You always know there is a bike event in town when you see loads of guys wandering around with knee high socks, shorts and maybe even sandals - it would be no surpirise if some of them were wearin Polaris's Ultra Tec Compression Socks. So, the question is are the possible benefits of wearing them worth risking arrest by the fashion police?
The rough science behind compression apparel is to constrain the limb, reducing the diameter of veins in order to promote circulation by increasing flow and a flushing of the toxins produced during exercise. These toxins develop during energy production in the muscle and also during the rebuilding phase; the better supplied the muscle with fresh blood, the quicker recovery can take place. Long used in medicine to prevent deep vein thrombosis, the science is sound.
Interestingly, no such blurb as to why you would want these socks is included in the product description - I guess they have become accepted items of kit. The socks are anatomically shaped, so much that they are asymmetrical; left and right specific. You can get them on the wrong foot but the socks are constructed of panels for compression around the muscle, while still remaining flexible in other areas - put them on the wrong foot and these panels are in the wrong places.
The fit of the socks is good, not the tightest compression socks I've tried but not weak either. All the panels seemed to line up in the correct places on my foot and they came to just below the knee. A cuff at the top stops the socks slipping down and seemed to work. They are as comfy as a pair of tight socks can be, probably thanks to the flat seams and good breathability. A well padded achilles area prevents any discomfort if worn with shoes (the ribbed style of compression sock can cause rubbing).
Compression socks can harbour bacteria. Polaris claim a silver antimicrobial technology help to keep these nasties at bay, along with the odours that they create. Our test pair haven't developed any sort of odour after a few months of testing.
Do they work? Well, the theory is sound and these socks feel like they provide enough compression to work. I've been using compression socks for a while now so am already convinced of the benefits and this pair from Polaris seemed to aid my recovery. A few hours wearing them and my legs felt much fresher, less heavy than without them. I use them travelling to races too, or on plane flights for noticeably less achey legs.
Reliable compression wear that won't break the bank.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Polaris Ultra Tec Compression Sock
Size tested: Uk size 10-12
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Surprisingly, there isn't any more blurb on the website than the technical specs below - Polaris don't seem to want to let out what these are for other than in the name.
These are to be worn during or after exercise to constrain the veins in the leg and promote blood flow, increasing the removal of toxins.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Contains Lycra for a close comfortable fit
- Full achilles protection against pressure and friction
- Cuff grip maintains optimum fit
- Right & left anatomically shaped with ventilation
channels under the sole for active air exchange
- Flat toe seams to help prevent blisters
- Silver antimicrobial technology Silpure controls
odours keeping fabrics cleaner and fresher longer
One of the better constructed compression socks I've come across.
A good level of tightness but not the tightest, often referred to as 'medical grade' compression wear I have experienced. Still, I felt the benefits after wearing them.
No signs of holes after a few weeks testing. Clean up well and don't smell either.
As comfortable as a pair of tight socks can be really. The cuff is a nice addition to stop chaffing or the socks falling down.
To me they get a 10. £12.99 is reasonable; a lot of much less technical, riding socks go for more. Similar compression socks are nearer £20 and a set of tights is around £50.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well, I certainly felt the benefits.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Anti-bacterial qualities that kept them from smelling!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not quite as tight as some pairs I have used.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? I'd probably get Sigvaris socks, they make medical grade compression wear.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably as a cheap entry into compression wear.
About the tester
I usually ride: Orbea Onix (Carbon) - Summer, Orbea Asphalt (Alu) - Winter My best bike is: Orbea Alma G10
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, club rides, mtb,