Having basically made the decision to focus on longer races and higher mileage in training, I knew that I was going to have to look at more options for training gear but also recovery gear. I remember when I started running again a couple of years back when I went to my first couple of bigger races seeing a few people with compression sleeves on their arms and legs. Having no idea what it was all about, I assumed it was a fashion thing and thought to myself “not for me”. Silly me…
Fast forward to 2014 and the number one thought on my mind was “I gots to get me some compression gear – especially them fancy leg things.” I may be misquoting myself, but the sentiment is accurate. A couple of months ago, Bioskin reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in becoming a brand ambassador. I responded that I would need to try their product before committing myself to anything like that and they were more than happy enough to send me a pair of their calf skin sleeves to try out. As with all of my reviews, I was not compensated and the opinions are my own and unfiltered.
The Techy Stuff
All compression gear works under the same premise – keeping the area held more firmly in place and more supported. From their own site, Bio Skin says “Studies show that compression garments speed recovery after a hard workout, increase oxygen levels in your muscles, and improve proprioception.” What the heck is proprioception? Basically, it’s a fancy word for controlling your muscles without looking at them. Or put another way, having them do exactly what you want when you want it – body awareness. A field sobriety test is actually testing your proprioception. See? Learning IS fun!!!
The Bio Skin sleeves are latex free, constructed of their own Ultima material. They claim to control muscle movement to improve recovery time after injury and to reduce muscle vibration. The sleeves are designed to help with shin splints as well as muscle strains. I’ve been shin splint free for quite a while now, but I have had ongoing issues with tight calves, particularly after long or tough runs.
The Good Stuff
Comfort – Even though they are tight (or should be – it IS compression gear), I found the Bio Skin calf skin sleeves super comfortable. Certain materials really bug me to the touch, but I found my sleeves were great. After a very short time, I barely even noticed I was wearing them.
Cost – At around 35 dollars US for one or 65 for a pair, the Bio Skin sleeves compare very well to other similar products. Based on my experience, they actually run a little less than most I can find in stores around where I live.
Sizing – As someone with ridiculously small feet, one thing I love about the sleeve in general, is that I don’t have to worry about anything other than the size of my calf. Buying socks is always an incredible exercise in frustration for me. Socks that fit my feet often aren’t comfortable on my legs and vice versa. It’s something that drives me absolutely bonkers.
Recovery – I tried my sleeves after various workouts as well as post marathon and I was very happy with the results. My calf muscles seemed to recover quite well – especially after the full. Compared to my quads, which did not get the compression treatment, the difference was huge. This is partly due to the workload each muscle gets over that distance, but I still feel as though the sleeves helped significantly in recovery.
The Less Good Stuff
Availability – Unfortunately, like so many things, finding Bio Skin in store is difficult around here. They do not ship internationally but do have suppliers in Canada and have a good return policy but it still isn’t quite the same as seeing things before purchase.
Style Choice – If you like black, then you’re all set. If you are looking for something brighter or bolder, then you are out of luck. For me, recovery isn’t about fashion but more about function. Still, another option or two would be nice.
Feel of sleeve vs sock – While the sleeve material and fit make it extremely comfortable to wear for recovery, it took a bit longer to adapt to wearing the sleeves while running. Either having a small, bare gap between the sleeve and sock or pulling a sock up over the bottom of the sleeve aren’t big deals, just different.
The Announcey Stuff
Overall, I was really pleased with my Bio Skin calf skin sleeves. I have made them a constant in my recovery and post workout routine and feel as though they are a really solid product. As a result of how happy I was with the sleeves, I have decided to become an ambassador for Bio Skin! To visit their site and see all of their products, you can simply click on the badge on the left side of my blog and look around. Over the coming weeks and months, I’m hoping to try more of their products and introduce my running friends and community to them as well. If there are any questions or comments, please let me know!