If there’s one thing I’ve learned about pregnancy and running, it’s to expect the unexpected. Especially at this stage in the game (about 23 weeks) where some days I barely feel like I know my own body anymore…let alone know how to maneuver it through mileage that used to be a breeze but now has pausing every now and then to catch my breath, constantly re-adjusting my ever-shrinking workout wardrobe and stopping for (inevitable…and consistent) pee breaks.
With my mid-run annoyance meter set to super-sensitive, it’s more important now than ever before to limit additional distractions while working out. After all, the point is to get out, stretch my legs and clear my head — and that’s a lot easier said than done unless I make sure to get a few variables under control, such as fueling, hydration and gear.
Since food and water are priority numeros uno and dos these days, those are pretty much a given. But gear, that’s something I’m always tinkering with, trying to find the right combination to make my body happy so my brain can turn off for a while during a run.
And, as you know, I’ve been extolling the virtues of compression for years so it was high time that I put it to the test during pregnancy. While the actual claims are always up for debate (more power and endurance, less exertion and vibration), the placebo effect has won me over time and time again…so when Legend Compression Wear sent me a pair of their compression performance socks to check out, I could.not.wait to get out on the roads with ’em.
“My Vision for LEGEND™ began with the notion of …Be a LEGEND™ which really formed our thinking around our Performance Wear products,” said the company’s president and founder, John Thomas. “We want to provide the necessary support for athletes to reach their goals.”
Geared specifically towards improving performance, Legend’s muscle stabilization and overall graduated compression technology (15-20 mmHg) claims to help improve endurance, decrease injuries and speed recovery times thanks to increased oxygen levels and blood circulation. Now, I’m not sure if that’s true, clinically, but I’ve worn my fair share of compression gear, so I’m always interested to see how the different brands stack up against each other.
Immediately out of the package, I liked how soft and stretchy the fabric was, along with the seamless toe and foot that is cushioned yet made to expand slightly to the shape of your tootsies. These may seem like minor points, but trust me — when you’re a few miles into a run and get blindsided with a blister, you’ll start thinking twice about what you put on your feet!
Legend’s Compression Performance Socks also get bonus points for arch support to keep the socks from slipping and extra support at the heel and Achilles, along with special yarn and stitching that not only wicks moisture, but also allows legs and feet to breathe.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re thinking. That all sounds great. But what’s the verdict post-run?
First off, let’s talk fit and form: I particularly loved how easy these socks were to get on; I’ve never liked breaking a sweat trying to wrestle myself into my compression gear before, but now ain’t nobody got time for that with a growing belly getting in the way. And an added perk is that Legend’s socks are nice and long; one of my pet peeves are knee-high socks that don’t come up to the knee..and these will accommodate even the leggiest of runners.
As for function, I tested them out on several runs ranging from three to six miles, and they passed my tests with flying colors. Not only were they comfortable and supportive without being overly restrictive, but they also were thick enough to feel substantial while remaining breathable. Honestly, I was having so much fun plodding along each time (gotta love fall running!) that I forgot I had ’em on, which is always the mark of great gear.
The only downsides? Well, besides the fact that they’re only available in a few colors (you can tell from the pics that subtlety is not my strong point when it comes to workout wear...but I’ll give the brand a break because they’re new and growing), they’re a bit of an investment ($49.99), yet pretty comparable to what else is out there.
But before you balk at the piece, remember that these socks are for more than just running; I always wear a pair when flying and love to lounge around in them on off days, plus I know they’ll also come in handy when combating pregnancy “cankles.” So when you factor cost-per-use, they’re not as outrageous as you’d think!
For more info on Legend’s compression wear, visit the company’s website here.