Trotting Out in Compression Socks

I have mentored several runners through their first marathons.  I told them all to think of training runs as “dress rehearsal” for race day.  The number one rule of marathoning is you should never wear/eat anything new on race day.  You don’t want to get out there and find out those snazzy new shoes you bought at the Expo really don’t feel so good at Mile 12 or that new sports drink makes you sick.  Getting picked up by the sag wagon due to running gear issues would just waste months of training.

I am in training mode for the Berlin Marathon.  I am using my training runs to try out all the new nutrition, hydration, and running gear that I picked up at Expos this spring.  I will be sharing my opinions with you (and maybe save you some money on things that I find aren’t so great).

Today I have to tell you about the most incredible compression socks that I tried – Lily Trotters.  They are getting ready to launch a Kickstarter campaign and they generously sent me a pair to try out.  Within the running community, there is a debate about the benefits of compression socks.  Even Runners World recently stepped into the fray and had an article on the compression sock debate.  Lots of my running buddies wear them.  I have tried compression socks in the past but never felt comfortable running in them or even wearing them after a run.  But Lily Trotters makes a compression sock that is unlike the others I have tried.

My Lily Trotters!

My Lily Trotters!

First off, the Lily Trotters socks are easy to get on.  I found the other compression sock brands are almost impossible to get on.  It is like a wrestling match to get them over my foot.   And heaven forbid if they don’t line up correctly when I pull them up.  I have to wrestle with them again to pull them down and straighten them out.  I shouldn’t have to fight to get my clothes on or off.  (In case you are wondering, I had been measured and was wearing the correct size.)  The Lily Trotters folks must know how that feels because putting on their compression socks is easy peasy.

Second, the Lily Trotters are not excessively tight in the toe box.  Toes are important for balance and for running.  My toes like to stretch and move around in my shoes.  David Carrier, a biologist at Brown University, along with his colleagues Kathleen Earls and Norman Heglund, analyzed people walking and running to see how they used their toes.  They found that toes are like the gears in a car.  Our toes help us accelerate from standing still or going from a walk to a run – a bit like going from first to second gear.  I need my toes to be able to wiggle around so I can get into a higher gear and run.  The other brands of compression socks bound my toes tightly together.  My poor toes felt like they were being strangled.  It was painful.  My toes were not helping me run.  The Lily Trotters let me wiggle my toes.  I don’t feel like my socks are holding me back.  The Lily Trotters even feel great when I wear them all day – happy toes, not strangled toes.

Finally, the Lily Trotters have fun colors and designs.  The other brands of compression socks are not attractive.  I always looked like I was wearing something that I got at a hospital.   I am not a vain person but I like to have a little style, even when I run.  Lily Trotters socks look so good I would enjoy wearing them when I am running on the trail or to the store.

I will be honest – I still love my Balega socks.  My legs need to breathe in warm weather and high socks seem to make me hotter.  I definitely will keep wearing my Balegas for warm weather runs.  But I will try running again in my Lily Trotters when the weather is cooler.  I think they would be perfect for cold weather running when my Balegas are a bit too chilly.

I love wearing my Lily Trotters after a long run to help with recovery.  I did a long run right before I hopped on a plane for a 2-hour flight.  I wore my Lily Trotters on the plane and was amazed at how wonderful my legs felt after sitting so long.

I guess I am a bit like Goldilocks with compression socks.  They can’t be too tight or too loose.  They need to have just the right amount of support without strangling my toes.  Lily Trotters do just that for me and they look great doing it.  Lily Trotters made me a compression sock convert.

Lily Trotters will be launching their Kickstarter campaign on July 14.  I signed up to be notified when the launch happens.  I want to get more Lily Trotters in the other fun designs.  Here is a link to their website so you can sign up to be notified for early-bird discounts.