Picking a product of the year usually starts in the Summer each year. By the time Fall rolls around, I’m in the process of testing different brands of products that I’m considering and then something always seems to happen to verify my gut feel. I’m on the way somewhere and I spy a couple of Ironman triathletes bound for a race invariably decked out in whatever product that I’ve been considering for that year. Those Ironmen and Ironwomen just seem to be so well stocked up on their gear. I recall the first time that I saw Crocs for example. It was the 2004 Ironman in Kona and — seriously — everyone was wearing them.Fast-forward to October 2009: Denver International Airport and I’m sitting next to Jamba Juice slurping my breakfast. I look over to my right and there they are. Two Kona-bound athletes decked head-to-toe in “every brand”. It wasn’t hard to spot them with their Rudy Project sunglasses on their heads at 8:30AM inside the airport terminal. But it was their feet that caught my attention. Both of them had on my product of the year pick: 2XU Compression Racing Socks. (In this case, they were actually wearing the 2X Compression Recovery Socks, but I’ll come back to the difference in a few paragraphs.)
Compression products have quite literally burst onto the scene over the last two years. The first exposure most people may have had had to them was seeing some of the top female marathon runners, including Paula Radcliffe, wearing what appeared to be knee-high socks in their races. Slowly compression products began spreading out across the globe, providing a new type of support to various parts of the body. In 2009 this product segment really took shape with several brands marketing full ranges of products and compression items garnering wide acceptance with athletes.
The idea behind compression products is that by applying mild pressure around an area of the body, the return of blood to the heart is aided. This reduces pooling of blood in the extremities, improves lactic acid removal, and reduces the feeling of fatigue. While you may thinking this sounds a lot like the compression hosiery that your Aunt Betty wears, there are differences. Support hose used in treating circulatory problems have a higher level of compression. So think of Aunt Betty’s socks as really squeezing her legs, while athletic compression support just provides a little boost to the circulatory system. Also, athletic compression products are made to be warn during exercise and keep their compression after the repeated pounding of hearty muscular action.
To continue reading, click here.