What’s The Science Behind Compression Tights Helping You Run? …And How to Get the Perfect “Compression Kit”

Compression gear from base layers, calf guards/arm sleeves to tights and socks, your compression kit for running can be designed to help your running performance. As you set out on trying to find the best compression gear for you, you may be wondering what’s the science behind compression tights helping your run.

Increased Oxygen Flow and Levels

The primary reason for the workings of compression gear is that it helps increase the flow of oxygen. Oxygen is an important fuel for the muscles, especially during exercise when you may want to push yourself.

A strong cardiovascular system can increase your running performance. If you are experiencing oxygen deficiency, your heart won’t be able to deliver oxygen to your muscles quick enough. The result is that your body will produce lactic acid, which causes those burning sensations, along with fatigue. That build-up of lactic acid is made most runners stop.

You can reduce the lactic acid build up by having oxygen delivered more efficiently. Compression gear is graduated meaning it is tighter at the extremities (lower calf and ankles) to get the block back to the heart. This will help send the deoxygenated blood back to the heart for oxygen, as well as removing lactic acid.

Muscle Oscillation Reduction

You may have heard the term muscle oscillation. We have discussed this numerous times in this blog series. Muscle oscillation is the muscle movement that happens when vibrations occur as your foot hits the ground. Compression gear can limit this vibration and can prevent trauma to the muscles.

The above two benefits of compression gear and running are simply the main benefits. There are many other benefits and ways compression gear can work to help runners and other athletes. Here’s a summarized list:

Improves overall circulation/Increases muscle oxygenation — Because compression gear pushes your blood toward the heart more efficiently, you blood receives oxygen more effectively, which can improve performance.

Speeds up recovery — Due to the increased circulation, your muscles will feel less sore/strained quicker.

Speeds up lactic acid removal — Due to the increased circulation, lactic acid will be removed from your system faster, so you will feel less muscle soreness and other such factors of working out/training.

Reduces exercise-related muscle damage

Reduces muscle oscillation — see above.

Improves/increases endurance

Boosts strength/power

Improves temperature control

Reduces edema (swelling) when flying

“Compression Kits for Runners”

Many runners have developed a “kit” of compression wear that benefits their training and performance. These kits often include:

Tights — Compression tights give graduated support around the ankles to help blood return to the heart. Compression tights also support the knees and quads – which can be trouble spots for runners.


Calf sleeves — Sleeves are an ideal option when it is too hot to wear full tights. Sleeves will still help boost blood flow and reduce muscle oscillation to assist faster recovery.


Socks — Compression socks will give pressure from the ankle to the calf to promote blood flow reduce muscle oscillation.


Tops — Compression tops can adjust your posture. By opening up the chest area you can take in more oxygen.


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