Product Review: Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves

{Disclaimers: 1) I am not, not do I claim to be a doctor. Before you attempt to use this product, check with your primary care physician and/or specialist health care professional to be sure that it’s right for you. 2) I received this product for the purpose of testing and was allowed to keep it as a courtesy for posting a review. I received no other compensation for this review. In other words: this is MY opinion and not a company-paid PR piece. Take that for what you will.}

 

Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves

If you’d asked me a year ago whether I wanted calf sleeves, I’d probably have given you more than a little side-eye. It wasn’t until my triathlete dh started showing off his calf sleeves that I learned of their value for workouts. Prior to that, my sole exposure to these was knowing them as “compression stockings” (or similarly named items), worn by patients with lymph edema on their lower extremities.

DH wears high-quality calf sleeves during his workouts, so when I was approached with the opportunity to review Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves, I was curious about trying them out for myself. I will say that the product information on the Amazon product page is somewhat lacking for textual information, so it’s vital to review the pictures, including this one, with a size chart:

 

Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves Size Chart

 

Unfortunately, the size chart didn’t start things off on the right foot; what I consider “top of sleeve” would be the highest point of my calf (or, alternately, the girth, which other manufacturers use as a key measurement). Also, the sizes listed can’t possibly be in centimeters, else there’s no way I could’ve fit even the XL sleeve on my women’s size 14 calf. Things didn’t improve dramatically when my sleeves showed up with no packaging other than a plastic bag marked with an “XL” sticker. (I can only hope that this was due to my getting these for a review; if this is how they send out products purchased by customers, that’s not a good thing.)

 

The tests:

I took my calf compression sleeves out for two different workouts–a 5K walk inside on the treadmill at the gym and just under 5K outside on a cold Sunday morning. They were also washed in between the workouts.

 

The results:

Both workouts went well enough. In the gym-based workout, I wore them with the same climbing capris that I used for last year’s marathon walk, and I was able to keep a nice clip going on the treadmill without my shins kicking up any measure of fuss about my speed. I didn’t overheat, and the sleeves stayed put without feeling like I was having my blood supply cut off. For my outdoor walk, in 30-35ºF, I put them on under thinly-lined track pants, since the temperature at the end of a walk typically feels about 10ºF warmer than the actual air temperature. My thighs were slightly chilly as I set out, but this wasn’t the case at all for my calves–they were a perfect temperature and, again, very comfortable without any concern of feeling too constricted.

Unable to find any information on proper washing instructions, I hand-washed them on a day in between the two workouts. They felt exactly the same after air-drying as they did when they first arrived (no pilling, no snagging, and no easily detectable degradation of elastic quality).

 

Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves

The Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves, with my track pants pulled up to show how they fit as “cold weather” gear

 

The Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves look and fit much like a footless women’s knee-high stocking, in tights-level weight, and I found them generally comfortable to wear before, during, and post-workout. The trouble is, without knowing that I was wearing the right size (thanks to the screwball size chart), and not knowing that I was applying them properly (due to the lack of ribbing, markings, or any other indication that definitively shows which way should face front), it’s hard for me to know that I was using them properly. That’s more than a little bit disconcerting.

The price point is considerably lower than that of most calf compression sleeves ($19.99 versus the $50.00 or so that I’m used to seeing), but other manufacturers’ sleeves–including the ones dh and his fellow triathletes purchase–have packaging, ribbing, markings, and various other indications designed to increase the likelihood of correct use. The Light Step sleeves are also marketed for general use, from fitness to therapeutic needs, which suggests they’re designed for no specific application.

It’s hard for me to recommend the Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves; it’s unclear to me that they did much to help my performance and they seem designed as a generic alternative calf sleeve. Perhaps a future revision of the product and packaging will move the Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves forward, but for now they leave me with the impression that these sleeves aren’t yet ready to go the distance.

 

Where to buy:

Light Step Calf Compression Sleeves are exclusively sold through Amazon.com. As Light Step does not yet appear to have a formal website of their own, you can connect directly with Light Step through their Facebook page.

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