The 6 Best Calf Compression Sleeves of 2021

Relieve pain and aid recovery with these supportive accessories

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Best Overall: CEP Progressive+ Compression Calf Sleeves

The CEP Progressive+ Compression Calf Sleeves are our pick for the best overall sleeves because they have everything you want in a compression product at a great price.

The sleeves have 20-30 mmHg compression that’s graduated and consistent, helping to reduce micro-traumas in your legs as you practice. Both the women’s and men’s versions come in three sizes, so you can get an optimal fit.

They’re made from 79% polyamide (a strong, polyester-like fabric) and 21 percent spandex, and sold in a variety of colors.

The top-band hits right below the knee and helps to keep the sleeve in place as you run, while the ribbing design on the front helps to reduce skin temperature in hot weather.

Owners rave about CEP Progressive+ Compression Calf Sleeves, saying that they help existing shin splints and strains while preventing future ones. They do note that the sizing can run small, so be sure to measure your calves before you order.

If you’re looking for a wonderful sleeve that will help you mile after mile, you can’t go wrong with the CEP sleeves.

Best Budget: Run Forever Sports Calf Compression Sleeve

Don’t let the low price of these Run Forever Sports Calf Compression Sleeves fool you—these powerful little sleeves get the job done. They have a graduated compression strength of 20-30 mmHg and come in sizes from small through x-large.

The breathable, stretchy material is strong enough to compress and hold, but thin enough to breathe throughout your run. The wide band under the knee helps keep the sleeves in place and they’re available in 11 colors including black, white, blue, purple, and pink.

Owners love the fabric, saying it works while maintaining a slim profile. They also like that they help reduce visible varicose veins, lower nerve pain—and, of course, keep you on the track longer.

If you’re looking for a great pair of calf sleeves for less money, go with this one from Run Forever.

Best Design Options: Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves

If you’ve been running for a while, you’ve probably heard of Zensah Compression Sleeves. While they are great at reducing leg cramps and shin splints, we love them because of their fun and colorful designs.

Whether you want to make a statement during your next marathon or add a fun pop of color to help motivate you on those early morning runs, Zensah Limited Edition sleeves offer an instant dose of personality. From ice cream cones to the Statue of Liberty, there’s a look for everyone.

Made from 90% nylon and 10% Spandex, these sleeves are supportive and moisture-wicking to keep you comfortable throughout your run.

The V-shaped ribbing on the front of the sleeve works similarly to kinesiology tape, providing stability and support. They also come in three sizes, so be sure to measure your calves for a perfect fit.

Best Breathable: 2XU Compression Calf Guards

The 2XU Compression Calf Guards are slightly different from sleeves​ but work in a similar manner. These guards are meant to be worn during a workout rather than after (though 2XU also offers special tights for the recovery period).

The Calf Guards are lighter weight but support the leg in the same way as many of our other choices.

There are seven size options available, so you can fit it exactly to your own calf. The 2XU are very thin, made primarily with Lycra, and extremely breathable.

Instead of thick bands, there are flatlock seams on the top and bottom to reduce chafing and increase airflow. They are also antibacterial and work to wick sweat during long runs.

Reviewers say they are much less smelly and easier to keep clean than its competitors. Because the fabric is very breathable, you can hand-wash them every few uses without building up bacteria.

Best Ankle and Calf Sleeves: Zensah Compression Ankle/Calf Sleeves

Anyone suffering from ankle or plantar fasciitis pain knows just how important the feet are. The Zensah Compression Ankle & Calf Sleeves reach all the way to midfoot, offering support past the calves.

These anti-odor sleeves come in small and medium sizes and provide everything our other calf sleeves do, but with extra support targeted on the ankle.

For anyone suffering from foot pain, they feature a foldable cuff for extra compression.

Owners say they’re great at reducing pain through the calf into the foot, especially plantar fasciitis pain. They do note that they run slightly small, so we recommend sizing up for the best fit.

Best Extra Firm: Doc Miller Premium Open Toe Compression Socks

Whether you’ve tried compression sleeves and found them too light, or your doctor has recommended a firm sleeve, the Doc Miller Premium Open Toe Compression Socks are a great choice.

Made from 77% nylon and 23% Spandex, they provide 30-40 mmHg compression, which can aid in injury recovery.

Anyone who suffers from spider veins, edema, swelling, or other calf issues could benefit from these Doc Miller socks. They’re available in five sizes (with options for Tall) and a vast array of colors and patterns so you can find a pair that fits just right and matches your style.

The thin material is incredibly breathable and helps fight odors, so you can wear these socks all day long.

We recommend only trying an extra heavy compression if your doctor has recommended it, as most people are fine with a lower-strength product. That said, reviewers use them for everything from varicose veins to knee replacement recovery and say they’re nearly as good as prescription-strength (for less money).

What to Look for in a Calf Compression Sleeve

Style: If a bit of style puts some pep in your step, then look for calf compression sleeves that suit your personality. Various brands offer a host of prints and patterns that will stand out while they help your legs stand up better to fatigue. Or you can go with more traditional black ones.

Fit: You want a pair of calf compression sleeves that provide an adequate amount of support without being so tight that they’re uncomfortable. They range from light support all the way up to prescription strength, and many come in various sizes, including men’s, women’s, and unisex. Consider your needs as well as how you’ll be using them to determine which pair will offer the support you need.

Fabric: Compression sleeves come in a variety of materials made for specific uses from treating varicose veins to post-workout recovery. Some have silicone taping built-in for extra support, while others are lighter and offer more breathability. If you’ll be exercising while wearing them, you may want to find a pair with moisture-wicking and anti-odor properties. If you have shin splints or other bothersome conditions, you may want compression sleeves made of a more technical material.

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