As a contributer to TriCrowd.com, I was fortunate enough to be approached to test out, and write a review for, some new compression gear. The excellent folks over at Tricrowd.com dropped me a line and I said that I'd be more than happy to help them out.
For the record: I was provided the product free of charge in return for writing a fair and unbiased review. A favorable review is not / was not guaranteed due to the receipt of the free product. Furthermore, I did not receive any monetary gift or donation to review this product. The only compensation is the use of said product.
Now, truth be told, I'm not a big compression gear user. At the suggestion of my physical therapist, I do have a pair of compression socks that I bought and used when I broke my ankle, to keep the swelling down when I was back on my feet and went back to work. I have to admit, by the end of the day, while wearing them, my injured leg actually felt pretty good and the swelling in my ankle was held at bay. Still, even as I've been able to ramp up my cycling mileage - and looking back to years past - I've never used compression gear as part of my recovery process. I've seen lots of people walking into the transition area before a race wearing all sorts of various compression gear. I guess it served them well or they wouldn't be using the products. But it didn't resonate as something I needed to do.
So, I received my pair of Tommie Copper calf compression sleeves. "Why not?", I thought. I'll see if there's anything that this compression stuff can help with recovery.
So, what's the verdict? What's my impression? To put it simply: I'm intrigued.
I brought the gear along on our annual trek up to northern Connecticut where I'd be getting some good cycling mileage with some significant climbing and elevation gains. I rode a couple days hard and used the sleeves for an hour or two afterward. I then rode a couple days and didn't use them. I have to admit, after wearing the compression sleeves my calves felt pretty good, and they seemed to help keep the "pump" that is the calf muscle working as it helps to flush out fluids from the lower leg. This is something I've become quite familiar with after breaking my ankle. I still get a bit of swelling after working out or physical therapy. The compression socks I mentioned above helped flush out the fluid build-up in my ankle and I saw the same effect with the Tommie Cooper sleeves. Even after an easier ride (still had some intensity, I'll admit) I didn't wear them and my ankle stayed a little swollen. Hmmmm.
What I thought was also interesting was that when I first put them on I thought that I'd ordered a size too large. I followed the sizing chart on the website and ordered size medium as the chart instructed. I didn't feel a lot of snugness and wondered if I needed to go down a size. Just to be sure I washed them up and threw them in the dryer (they're advertised as dryer safe). Seemed to help a little (even if it was maybe a little bit of a 'mental' improvement). Calves felt good, ankle wasn't puffy, and I forgot that I had them on.
The best part about these compression sleeves (Well, okay, maybe not the best part, but for sure a very good reason to give them a once over)? The price. Other brands sell calf sleeves for anywhere from $40 - $55+. These run $20. For the price, you can't not give them a shot.
I've been putting these on after every ride - and will after every run as soon as I'm able to get back out and do that - and have to say that I like the way my legs feel.