Tag Archives: gear review

Gear Review: Swiftwick Aspire Compression Socks


Recently I was given the opportunity to test a pair of Swiftwick compression socks. You can check out their product line here. At $35 per pair the Aspire Twelve is a cheaper option than some of the other brands on the market.

You’ll notice on the website that Swiftwick offers socks in several different lengths. Personally, for my longer or tougher runs I prefer running socks that cover the calf. As a result, I ended up testing the Aspire Twelve.

In terms of colour, Swiftwick offers 8 different options for the Aspire line. I went with Fusion Blue because they matched the shoes I currently have in my rotation.

Since I have had the socks for a few weeks now I have had the opportunity to wear them for a handful of runs. I have worn them for longer runs and also for speed intervals.

The Aspire socks feel light when you have them on your feet. Unlike other socks I have tried these ones did not feel tight in the toe once I had my shoes on. In terms of length, the Aspire Twelve sit about 1-2 inches below my knees, a little lower than other full length compression socks I have tried.

One thing I will mention about these socks is that they feel a little tighter in the lower ankle than other socks I have also tried, possibly because they offer more compression in that area. Don’t be surprised if you find it tough to get these socks over your heals the first time you try to take them off.

All in all I had a positive experience with these socks. I did not have to worry about blisters or sore muscles after my long runs in them. I would recommend these socks if you are in the market for a pair of compression socks.

Product Review: CEP Progressive Run Socks

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A few weeks ago I bought myself a pair of CEP Progressive Run Socks at the Ottawa Marathon expo. SinceI was pleased with the purchase and am a fan of the product I thought I would share a review here.

I did not go to the expo looking for a new pair of compression socks but I happened to buy a new singlet at a booth next to the one where the CEP socks were being sold.

The CEP socks just happened to come in colours that matched my new singlet. I wandered over to have a look at them and noticed they were made in Germany which those who know me will tell you is a big selling point given that I spent part of my childhood in Germany.

The first thing you will notice about the CEP socks is the sizing. Unlike other compression socks which go according to your foot size, the sizing of CEP socks is based on the sized of your calves.

When I tried them on they felt tighter around my calves than other compression socks and given the theory behind compression socks that seemed like a good thing to me. They felt good when I had them on and instantly became my favourite pair of compression socks.

Among the benefits listed on the website are more energy, stamina and performance, improved blood circulation, preventive function and muscle and joint stabilization.

Since they felt good I will admit that I did something I do not normally do, I wore them on race day before trying them out on one of my training runs. I would not necessarily recommend this approach but it worked for me as I did not run into any issues for the socks.

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If you read my race report from the Ottawa Marathon you’ll know that I ran into issues with calf cramps over the last 10 km.  I’ve mentioned already that I think this was the result of an electrolyte issue because it was a warm day or a change in my form in the later stages that put more stress on my calf muscles.

On a positive note I can say that until I had to slow down and stretch my calves I certainly felt stronger than I have before that far into a marathon.

The other benefit for me was recovery. I also wore the socks in the evening of race day as well as a couple times the day after the marathon. My calves were stiff the day after, certainly to be expected given the cramping I experienced. However, I was able to recover quickly. I was back to running later that week without any effects from the marathon.

I certainly plan on wearing these socks again when I run my next marathon.

Note: the opinions expressed here are mine. I was not paid to write this post.

Gear Review: ellasport Power Capris

Well my New Year’s resolutions just became easier to keep after my latest trip to the gym to try out ellasports’s new Power Capris. Pam from ellasport asked Patrick if he would be willing to review the capris, and while he doesn’t usually run in capris, they make up a good percentage of my running wardrobe. 

Ellasport's new Power Capris

Here’s the thing: I like capris, but I have had trouble finding a pair that stay up and that aren’t too tight. It seems that they either have a fold-over waist with no waistband and wont stay up, or they fit perfectly right except for the too tight waistband. My last 5K race was a disaster on this front! My pants kept sliding south exposing the tummy that hasn’t quite been the same since my daughter was born. I spent the race doing a funny little run, run run, hop pulling up my sliding running pants.

The ellasport power Capris are mid-rise, which means that they sit one inch below the belly button and they didn’t move at all throughout my entire run. Out of habit I found myself fiddling with the waistband getting ready to hike up my pants but then stopped and realized – I didn’t have to! These capris hadn’t moved at all!

The weight and feel of the fabric is really nice. It strikes a really great balance of slimming and providing compression, without being too tight and causing any type of muffin top. The waistband is flat and sits comfortably at the waist, and there is a drawstring if you need it. There is a nice seam detail on the leg, which made my legs look slimmer and made me feel like I could run faster. The best feature, I think is the handy little cool max pocket at the back. It’s the perfect size for a driver’s license, a gel and it saves me from having to tuck stuff in my bra or carry something. 

In terms of sizing, I usually wear a 12-14 and the large power capris fit me perfectly. Exactly as the size chart on their website indicates. 

ellasport's Gramercy Racerback Tank

I liked the capris so enough that I started checking out the other items on the ellasport website and may find myself ordering the Gramercy Racerback Tank and a Workout Skirt to match once it warms up enough for that.

ellasport's Workout SkirtÂ

That run at the gym in my power capris on the weekend made me feel so great that I kick-started my New Year’s resolutions and tried running home from work! I can’t wait for Spring to arrive so I can start running in capris again outside. And when ellasport adds full length power running tights to their lineup, I’ll place the first order.


P.S. A quick aside, while ellasport provided the capris to test, I have not been paid for this review and the opinions are my own – J.