Compression Socks for Thirty Bucks? ... Yes, please, Tiux!
Product Review: Tiux Compression Socks
Chances are, if I’m at a race, I’m also wearing compression socks. I don’t know when I decided these were just the best race day accessory ever, but the only time I haven’t worn them over the past two years of racing is when I spontaneously jumped into a 10 miler in Pittsburgh over spring break and accidentally forgot to pack them! I survived this especially hilly race course in the cold, March freezing rain of the ‘burgh, but my calves were definitely more sore than normal the next day.
Below, from start to finish: many races, many compression socks (except for photo 1, my Pittsburgh 10 miler)
I have worn many different brands of compression socks, and have found the best fit in socks that measure by calf size rather than foot size. A size chart that measures by calf circumference makes perfect sense to me, but a surprising number of major companies only go by shoe size. In general, I have found that these “shoe size” socks do still work, but offer much less compression. When I’m lining up for a serious or a longer race, I reach for the “calf circumference” socks every time. Compression socks should not be as easy to put on as your fluffy bedroom slippers or they probably aren’t doing all that much. For the beginning wearer, this may take a little adjustment period, but I was a swimmer before I ran and swimmers understand your race day suit should not be sagging all over the place.
Up until this point, I have relied upon my 2XU and CEP socks for the large majority of racing. I started with CEP ($60), and expanded on to 2XU, mostly because they 1. have more colors, 2. were less expensive, and 3. for a long while, CEP only featured sponsored male athletes on their website and that annoyed me. (This has since changed so that--at least from what I can tell--no sponsored athletes at all are prominently featured on the site.)
I’ve worn two different types of 2XU running compression socks: both the 2XU Compression Performance Run Socks ($49.95) and their more advanced Women’s Elite Compression Socks ($59.95). The main difference between these (besides the price increase) is that the elite version has what the 2XU website calls "graduated compression". In the more standard sock, the fabric weave appears to differ from front to back but runs the same from ankle to the top of your calf. In contrast, the Elite socks appear comparatively wider at the calf when not on the body, but have a different weave/structure to the fabric for the entire leg area. I was initially skeptical about this initially less tight appearance and feel of the higher priced socks, but a few race tests proved that they worked definitely at least as well as the cheaper ones and were possibly more comfortable.
Photo 1: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Tiux, 2XU Elite, 2XU Performance Run, Nike (thinner material but pretty!), and two pairs of CEP (the first is size II, the second is size III -- I was between sizes and was happy with both.) I should note that these pink ones shown are from approximately 2011 and still fairly intact but they do appear to have stretched a bit with repeated washing.
Photo 2: My Tiux socks in action!
2XU and CEP were formerly the only compression socks that I trusted, until I found Tiux! Tiux also goes by calf circumference so I have faith in their sizing, and while they have fewer colors than some other companies, their stripe design appeals to a classic athletic aesthetic. More importantly, these socks are much less expensive than the competition at $35 per pair.
My Tiux socks arrived in a swank, embossed black box, which slid open to reveal my new fancy pink socks! In feel, these actually reminded me a lot of the 2XU Elite socks—they were much easier to put on than some of my other trusted pairs, but have an interesting weave where the stripe is across the calf that felt similar to the graduated compression of the other 2XU Elites but at half the price. As you can see in the comparison photo, these two socks actually have a similar shape. I would definitely take the advice of the Tiux size chart online to size down if between sizes—I measured between an XS and S, and the XS were 100% the correct choice.
One definite "win" for Tiux in my opinion was the very soft, almost velvety feel of their fabric. These feel rather lux when you put them on! (Perhaps not coincidentally, "Tiux" rhymes with "lux".) These have a very comfortable, smooth feel to the fabric.
I know you’re not supposed to try anything new on race day, but I gave my new Tiux socks a go at the Haven Run for Home 8k last Saturday. This race went great since my time beat my previous year’s time on the same course by 80 seconds (and I won, which is always nice and I never take for granted!). My calves also felt great—I never noticed my compression socks “compressing” but just felt great running. I think these socks would be great for those runners new to compression socks since they work extremely well but are not as intense in terms of the overall fit feeling very tight. They are both comfortable and do their job. Go ahead and give them a go! I want the green ones next...
More at: www.tiux.co