Friday, September 30, 2011

Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves Review

If you are an athlete, suffer from poor leg circulation, or both (like me), then you have probably heard of compression products. I've had varicose veins since high school that have only gotten worse through the better part of two decades, 12+ years of restaurant work, and two pregnancies. They are ugly, embarrassing, and often painful. I rarely wear shorts or skirts (other than while running), because I can't stand that my almost 35-year-old legs look like they could belong to someone twice my age.
It looks worse in person, I think.
So right now, short of paying thousands of dollars in surgery, I have started to discover the world of compression products. Why I've suffered this long, I don't know.

At first I was looking at the various brands of compression socks to soothe my aching legs. I wondered if they would be comfortable on my feet and they seemed so expensive. When scrolling through Amazon for a good price, I found calf sleeves. Genius! Unlike socks that would become dirty and stinky and need to be washed after one use, calf sleeves allow you to wear your favorite socks (mine are the $1 ankle socks at Target) and wear them more than once before washing.

There are a few companies out there that offer calf sleeves, but I decided on the Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves for a few reasons.

The Zensah sleeves are made with a fabric that contains silver to help regulate temperature and fight bacteria. I have worn my sleeves under jeans while working outside on a 75-degree day and felt no warmer than if I had not been wearing them. Conversely, they have kept my legs warm when running on 40-degree mornings.

The fabric weave is specific to the area of the leg being compressed, with wide ribbing in the front for your shin and narrow ribbing in the back for calf support. Different muscles have different needs. The fabric is soft to the touch and doesn't itch when you sweat.

They are made in the U.S.A.

They offer a rainbow of colors to coordinate with any outfit.

Royal Blue

Neon Yellow
Neon Pink


At first, I was unsure as to which size to buy. The sizing is as follows:

XS/S: Calf Size: 9.5" - 12.5",  Height: 5'3" and below
S/M: Calf Size: 12.5" - 15", Height: 5'4" - 5'10"
L/XL: Calf Size: 15" and up, Height: 5'11" and up

I'm 5'6" with a calf size of 15.25". Zensah recommends using your calf size as the primary determinant, but lists height if you don't know your calf size. For my calf size, I should order a L/XL, but I was worried if since I was at the bottom of the requirements and five inches shorter than the height listed, they might be a little loose or too long. If I went with the S/M, I was worried they would be too tight. I ended up going with the L/XL in pink since I fit that size with my calf measurement.

I put them on as soon as I received them in the mail and it was like my legs below the knee disappeared. After so many years I started to ignore the dull ache and it wasn't until after it was gone that I noticed how much it had still been bothering me. I couldn't wait to try them out on a run. When I did, I was sold.

I guess I need knee sleeves to take care of those too.
Since I've started wearing the sleeves, my calves don't have the fatigue during and after runs that they did before. I kept thinking that it might be all in my head. But no, my legs really do feel wonderful. It's magic. And I needed another pair so I could wear them all the time.

I took a gamble and ordered a S/M, even though my calf measurement is just larger than the requirements for this size. I felt like I could use a little more compression since my veins are so bothersome. This time I got them in blue. They go so great with my NB Minimus!

They are considerably shorter than the L/XL (which reach from my knee to ankle), so they are more concentrated on my calves. I have found that I love having the tighter sleeves while running and wear the larger ones all other times. Like all the time. 24/7. When they both had to go in the wash at the same time, I didn't wear them for two days and my legs immediately started to ache. It doesn't take two days for me to wash them, but I was letting them hang dry. They can be put in the washer in cold water and in the dryer on the delicate cycle. 

I am a fan for life and can't wait to own them in every color. This running mama definitely recommends!

The sleeves retail for $39.99 a pair or $19.99 for a single sleeve. For more information, you can visit Zensah's website here.

Note: I purchased my sleeves out of my own pocket and was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.


  1. I'm cheap and I'm borrowing a former student's sleeves to wear on Sunday! I'll let you know how it goes! :) I am happy they work for you and I'm hoping they work for me too! I just don't know what color to buy...too many to choose from! :)

  2. Love all the colors. I may need to get those blue,

  3. Ugh, waitressing was hard on my legs and back!

    I've wondered about the sleeves. I haven't talked myself into them, but sometimes after a long run my calves will ache a bit for a few days...not muscle soreness...but aching. I don't really know how to describe the difference. So I will probably break down at some point!

    I know two women who have had the surgery and they were happy with the results. Much less pain. Just in case you win the lottery and want to have it done!

  4. I have a pair of Zensah compression sleeves and I really like them. I bought them a while ago, like probably almost 2 yrs ago, so they are starting to get a little worn out so I recently purchased a pair of Recovery Socks too :)

  5. It is better to contact such problems to the doctor.
    Traitement au laser pour varices

  6. Really a good job. Awesome triathlon. sports wear like compression sleeve and wetsuit play an important role here. Thanks for the nice post.

    Small and small makes huge that has made the post awesome. I wear this type of compression sleeve and sports clothes that makes my mind sound. Thanks for the nice post.


Thanks for your comments!