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acel compression sock pink

You don’t have to wear compression socks to compete in a marathon or triathlon.

If you look at the crowds of participants these days, though, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that – these things are everywhere!

That’s good news though, because the surging popularity has led to better selections and lower prices!

One of the new brands selling reasonably-priced options is ACEL Compression Socks.

They were able to hook me up with some pink socks, just in the nick of time for Breast Cancer Awareness in October. The pink is a little on the fuchsia side (exactly as pictured,) but still close enough to get the point across.

If you have less flashy tastes, don’t worry – the socks are also available in black and white.

I’ve been using these lately to help delay fatigue during my runs and to keep my blood circulating when I’m recovering between workouts.

Here are my thoughts…

Sizing

For compression socks, the size of your calf is even more important than the size of your foot, so the sock sizes are usually based on your calf circumference.

ACEL’s size chart uses both shoe size and calf circumference, which sounds good in theory, except that calf circumference and shoe size aren’t really correlated!

Thus, with a recent calf measurement of 15.25″, I opted for a size Medium (even though my size 11 feet would be better suited by a size Large.)

My advice would be to simply ignore the shoe size aspect of the chart. Not only is calf size more important, the shoe size axis considers the shoe sizes to be unisex. Hmmm. A men’s 11 shoe is different from a women’s 11 shoe, but they don’t distinguish that on the chart.

Unless you have very skinny calves and abnormally large feet (size 13+,) you’ll probably be fine.

acel pink compression socks

Fit and Comfort

These socks fit perfectly! They were even relatively easy to get on my feet! (Relative to my CEP compression socks.)

They are also soft, comfortable, and a pleasure to wear!

All of that came as a surprise! Other compression socks and sleeves I’ve worn are made out of high-performance materials that are nowhere near as comfortable. By comparison, these feel like cotton or wool! I’m amazed!

The cushioned sole is what I’d consider “light cushion” in terms of hiking/running socks. Not too thin, not too thick. The arch support is excellent!

All in all, these are very comfortable. I could probably wear them all day!

Performance

Ah, the most subjective component of the review! The time where I make an educated guess as to whether or not these socks are actually helpful, or if they’re just expensive socks.

coach levi biking in acel compression socks

Let’s start by talking about getting them on my feet. Like all compression socks, there’s a trick to it. You have to turn them almost completely inside out, then slowly unroll them over your feet and up your calves, pulling just enough so that the top comes to just below the crease behind your knee. And you have to put them on the correct feet, since they’re asymmetrical.

One time I put them on and they felt funny. I looked at them for a moment, then realized I put them on the wrong feet! It’s subtle, but yes, the “L” and “R” labels are there for a reason!

It still takes me a few minutes to carefully put these on, which I would say is par for the course with compression socks.

At first, they just feel tight, but the compression really kicks in within 5-15 minutes. It’s hard to explain, but you get an interesting sensation in your legs.

Go out for a run or ride, though, and you quickly forget you’re wearing them.

After the extra time to put them on, I’d really like to run faster or farther.

Unfortunately, my running performance is just as lackluster as when I’m wearing regular socks! Seeing people’s reactions to my bright pink socks does make me motivated to run faster, but that’s as far as it goes!

If I was an elite runner, maybe I’d notice a change. But I’ve never been elite. I’m not even consistent when it comes to running!

I use compression socks to speed recovery.

One byproduct of my inconsistent, lackluster running is sore legs. So it makes sense to wear these socks for my runs… and then leave them on for a few more hours after!

Can I tell that they’re speeding my recovery? Not really. But a February 2015 issue of the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research includes a study showing that “the wearing of below-knee compression socks for 48 hours after marathon running has been shown to improve functional recovery.”

Some evidence is better than none! And the trend in research over recent years has compression garments looking better and better.

Build Quality and Durability

The sock’s construction seems top-notch. There’s nothing to make me think these are going to fall apart.

The bottom and sides of the foot are starting to pill a little bit, but nothing major. That happens to every sock.

Durability will be judged later! I have no idea if they are abrasion-resistant or will have holes worn in them within a few months. Time will tell.

acel and cep compression socks

ACEL vs CEP Compression Socks

My CEP compression socks are awesome socks and I have no complaints. The issue is that at $60 per pair, they are so expensive that many athletes won’t be able afford them.

At $35, these ACEL compression socks are significantly less expensive. Could they be just as good?

ACEL high-performance MEDI-COMPRESSION activity socks are specifically designed and manufactured using state-of-the-art materials to meet optimal 20-30 mmHg graduated compression for maximum comfort and performance.

I’m assuming they mean that the socks use medical-grade compression, and not that the products come from medi itself (as medi is the parent company of CEP). Confusing terminology aside, the socks do offer the same amount of graduated compression as used by CEP.

The main difference I see (which is sort of visible in the comparison photo) is that the CEP socks are narrower in the ankle. There’s quite a taper from the upper calf down to the ankle. That’s missing in the ACEL socks.

That looks like a small difference, but a more anatomical fit could make a big difference in performance! How much of a difference, though, is hard to say, especially because it’s hard to say how much of a difference compression socks make in the first place!

But, I can tell the difference between these socks! The CEP socks are indeed tighter around my ankle. They conform to my body perfectly, from my toes to my knee. The ACEL socks don’t seem to put any pressure on my ankle, but they do seem to provide a similar compressive feel on my feet and calves.

My best description is that the CEP socks seem to provide muscle support and compression, while the ACEL socks only offer compression. Is that worth double the price tag? I’m not sure.

ACEL Compression Socks vs Vitalsox

I have to point out, there are other compression socks in this price range. For example, one brand that caught my eye a while back is Vitalsox, because they’re made in Italy.

Their socks are listed at $35 retail, often selling for even less on Amazon.com.

That would be another interesting comparison! For now, though, I can’t comment on Vitalsox either way.

ACEL Winter Compression Socks

A winter version, ideal for snowshoeing and skiing, is coming soon!

I plan to review that sock once I get my hands on a pair!

coach levi with acel compression socks and foam roller

My final verdict is…

While $35 socks still aren’t cheap, this is a great price for soft, comfortable compression socks. (And if you caught my recent Facebook photo, you’ll see there is a 20% off coupon!)

How they hold up over time remains to be seen, but so far, I’m really liking these! Even if they’re not quite on the same level as CEP socks, they’re an excellent value, and probably good enough for most people.

Official website: www.ACELcomfort.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com


Product Review Details
Company: ACEL
Product: ACEL Compression Socks
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2015-10-20
Obtained Product: Free sample from company.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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