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I bought these Skins Compression Powersox a couple of years ago now as I was having problems with my shins and was recommended to give these a try. I ordered them from an online retailer for the price of £15.
--- Composition ---
They are made from 76% Nylon Tectal Microfibre and 24% elastane, which gives them there stretchy but compressive nature. They are black all over with bright yellow stitching down the front and rear and the Skins logo printed on both sides. These are designed to be worn like long socks and so they have a large hole at the top to pull over your feet and then at the bottom there is a loop to go under your heel. They cover your calves and ankle, but not your feet.
--- There function ---
The primary aim of wearing compression garments is to help improve circulation and to reduce the build up of lactic acid in the muscles covered. By doing this, it is meant to help improve your performance by allowing more oxygen to your muscles to help you work harder for longer. These socks are meant to work in that way by focussing primarily on your calves and shins.
The seams are meant to be placed "strategically" so that they help to hold your muscles in place to stop them vibrating unnecessarily during exercise. This is meant to help reduce soreness after exercise.
The manufacturers also claim that these socks offer UPF 50+ protection which is very hand when training or racing in hot climates.
--- My Experience ---
As I bought these because of shin problems when running, my first concern was noticing any improvements. When I first put them on, I found that they were quite tight around my calves and shins. As my problems occurred when running, I tried them out on a short run. Normally I would have had to stop and start a bit due to pain from my shins, however with these on I found that they helped compress my muscles and reduce the pain from my shins.
As I own other Skins products, I was also interested to see what effect they could have on my performance in training and races. I therefore wore them on all runs I did upto the Birmingham Half Marathon and during the race last year. Apart from the reduction in shin pain, I found that these "Powersox" do actually help a lot. The first thing I noticed was that my calves were not tiring as quickly when sustaining a high effort. Secondly was the after effect from training/racing. Normally I would be quite sore from a hard session, even with proper stretching and warm downs. With these I found that the soreness had been reduced quite considerably, which meant my recovery time decreased and allowed me to train harder more often.
I also wear them occasionally the day after races for a few hours at a time. I find that this helps to support my muscles and makes day to day activities less sore. I'm not sure if this helps speed up my recovery, but it certainly makes my calves less sore.
Luckily my shin problems have gone now which means that I don't have to rely on these as much any more. I still use them quite regularly, especially for hard sessions as they help to make it more productive.
--- Longevity ---
I have owned these for nearly a 18 months now and I they are still in very good condition. I have always hand washed them, as per the washing instructions, and they still seem to offer the same support as when they were new. The socks still look and feel like new apart from the logos are starting to fade a little.
--- Where to Buy? ---
You can buy these from any specialist sports shop as they are quite a niche product at the moment. They are starting to become more common as more athletes and sports teams are starting to realise its benefits.
--- More information ---
If you are interested in finding out more on these compression products then I would advise having a look at the companies website. It can be found at http://www.skins.net and on there you can find a lot of information about there compression products and there science behind it.
--- Should I buy some? ---
Yes and no is the answer. I would highly recommend these if you are an active in sports as they can offer great benefits over a long period of time. I wouldn't recommend that you wear them all the time though as your muscles need time without them on too.
However if you are only interested in taking part in sport very occasionally then it probably won't be worth you investing in a pair. They do offer great benefits but for the amount of times you would use them it would be a waste of money. You would also not fully utilise the benefits as the help in reducing recovery time would not be an issue to you.
--- Overall Opinion ---
On the whole I really like these Powersox as they have proved very useful to me in helping to overcome my shin problems and to help me trainer harder for longer. I have found that many of the claims on the packaging and the Skins website have been true in my usage of the product. This is a great product from a great sports company and therefore I am going to give them 5/5.
Aside from these socks, Skins also manufacture a large range of compression clothing for many different uses and sports. They aren't the cheapest sports garments available but they have great functionality and are well worth the money.
Thanks for reading.
This review may also appear on my Blog and on Ciao under the same username.