Compression Socks – First Test in '15
I picked up my first pair of Mudgear compression socks a couple years ago from OCR Gear, Adrian asked me to test 'em out and let him know what I thought. I was impressed with the fit out of the package; tight enough to provide compression and support without feeling like a sausage on my calves or too tight in the toes or midfoot. Anatomically, they fit perfectly. After trying them out at a Terrain Race, they were thrown wet & muddy into a mop sink and my garage and promptly forgotten for a week or so… maybe longer.
By the time I finally pulled them out, they smelled about as fragrant as you'd imagine, and I'd already begun testing a new pair of compression socks, so after a quick rinse they were thrown into the ‘ol MRG RV as a backup pair for Atlas Race in San Antonio. Needless to say, the “new” compression socks tore out at the heel after only a few miles on the course, and I switched back to the Mudgear socks for the remainder of the weekend and about half of the ride home to soothe my aching calves. That trip right there sold me on the product, and I still have that original pair in my gear bag – but now, it has plenty of brethren along for the ride too.
1/4 Crew Trail Socks #4eva
Even though I was wearing Mudgear compression socks and occasionally alternating them with OCR Gear's own model, I was still wearing ProSok low-rise socks 99% of the time; I'd developed a great relationship with the company and had more pairs than I knew what to do with. They were a comfy, cushiony sock that was a little tight in some shoes due to all the padding, but actually were pretty great until they got thin and tore at the toes. When Malko (Alex) sent me a pair of the Mudgear 1/4 Crew Trail Socks, I knew I'd found the perfect blend of cushioning in the toebox, light compression in the arch, and a stay-put heel and collar to keep debris out while running on AZ trails or OCRs where I didn't feel like wearing the full compression ones.
I'm proud to say I wear the 1/4 crew every day, gray/black, black/orange, and OCRWC green & gray depending on my shoe choice. Yes, I wish they had a white pair to go along with some of my road running shoes, but I'm willing to deal with it.
Durability & Wearability
Obviously, OCR puts some serious stress on gear, especially socks. Running with debris in one's shoes is akin to taking a belt sander to socks, especially when the material is waterlogged and stretched out of shape. Thankfully, Mudgear's poly materials shed water and stand up to such abuse while still fitting comfortably, and I've yet to see any significant wear & tear and haven't had a blister yet during any running conditions – even waterlogged feet. Now, I'm not exceptionally prone to toe and instep blisters, but one problem area has plagued me with a few pairs of shoes over the last year – achilles chafing. A few different pairs of shoes I was testing in 2016 had a heel cup that hit me at exactly the wrong spot with my previous socks which led to extreme discomfort and a week or two of no running to let it heal properly. The Mudgear 1/4 Crew Trail Sock fixes that problem 100%; the slightly higher than average collar is the perfect combination of grippy to stay in place with enough fabric for cushioning & protecting my achilles tendons, without feeling like I have a big, heavy collar around my ankle.
Are There Any Benefits to Compression?
I'm not a scientist or kinesiologist, so don't look to me for anything more than anecdotal evidence one way or the other, ok? Here's what I think after wearing multiple different brands, models, and sizes of compression socks and sleeves for years:
- Aside from a stupidly misguided attempt to PR marathons on back-to-back weekends in 2013, I've never had a really bad race while wearing compression socks. Whether it's superstition or the magical healing powers of squeezy lycra garments hugging my gastrocnemii, you can decide for yourself.
- My calves feel fresher while running longer distances, I have chalked that up to less impact/shaking of calves per each footfall (or once again, magic).
- When running marathons, knee-high compression socks are a perfect place to slip an extra energy gel
- During OCRs, a little extra shin and ankle protection is never a bad thing
- Let's face it, they just look pretty cool
Try ‘Em For Yourself!
Mudgear Compression Socks won't break the bank at $37/pair as they are durable to put up with a season or more of abuse and the 1/4 Crew Trail Socks come in packs of (2) for $30, and I can personally attest that you'll get a lot of training or daily use out of these as well.
Save an additional 10% w/discount code MRGUIDE too!