How Compression Apparel Works

Photo: Scott Draper

What’s with all the spandex?

You’ve probably seen fellow racers wearing tall compression socks, calf sleeves, thigh highs and full tights, wondered what they’re all about and whether you should get some, too. These garments are based on a concept medicine validated long ago: that compression clothing increases blood and lymphatic flow. In sports, compression garments are meant to improve performance and expedite recovery. Although there isn’t yet a consensus among experts if compression apparel really works, research has shown that it just might do what manufacturers say it does.

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