The use of compression garments have increased in popularity in recent years. Research has trended toward positive results for these compression garments indicating that they may, in fact, have performance-improving qualities. Below is a brief summary of a recently published paper looking at the Effect of Compression Stockings on Running Performance in Men Runners.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint with 100% accuracy the exact mechanism of operation (previous studies have looked at venous hemodynamics, arterial perfusion, tissue oxygenation, muscle oscillation, lactate clearance, and DOMS), the results of this study suggest that compression socks may actually play a role in improving various aspects of run performance through mechanical efficiency. Of course, many factors may have influenced this study’s results (psychological effects, lack of placebo, etc) and most certainly does one study not preclude theoretical confirmation, however, many other studies have shown statistical significance and I have yet to read a paper that has demonstrated negative impacts on sport performance.