Once a secret weapon of pro athletes, the word is out on compression recovery boots and their ability to reduce pain, decrease muscle fatigue and more. Superstars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Lindsey Vonn have all shared via social media their love of the latest recovery trend and fitness enthusiasts have taken note and clicked "add to cart."
LeBron James is a fan of Hyperice's Normatec recovery boots and takes his (custom) pair on the road after noticing how much better his legs felt after use. If it's good enough for a four-time NBA champ, compression recovery boots are good enough for us.
Amazon's selection is MVP-worthy, of course. And you can use your tax-advantaged FSA/HSA account to buy them.
LeBron's choice of recovery boots: Hyperice Normatec 3 Legs Recovery System
In 2011, LeBron wanted to up his recovery in hopes of increasing his game (even further). His longtime trainer Mike Mancias turned him on to dual leg compression recovery boots, in particular the Hyperice Normatec 3.
So taken with the gear, which the company made specifically for LeBron, James noted an increase in performance and flexibility after use.
Hyperice Normatec 3 uses seven compression levels and the brand's patented Pulse technology to deliver precise treatment. Normatec 3 is lightweight and features Bluetooth connectivity that unlocks more features. Easy to use, simply zip up each boot, power up and relax.
What we like:
- 7 compression levels deliver customized pressure based on your needs
- 5 overlapping zones can provide a full leg massage or targeted recovery
- Minimal setup required so you can just zip up and turn them on
Best budget compression boots: Hyperice Normatec Go
If you like Normatec 3, but can't swallow the price, try Hyperice Normatec Go which uses the same science that powers all of Normatec's products but with a price tag of just $399. The compact sleeve is made specifically for your calves and are TSA approved so you can wear them on your flight to avoid the inevitable inflammation that comes with flying.
What we like:
- Its compact design is easy to travel with.
- HyperSync lets you sync these with other Hyperice wearables for a synchronized massage.
- Convenient, portable design has no hoses or separate controls to deal with.
Best wireless recovery boots: Therabody Recovery Air Jet Boots
Battery-powered, these Therabody Recovery Air Jet compression boots don't need to be plugged in. The integrated internal pumps are controlled with a one-touch panel, making this dual-leg recovery system particularly helpful for athletes of all levels on the go.
Therabody's Fast Flush technology inflates and deflates for a full cycle in just 60 seconds using four time intervals and four pressure settings. This creates a bespoke recovery regime, specific to each user.
An industry leader in sports recovery, Therabody's compression boots are brought to you by the same minds behind best-selling recovery products like Theragun.
This set comes in three sizes. Originally $899, you can save $100 buying at Amazon.
What we like:
- Fully wireless design has no hoses or separate controls.
- Long battery life gives you multiple recovery massages out of a single charge.
- Choose your own pressure settings or pick from four preset routines.
Best customizable recovery boot: Therabody Recovery Air Pro
If you're looking for a fully customizable compression recovery boot, Therabody Recovery Air Pro is for you. Therabody Air Jet, Air Pro offers precise customization of timing, pressure settings and zones, which explains the $1,299 price. Amazon reviewers called the 4.3-star-rated Air Pro "great," "amazing" and "worth every penny." We agree.
What we like:
- Adjust pressure, inflation cycles and time to create (and save) your own custom recovery routines.
- You can independently adjust pressure in different zones.
- Internal chamber design makes these easy to clean.
Shop more compression recovery boots on Amazon
- Therabody's Prime model is $100 off: Therabody RecoveryAir Prime, $599 (reduced from $699)
- 4.5-star-rated budget option: Fit King Air Compression Recovery System, $300 after coupon (reduced from $360)
- Easy to get in and out of: LifePro Leg Compression Massage Boots, $35
What are compression recovery boots (and do I need them?)
We asked ourselves the same thing. And yet, we're happy to bandwagon any legitimate recovery trend, especially one that works for big time athletes like LeBron and Lindsey Vonn.
Simply put, compression recovery boots are a type of recovery equipment that uses pneumatic compression (think inflatable boots with intermittent pressure) to apply pressure to legs to increase circulation, reduce swelling and increase blood flow, which helps with recovery and healing.
Who should use compression recovery boots?
Anyone from long distance runners to non-athletes trying to reduce swelling (even blood clots) in the legs can see some serious benefits from adding compression to their recovery. The intermittent (pneumatic) compression is found to work better for recovery than static pressure. Compression increases blood flow, which accelerates recovery. Anyone can benefit from using compression boots and sleeves, not just pro athletes.
How to choose between Normatec and Therabody
When it comes to compression recovery boots, Normatec and Therabody are the big names in the space. No surprise, they're also the most expensive.
Sizing: Normatec Go's one-size-fits-all sizing (25" x 12" x 1") might not work for the tallest users. But Normatec 3, as well as Therabody's recovery boots all come in small, medium and large boot choices.
Wireless compression: If you're looking to take your recovery on the road, NormaTec Go and Therabody Air Jet Recovery Boots are for you. Normatec Go isn't a full boot and will offer less customizable options, but is TSA approved, a super choice for athletes or those suffering from blood clots, who want to keep circulation moving while in flight.
- Great for flying: NormaTec3 Go Compression Recovery Sleeve, $399
- Best value: NormaTec 3 Compression Recovery Boots, $799
- Most customizable: Therabody Recovery Air Pro, $1299
- Wireless compression: Therabody Recovery Air Jet Boots, $799 (reduced from $899)