If you’re not posting Instagram stories in your NormaTec boots or showing off your spring loaded R8 roller, are you even a real runner? Recovery technology, particularly compression boots, are all the rage right now, so obviously we had to try them out first-hand. The kind people at Air Relax sent us their Leg Recovery system to test out. Here’s what we thought.
Meaghan: The Air Relax Compression system is designed to help speed up recovery and enhance performance. I was super skeptical when I first tried these out. The leg sleeves are basically plastic pillows that fill with air, and as they inflate, they squeeze your muscles.
There are 4 levels of adjustable pressure and 3 pre-programmed variations. My first go in the boots I used the “auto” function, that varies pressure from Level 1 to Level 4 and moves up and down your legs. (I do not recommend the auto feature, more on that later).
The leg attachments come in three different sizes, so you can buy one appropriate for your height. Since Thomas and I were both using it, we went with the middle size. It’s way too big for me, but not really that big of an issue.
We’ve had the recovery boots for about a month now, and I have to say, I really like them. My legs feel fresher, particularly after a hard workout. I also think that taking 15 – 45 minutes out of your day to sit and relax in the boots is half the battle. It’s obvious that recovery is really important to performance, so even if these boots are simply a placebo effect, I’ll take it.
Thomas: I love this thing! Like I am addicted. I am in the boots at least once a day. Meg went over the details, but I will tell you the Air Relax boots feel amazing. The first couple of times I wasn’t sure, and then it just clicked. My favorite time to use the boots is after my weekend long runs and right before I go to bed every night. When I get up in the morning my legs feel less stiff and the stairs have been easier to manage.Shop Air Relax
Meaghan: I’m not going to lie, the first time I tried on these leg balloons, I was terrified. The boots do not come with much instruction and as a non-expert in boot technology, I would have liked a little more explanation. Like, hey, probably don’t use Level 4 unless you’re a masochist. I repeat, do not use Level 4.
Also, can we talk about our bedroom right now? As if two bedside chili-pads weren’t enough, now we have an Air Relax compression system adding to our hospital-ward look. Honestly, it’s a little bit insane.
Thomas: I disagree with Meg on Level 4, I love that ISH! The controls on the box could be a little more intuitive, a deeper dive into UX would be appreciated. Another drawback is the unit has to be plugged in. Trail runners might prefer a chargeable unit they can bring to their aid station camps.Shop Air Relax
Meaghan: I am officially a fan of recovery boots. I use them 3-4 times a week now, and I definitely think they’re helping keep my legs fresh. I know a lot of people want to know how the Air Relax compares to NormaTec, and while I can’t say first hand, the general consensus is that Air Relax is just as good (for ¼ of the price). If you’re not sure about the system, test them out at your next running event. Or, if you’re sold, you can buy a pair here.
Thomas: In the words of Ferris Bueller “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” Don’t listen to Meg, hit the auto button and let the pressure take you to new levels of blood flow bliss.Shop Air Relax
Meaghan is the co-founder of Big Run Media and Believe in the Run. She’s often found tearing up the promenade on Baltimore’s waterfront early in the morning.