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The Best Compression Boots For Recovery Tested During Tough Marathon Training

Therabody RecoveryAir Jetboots
A model wears the Therabody RecoveryAir Jetboots (Image credit: Therabody)

Like massage guns before them, compression boots are making a move into the mainstream. Having started as a medical device to aid circulation, the boots have become popular with sportspeople as a way to speed up their recovery.

For all the tech wizardry involved, the idea behind the boots is simple. They fill with air to squeeze your legs and promote better blood flow, getting rid of metabolic waste generated by your training. This can help to reduce soreness and swelling, and get you back on your feet sooner to train again.

The benefits of compression to aid recovery are well established and there’s no real risk to using boots unless you ramp the pressure up until your legs tingle or go numb – don’t do that. 

However, the boots can cost a lot, and you should think very carefully about whether the outlay involved is really going to be the difference in your training regime. Could you, for example, do a bit more stretching and get to bed earlier rather than spending serious money on a set of compression boots? 

Recovery compression boots in carry bags, from left: Recovapro, Renpho and Therabody

Three compression boots tried by the author, packed away. From left: Recovapro Air, Renpho Air Compression Leg Massager and Therabody RecoveryAir Jetboots (Image credit: Nick Harris-Fry / Future)

We’ll let you make the call, but having tested several sets of the boots during a tough block of marathon training comprising 70-mile (110km) weeks, we are certainly fans. Being able to kick back and let them squeeze your legs better while watching TV is the easiest way to boost recovery we’ve yet tried.

The Best Compression Books Tried And Tested

Therabody RecoveryAir Jetboots

(Image credit: Therabody)

1. Therabody RecoveryAir Jetboots

The wireless boots are the best we’ve tested

Specifications

RRP: $899 / £799
Pressure range: 25, 50, 75 and 100 mmHg
Battery life: 240 minutes

Reasons to buy

+
Wireless design
+
Fast flushing for more cycles
+
Can be controlled by the app

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than others

There are three sets of compression boots in Therabody’s range, with the Jetboots sitting between the RecoveryAir Prime ($699/£599) and RecoveryAir Pro ($1,299/£1,129). All three sets inflate and deflate to aid recovery, but the Jetboots’ key feature is that they don’t need to be plugged into a console, with integrated pumps on the base of the boots and mini console to control them on the top.

This wireless design is highly convenient and while you get more customisation options on the RecoveryAir Pro boots, we rate the portability of the Jetboots as a more valuable feature, especially since they are cheaper. The boots connect to the Therabody app and can be controlled from there rather than on the console, and they are easily cleaned and come with a soft drawstring carry case.

A notable advantage of all the Therabody boots is that they can inflate and deflate quicker than other sets. This means you get more cycles of pressure for the time spent in the boots, which means faster recovery. It’s all about the cycles, says Therabody.


Man wears Recovapro Air compression boots

(Image credit: Recovapro)

2. Recovapro Air

Long-lasting boots with lots of customisation

Specifications

RRP: $715 / £650
Pressure range: 30-130 mmHg
Battery life: 300 minutes

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of preset routines
+
Wide pressure range
+
Long battery life
+
Quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
No partner app

The Recovapro Air boots offer a great range of modes, along with time and pressure customisation, and the five-hour battery life means you’ll get through a week or two of sessions without having to charge the console.

Along with warm-up and recovery modes for athletes, there are several modes designed more for general health, like the Flow mode which is designed to prevent varicose veins. The boots don’t connect to an app, but the console is well designed and makes it simple to select the mode, duration and pressure you’re after. It also runs surprisingly quietly so having the boots on didn’t impair my ability to hear the TV.

The boots come with a gym-bag-style carry case that has sections to make it easier to pack them away with the console.


Renpho Air Compression Leg Massager

(Image credit: Renpho)

3. Renpho Air Compression Leg Massager

Best budget compression boots

Specifications

RRP: $99.99 / £79.99
Pressure range: Four levels
Battery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Can target areas to massage

Reasons to avoid

-
Mains powered
-
Less effective than full boot
-
Have to manually adjust Velcro

Compression boots are typically very expensive, so we’ll gladly overlook some shortcomings compared with pricier models to get a workable set for under three figures. The Renpho leg massager uses three panels, rather than full boots, and you have to set the size by adjusting the Velcro fastenings.

They also need to be plugged in, rather than running off a battery, which means the spots you relax in are restricted to those in range of a wall socket. In our experience, not having a full boot also means the pressure doesn’t feel as effective in massaging the muscles.

All that said, the massager still does a good job of getting the blood flowing, and it costs so much less than most other boots that it’s a worthwhile option. There’s also a version of the massager that has a heater in the calf and upper leg sections, which sounds very pleasant indeed.


More Recovery Products To Consider

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.