Our Top Pick for Recovery, the 2XU Compression Recovery sock, is unique among the socks we tested for this review. Ideal to wear after activity, this sock is designed for recovery instead of aerobic wear. The level of graduated compression is high (28-33 mmHg) which really pushes the blood in your calf upwards. After running a 17+ mile race in the San Juan mountains with 4,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, one tester pulled this sock on to alleviate her muscle fatigue. She was incredibly impressed when, after wearing them to bed, her legs felt as though she hadn't done anything the day before. If she hadn't been wearing this sock, she would have been "naturally" recovering for 2-3 days. This sock definitely aided her recovery (even if it was a placebo effect)! In addition to being a great post-aerobic recovery sock, we found it was also great for working all day on our feet. If you hate wearing calf covering socks during a workout, but want to reap the benefits of compression after your work-out, then our Top Pick for Recovery may be for you.
If you're looking for a sock with a high level of compression that's suited for wear during activity, check out the Editors' Choice winning 2XU Compression Performance Run - Women's (25-30 mmHg). Or if you want a sock with a little less compression, check out the Pro Compression Marathon Socks - Women's (22-26 mmHg).
2XU Compression Recovery - Women's Review
Cons: Little breathability, little padding, hard to take on and off
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Although our Top Pick for Recovery ended up with the lowest score of the bunch, it's important to note that this is only because it's designed for a different purpose. When we tried to exercise with it on, our legs felt claustrophobic as there was no room for calf expansion when the blood began to flow. As the manufacturer suggests, we concluded that these socks are not intended for use during high aerobic activity, but they are perfect for post-workout relaxation. Overall, the fabric is nice and breathable, but this sock scored the lowest in this category since it has no additional breathability panels like all the running compression socks tested. Padding in the foot is minimal and it was the hardest to take on and put off.
Comfort & Fit
Even though this sock is not the most comfortable as an aerobic sock, it's perfect for recovery. The level of compression is 33 mmHg at the ankle and gradually reduces to 28 mmHg at the top of the calf. This sock has the highest level of compression, which is exactly what sets it apart from the rest. The seamless toe has no additional material, which means no bunching. It comes right under the knee and sports a specific left and right foot fit.
In terms of compression, we noticed that it was most pronounced in the ankle and arch region; the Achilles tendon felt very secure and the compression decreased as you move up the calf. Like our Editors' Choice Award winner, the fabric is soft and comfortable on the skin. Overall, the fabric is comfortable, but again, this sock is built for recovery instead of aerobic activity.
For the function of recovery, padding on the foot is not really necessary. This sock had the least amount of padding in the foot, which earned it the lowest rating when compared to the others. This is actually an advantage for recovery as it allows more compression in the lower region (foot/ankle) which results in better recovery. If you're looking for a sock with more padding, check out the CEP Progressive+ sock.
Once again, this sock is not designed for use during activity. The fabric itself is breathable, but there are no additional "breathable panels" on the sock. All the other running socks have panels with larger fabric pores, which allows more air to flow through in increase breathability. The 2XU recovery sock did not have this feature and also took the longest to dry in our "dunk and dry" tests. That said, the level of breathability is perfect if you were to wear this sock to work or under a pair of pants. As with our Comfort metric, this sock scored fairly low because it's not designed for aerobic activities.
Ease of On & Off
It's not surprising that this sock was the most difficult to put on and take off. The high level of graduated compression means the fabric is not as stretchy as say, our Editors' Choice winner, the 2XU Compression Performance Run. Fresh out of the package, our calves felt like a fat guy in little coat, but over weeks of wear, this sock stretched out just enough to make donning and doffing a little bit easier. If you want a sock that's easy to take on and off, check out the Zensah Tech+, which has the least amount of compression in this review.
Even though this sock works best for recovery, we still needed to take them out on the trails to really test their durability. When we took them trundling through the forest, they held up surprisingly well. With little to no padding, we didn't notice if there was any packing out like we noticed with other aerobic socks and the fibers didn't exhibit any pilling after many cycles through the washing machine. Overall, we were impressed with durability and awarded this sock with top marks in this category.
Earning an award as our Top Pick for Recovery, this sock is best just for that use. The level of compression is the highest tested (28 - 33 mmHg), the fabric is not very stretchy, and it's not as breathable as another running-specific compression socks. As a result, it's perfect for pulling on after any hard day, but not recommended for wear during sweaty and calf-expanding pursuits.
This is a great deal in our book! When we did a little research, we discovered that recovery socks range in price from $20 - $75. At $44.95 you are getting a fabulous sock for a middle of the road price.
Even with the lowest score of the lot, this sock has a very specific niche and we gave it our Top Pick for Recovery. The high level of compression and comfortable fibers make it ideal for post-workout wear or even just everyday wear and traveling. It's important to note that this sock is different from the other socks tested because it is built for recovery, not running. All of our testers that tried this sock said it worked wonders after a long day standing up or exercising.
— Amber King