Sure, you run for the workout first, but having the right look when you're out going stride for stride also doesn't hurt. Calf warmers, also known as calf or compression sleeves, have become a popular running accoutrement for the distance runner. A combination of potential physical and aesthetic benefits have turned the article of clothing into more than just a fad. The sleeves come in a variety of styles to both suit your run and match your outfit.
Trail running can be treacherous. For runners out in the woods, especially those going out on a regular basis through multiple seasons and rugged terrain, you often opt for pants to avoid the nicks and scrapes. Calf sleeves protect lower legs from these running consequences, as well as paths lined with poison oak and other troublesome flora or insects.
As a runner, you're always trying to make sure you do whatever possible to stay free from injuries and continue running. Calf warmers, or more technically compression sleeves, are proven to limit swelling if you're pounding the pavement for prolonged intervals. Runners equate the "compression technology" results to that of an ice bath, also supporting blood flow and increasing freshness or recovery post mega-run. The notion of actual performance benefits from calf sleeves is largely still undecided.
Keep Clean and Stay Warm
You tend to expect that running outside equates to getting a little dirty, but calf warmers do protect against dirt and repel mud or sand build-up on legs. They also often suffice for enough warmth to wear shorts on the in-between days when you're considering pants but want the freedom of shorts. Since they're available in a number of different dry-fit materials, they suit a wide variance in fit and airflow preference.
One of the important considerations when choosing calf warmers is testing out the size to make sure they're snug, but not too tight. Too loose, and they'll move around and not support the compression intended design. Too snug, and they could actually hurt circulation, running movement and overall comfort. Trying a few on to make sure the moisture-free, athletic material feels comfortable and the size provides compression will give you a better idea if calf sleeves feel like the right running companion.
Carly Bartkiewicz started her writing career at Canada's "The Hamilton Spectator" in 2003, serving as a general assignment and sports reporter. After moving to Southern California, she joined the "San Diego Union-Tribune," contributing community features for the South Bay. Bartkiewicz has since held the role of managing editor of "Carlsbad Magazine" and "Encinitas Magazine."