Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
In the Netflix series Tour de France Unchained, which I enjoyed and told you about several Tech Talks ago, they took you inside the team buses. One thing I noticed is that it appeared that lots of racers wear compression socks.
According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center dot com “Athletes use compression clothing to help promote better blood circulation during or after a workout. Athletic compression wear also provides extra support to muscles and joints, and it might help with recovery. Some feel it helps improve performance, but there’s no solid research to support that.”
I became acquainted with compression socks when I fractured my femur in 1993. The hospital put them on me after bolting me back together again and the doc told me to keep them on during recovery. I was back up to speed on the bike in 10 weeks, which seemed pretty quick. I think the socks helped.
So when CEP offered to send me some of their compression socks to try I said sure. My hip’s fine now but I can have sore legs after harder rides. Along with socks CEP makes quite a selection of Men’s and Women’s athletic compression apparel. You can browse their products and learn more about the company here: https://www.cepcompression.com/.
I was interested to read that their “parent company, medi [the lower case m is correct], based in Bayreuth, Germany has been a world leader in pharmaceutical compression since 1951.” And here I thought compression was something new.
The first photo shows the sock samples they sent and that I’ve been wearing since I received them 4 months ago. Digging into their online catalog you’ll see that they also make the taller fuller-coverage compression socks that the Tour racers were wearing and closer to what I wore for my broken hip. So if you’re looking for compression there’s a sock that should suit your needs. Here’s the Women’s collection: https://www.cepcompression.com/collections/womens-compression-socks
The CEP socks fit just as snugly as you’d expect compression wear to fit. They’re a little harder to get on and off than most of my cycling socks. They’re quite comfortable to wear all day long. They’re slightly thicker on the foot than most cycling specific socks so if you have snug shoes they might make them too tight but they were okay in mine.
As soon as you slip them on you can feel the compression in the arch and the ankle. The footbed is padded too which adds comfort. Having put them on and taken them off many times and washed and dried them too, they hold up really well and the fit hasn’t changed with the laundering.
Most of the socks they sent seem to me more targeted at running than cycling. I don’t run anymore so I tested them out while walking our dogs and wearing running shoes. They definitely feel supportive and comfortable. They’re also breathable and transfer moisture so you don’t overheat.
80’s Mid Cut Compression Socks
The 80’s socks were the ones I wore the most ($19.95 and available in 4 colors) https://www.cepcompression.com/products/80s-mid-cut-compression-socks-men. Here’s the description and specs from CEP:
“The 80’s are back! Inspired by a classic retro look and paired with the industry’s leading compression technology, these classic 80’s Mid Cut Compression Socks for Men allow you to put your running endurance to the test. Increase foot power and feel lighter on your feet thanks to anatomically placed padding in the footbed and premium moisture-wicking fibers that keeps skin cool and dry.”
- Supportive compression in the arch and ankle relieves swelling and soreness and helps to prevent injuries
- Performance padding along the footbed prevents blisters and absorbs shock
- HEIQ Clima-Management Technology cools skin during activity
- Crew length height – Perfect for all sports and activities!
- Breathable yarns are tough and durable
- Athletic compression relieves plantar fasciitis pain
Compression Level: 20-30 mmHg on ankle
Material: 85% Polyamide, 15% Spandex
These CEP compression socks are comfortable, supportive, affordable and durable. They make taller socks and calf sleeves if you are looking for more compression. And it looks like the price tops out at about $60 for the taller socks.
From my experience with the samples I tried, I think if you’re in need of great new athletic socks and especially if you’re looking for compression, you’ll love them.
It would be interesting and helpful to hear your experience with compression socks and other compression apparel if you’ve used it. If so please share in a comment. Thanks!
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. A pro mechanic & cycling writer for more than 40 years, he’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Tune in to Jim’s popular YouTube channel for wheel building & bike repair how-to’s. Jim’s also known for his cycling streak that ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.