Marathon Gear – Do CEP Compression Socks REALLY Work?

Marathon Gear – Do CEP Compression Socks REALLY Work?

As I train for my first marathon, I’ve come to appreciate there is a LOT of potential gear to buy. In 2014, you don’t just get a pair of shoes, lace them up and go for a run. You would be SO naïve to think it’s that simple. During my first race waiting in my corral, I noticed people tricked out like you wouldn’t believe. I wasn’t sure if this was an early attempt at some odd Halloween costume or if runners have a secret Batman fetish! I honestly started to doubt myself and think – “Am I missing something? Do I need a camelback? Fuck, did I not hear they closed the aid stations already! Why do you need that many wristbands? Is it comfortable to wear that many water bottles on a belt? Those headphones seem very large. Are mine to small? Why is that person wearing sleeves? Do I need knee high socks?” Then you look over and see a 50 something in gear they wore in high school getting ready to run in shoes that look as if they do double time during gardening. SO CONFUSING!!!!!!! FUCK! Our corral is getting called, time to run!

I survived that 10 mile race and didn’t need half the stuff I saw others wearing. I bet these same people NEVER follow airline carry on rules! It was then that I got an email asking if I’d like to demo some CEP Compression socks for the blog. I’d once worn calf sleeves from another compant – I thought they looked cool but I realized I looked like a douche and never wore them much after the first week or so and never felt any different.

I signed up for the CEP Compression challenge and sent in my calf size (Apparently and I’ve heard this oddly twice in the last week, I have big calves. This is  a thing?) and color preference. My red socks arrived soon after and I was excited to try them on my next long run. Would they work for “real” or would my mind think they worked???

Putting the socks on the first time is a bit of a chore. You literally turn them inside out and slowly pull them over your foot and up your calf. They’re very tight that first time and difficult to get on. The second go around is way easier and again you turn them inside out, best way to get them on actually. Once I had them on, I wasn’t sure if I would be going for a run or ready to take a penalty kick in the World Cup!

The purpose of the socks is to promote blood flow in the calves and many other health benefits. You can check out their site for loads of technical, sports “sciencie”, medical info. The socks are surprisingly cool and comfortable during any run, long or short, during hot summer days. The sock part, in the shoe, is actually really solid. I didn’t get any blisters or have any added foot issues.

After the run, I literally pull them inside out, so they can air dry and be ready for the next run. After a couple runs and washes, they didn’t loosen at all. The care for these are like any other sock even thought they’re not normal socks.

But I had to honestly ask myself after a week, do these really work or am I mentally fooling myself in to the placebo affect to the tune of $60? I would say they do work and are helpful. Whether you wear them during your run or just for recovery, compression for me has worked. They fit and feel a lot better than the sleeves, which I think are more fashion choice. If you have circulation issues, you know these socks work, but for a normal guy going couch to marathon in 10 months these help. I’ll be wearing them this Sunday for my first half marathon. I still won’t over accessorize but a solid pair of compression running socks should help and hide my apparent “Fred Flintstone calves!”

Check out the wide range of CEP products and socks. They’re not just for running – skiing, golf, cycling - they have socks or sleeves for everything in various performance levels. I had one friend say these worked great on long flights.

To learn more about my running journey - check out my latest Marathon Training Update!

Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter or instagram @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at

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