Some weeks ago, I was asked to be an ambassador for the company Bio Skin. I told them that I needed to review a product and they offered to send a product and told me that their calf sleeves were especially popular.
I have never really been a big believer in Calf sleeves. I thought that they might look silly on me. But after suffering foot issues on and off for a while, it was between flare ups. This let me observe that my calves were extremely tight. Actually, some of my recent foot problems can be tied to the tightness in my calves pulling on my heels.
So, I decided that the calf sleeves would be a good choice. First thing, I had to measure to get the right size. I used a high-tech method involving earbuds and a ruler. I wrapped the earbuds around the thickest part of my calf and then laid it on a ruler, noted the spot, slid it up and added the totals. After doing this a couple times, I determined my calves were 16.5-17 inches. This put me right in XL or 16-18 inches.
The calf sleeves arrived in very straightforward no-frills packaging. The package is a recycling code of 1 or PET which I can recycle with the city, so big thumbs up there.
I pulled out the sleeves and they were.. Well, calf sleeves. The pair I got was black and no frills. Just the way I like it.
The material is hard to describe. It is definitely not your standard nylon/spandex blend.
I decided to put them on and feel how they worked before I tried to run with them in the early morning. I am not exactly a mental giant in the early AM.
I took them out the package, pulled on the top and the bottom to stretch them a little, and pulled them up my leg. They recommend that you don’t use any kind of lotion or have wet legs. This is a good idea because I had to get them off. That is where the hilarity ensued.
I walked around with them on for a few to see how they felt. It was very interesting. I haven’t worn compression before, so it was a new sensation for me. Then it was time for removal… I didn’t plan very well for this. I pulled them down and got one just over my heel.
It locked and I yanked. And twisted. And rolled. And had my wife laughing and taking pictures with the phone.
Finally I got one off and had to repeat the process with the second.
Well, it turns out that Bio Skin has a video up on YouTube describing how to work with the Calf Sleeves. DOH! Folks, I offer this service. I do stupid things so you don’t have to.
After I mastered the art of actually removing the calf skins, I put them up for a later run. That came a couple days later. I put them on, did my typical stretches (very light and half dynamic), and went for an easy run. I didn’t want to try too many miles on my first go.
I made it not quite a half mile when I felt an extreme cramping in my legs. It was like a herd of charley horses traversing my calves. I immediately yanked them down, massaged my calves and stretched until the pain subsided. I then ran 7.5 more miles and finished my run with some odd looking ankle bands.
In fairness, I was told that these calf skins were very compressive and needed to be broken in. As you can see from my earlier tale, I don’t always follow advice.
Since they are also made for post run recovery, I decided that I would use them after the Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. Three days before the half marathon, I had a flare-up of a shin splint on my right leg that made me cut my run short.
I pulled out the Bio Skins and begin to wear them for a couple hours each day and by Saturday, I ran 10K without much pain in my right leg at all.
The half marathon turned out to be a disaster (I will be writing a race report) between my right leg, record heat and humidity — it turns out that it was the hottest in the history of the event — and dead legs from some tough training the week before. But, I did use the Bio Skins all afternoon and much of my leg pain was abated.
I do recommend this product with the caveat that it is some serious compression. I think of it as almost medical grade versus consumer. Take your time with them and really break them in. They are a definitely quality product.
I have been suffering with a serious shin splint on my right leg. After resting for an extra day and some serious icing, I was able to complete 7 miles wearing the Bio Skin Calf Sleeves. After wearing them several times in the days leading up, I had no trouble with them on the run and can credit them for helping me to get through it. I had no swelling afterward as well. Very cool. Very satisfied. Just make sure that you break them in a little.
Where to buy
You can purchase the calf sleeves using this link Bio Skin Calf Sleeves. It is an affiliate link and I do earn a commission from it. However, I would not link to it if I didn’t feel it was a quality product.
If you are looking for other recovery products, you can also go to their main site at bioskin.com.