Ideal for walking and hiking, Midi has designed CEP Outdoor Compression Socks. These innovative socks concentrate on consistent compression to the leg and foot, in order to reduce muscle vibration and prevent injury, whether you’re walking in Appalachia or around your neighborhood block.
These CEP walking socks provide the utmost in comfort while their compression properties penetrate deep into muscles to flush out lactic acid, and enhance walking or hiking performance.
- Main material – 85% polyamide nylon, 15% spandex
- Graduated medi compression
- Ankle protector
- Achilles tendon protector
- Anatomic foot padding
- Comfortable band
- Extra-flat toe seam
- Odor-reducing silver ions
- Anatomical fit
- Robust material
- Moisture management
- Measured size III
- Weight – 38 g (1.3 oz) each
- Retail – $60
CEP is part of the larger medi corporation. Medi has been making compression wear for health care since 1951. They are a German company with offices around the globe. CEP makes compression socks, shorts, tights, and suits for athletes. Compression garments have become much more popular over the last couple of years for both active use and recovery. I was fortunate to be able to work with CEP to do a review of a pair of running socks and arm coolers before and now the socks. Here is a link to those other reviews: CEP Reviews
To test these socks, I took them out to the trail. I used them on several trips with a pack on and without. I also tried them with different boots as I was testing those as well. I used these socks over 70 miles of hiking and even one day of 24 miles.
The CEP Outdoor Compression Socks are very different than what I usually wear on my hiking trips. First off, they are much more athletic looking than your normal knit hiking socks. These also come up to the bottom of the knee which is higher as well. CEP has tried to neutralize the colors a bit by using a greenish-gray main color with black sections. These are not quite as flashy as my CEP Running Socks, which are Neon Green. The Outdoor Compression Socks are made of a polyamide nylon and spandex mix. This synthetic fabric not only creates the compression but also is breathable and has good moisture management properties. The socks are made right and left specific. This way, the added support and padding can be anatomically placed in the correct locations. There are several areas where increased padding has been knitted into the socks. In particular, there are ankle, Achilles, and foot padding. The socks also have a very flat toe seam to increase the overall comfort of the socks.
The Outdoor Compression Socks have the same compression found in other CEP socks. They have been knitted with a circular knitting process to produce consistent stretch and therefore, better controlled compression. The compression is graduated for higher levels down at the ankle and lower levels up the calf. Tighter in the ankle, looser in the calf – brings blood back to the heart. For the athlete, improving arterial blood flow is the key to peaking performance. CEP compression socks apply consistent compression to the calf, allowing the arterial walls to relax and the flow of oxygen-rich blood to increase by up to 40%. More oxygen means more power during performance and a faster recovery. Graduated medical grade compression that is tighter at the ankle improves vein health by reducing the veins’ diameter and pushing de-oxygenated blood back to the heart.
While using these socks on a hike or other outdoor activities the socks also stabilize your muscles allowing them to save precious energy. This energy saved can be translated to greater levels of endurance as well. CEP recommends the socks for trekking, Nordic walking, and hiking. Compression socks have also been proven to reduce injuries such as shin splints, calf cramping, Achilles issues, pulled muscles, and venous reflux and pooling. They feature a 30-day comfort guarantee and a six-month compression guarantee.
My one drawback I have with these socks is I have not seen any evidence towards sustainability either in the construction, materials, or other aspects of the company. For that reason, I gave them a zero rating for sustainability, but I will revise this if I find anything out down the road.
Comfort Next to Skin (20%)
Ease of Movement (20%)
Foot Fit (30%)
Leg Fit (30%)
Obviously, the Outdoor Compression Socks fit snug; they are compression socks. The foot does not contain the same level of compression as the rest of the socks does. This is nice because I do not find it very comfortable when my foot is wrapped tightly. While the socks are snug, they do not feel constricting and move well with the movements of my leg. The fabric is comfortable next to the skin, enough so that I did not take the socks off for my 3-day Timberline Trail hiking trip. I would wear the socks all day for performance benefits and then at night for recovery.
The silver ions do a respectable job at keeping odor at a minimum, but it is possible to make them start to smell. They are not nearly as bad as they could be after that many days on the trail. It is a bit different to get used to the height of the socks and the relative thinness as compared to regular hiking socks. Most other hiking socks I have used have been a bit thicker making the boot feel full. With these socks on there is more room inside the boots which takes a little to get used to. Not a bad thing, just different. I must say I am a fan of compression socks; they fit well and are comfortable.
Moisture Transport (15%)
Compression Benefits (40%)
You may be still asking yourself about why use compression. Well, every muscle cell in the body needs energy in the form of oxygen. To get this oxygen it has to be transported by the blood. The better the blood flow in the body, the better the muscles are supplied with oxygen and nutrients. This function can be positively influenced with targeted graduated compression. I used these socks on several hiking trips from short days to long and must say that my legs did not feel as tired and felt much fresher the next day when using these socks. While I have mentioned before in reviews of compression clothing that it is hard to quantify how much better, I would say it was definitely noticeable. Especially on the day I covered 24 miles, my legs were tired but not overly, and I woke up feeling no soreness or tiredness the next day.
The socks did a good job of keeping me cool as well. The first two days of my Timberline trip were on the warmer side and even with lock socks and long pants on, I did not overheat. The socks moved moisture well and kept me cool. I was pleasantly surprised as I fully expected to be too warm but was not in the mood to wear long socks with shorts. The Outdoor Compression Socks also get good marks for cushioning. I did not get any blisters wearing these socks even though I put in some long miles and were breaking in a pair of new boots. I definitely appreciated the added padding, particularly around the ankle as it added to the comfort of the socks.
Overall, the CEP Outdoor Compression socks will be accompanying me on many more of my hiking trips. Before testing out these socks I had not thought of using compression socks on hiking trips. It makes sense to do so as the performance benefits are similar to other activities, just no other companies have been marketing to this audience. One thing that is nice about these socks is that they are not just a normal compression sock with “outdoor” in the title. CEP made sure to make a sock that blends the performance of compression with several features that are important on a hiking sock. I think they have done good job as I felt the increased performance and good comfort as well. I think the only drawback I can see with using these is that they are not as warm as some of my other socks for winter hiking and snowshoeing. I guess I can layer another sock over the top, but I have yet to try that. Maybe down the road they will come out with a thicker winter version. Even though these socks retail for $60, which is expensive. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by not only the comfort of the socks but the increased performance you will receive when using them. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Better endurance while hiking
- Faster recovery overnight
- Good breathability and moisture management
- Padding helps with comfort
- Silver Ions reduced stink even over three days without removing
- Not very warm for winter hiking and snowshoeing