This week we take a moment to review the Pure Limits Compression Socks
Item: Reinforced Unisex Woven Compression Socks
Price: $29.00 AUD
Manufacturer: Pure Limits
Purchase: Pure Limits
A person’s CrossFit evolution is easily traced by their apparel. Newbies might show up in a pair of running shoes and a football top. It isn’t long before Nanos, wrist wraps and compression sleeves become the uniform, with a pair of lifting shoes at the ready should the whiteboard dictate.
Much of this apparel is functional. At least, that’s the theory. The flat soles of a pair of Nanos have a clear training benefit. Wrist wraps can mean the difference between solidly racking a clean and losing that lift. But for me – and perhaps for many recreational functional fitness fanatic – compression gear blurs the line between function and fashion. How much difference can compression kit really make?
For the science part of these socks, I’ll quote manufacturer Pure Limits, which says:
“A graduated and targeted compression system woven throughout the sock optimises blood circulation reducing lactic acid build-up and increasing oxygen delivery to the muscles which makes you perform better.”
I’ve got no doubt there’s some science to back up this claim. But in my humble opinion, the training and recovery benefits of compression gear fall into the same category as Rocktape. It may make a difference in the split-second cauldron of the competition floor or when there’s a need for superhuman recovery after the vicious workout schedule of a throwdown. But for the rest of us, do compression socks offer anything more than a style choice?
Look: Let’s start with style. The socks look pretty fly on the floor of your box, but wouldn’t look so cool pretty much anywhere else. Unless most of your friends are from CrossFit affiliate. In which case, I reckon you can get away with compression socks for any occasion.
Fit: For me, this was the standout quality. The Pure Limits socks feel frickin’ awesome. The material hugs the calves perfectly. Anyone who had put on a pair of Oly shoes before a heavy session knows the psychological boost that the right apparel can have – it can give you a boost before you even start training. The Pure Limitssocks definitely offer this quality.
Protection: According to the manufacturer, “The socks also include an additional 0.5mm front panel so your protected against barbell scrapes and rope climbs.” I can definitely see these socks protecting against deadlift bar scrapes.
I’ll have to let someone else judge whether they would shield against a mis-timed box jump – I take the mantle of The Rx Reviewer seriously but not enough to ding my shin against the edge of a wooden box. I did scale a rope a dozen times to test the socks. I certainly didn’t tear the way I would with bare legs.
But after climb six or seven, I started to feel a bit raw, so if the workout calls for high-rep rope climbs, better to gear up with a pair of these bad boys.
Performance: It’s not really fair for me to judge the performance of the compression socks as “bad”, just difficult to judge. It’s the rare WOD that leaves my calves, ankles or feet aching. Could these socks make a difference? I’ll leave it to someone else to attempt 500 double-unders with and then without compression socks and leave their comments below.
Personally, I’m a bit sceptical that these socks would make much of a difference with a moderate training schedule (say, four to five sessions a week). If you’re the kind of person who Rocktapes up just for the daily WOD, these socks are probably for you. For anyone else, it’s hard to believe the recovery benefit alone would justify the purchase.
Colour: Ever notice how a lot of functional fitness gear is dark coloured? There’s a reason. I apologise for the gory detail, but when I tried out these socks, I was still sporting a scab on my shin from lifting a few days previously.
The Pure Limits socks didn’t stop me from tearing it off while deadlifting. Within moments, the review pair had a red stain down the white panel at the front. I imagine how a few sessions with burpees or push-ups would leave the stocks filthy.
Not necessary for the average WOD lover but nice-to-have for someone who takes their fitness apparel seriously.