Compression devices are useful tools for all kinds of athletes to recover more quickly from hard workouts.
But if you want to take compression a step further than just your regular sleeves, compression boots are an excellent place to start. These devices use pulsating compression technology, which massages the muscles and increases circulation.
If you’re interested in repeating the benefits of this type of compression, we recommend the Normatec Pulse 2.0. It has 7 different intensity levels, custom calibration, and uses ZoneBoost technology.
Here are the top products for you to choose from. Get ready for improved recovery!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
1. Hyperice Normatec Pulse 2.0
Normatec is the gold standard when it comes to compression therapy.
They have been around since 1998, and use a process that has three distinct parts to it—pulsing compression, graduation, and distal release. This means that the system imitates the way blood moves through the veins and allows each section of the leg enough rest time.
The Pulse 2.0 has custom calibration, in which the boot molds to your foot and leg so that it can offer the most effective compression possible for you.
It uses dynamic air compression that can be customized by time, zone, and pressure settings. 7 different intensity levels allow for finely-tuned adjustments every time.
ZoneBoost technology allows you to increase the pressure of a certain section by 10 mmHg for 60 seconds, which is ideal for those parts of the foot or leg that need extra attention.
The device itself is durable and TSA-approved for carry-on, which means you may be able to use it if you need compression while in an airplane.
The control unit weighs just over 3 pounds and has a color screen for easy reference. Connect to the app via Bluetooth where settings can be adjusted.
It uses a 15V rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can last up to 2 hours. The compression boots can be cleaned easily using a damp cloth.
- 7 intensity levels
- Custom calibration
- ZoneBoost technology
- Customize pressure, duration and body part
- More expensive than other compression boots
2. Air Relax Leg Recovery System
The Air Relax Leg Recovery System is an excellent alternative and it’s relatively affordable.
Included in the package are a control unit and two leg sleeves, so it’s fairly lightweight and portable if you are planning on carrying it around.
Choose from three pre-programmed modes—A, peristaltic; B, Sequential and C, Massage. Each of these offers a different type of pressure, so it’s worth experimenting when you get this device to see what works best for you. There is also an auto mode, which uses both A and B together.
The boots consist of four chambers. Depending on the mode that you choose, the chambers are inflated and deflated to massage the area underneath.
There are 4 different levels of pressure. If you choose the auto mode, the device switches automatically between all four levels of pressure in the cycle.
You will also get a 1-year warranty. Be aware that you will need to be near a power supply when using these, as they don’t have a battery option.
- 3 pre-programmed variations
- 4 levels of adjustable pressure
- Easy to put on
- Available in three different sizes
- It must be attached to a power source to operate
Most Compression Options
3. Rapid Reboot Recovery System
This compression system has 10 different customizable pressure settings.
They range from 0 to 200 mmHg, and increase by 20 mmHg at a time. There are also 2 different compression modes—A, peristaltic and B, recovery.
You can also choose the duration of their compression session, with six different settings available ranging from 5 minutes to an hour.
The compression boot has a 3-chamber design that allows for targeted compression on particular parts of the leg. Flexible silicone hoses are integrated into the waterproof rip-stop nylon housing to provide compression.
Inside, the lining is seamless to provide optimal comfort when wearing these compression boots.
The Rapid Reboot system can be plugged into an outlet or use the rechargeable battery, which offers up to 2 hours of use per charge.
For convenience, the unit can also be operated from a smartphone using the app, and for safety, it powers down when the unit has been inactive for 15 minutes.
- 10 customizable pressure settings
- 2 compression modes
- Waterproof nylon with rip-stop weave
- Seamless interior
- Difficult to get spare parts like hoses if needed
Best For Triathletes
4. SLS3 Compression Recovery System for Athletes
Triathletes will benefit from this compression recovery system as it has 6 different massage programs that can help you recover better no matter how your legs are feeling after your event.
This system provides up to 250 mmHg of pressure and can be adjusted to suit the user. It can also be set to isolation mode to target specific areas of the legs. The compression units use 4 Air Chamber technology, which has overlapping chambers for a smooth compression experience.
This machine is quiet, you’ll be able to watch TV at a normal volume while using it. There’s a remote control to select settings, which can work from a distance of 3 feet away.
The power cord is also longer than average to allow for more freedom of space when wearing these boots.
- 6 massage programs
- Up to 250 mmHG pressure
- 4 Air Chamber Technology
- Remote control has a distance range of three feet
- Those with longer legs should size up as it may run slightly short
Best Battery Life
5. Therabody RecoveryAir System
Individuals who carry their compression boots with them to events will appreciate the extended battery life of the Therabody RecoveryAir System.
