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

Earth’s Care Pain Relieving Ointment

Disclaimer: I received a 2.5 oz. Earth’s Care Pain Relieving Ointment 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’re a runner or an athlete, chances are you’ve tried pain relief gels like Icy Cold or Tiger Balm before. I have personally tried a couple brands previously for muscle soreness during softball tournaments and more recently for running recovery. Pro tip: don’t apply to areas that are sunburned.

I recently tested out the Earth’s Care’s Triple Action Pain Relieving Ointment, which comes as a paste in a small jar-like container. It is similar to the other products on the market but boasts having:

  • No Petrolatum
  • No Parabens
  • No Artificial Colors or Fragrances
  • Non-Irritating
  • No Phthalates

It is also allergy tested and is not tested on animals.

Similar to other brands, the Earth’s Care ointment contains three active ingredients that serve as a local analgesic: camphor, menthol, and methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil). The other ingredients are beeswax, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, tocopherols (vitamin E).

Active ingredients

Camphor (paraphrased from Wikipedia): Camphor is a waxy, flammable, white or transparent solid with a strong aroma. It is found in the wood of the camphor laurel, a large evergreen tree found in Asia (particularly in Sumatra, Indonesia and Borneo) and also of the unrelated kapur tree, a tall timber tree from the same region. It also occurs in some other related trees in the laurel family, notably Ocotea usambarensis. The oil in rosemary leaves, in the mint family, contains 10 to 20% camphor, while camphorweed only contains some 5%. Camphor can also be synthetically produced from oil of turpentine. It is used for its scent, as an ingredient in cooking (mainly in India), as an embalming fluid, for medicinal purposes, and in religious ceremonies. A major source of camphor in Asia is camphor basil.

Menthol (paraphrased from Wikipedia): Menthol is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from corn mint, peppermint, or other mint oils. It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above. Menthol has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities, and it is widely used to relieve minor throat irritation. Menthol also acts as a weak kappa opioid receptor agonist.

Methyl Salicylate (paraphrased from Wikipedia)Methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil) is an organic ester naturally produced by many species of plants, particularly wintergreens. It is also synthetically produced, used as a fragrance, in foods and beverages, and in liniments.

My experience

I didn’t have any major running-related muscle soreness during the period that I tested this product. I only used it once on my quad that I tweaked during a run, however, I did use it a fair amount on my chronically stiff/sore neck (“perks” of working a desk job). I found that it did provide some relief when used and also the menthol helped with the low-grade headaches I’ve been getting lately (from not wearing my glasses), plus it smells amazing! I like that it is a waxy paste which doesn’t seem to stain clothes. It’s less messy that the usual gel tubes of other brands.

Check out reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros!

Matt – Christine

Merino Wool BUFF® Headwear

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Merino Wool BUFF® 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!

I’m no stranger to BUFF® Headwear, but this was the first time I’ve tried their merino wool version. The Merino Wool BUFF® is made of 100% natural merino wool, as compared to the usual microfibre polyester of the Original. Although merino wool is typically regarding as a moisture-wicking, winter fabric, it can also keep you cool in the summer. Merino will is also water repellent, odor resistant, flameproof, durable,and provides UV protection.

The Merino Wool BUFF® is about 6 inches longer than the Original BUFF®. I found that instead of folding it into quarters as I do with the original version, this one was better rolled onto the desired headband width. It ends up being a little thick, but in the dead of winter, I bet this extra thickness is welcomed.

I tested out my Merino Wool BUFF® during numbous lunch runs throughout the month. Our weather lately has been cool and rainy. I mainly wore it as a headband and it kept my ears warm (I HATE when they get cold) and dry. Now that the temperatures are hovering around freezing, I think it will make a great neck warmer too.

The Merino Wool BUFF® retails for $29 USD and is available in a variety of colours as well as a funky tie dye pattern. I’m pretty boring and got the grey colour (predictable), but it matches everything at least! It’s a great addition to any BUFF collection and for first-time BUFF wearers as well.

Here are a few quick videos of it (and me) in action thanks to RunGo’s overzealous documentation of their Wednesday lunch runs.

Check out reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros!

Karen – Fallon – Chris – Casey – Emily