscle cell metabolites, leading to higher blood lactate levels and lower metabolite levels. Additionally, markers of muscle cell damage, such as creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, have shown similar results. However, it should be noted that these findings are inconsistent.
Articles To Read;
- Haun CT, Roberts MD, Romero MA, Osburn SC, Mobley CB, Anderson RG, Goodlett MD, Pascoe DD, Martin JS. Does external pneumatic compression treatment between bouts of overreaching resistance training sessions exert differential effects on molecular signaling and performance-related variables compared to passive recovery? An exploratory study.
- Draper SN, Kullman EL, Sparks KE, Little K, Thoman J. Effects of Intermittent Pneumatic Compression on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) in Long Distance Runners. Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb.
- However, Dr Jeff Sankoff at TrainingPeaks.com suggests that athletes on a budget shouldn’t prioritise PCDs, as they do not provide any performance benefits or enhance recovery in any meaningful way. He goes on to say that while PCDs offer some subjective benefits, they don’t give a significant benefit over those who don’t use them.
When to Use & Not Use Pneumatic Compression Boots
Pneumatic compression boots can be a valuable asset for a wide range of running experiences and training sessions. Here are a few scenarios when these boots can be particularly beneficial:
- Long-Distance Runs: After a marathon or any long-distance running session, your legs have done a significant amount of work and are loaded with lactic acid. Using compression boots could help speed up your recovery process by clearing out this lactic acid more efficiently.
- High-Intensity Training: Following a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session or a demanding track workout, compression boots can help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, enabling quicker recovery and readiness for the next session.
- Hilly or Challenging Trail Runs: These runs put a lot of strain on your leg muscles, particularly the downhill portions, which can cause micro-tears in the muscles. Compression boots can help alleviate the resultant soreness and speed up muscle repair.
While pneumatic compression boots can be highly beneficial, there are situations where their use might not be necessary:
- Short, Light Runs: If you’re going out for a short, easy jog, your body might not build up a significant amount of lactic acid. In such cases, a good old-fashioned stretching routine might be enough for recovery.
- Rest Days: On days when you are not training or running, you may not need to use the boots. Instead, focus on hydration, nutrition, and good quality sleep to aid recovery.
Remember, while compression boots are a fantastic tool for serious runners, they’re not a magic bullet. They should be used as part of a comprehensive recovery plan that includes proper nutrition, hydration, stretching and rest. As always, listen to your body and give it the care it needs after every run.
Who Are Compression Recovery Boots For & Not For?
Compression boots for runners, are a beneficial tool for those who take their running and sport seriously. If you’re a daily runner, marathon enthusiast, or ultra-runner, you’ll find that compression boots can significantly aid your recovery. They are designed to enhance blood circulation and speed up the removal of lactic acid from your muscles, reducing soreness and helping you bounce back quicker for your next run.
On the other hand, these boots might be a case of overkill if you’re new to running, run casually, or enjoy the occasional park run. The investment might not be justifiable for your activity level and you might be better off using a trusty foam roller for muscle recovery. Instead, consider investing that extra money in a pair of good-quality running shoes and gear, which are essential components for any runner, regardless of the intensity and frequency of their runs.
Alternative Running Recovery Aids You Can Use
While compression boots for runners provide recovery benefits, they aren’t the only method to aid in post-run recovery. There are less expensive and more accessible alternatives that also offer strong recovery support. Simple stretching exercises, for instance, can increase your muscle flexibility and prevent stiffness, aiding in faster recovery and reducing your risk of injury. You could also try wearing compression socks – Danish Endurance compression socks are my personal favs.
Cross-training on a bike is another great option for active recovery. It promotes blood circulation through your lower body, helping to flush out lactic acid without stressing your joints and muscles as much as running. Moreover, it’s a fun way to diversify your training and prevent the boredom of a monotonous running routine.
Inexpensive tools such as foam rollers are also popular among runners. By applying pressure to specific points on your body, foam rolling can help relieve muscle tension and improve your range of motion. Lastly, a massage gun is a handy device that delivers percussive or vibration therapy to your muscles. It’s a powerful tool that can relieve deep muscle, promote better circulation and accelerate healing and recovery. Look at our Bob and Brad C2 review for a great option – I own and use this massage gun, and it’s available at a great price. Ice bath tubs are also becoming creasing popular, not only for muscle recovery after running or sports but also mental well being.
We’ve looked at three models of compression boots that cover different budgets: the RENPHO, Fit King, and the Hyperice Normatec 3. Each model offers unique features tailored to meet the distinct needs of runners and sports enthusiasts.
When it comes to enhancing recovery, these compression boots share a common goal. Incorporating them into your regular recovery routine as a dedicated runner can yield significant improvements in performance and injury prevention. However, it is vital to bear in mind that compression boots are not intended to replace proper training and rest but rather to complement them.
It is crucial to choose the right model that aligns with your specific running routine, body type, recovery goals, and budget. By carefully considering these aspects, you can maximise the benefits and optimise your overall compression boot experience. So, take your time, explore the options, and make an informed decision to make the most out of your compression boot journey.
Disclaimer: This guide contains affiliate links, and I earn a small commission from any sale that occurs via my links. This, however, does not change my opinion; I always do my best to provide the facts and suggest products that will benefit my users. You pay no more and no less for using these links. It does, however, help to sustain my blog.