With a battery life of up to 360 minutes—6 hours—you’ll never run out of battery while away from a plug point.
The pressure can be adjusted in increments of 5 mmHg, between 20 and 100 mmHg. This is somewhat lower than others, so it’s best for those who don’t enjoy the higher pressure settings or only need mild to moderate compression.
This system works faster than most, going through 15 compression cycles in 15 minutes.
It uses 4 overlapping chambers to provide comprehensive coverage of the leg, and the overlapping design helps to prevent a build-up of moisture and odor-causing bacteria within the sleeves.
- Battery life of 360 minutes
- Adjustable pressure range
- True negative gradient of pressure
- Easy to clean
- The maximum pressure of this compression boot isn’t as high as others
Top For Home Use
6. DSMAREF Air Compression System
This air compression system may be too bulky to carry around and doesn’t have a battery, but it’s an excellent choice for using at home.
Set the timing to 10, 20 or 30 minutes at a time. The pressure settings range from 20 to 240 mmHg, and are adjusted manually by turning a dial on the control unit.
It’s simple to control and very straightforward and the ease of use makes it ideal for those who are new to using such devices.
You can also choose between solid compression or pulse, depending on preference. This unit comes with a 2-year warranty on the device and a 1-year warranty on the sleeves.
- Compression up to 240mmHg
- Choose between Pulse or Compression
- Can be used for 10, 20 or 30 minutes
- Comes with two warranties
- Sizing may be inconsistent so check the size chart carefully
Best Basic Massager
7. RENPHO Heated Leg Compression Massage
This leg massager is not high-tech but it serves the same purpose as the others on the list.
It doesn’t have a full-sleeve design, but instead uses three distinct sections for compression, with open spaces at the ankles and knees. This makes them breathable and allows for the greatest range of motion while wearing them.
The Velcro closure allows you to get a personalized fit and can fit calves up to 24.8 inches in circumference.
You can also use each wrap separately—for example, if you only want a thigh massage, you can use just the thigh section and select the right setting to prevent the unused ones from inflating.
The compression sections cover the feet, calves, and thighs. There are 6 massage modes to choose from and 4 levels of air pressure intensity so you can get a custom experience. Choose from: full leg massage; feet and calves; feet, calves and thighs in sequence; thighs, calves, and feet alone.
This is a portable system, which is convenient, and it comes with a handy travel bag. Note that it doesn’t have a battery, so wherever you intend to use must be equipped with a power supply.
An automatic shut-off function at 20 minutes gives a good session and prevents overheating of the machine and over-compression of the muscles.
Those who wish to use a compression device on the knee will be disappointed that the knee is left out of this device.
- 6 massage modes
- 4 intensity levels
- 20-minute auto shut-off timer
- Velcro closure allows for a more customized fit
- No knee compression
What Do Compression Boots Do?
Compression boots inflate and deflate in segments across different parts of your leg, using intermittent pneumatic compression.
This creates compression around the muscle, which helps to increase blood flow to the legs and helps the body to get rid of metabolic waste and enhance lymphatic drainage.
What are the Benefits of Using Compression Boots?
The benefits of using compression boots are equal to getting a sports massage after an intense workout.
Compression boots help to increase blood flow, which brings nutrient-rich blood to the muscle while removing metabolic waste. This can help speed up recovery.
The compression reduces the amount of swelling by preventing fluid from pooling in one particular area as the muscles start to repair micro-tears. Compression boots can lower muscle fatigue, reduce muscle stiffness—DOMS—and the light massage helps the muscle to relax.
How Do You Correctly Use Compression Boots?
One of the best things about compression boots is that you can use them multiple times throughout the day.
If you’re going to use them for recovery, then the duration and compression pressure would depend on the intensity of the event, race, or training routine. If, for example, you run a full marathon, then you’d use the boots for 20 to 30 minutes.
The amount of compression would depend on your personal preference. Some people prefer a higher amount of pressure and others will prefer a lower pressure. Whatever your personal pressure preference is, make sure that the pressure never causes discomfort or pain.
If you do experience pain or discomfort, you simply need to decrease the pressure in the boots until it’s comfortable.
Compression boots can be used to help warm up before going for a run or starting your training routine. In this case, you’d only need to use them for 10 minutes to get blood flowing through the muscles.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Compression Boots Clean?
Every brand of compression boots has different cleaning instructions. So before you clean your boots, read the manual for the manufacturer’s instructions.
Before you start any session with your compression boots, you want to make sure that your legs and feet are clean. Gently wipe your legs and feet down with a towel, as this will help prevent any dirt or debris from being left in the sleeves while using the boots.
After your session, unhook the hoses and wipe the sleeves down with a damp cloth. Let the sleeves air dry before storing them.