Compression Sleeves vs. Socks

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression Wear performance compression calf sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

If you are looking into trying compression, you have likely looked at a wall of products and wondered whether you should get socks or sleeves. There are pros and cons of both and it is important to do your research and determine what is best for you.

I’ve now tested both the socks and sleeves made by Legend Compression Wear. You can read my previous post for my thoughts on their socks. But basically, I like their products because they are “right not tight,” meaning that the level of compression is comfortable, not painfully restricting like some brands I’ve worn.


The first and obvious difference between the socks and the sleeves, is that the sleeves allow you to still wear your favourite pair of socks with them. For instance, I love to wear Injinji toe socks to prevent rubbing between my toes on my longer runs. They also allow for easier changing of socks, which you might do during a longer race with drop bags or after a run.

Most recently I’ve discovered that compression socks or sleeves (with gaiters to cover the split between your socks and sleeves) are both great for snowy adventures! We’ve received an usual amount of snow lately in Vancouver which quickly hardens to icy snow. I’ve had a few runs where we end up postholing and whacking/scraping our shins as we sink in to knee to full leg depth. Long socks or sleeves are a life saver for your legs plus provide an extra layer of warmth.


I brought a couple pairs of calf sleeve with me when I did my epic TransAlpine Run as recovery was key to completing the 7-day, 250 km stage race. After every day of running I’d have a cold shower or bath, rub some icy cold on my legs, elevate my feet for a while, and wear my calf sleeves, in varying order. And I’d sometimes wear my calf sleeves to bed. I like them better than socks for this because I can’t stand to have socks on my feet while I’m sleeping (is that weird?). I also often wear thong flip flops after running so calf sleeves are great for that too!

Warning: I’ve heard that compression sleeves might not be a good idea overnight because you could get ankle and foot swelling. However, I have not personally noticed a problem with this.

Since compression is always a topic of great debate, I’d love to hear from you.

  • Do you wear compression?
  • If so, what do you prefer: sleeves or socks?
  • Do you wear them mostly for running or recovery?

Try Legend Compression Wear for yourself! Use code “rave20” to get 20% off your purchase!

Check out review by my fellow BibRave Pros!

Nora – Jeremy – Jen – Heather



  1. Hello Brie! Compression socks and sleeves also differ in that socks can treat plantar fasciitis, since the compression garment also covers the feet. If you felt your previous socks were too tight, they were not the right size for you.
    I am all for wearing compression socks. I cover long distances every day, so I have to recover in very short time. Before using socks I had to miss workouts because muscle pains and soreness. Now I can fully recover in less than 24 hours.
    We don’t get much snow where I live, so I can’t really add to the conversation on that part 😉

    1. Good point! I’ve had some issues with what I think was plantar fasciitis before. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

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