by Scott Towle
I’d seen these big shiny packages at expos and in stores, so I wondered what all the hoopla was about. Ice + compression makes a lot of sense for recovery. I already regularly use compression sleeves, so adding ice to the mix seemed like a good idea. As an ultra runner and a long course tri dork, I can use all the recovery I can get.
When I first opened the metallic package, I laughed a bit. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as large as the packing was, I thought there would be a lot more inside. The two calf sleeves were folded over four flat plastic sheets and two post card-sized print pieces. Eventually, I figured out that the packaging makes for an insulated carrier for the ice sheets. I never got a chance to test how long the sheets would stay frozen in the insulated package, but I have to imagine that during the summer in Texas, you aren’t looking at a long time. However, I imagine it would keep them cold in cooler weather while you raced.
The first thing I noticed with these calf sleeves is that they fit much tighter than the calf sleeves I’ve been using. After putting on the sleeves, I followed the instructions for the ice sheets. I simply had to soak the sheets in warm water until they expanded and then throw them in the freezer. Once the sheets were frozen, I just needed to slide them into the sleeves. It took a little work to get the sheets into the sleeves, but it wasn’t overly difficult. From there, I let them do their magic.
Did they work? Well, I didn’t have any calf soreness during the two-plus week trial period. I used the sleeves after both short and long workouts. I threw them on after a particularly hard 4.5 hour ride on a Saturday and turned around and won my age group in a triathlon on Sunday. I put them back on after the tri and then knocked out an eleven mile run that evening. My quads were pretty dead, but my calves felt fairly normal. Last weekend I threw the sleeves on after a tough 30K trail race and had no calf soreness the following day. I can’t say that I would swear these sleeves were a “cure all,” but I definitely can’t prove they don’t work. Even if it’s just placebo, I’ll take it and continue using them.
Pros: No soreness. “Cool” factor (terrible pun very much intended).
Cons: Price. Difficult to put on, even harder to take off.
In the end, I think the price will probably scare me away from trying any of the other 110% products, but if you have extra money laying around, and want to have the latest and greatest, the 110% compression is worth checking out. I’d love to give the shorts a try and see if they would make a difference in the “dead quads” I get from a tough ride or a running race with a lot of downhill. Outfitting yourself with the complete arsenal of 110% compression wouldn’t be cheap, but if you don’t like ice baths, this product might be a good alternative, especially with the added benefit of compression.
Want to try a pair for yourself? Rogue Running has them!