CEP was kind enough to send me a pair of their compression running socks to review. The tough thing about doing product reviews of something like a running sock is that you need a basis for comparison. Luckily I’ve used 2xu compression socks as well as socks from Zoot, so now you know what my basis is.
Now, the way I use a compression sock may not be the way you use them. I know of people who only wear a compression sock immediately after running, perhaps for an hour or two. Other people use them while running and after. I tend to use them quite a bit more than that, in that they’re the socks I wear all the time…at least when I’m wearing socks, which is all day some days, and not at all other days. But on the days I wear them, I’ll wear them for a good 10-12 hours or more. I also wear compression socks when I’m biking or running in colder weather, although generally not when it’s warmer.
The way I rate a compression sock is primarily on three factors, since I don’t have any truly scientific way of doing it:
1. Are they really, really hard to get on? If so, that means they’re really tight, and I figure with a compression sock tighter is better, right? I mean, within reason. You wouldn’t want your leg to turn purple or anything, but if a compression sock isn’t tight at all, what good can it be doing? This is one of the downsides of the 2XU socks–they just aren’t tight. It could be that I got a size that is too large, since they also go too far up my calf, but I don’t think they’d be much tighter even if I got a smaller size given the expansionary nature of the material. By contrast, the CEP socks are quite nice and tight.
2. Are they comfortable? This is more than just a preference. An uncomfortable sock, used during exercise, can cause you to modify the motion of your leg and perhaps lead to injury. At worst, you certainly don’t want them causing discomfort that leads to blisters. The CEP socks felt great to me on my first run. They didn’t cause my feet to sweat, didn’t lump up anywhere, and in fact, I forgot I was wearing them, which is as it should be.
3. Do they wear well? Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell with a new sock what shape they’ll be in six months from now, so I’ll have to comment on that next year.
In summary, I’d rate the CEP compression socks on the same level as Zoot compression socks, that is, if you like Zoot socks, but you see some CEP socks on sale for less than Zoot socks, then don’t have any fear buying them. I rate both CEP and Zoot socks as being quite a bit better than the 2XU compression socks I’ve been using.