When discussing compression clothing I default to what I call my “Rocket Man Song Defense” which is a nice way to say “All the science I don’t understand”.
The Science – That I’ve Read
The gist of compression garments is that creating varying compression of parts of your body can assist in strategically increasing blood flow to either improve performance and/or improve recovery.
Great right? Who doesn’t need help keeping the wolves at bay deep into a race or training run? And what would you pay to shorten the recovery time between racing and training or between training runs when the legs feel like lead and the kids want to kick the soccer ball around the yard. Seems like a drug free and natural way to help the body perform better.
I want to disclose up front that I have both paid for and also received free product from EC3D for testing.
EC3D is a proud Canadian company that got their start with this technology making compression garments for the medical market.
Their claimed advantage is the variable compression that their products provide. The compression varies in the garment in order to offer specific compression in specific areas in order to elicit the result of improved performance or improved recovery.
EC3D Calf Sleeves
I bought this product when wanting to try compression sleeves to help with my training efforts. My legs were often fatigued when increasing mileage and I thought they would help.
I went to my trusty Running Free location and the store rep quickly ran a measuring tape around my calf to assist in picking the specific size I needed. This is very important as they are sized based on calf circumference. I was concerned that the garment might be too long as I am quite short but they fit just fine.
What drew me to this product was the variable compression claims and also the fact they were made in Canada. They were very competitively priced so I felt it was 3 strikes against the competition.
The first thing you will notice is that these suckers are tight and hard to get on. But once on you appreciate the fact the compression isn’t uniform as your legs aren’t uniform in shape.
Secondly, the box advertised that the product works for both performance and recovery which is what I wanted.
The other cool thing about this product is that is uses Antimicrobial fibres (Rocket Man) that thwarts the stink of frequent use. I can tell you first hand it works incredibly.
EC3D 3 in 1 Hybrid
This product is for someone who wants it all. It includes three garments: Performance compression sleeves, recovery compression sleeves and compression socks.
The difference in the performance vs. recovery sleeves are the placement of the varying compression components. It makes sense in theory that specifically designed sleeves for differing purposes could deliver better results vs. one garment.
The compression socks are great as well. They fit tight and feel very thin. They feel great on and I have had zero rubs or hot spots wearing them. I put them into the sock rotation immediately.
Does It Work?
I think the scientific and running community jury may be out a bit on whether there is a lasting effect provided by compression. It’s kind of like the ice bath debate. As long as I see ultra runners wearing compression and jumping into ice baths I have to think it’s a bit more than a theory.
In this case I don’t care if it’s a placebo effect or a real medicinal effect, it works for me.
Putting on the garment elicits an immediate cooling effect. It’s as if you can feel the blood flow improve instantly. In recover situations it definitely seems to shorten the fatigue.
The additional effect is a reduction of damage resulting from the constant pounding and vibration of thousands of steps on the road or trail. This is a real benefit to me as well and is a noticeable effect.
In closing, if you haven’t tried compression it’s a good time to give it a shot. Buying new cool stuff is a definite side benefit to running and EC3D has the science behind it at a great price while being made in Canada.