Hey Matt, want to try some compression socks?
I’ve never worn them. I’ve never felt the need to.
Want to give them a shot?
That was essentially the conversation before I received a pair of the Fit Shit compression socks. I’ll be honest, I’m one of the most skeptical people you’re going to meet. When I see any kind of fitness gadget, gear or special medically infused spiritual copper compression gear… I tend to call bullshit and ask for empirical evidence to support claims. Compression gear is full of those claims.
Improve circulation. No more muscle cramps. No flailing about. Increase your libido by 10,000%!!
I’ve even had some pretty, spirited, discussions with a couple different compression apparel owners about the claims on their products and what anecdotal evidence vs empirical shows. So, when I received my package, I wasn’t expecting much. Enter the Fit Shit knee high compression socks. I’ve beaten the hell out of these socks for a solid four weeks consisting of: three days a week training, three days post workout wear and one Spartan Sprint. So, what did these do for me at all, and why should you care either way?
First off, fit (see what I did there). For many of us that have been competing in Obstacle Course Racing for the past few years, we all have some rather developed calves. We run, we run some more, then we run up hills, and sometimes we even run more after that. Shocking, I know. I was very pleased that these were able to easily fit over my calves and keep their opening diameter small enough as to not ride down my leg. Plus, they are just comfortable. Some compression items just seem rough or have too much squeeze at seems and openings. No problems here from any of that.
Next, let’s talk about training. Lately my coach, Yancy Culp, has been giving me training programs that I’m sure are to get me ready to run up Mt. Kilimanjaro. So, think 30% incline for extended periods multiple times a week. Imagine the calf strain many of us got while at Tahoe or OCRWC this past 2016 year, that’s my Monday-Wednesday-Friday. During my climbs the calf burn is real. This is where that anecdotal evidence comes in. I actually felt a difference. How much difference? Might you ask… Enough to not hate my life. These socks did a great job of helping keep the lactic acid build up at bay. The burn wasn’t bad. It was refreshing to be able to get through the entire 30% endeavor and then walk without that bump we all get in our step after incline training.
After training, recovery is always key. There’s an acronym we all know. Even its sound is foreboding. Of course, I speak of the dreaded DOMS. If you don’t know DOM, go do some calf raises for 45 minutes without break, then get back to me in two days. The following week, I only wore these socks after doing those climbs. This is where the empirical evidence comes into play. This does a great job of helping to lessen the effect of DOMS. After races, I always wear full compression tights because I need my legs to recover for the Sunday race, or the flight back the next/later that day. These socks did a great job of taking care of my calves for recovery. If your lower legs take a bit to recover, these are going to be great for you.
Now, let’s talk about race day. Enter the Spartan Race – Dallas Beast/Sprint weekend. On the Beast, I went with my tried and true ensemble which is just compression shorts, short socks and my Inov-8 shoes. Now, I podiumed at this race, and I still made the wrong decision, I should have worn my Fit Shit socks. If you haven’t been following climate in the past couple years, Texas went from insane drought, to overflowing, which means ALL of the grass, brush and cactus is fully grown and ready to rip all of the skin from your being in the most unforgiving manner possible. Imagine, running through a pool of water that is just under knee deep. You can’t pick your legs up out of the water, you just have to run through it. That’s how much tall grass and brush we had to go through for 13.1 miles. Don’t believe me? Go look at any race recap from anyone, I’ll wait.
By the end, both of my shins from just below my knee to the top of my foot was just red, because my entire epidermal layer hath been spread across the land by carnivorous flora. The next day, I came ready for the split section of the sprint and whatever plant life was left on the double run sections. I made the correct decision. There were plenty of thorn bushes left on the main trails, and the Sprint split section was untouched and therefore, hungry for more sacrificial layers of skin. While the brush tried everything: catching thorns, wrapping around on a full step, and clawing at me like a hungry velociraptor. Not only did these severely lessen the pain my already destroyed legs felt, they help up to the abuse. There were many articles of clothing sacrificed that weekend. So many leg coverings ripped to shreds and these things just took the punishment and kept ticking.
Washing Compression Gear
The quick one is, washing machine longevity. Compression gear gets destroyed from constant wash/dry cycles. I put these through 16 wash cycles in four weeks with minimal change in compression feel. I did this intentionally to accelerate the wear and tear put on most people’s athletic garments, and I’m happy to say they hold up very well to prolonged ownership conditions.
In all, these socks performed extremely well in all aspects of the athletic training and racing cycle. At no time, did they become uncomfortable or even start to slip down my legs. They provide great protection from race elements; and I highly recommend their use if you need additional calf support or recovery after training and races. The Fit Shit socks, are some really exceptional shit.