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If you’re wondering exactly how compression boots work, allow us to explain. In the simplest terms, compression boots are inflatable sleeves that fit tightly around the legs and feet. Once they fill with air, they gently squeeze the legs to increase blood flow and boost circulation. Providing coverage from feet to thigh, they inflate and deflate in certain parts at different times to deliver a massage-like feel.
Often found at physical therapy studios and even gyms, compression boots can also help speed up muscle recovery after an intense workout. A 2018 study conducted by frontiers in Physiology concluded that compression boots are effective in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), perceived fatigue, muscle damage and inflammation. Another 2017 study supported these findings, showing that external pneumatic compression — a technique used by compression boots —stimulated recovery, reduced muscle fatigue, boosted circulation and even improved flexibility, too.
For these reasons, compression boots may be used by athletes that frequently put stress on their body, people with circulatory issues or nurses, construction workers and other individuals whose job require them to spend long hours on their feet.
If you plan to invest in compression boots, we included some options below.
NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Recovery System
This cordless, Bluetooth-enabled option includes a battery pack and connects to a companion app that allows you to integrate your recovery data into your training plan and control it from your phone. Patented Pulse compression sequence technology makes it easy to customize the time, pressure and zone settings to your desired preference. Featuring a seven intensity levels, Zone Boost supplies extra, targeted attention where you need it most. Moreover, the standard leg attachments fit heights between 5’3 to 6’3 but also available in short and tall versions. The style also features a reinforced construction for durability.
Rapid Reboot Recovery System
Offered in five sizes, this device features three time settings, 10 customizable pressure settings and two compression modes that offer the option of rapid flush or intermittent massage. The Rapid Reboot Recovery System also allows you to control which chambers of the sleeves are activated to target or avoid certain spots. And the boots themselves are crafted from a rugged ripstop fabric and a seamless interior for optimal comfort. A bonus? It comes with a convenient carrying bag for travel. The only drawback is that it needs to be plugged into an outlet.
Compex Ayre Compression Boots
Also powered by a reachable battery, these boots offer up to 60 minutes of compression on a single charge. The boots feature a foldable design and four separate chambers that can be inflated at the same time or individually to target various muscle groups. What’s more, they come with a carrying case for easy packing and portability, and both the exterior and interior linings allow for easy cleaning and help prevent foul odors from forming. Unlike the others on our list, which come with handheld units for adjusting the settings, this style is designed with an integrated compression control unit.
Flyte Recovery Boots System
This compression system delivers a whopping 16 levels of compression and four different modes so you can switch things up based on your needs. Cordless and rechargeable for ultimate convenience, the boots come in two size options and contain six chambers in each sleeve for a customizable air massage that lets you select which areas you want to target or avoid. The brand also supplies a tote bag, so you can pack up everything and take it on the go.
Doctor Life V3 Max Air Compression System
Available at a more budget-friendly price, these compression boots are light and easily portable, in part thanks to an included carrying case. They feature long zippers that allow for easy on and off access. While they only come in a large size, you can also purchase extenders separately if you need more room. You can use them in short, 10 to 30-minute spurts and the motor should be fairly quiet, too.
Cincom Compression Boots
Another more affordable corded option, these compression boots are just over $100. The leg wraps, which come with two extenders, are made of comfortable mesh and offer an easily adjustable, breathable open-knee design. With six chambers in each bootie, they’re able to massage 11 areas of the leg from the instep to the thigh. They also feature three levels of intensity and three massage modes.
Fit King Compression Boots
Also featuring an open-knee boot design, this pick provides three levels of intensity and three massage modes for a total of 10 massage sensations available. Moreover, it’s easily adjustable and comes with extenders, so it should fit most people. The system lets you target different areas of the leg independently, too.