Top 5 Compression Calf Sleeves

In addition to treating and preventing medical conditions like deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins, compression calf sleeves have become increasingly popular in the sports and fitness world in recent years. They have been observed to reduce lactic acid levels, increase muscle stability, improve recovery time, reduce cramping, and improve speed and strength results in athletes of all levels.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a pair of compression calf sleeves, including how they fit, the quality of the material, the activity you plan to use them for, and the price.

With that in mind, we made our top picks to cover a variety of uses and budgets.

Best Overall: Doc Miller Calf Compression Sleeve

Price: $16.90

Why they’re great: Doc Miller specializes in producing high-quality compression gear that is suitable for a wide range of activities. These calf sleeves feature graduated compression of 20-30 mmHg to help keep your legs feeling strong and pain-free, whether you’re wearing them at work or while working out.  

One thing that sets Doc Miller’s calf sleeves apart from the competition is the wide variety of colors and sizes that are available. While most calf sleeves are available in a handful of colors and maybe a few sizes, Doc Miller offers nine sizes and over 30 colors and styles, making them a great option for just about anyone.

Drawbacks: Some customers have complained that these sleeves fit too tightly at the top.

Specs: 

  • Nylon 77%, Spandex 23%
  • Graduated compression (20-30 mmHg)
  • Seamless construction

Best Value: Blitzu Calf Compression Sleeves

Price: $9.97-$15.97

Why they’re great: Blitzu offers a great compression sleeve option at a relatively low price. Whether you’re looking for a compression sleeve to wear during work, travel, running, or other activities, these sleeves deliver high quality without breaking the bank. In addition to 20-30 mmHg of graduated compression, these sleeves feature a kinesiology tape-inspired design to help stabilize muscles and prevent shin splints.

The moisture-wicking fabric fights bacteria and fungus growth, keeping you dry and preventing odor. They are available in a variety of colors and two sizes.

Drawbacks: With only two sizes available, it may be difficult for some people to find a perfect fit.

Specs:

  • Graduated compression (20-30 mmHg)
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Kinesiology design

Best for Running: CEP Calf Sleeves 3.0 (Men’s and Women’s)

Price: $9.97-$15.97

Why they’re great: Blitzu offers a great compression sleeve option at a relatively low price. Whether you’re looking for a compression sleeve to wear during work, travel, running, or other activities, these sleeves deliver high quality without breaking the bank. In addition to 20-30 mmHg of graduated compression, these sleeves feature a kinesiology tape-inspired design to help stabilize muscles and prevent shin splints.

The moisture-wicking fabric fights bacteria and fungus growth, keeping you dry and preventing odor. They are available in a variety of colors and two sizes.

Drawbacks: With only two sizes available, it may be difficult for some people to find a perfect fit.

Specs:

  • Graduated compression (20-30 mmHg)
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Kinesiology design

Best for Cross Training: SB SOX Compression Calf Sleeves  

Price: $6.95

Why they’re great: SB Sox has only been in business since 2016, but in that short time they’ve built a strong reputation for offering quality products at an affordable price. Their Compression Calf Sleeves are no exception.

The right calf sleeves can help protect your muscles and promote faster recovery. SB SOX knows compression, and this product does not disappoint. With reliable 20-30 mmHg compression, these calf sleeves are the real deal. They offer four different sizes based on calf diameter to be sure you get the fit you need. Recommended by both doctors and trainers, these calf sleeves are just what you need to to keep your legs in optimal shape from CrossFit to spin class.

Drawbacks: The biggest complaint about these calf sleeves is that they run small. For taller people and those with wider calves, it may be difficult to find a size that fits properly.

Specs:

  • Breathable Spandex & Nylon material
  • 20-30 mmHg graduated compression
  • Tear-resistant fabric

Best for Recovery: 2XU Elite MCS Compression Calf Guards

Price: $54.95

Why they’re great: 2XU is a reliable brand for all compression clothing needs, and their compression shorts are no exception. Started by a professional triathlete, 2XU was created to offer high quality, scientifically-backed compression gear to optimize performance, prevent injury, and improve recovery. While 2XU offers a few different calf sleeves, these Elite MCS Compression Calf Guards are their premium option.

