Trail Runner’s Gear Review: GO Sleeves

The following gear review featuring Go Sleeves was written by trail runner Sarah Barber. Product was provided at no charge for the review.

Back in the 1970s, a chiropractor named Dr. Kenzo Kase (in case the Google rabbit hole beckons you), figured out a way to effectively mimic a therapist’s hands on a body part by using elastic tape. The theory was that the tape applied to the skin would stretch it to a degree that would change the density and concentration of the tissue, creating a mechanical stimulus that would interact with the human body’s central nervous system and potentially modulate the pain response.

Additionally, by changing the intracellular pressure in the tissue, capillary beds and lymphatic vessels might experience unimpeded flow; this translates to better circulation and reduction of swelling. Voila! Kinesiology tape was born and has become very popular, seen on everyone from Olympians to octogenarians.

But, one problem with elastic tape is that it’s a one-use product: after a number of hours (or days if you’re lucky) it’s done. Meanwhile, compression gear can be worn, washed, and worn again. And again. And again. Although they work differently, there is evidence that compression sleeves not only reduce swelling, improve circulation, and speed post-workout recovery, but they also provide support and security during workouts.

Silicone strips

Now, imagine what would happen if a romance sprang up between KT Tape and your favorite calf compression sleeves. In a fit of ground-breaking innovation and passion, the resulting love child is GO Sleeves Kinesiology + Compression Calf Sleeves.

Just like standard compression sleeves for the lower limbs, these GO Sleeves are designed to squeeze firmly, providing a scaffold from ankle-to-knee. But their distinctive feature is the silicone strips that reside on the inside of the sleeves, gently tugging the skin exactly as kinesiology tape does, and targeting the achilles, anterior tibialis, gastrocnemius and soleus. Put another way, if you’ve got shin splints, these GO Sleeves have your name on them.

Sarah Barber sporting her GO Sleeves.

Valuable pro tips

Recognizing that next-level technology isn’t necessarily intuitive, GO Sleeves thoughtfully packaged an instruction manual with the Kinesiology + Compression Calf Sleeves that arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago. Wait—check that. Not just one instruction manual. My sleeves came with a “pro tips” card and a tri-fold “quick start guide” with a QRU code that took me to a two-minute video tutorial. Clearly, these things are more complicated than assembling Ikea furniture. And so I stuck with my usual approach to life: disregard instructions and fumble along so that I can learn the hard way.

And learn the hard way is exactly what I did. I wrestled my way into the GO Sleeves, marveling at the feeling that seemed almost snug enough to splint a broken bone, and thinking to myself, “Any dummy could do this!” Insert angry buzzer noise. I had put them on backwards. Although the left and right were clearly marked, I learned from the how-to booklet that the sleeves also have a front-and-back orientation, which ensures that the kinesiology strips are positioned correctly along the shin and the calf.

I kept reading: “Wear your sleeve(s) for no more than 60 minutes, rest your skin, and slowly work your way up to wearing GO Sleeves for longer periods of time.” Perfect. I left them on all afternoon.

Relaxing and recovering with GO Sleeves.

GO Sleeves evaluation

Fortunately, there were no adverse consequences—quite the opposite, in fact! The next morning I felt more ready than usual to keep up with my younger teammates on a tempo run. Following the logical progression, I tried leaving the GO Sleeves on for a short workout to see what would happen. The only discomfort I felt was in my chest, as my heart and lungs did their damnedest to keep up with my legs, which were moving quickly, I might add.

Placebo? Doubtful. But, just in case, GO Sleeves offers a zero-risk 45 day trial with a full refund for any chump who thinks they don’t work and wants a refund. As for me, I’ll count on my GO Kinesiology + Compression Calf Sleeves to get me off the bench and keep me in the game for the long haul.

Editor’s note: Learn about another GO Sleeves product, recovery cream, here.