I’m not known for my dancing abilities but when I opened a pack of Route 40 compression socks my lack of skills really hit home as I seemed to be confronted with two left feet. Being so accustomed to wearing socks marked for left and right I was confused with a pair which both had an L on them.
After a couple of funny WhatsApp messages with Kate (RunUltra Content Manager) and a washing basket rummage, it transpired her pair were emblazoned with M for medium and the L on mine was for, of course, large. Feeling a little stupid for not knowing which feet to put socks on, I pretended it hadn’t happened and carried on with my day.
The Route 40 website claims that they produce “The world’s most advanced graduated compression socks [that] give you better circulation, greater comfort and less soreness”. They stock a range of socks designed for running, hiking and skiing. Obviously, I focussed on the running section and this review is for the graduated compression running twin skin sock.
- Designed to increase running performance
- Double layer to prevent foot/shoe rubbing
- High wicking and breathable material
- Composition: 69% Polyamide, 20% Elastodiene, 11% Spandex
- Compression grade: 15-20 mmHg (millimetres of mercury)
- RRP: £28.99
PROS: WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THE ROUTE 40 COMPRESSION SOCKS
Taking straight out of the packet and putting on, these socks felt immediately very comfortable, warm and the sizing was perfect. I wasn’t sure how much “compression” I should be feeling around my feet but they felt snug around the arch and mid-foot.
When turned inside out you can see there are no seams from the top of the sock until the balls of the feet where the compression section ends. The seams are flat and didn’t rub my foot at all. A two-tone blue on the outside to show the various compression areas and an inner finished off in a bright cyan completes a nice-looking design.
Diving straight in at the deep end, I first wore them for a 35-mile overnight run (supporting a friend’s 100-mile effort). Despite it being a warm day, temperatures dropped below zero overnight and we had some pretty rugged and boggy terrain to contend with in the Peak District; it certainly was a good initial test.
They felt comfortable from the start and I finished the run with no foot pain or blisters, likely assisted by the twin skin reducing foot/shoe rubbing. On numerous runs since, I’ve had a similar experience with an all-round comfortable sock, which holds firmly in place around your foot and I’d happily pick for long outings.
It’s impossible for me to verify the manufacturer’s claims that they should improve my running performance or assist with blood circulation, but this may be more apparent in the knee-high variety where I would expect you would feel the effect of the graduated compression around your calf.
CONS: WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD ABOUT THE ROUTE 40 COMPRESSION SOCKS
Whilst they felt good to run in, and the technology and benefits sound impressive, at close to £30 for this pair it’s quite a high price for a pair of running socks, especially ankle height. The knee-high version seems to be a similar price to others on the market.
Having now used the socks regularly, I do think they seem to have shrunk a little in the wash so if you’re borderline sizes I’d suggest opting for the larger version. Whilst still comfortable it does feel like they’ve lost something in the washing process and I don’t seem to have experienced that immediate comfort and warmth as I did at the first opening.
Whilst I made a joke of it at the start of this review, I would have thought a sock so specifically designed to work with your feet and enhance performance would be shaped differently for a left and right foot, but obviously Route 40 don’t consider this necessary.
Do these socks increase performance and aid muscle recovery? It’s beyond the scope of this review and would need some detailed scientific tests to measure. Even if this were proved, any benefit is one small part of a complete package that makes a good athlete, and none of it will substitute for good training, recovery and nutrition.
Do the socks feel good to run in? Yes, and they’re looking to be hard-wearing and comfortable for long days out with the twin skin providing benefit against rubbing. There’s not really much more I could ask from a running sock.
Have you tried the Route40 Twin Skin Socks? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.
Not a member yet? Sign up here to be part of the RunUltra community and share tips and stories with thousands of fellow runners around the world.
We are a professional review site and our reviewers receive free products for testing from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are by the reviewer’s name shown.
About the writer: Dan is a Peak District based runner collecting mud and scrapes in and around Glossop, he likes nothing more than escaping into the Dark Peak and then writing about how difficult it was in his blog.
All images by Dan Stinton.