Socks that make you recover better from a long or intensive bicycle ride? I am skeptical about it. For pros, this certainly seems useful to get the marginal gains, but for an amateur like me, would it make a difference? I put it to the test and tested the Stox Energy Socks last month.
Why compression socks?
The reason you see a lot of pros walking around with compression socks is because it ensures faster muscle recovery and less muscle soreness. In addition, they can also improve your performance while cycling. Because wearing these socks is prohibited during races, you will never see the pros riding with them in races. There are pros who train with it.
How does it work?
Compression socks work very simple. By keeping the calves under pressure through the sock, the circulation is stimulated, so that waste products do not remain in your legs and fresh blood with lots of oxygen ends up in your legs.
The pressure of a compression socks is highest at the ankle and decreases towards your knee. That decreasing pressure is important because it ensures that the blood in your veins is drained even better.
First of all I have to say something about putting on the socks, because that is already an adventure in itself. These socks are tight. Very tight. And that also means that you have to put them on with some force. The first few times it took me a bit of effort, but after about four times it became easier.
I tested the socks in three ways, with different experiences, before, during and after an intense workout. You can read my experiences below:
Before a training
In the evening there was a race on Zwift on my program. During the day I had to work in another department, so I had to spend all day standing. I’m not used to that with an office job. An ideal opportunity to put on the Stox Energy Socks while working. An advantage is that I was wearing long pants, so no one knew that I was wearing those crazy long socks.
During the day I did not feel my legs. I thought I would have heavy legs at the end of the day, but that didn’t ahppen. I got home and jumped on the bike for a race on Zwift. It didn’t bother me. No heavy legs, I had all the energy I needed to put the legs to work on the bike, while I had been standing on my legs all day which I am not used to. So this was a positive experience.
The only drawback is that the socks do not ventilate very well and your feet get very warm very quickly. If you have a predisposition to sweaty feet, that is not so nice. Not for yourself, but also not for the people around you.
After a training
I also tested the socks after a workout. Because the Stox Energy Socks helps recovery, this would be a logical choice for me. So after a long training of a few hours I put on the Energy Socks and started to relax. I literally felt the blood flowing through my legs, a rather special feeling. Because of the pressure on my calves, the circulation is stimulated and I felt that.
But did I also notice a difference? Yes, I noticed a difference. I do laundry sometimes and our washing machine is in the attic. For that I have to climb two flights of stairs. After a long and intensive workout, my legs are normally completely full and I really stand at the top of the stairs to relax because I feel my legs. None of this with the Stox Energy Socks. I walked up the stairs as fresh as a fiddle and my legs were not heavy at all. Also playing with my son in the playground was no problem. No tired legs, I could just run with him wherever he wanted to go. The next day there was another workout on the program and I normally would have heavy legs after an intense workout like this. But this time it felt like I was just as fresh as the day before. This is really a big difference for me and it really surprised me.
During a training
I can be quite brief about this. I did not feel any noticeable effect while cycling. Not different than usual, except that I looked rather crazy with those football socks …
I would not recommend the Stox Energy Socks to every cycling tourist. But if you are serious about cycling and you train several times a week to get better, you will find that your legs feel fresher thanks to the Stox Energy Socks. But only wear the socks before or after the training. I did not notice any difference during the training.
The price of one pair of socks is € 39. I find it difficult to say whether this is cheap or expensive. Simply put, they are expensive socks. But for fanatic cyclists, € 39 is not a big investment for the benefit you get in return.
One last point of attention. In combination with shorts it doesn’t really look nice, people might look at you a bit strange on your mother-in-law’s birthday.