The FIT: adidas Recovery Sleeves and Socks

by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova

In the NBA world, athletes are subject to physical rigors that most laypeople cannot comprehend. For the elite basketball player, his/her body is his/her literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm (in the so-called real world) also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both NBAers and laypersons to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning—because after all, without having the vital fuel, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the uniquely tuned creatures who we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.

Three months ago, in research of upcoming apparel, I came across what was to be called the adidas Recovery line. About a month and a half later, I received a press release that detailed the attributes of the line; and because knowing what the line is about is imperative in knowing how to access and use the Recovery products, I’m sharing the major parts of the release below (per adidas):

PORTLAND, Ore. – August 1, 2011 – adidas today launches new adidas Recovery compression apparel and accessories to help athletes recover faster and return to their highest level of performance sooner.

“Preparation and recovery are two fundamental components of an athlete’s training program that can be the difference maker when it comes to game day,” said Mark Colin-Thome, head of training for adidas America. “Recovery is essential to helping athletes get back to their peak performance quicker so they can compete at their highest level game after game and season after season.”

Helping to increase athletes’ muscle recovery process and delay fatigue, adidas Recovery features strategically placed compression zones on core muscle groups that promote circulation and increase the displacement of lactic acid, the leading cause of muscle fatigue.

“Recovery is the limiting factor to elite performance,” said Athletes’ Performance Founder Mark Verstegen. “The quality of an athletes’ recovery window, the last second of intense competition or practice until the start of the next workout, directly effects their immediate and sustainable competitive advantage. Wearing adidas Recovery immediately following a workout or competition helps reduce muscle fatigue and soreness by increasing blood flow and delivering more oxygen to muscles.”

adidas Recovery includes men’s long and short sleeve tops, men’s long and short tights, arm and calf sleeves and socks. The tops are developed with a unique sleeve construction allowing athletes to move freely without the shirt shifting on the athlete’s body. A 3D engineered pattern is used to optimize fit and comfort during 360-degree movements. adidas Recovery apparel for women will be available in 2012.

adidas Recovery provides maximum comfort and durability with seams made of a special soft thread that reduces friction during wear. adidas ClimaCool ventilated technology helps keep athletes cool and dry through air vents and moisture management material.

And so on and so forth.

With that, I had an idea in how to approach the Recovery products. Though brevity in my testing notes was present, the effectiveness of the products was more prolific.

One, I tested the Recovery arm sleeves, leg sleeves, and socks—all were comfortable, all were suitably sized for my limbs, and all of them were covered my parts appropriately (which is great, because my arms are long—I have a wingspan of 6-2, even though I’m 5-10).

Two, the Recovery sleeves were knit in such a way that they really did prevent my soreness. Normally, in my weight training workouts, I’m often left with sore triceps and calves, but the arm sleeves were just tight enough to stimulate the capillaries of my arms and top layers of tissue. With the minimum suggested time of 20 minutes of wear, the Recovery sleeves honestly made it seem like I hadn’t really endured a workout at all, which actually was sort of weird, and left me thinking that maybe I should’ve worked out harder (I think that means that they worked). My arms and my legs were kept blood-rich. Having said that, there are just a couple of things in which I’d like to see improvement.

One improvement that I’d like to see is where the socks are tuned tighter in the arch. I like the Recovery socks, specifically because they’re calf-high and hold good compression at the lower leg, but for a low-arched, flat-footed guy like me, some arch compression and support is a great comfort, and the socks surprisingly were not knit as tight, but that’s really it. A nitpicking issue would be that the sleeves are somewhat difficult to get on by yourself, because of the nature of the product, but in all honestly, there wasn’t a huge challenge to get them on my arms, but it was enough of a challenge for me to remember.

Overall, the Recovery products are a promising series of post-workout gear that really aids athletes who expend a lot of themselves, either playing sports or training. If soreness and body fatigue in your limbs and feet are an issue, I suggest giving the Recovery products a try for yourself. If they can work for an athlete like me, a former baller and current fitness trainer and advisor, then they can work for anyone, of any sex and build.

(Image courtesy of CounterKicks, a SLAM San Dova Speak-Easy partner.)

Additional pictures available here.

Sandy Dover is a published author and web & print magazine columnist in the world of publishing, while doubling (or quadrupling?) as a sports product tester and fitness advisor in the fitness world (with the two worlds often colliding). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at About Me, Facebook and Twitter.