They are feature graduated compression as well as Muscle Containment Stamping technology, which is designed to target compression where it is most effective. The moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and fights odor, and flatlock seams prevent chafing. They are available in two different colors and six sizes.

Drawbacks: These are the most expensive calf sleeves on the list.

Specs:

  • 80% Nylon 20% Elastane
  • Graduated compression
  • Muscle Containment Stamping technology

How did we choose these calf sleeves?

With the enormous number of options available in the compression gear category, choosing the best products can be extremely challenging. To put together this list, we looked at a number of important factors including the type of compression, the quality of the material, the specific use and associated benefits, and the cost.

Beyond those criteria, we researched brands, their approach to compression wear, and their reputation with customers. We looked not only at how the product was designed and marketed, but how it performs for real people. We analyzed product reviews from across the web to find both positive and negative trends until we were confident that each product selected will effectively serve the needs of our readers.

What to consider when choosing compression calf sleeves for yourself

Our recommendations will hopefully serve as a useful jumping off point for you in your search for the perfect compression gear. Since each person’s wants and needs will vary, you’ll need to find what’s best for you. To this end, there are a few things to consider. Most important is how you’ll be using your compression calf sleeves. Ask yourself: 

  • Are you using compression calf sleeves for medical, lifestyle, or fitness purposes?
  • If they are for fitness, do you mostly do cardio or strength training?
  • If you are a runner, how often and how far do you typically run? 
  • For sports like basketball or soccer, how often do you play and at what level? 
  • Do you generally perform your activities inside or outside?
  • Do you workout or play in cold weather or warm weather? 

The answers to these questions will help you determine what type of compression calf sleeves are best for you. For runners, graduated compression and more durable material are a great choice. Those who prefer strength training may benefit more from targeted compression that supports the muscle groups being used most. There are also calf sleeves designed specifically to treat or prevent conditions like varicose veins.

What are the benefits of compression calf sleeves?

Compression calf sleeves are often used to prevent or treat medical conditions. While compression gear is not designed specifically to cure any medical conditions, it is recognized as an effective tool in both treating uncomfortable symptoms and preventing further damage. In a medical setting, compression gear has been found to:

  • Decrease the painful symptoms of varicose veins
  • Prevent swelling of the extremities
  • Lower the risk of blood clots during long flights, post-surgery, and during pregnancy
  • Reduce post-surgical swelling following cosmetic and other procedures

They also offer a number of benefits both during and after workouts. While the direct performance benefits of compression in general have been difficult to definitively prove, several studies have shown excellent results when it comes to muscle recovery.

The recovery benefits of compression work in two ways – short-term and long-term – both of which also indirectly impact performance. These benefits are the result of the improved circulation and increased blood flow provided by compression clothing.

  • When worn during workouts, compression produces short-term results by more efficiently removing lactic acid from the muscles. Lactic acid build up is what causes you to feel that familiar burn when stretching your muscles to their limit. By speeding the movement of oxygen to the muscles and lactic acid away from them, compression allows you to bounce back more quickly between sets and reach your goals faster. 
  • When worn during and after a workout, compression eliminates or reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the result of inflammation caused by tiny tears in our muscles. While the repair of these tears is, in part, responsible for muscle growth, DOMS can leave us immobilized in the days following a tough workout. By enhancing the movement of oxygen and other anti-inflammatory agents to the muscles, compression helps muscles heal faster, reducing pain so you can get back to the gym or on the road sooner.

What is Compression Gear?

At the most basic level, compression gear is a category of clothing and other accessories designed to fit tightly around the skin. 

Compression gear has a wide variety of applications including, medical, fitness, and personal uses such as fashion and travel. It continues to grow in popularity as athletes, doctors, patients, and regular people find more creative ways to benefit from these products.

Check out our What is Compression Gear? article to get a bigger picture of how compression work, its many benefits, and the role it plays in Fitness, Health, Travel, and Fashion.

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