Have you ever worn a copper bracelet and had all your aches and pains melt away? No? Neither have I!
Luckily, the Tommie Copper Compression Sleeves I started testing recently aren’t some voodoo/pseudo-science bracelets! They’re more like a fairly common product with two new twists to make it even better.
I’m sure you’ve heard of “compression clothing” by now. It’s a very popular method of increased performance and faster recovery among athletes of all types. While the research may show mixed results, the majority of athletes believe that their compression garments are aiding their performance in one way or another (faster recovery is probably the #1 answer.)
The first thing Tommie Copper did was they made their compression sleeves very lightweight, supposedly light enough that you can wear them all day long.
The second thing they did was they constructed their sleeves out of “copper-infused yarn” to bring you the benefits of copper therapy. I don’t know a whole lot about copper therapy, but if it makes my muscles feel better, I’m all for it!
Tommie Copper sent me two products to test: calf sleeves and a knee sleeve. I’m using the calf sleeves to speed muscle recovery after running and riding, and I’m using the knee sleeve to hopefully ease the pain of my chondromalacia patella issues.
Each sleeve carries a retail price of $19.99, so two calf sleeves are basically $40. That’s on par with most other compression sleeves (2XU, Zensah, etc.) at $35-55 per pair.
On to my testing…
Testing the Tommie Copper Knee Sleeve
I got my sleeves on 4/28/2011 and put the knee sleeve on right away. After like 10 seconds, my knee felt really nice; it was almost a tingly sensation. I’m not sure if that was the copper or just the feeling of the fabric on my leg. Regardless, it felt awesome!
I wore the knee sleeve quite a bit for the next week and it helped ease my knee pain each time. I don’t know how it made such an impact for being such a thin sleeve, but it worked!
On 5/4/2011, I conducted a knee brace test between my DonJoy Comfort Knee Brace and the Tommie Copper knee sleeve (one on each knee.)
The real brace is tighter and offers support, but the knee sleeve makes my knee feel like it doesn’t need a brace on it. It’s light and comfortable and somehow seems to ease any minor aches and pains. This boggles my mind, but hey, I’m not complaining!
I’ve tried quite a few knee braces ranging in price from $7 to $100, and this sleeve is by far the best for everyday use. Basically I still have lingering affects from overuse injury (too much cycling,) and this sleeve is perfect for me.
The lightweight $7 knee sleeves from the drug store don’t do much at all, they’re not very comfortable, and they slide around. The $100 braces are overkill for me. The $35 Donjoy comfort brace is great, but I can’t wear it all day long (two hours at a time is my limit.)
Which leaves the $20 Tommie Copper knee sleeve to fit the bill perfectly!
Testing the Tommie Copper Calf Sleeves
On 4/29/2011, I tried on the calf sleeves and wore them for about three hours. Just like with the knee sleeve, I got that slight tingly feeling in my legs. My calves were sore from the past couple days of running, but after those few hours, they felt noticeably better.
The problem? I still had sore quads!
The next day, with fresh legs, I went out for a nice trail run that included hill sprints. Following the run, I wore the calf sleeves most of the afternoon and evening. Waking up the next day, my calves felt good. Unfortunately, my quads, hams, and glutes were all feeling the run in full force.
So after wearing the sleeves for a week or so, I can definitely tell the difference compared to just resting between my runs. My calves always feel better from wearing them. Then my thighs are still sore, so I have to do a lot of massage and foam rolling for them.
A couple times I even wore the sleeves all day and/or slept in them overnight. It’s easy to forget you’re even wearing them!
The real test for these sleeves was helping me recover from a few hours of lawn mowing, which all took place on rough, uneven ground. When running, I can usually maintain decent form, but when lawn mowing, my calves are taking some punishment!
As expected, it took me longer to recover from the mowing than from running. But much to my surprise, I recovered quicker than usual! Even though I knew the sleeves were working, they still surprised me here! My legs were really sore from the mowing, but the sleeves cut down my recovery time.
What I Liked About the Sleeves
You can wear them all day. I’d call it “lightweight comfort.” They are super light and comfortable, too. You can wear these sleeves all day, even overnight. (There are no seams to cut into my leg, like I get with the Donjoy brace I have.)
You feel it working. It’s hard to explain, but somehow, the sleeves provide a nice feeling, especially the knee sleeve. It’s probably just some sensation on your skin, but still, it’s nice!
The price. If you have chronic pain, $20 is a very small price to pay for relief.
Easy to use. The cool thing compared to foam rollers and massage tools, these are much easier to use. They do the work for you!
Effectiveness. Despite the light weight and light compression, these are actually effective at decreasing soreness!
Durability. All I can say about durability is that they lasted over a week and show no wear and tear. So until they fall apart, I’ll list durability as a good quality!
What I Didn’t Like About the Sleeves
Since the sleeves worked well for me, I had a hard time picking out things I didn’t like…
Limited effectiveness. (This applies specifically to the calf sleeves.) While the calf sleeves made my calves feel good, my calves don’t get anywhere near the workout my thighs do, and these sleeves do nothing for my thighs. I need some relief for my larger muscle groups!
Loosens up over time. (This applies to the knee sleeve.) After wearing the knee sleeve for a week or so, it loosened up and would slide down my leg and bunch up, rather than staying tight. I had to wash it to bring it back to normal. So you might have to wash it every week or so to keep it tight, depending on how much you wear it.
My final verdict is…
Overall, I really like the Tommie Copper line – they actually managed to make a compression garment that can comfortably be worn all day, and somehow it seems to work.
If you have any sort of chronic knee (or ankle or elbow) pain, you should definitely pick up one of these sleeves! $20 is a small price to pay for the relief it provides!
As for the calf sleeves, they did help to keep my calves feeling fresh, but didn’t do much else. I’d much rather spend my money on something that helps my thighs recover, because that’s where my main working muscles are! Maybe Tommie Copper is coming out with full-length stockings or compression shorts soon?
Product Review Details
Company: Tommie Copper.
Product: Tommie Copper Cu29 Compression Sleeves
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2011-05-11
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.
Click here if you would like to get your product reviewed on CoachLevi.com.