Few months ago I was given a pair of CEP compression calf sleeves for testing from the courtesy of CEP Canada. I’ve put these sleeves on several occasions including few longer runs (20K+), a half marathon and during recovery after these workouts. I wish to write a short review and hope to offer my first-hand experience in this post. I must emphasize here that this is all based on my sole subjective experience and I have not performed any objective measurement per se to write up a non-biased evidence-based review here.
My first hand experience with CEP Compression Calf Sleeves
It was really great to receive the latest version of the 2.0 CEP progressive compression calf sleeves. The model I received was the night version with a very nice neon green colour and lined with reflective lining. They should be great for those who run later in the day for better visibility.
They were made of 79% nylon and 21% spandex. Unlike some of the previous compression calf sleeves I have used in the past, the CEP appeared to be very well made. The ‘pores’ were tightly knitted. They felt really thin and compact. They were also made in Germany.
Since I have small calves of a circumference about 12.5″, I received their size III. The sleeves fitted well on my calves. They were tight but in a supportive way without a feeling of constricting blood flow.
Upon a few long runs and a half marathon race using the calve sleeves, I felt very positive wearing them. I’d be eager to test them out for a full marathon as that’s the distance when my calves would go screaming. Wearing the CEPs for recovery felt great as well, I found them helped me to recover better when there were times I wasn’t able to stretch immediately after a long workout.
In terms of durability, I have worn them in sunny dry conditions and they were subjected to machine washing for five times. The material remained to be very sturdy like when it was new. I have had other brand that didn’t hold well after few washes.
My overall experience with the CEP calf sleeves was excellent. I enjoyed wearing them both during my run as well as during recovery.
There exist a plethora of research on the efficacy of compression garments. I have taken pains in one of the graduate courses (Evidence-Based Medicine) I completed earlier this year to critique on the evidence and claims on some of these papers. I shall not go into the details here. In summary, I find that there appears to be some benefits in the use of compression garments in some of the research conducted on runners and cyclists for muscle performance as well as during recovery period.
On the other hand, there are also papers that did not show any significant effect on muscle performance nor recovery. Thus far, however, I have yet to come across an experiment that showed detrimental effects on the athlete using these compression garments.
So, whether it’s evidence based or merely psychological effects on performance or better recovery, I say it doesn’t hurt to go with your first hand experience. CEPs is certainly one of the best brands on the market.