Do Zensah compression sleeves *actually* work?
It’s one of the most common questions I receive. About 5-10 years ago, everyone wore compression sleeves while running, racing, or recovering. I wore them so much that I had permanent tan lines. Since then, I’ve toned the amount I’ve worn while running outdoors, especially in the desert.
Like many things, there is a difference between compression brands. I cannot emphasize this enough, but some “compression sleeves” are glorified tube socks. That $20 pair of compression socks is probably not giving you a lot of benefits.
About the brand Zensah:
I’ve reviewed a few things from Zensah, including:
Funny enough, I’ve worn their compression sleeves the longest (since 2011, maybe) but never got around to reviewing them. Why is that? I don’t know; perhaps I thought I already did. I recently needed to purchase a few more pairs (because they last forever). This inspired me to write a Zensah compression sleeve review.
Zensah was created in 2004 and derived from the Italian word “SENZA” – meaning “to be without.” Why? They believe athletes should be without limits.
Recently Zensah started using more recycled and sustainable materials in every product. They also make the garments by adding materials until they are completed instead of making excessive fabric and cutting it down. For every 1000 pairs of seamless leg sleeves produced, Zensah saves 125 kg of fabric waste over typical manufacturing processes. I’m all about sustainable clothing, so this excites me!
About Zensah Compression Sleeves:
What do compression socks do?
The regular use of compression products helps reduce edema and increase venous return. Plenty of research shows that compression socks and sleeves help when a person is at rest. But what about running? There isn’t much proof of that. Evidence does show compression sleeves can help reduce muscle soreness. While running, some research is on how compression sleeves can help reduce muscle vibration, increase muscle power, and enhance lactate clearance. None of this is widely researched, but it’s enough to try, right? It’s not like Zensah compression sleeves will hurt you. Plus, with anything, if you “feel better,” you’re likely going to run faster. 80% of running is mental (or something like that).
Zensah’s Compression Sleeves can be used during all activities, including running, ball sports, cycling, cross-training, and traveling. Ok, maybe not all sports because it would be weird to use them swimming.
What makes Zensah Compression Sleeves different?
- Shin splint relief
- Calf support and injury prevention for the lower leg
- Improve circulation and faster muscle recovery
- Sun and UV Protection
- Targeted support: Muscle-mapped 3D v-shaped chevron ribbing helps provide optimal support to pinpoint areas.
- Moisture wicking and breathable: Special yarns help ensure an optimal body temperature while preventing sweat build-up.
- Graduated compression: Helps circulation by increasing venous return. This can help reduce swelling as well as reduce recovery time between workouts.
My Experience with Zensah Compression Sleeves:
I’ve used Zensah compression sleeves for over ten years (probably closer to 12ish). I try to use them most nights, especially after a hard workout or race. Or sometimes, when my legs are just feeling tired. After running a long run yesterday, my legs are tired and I’m writing a review while wearing them.
I usually order a size medium because my calf’s measurement is precisely in the middle of that size. Using them is easy; just put them on. It’s important to note that Zensah Compression Sleeves shouldn’t feel *too tight*; you want your calves to be still able to breathe.
With my use, I’ve noticed I have recovered faster. While Zensah Compression Sleeves are never going to be miracle workers. (You aren’t going to recover from a series injury magically), they are just another thing you can do to help you recover faster.
As far as durability, some of my Zensah compression sleeves have lasted over 4 years. I don’t really replace them often and what usually happens is they have a fun color out and I want that. They are durable and mine have been through the wash multiple times without ruining them. (thank goodness because I am not trying to re-wear them after racing in them).
Zensah Compression Sleeves cost about the same as other medical-grade compression sleeves. Plus, unlike other brands, Zensah comes in many fun colors.
Zensah Compression Sleeves Conclusion:
If you are looking for a way to recover faster, it can’t hurt to try Zensah Compression Sleeves, especially if you often have sore calves. I also enjoy traveling with mine because I feel like my legs do feel better.
Who should buy Zensah Compression Sleeves? Anyone who finds themselves with sore legs and wants to recover faster. You don’t have to be a runner, but anyone from athletes to those with diabetes to even those who travel often.
Who should not buy Zensah Compression Sleeves? If you’re injured and want a “fast fix,” this isn’t it. If you have foot or upper leg problems, the compression sleeves won’t help since they are on your calf. I would be interested to try their full leg compression too.
Are you looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths about running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried Zensah compression sleeves?
What is your favorite compression sleeve?