Friday, February 3, 2017

Product Review: Legend Compression Leg Sleeve

I mentioned earlier this year that I was selected to be part of the Bib Rave Pro program.  What this means is that I am given the opportunity to test out running-related products and have race codes to promote (which is why you should follow me on Twitter @amyschlott).   In exchange for the products, we are asked to write reviews.  Thus, I am starting a new section on my blog:  Product Reviews.

The number of reviews I do will depend on the number of opportunities I am given, so I don't expect this to be weekly.  I personally am not a fan of reading "sponsored posts" on blogs. Thus, I aim to be completely honest to my experience so that these do not have that feel.  Please know that outside of the product that I am given to test, I do not make any money or other compensation for these posts.  I will always title these posts with "Product Review" so if you are really averse, you can skip them :)

Product:  Legend Compression Leg Sleeves

If you have been reading my blog for a year, you know that I first started dabbling in compression leg wear while training for Boston last year.  I would say that I have tried a few brands, but am by no means an expert on all things compression.  In general, I would say that I benefit slightly from using compression sleeves, and lately I have been having some tight calves so I am using them for more than just long runs.  In winter, compression sleeves also provide an extra layer of insulation to the lower leg which I also find nice.

This is my first experience with Legend brand compression leg sleeves.  To be honest, I had not even heard of this company prior to being offered these calf sleeves.

I selected the Small/Medium size after measuring my calf at 14" at the fullest part.  The Legend sleeves sizing for Small/Medium is 13.75" - 17", so my calf measurement is on the small end of that range.

One of the differentiating factors for Legend is their #RightNotTight slogan.  The calf sleeves for running that I was sent provide 15-20 mmHg graduated compression.  Knowing this, I was expecting the Legend sleeves to feel less tight than other calf sleeves that I have tried, and this expectation was met. In fact, I felt that the sleeve was not compressive at all at the first few seconds of wearing them, thus I was doubtful that they would do anything.  I wore them for a run and they definitely were comfortable and my calves were not sore afterwards so I was pleasantly surprised.  They were MUCH easier to get on that other brands that I have wore and the material is more breathable, so I would imagine they would not get as hot in summer weather.  (If you were stuck on the 20-30 mmHG compression, Legend does have that product, however, I have not tried that.)

I was also interested in what level of compression is truly supposed to provide benefit.  To that end, Salty Running recently featured a blog post on this.  I set off to review the articles mentioned in that blog post as well as my own research.  One of the studies mentioned in that blog post mentions a range of 8-30 mmHg as providing benefit during running.  A second study linked to in that blog post used sleeves with 18-20 mm HG over the calf area and demonstrated benefit during running.  I found a review article published in December 2016 in the journal Sports Medicine titled, Is There Evidence that Runners Can Benefit from Compression Clothing?  The abstract states that there is evidence that runners can slightly benefit from compression clothing in terms of time of endurance performance, muscle damage, inflammation, but that there are no significant gains in running performance based on the studies reviewed.  Upon exploring the methodology in the full text article, 32 studies met the inclusion criteria for their review and these studies use of compression had various pressure, which ranged from 7-46, with most falling in the 15-30mm HG range.   My take away?  Legend's compressive pressure is within this range and the comfort of not being super tight is a bonus.

However, the next run I had in them (without washing in between), the sleeves were actually falling down on my run.  I stopped twice during the run to adjust.  I noticed that the logo was on the back of my shin, and all the pics on the website had the logo on the front.  My other hypothesis was that they need to be washed after every use to maintain compression.  Is this true?  I emailed them to find out.

I received an almost immediate response to my email from the President and Founder, John Thomas.  A+ for customer service.  His response indicated that "washing does help to a point, but usually not necessary".  He thought that perhaps since I was on the low end of the size range, exchanging for an XS may also be a solution (which he offered to do free of charge).  He also indicated that he has not heard of the sleeves falling down and so he would be interested in doing testing on my sleeves if I did decide to send them back.

I decided to give the sleeves one more go, post washing and with the logo on the front before deciding.  I had zero problems with them then so I am going to keep the sleeves and chalk my slight issue with them as user error.

Overall, my opinion on compression sleeves is that it is variable by person. Legend is a great option, particularly if you have found other sleeves to be too tight/uncomfortable.

Save 20% on your order with code "rave20".

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression calf sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!"

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