About a month ago, I was contacted by Susan of Lily Trotters, a start-up company, asking me if I would be interested in trying a prototype of their new compression socks. Previously, I had read a review of them on Salt's blog, and not only did they sound awesome, they looked super cute. And little did Susan know, but I have a bit of an obsession with running socks. So, of course, I said yes, and a few weeks later, this pair came in the mail.
I couldn't wait to try them out. The timing was perfect. Prior to my most recent half marathon, I had been struggling with tight calf muscles and the dreaded shin splints. I had been stretching and foam rolling like crazy, and decided to throw the Lily Trotters into the mix for my training runs.
I'm no stranger to compression socks, but I have been a bit skeptical at the claims I've heard. As a nurse, I know all about the benefits of compression socks for circulation, but are they any good for tight muscles? The research has been mixed, but most studies show benefits for recovery more than performance. But improved recovery should translate into better performance, right? If you believe they're helping your running, then you should wear them. That's the conclusion of all the studies I could find.
I've worn compression sleeves made for plantar fasciitis with very impressive results. When I feel a flare up of that dreaded condition, on go the sleeves. I also have a pair of compression calf sleeves that I've trialled for recovery. While they seemed to really help with muscle cramping, I read some very scary stuff about DVTs and calf sleeves, and have been a little reluctant to wear those again. The bottom line seems that it is better to wear compression socks, not sleeves.
So with all that background, I headed out the door with my Lily Trotters. Compared to other compression socks I've tried, they were fairly easy to put on. I found that if I started by putting my foot in and rolling the calf portion up slowly, they went on without a problem. The foot portion of the sock is fairly thin and there isn't any compression. I'd love some compression at the arch, having suffered from PF in the past! I have a pair of low compression socks from another manufacturer which has this feature, and I like the support that I feel from that little extra elastic.
On the first run, I still felt a little calf tightness and had to stop to stretch once to loosen up my calves. But I kept them on after my run and did my usual stretching routine. Two days later, I took to the road again, wearing the socks. No tightness. That was pretty exciting for me! I've worn them a couple times since, and my runs have been nice and easy. No calf tightness.
The days I wore them, the weather was pretty cool, and I wore them over my long tights. My feet didn't get cold, even though the foot part is pretty thin. I didn't wear my Lily Trotters in Florida, because I was worried I'd be too warm in them. Still, my legs feel good. I considered bringing them for recovery, but neglected to pack them. Mom brain.
I've washed them with my running gear in the washer and hung them to dry. The socks have maintained their compressive elasticity. They are still as cute as the day they came in the mail. Lily Trotters is coming out with several really cute designs and I think that is going to be a big selling point for them. The pair that I was sent were black with pink and green dots on the calf portion. My favorite feature is the frilly trim at the top. At my job, I spend all day on my feet, and I'd buy some of the more fashionable designs to wear under pants. Between the Lily Trotters and my Danskos, I'd be all set!
Lily Trotters aren't available yet for purchase, but you can sign up for their mailing list to be notified of the launch!
Disclosure: I was kindly given one pair of Lily Trotters compression socks to trial and review. The opinions and pictures are all my own.