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I've Tried Just About Every Recovery Product & This One Actually Makes Me Run Faster

Carleigh Ferrante
August 7, 2023
Carleigh Ferrante
mbg Commerce Editor
By Carleigh Ferrante
mbg Commerce Editor
Carleigh Ferrante is the Commerce Editor at mindbodygreen.
hyperice normatec 3.0 legs
Image by mbg creative
August 7, 2023
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The first time I saw a runner on my Instagram feed using compression boots, I knew I had to have them. Of course, I spent an embarrassing amount of time mulling over the purchase, watching in envy while fitness influencers and professional athletes (like LeBron James and Naomi Osaka) sported the boots and touted the benefits of compression therapy.

Earlier this year, I got the chance to test out a pair for myself so I could find out once and for all: Are the Normatec 3.0 boots worth it?

I've been testing these Hyperice Normatec 3 legs for eight months and, truthfully, I wish I took the plunge sooner. Sure, any compression boots are an investment—but the Normatec 3 boots have become so integral to my recovery routine that I'd buy them 10 times over.

Hyperice Normatec 3.0 legs

hyperice normatec 3.0 legs

The benefits of compression therapy

Sports recovery specialist Joe Barthelemy previously told mindbodygreen compression therapy is a great option for "high-level athletes, fitness enthusiasts, [and] individuals who stand all day for work (nurses, law enforcement, military personnel, teachers)." Barthelemy explained that, because compression increases blood flow and circulation, it can speed up recovery from a tough workout or workday.

Compression boots use intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC), meaning they use air to inflate and deflate, which massages your legs in the process.

The pulsing massage is meant to remove the metabolic and lymphatic waste from your muscles faster than your body would on its own1. The lymphatic system typically relies on movement to prompt drainage, but a recovery tool (like compression boots) helps push the waste up your legs and into your lymph nodes to expel.

In addition to improving lymphatic flow and flushing out waste, compression therapy has also been studied for its ability to reduce blood clots, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation. This is possible because the compression mimics natural muscle contractions to boost blood circulation2

One study showed a significant decrease in muscle tenderness and soreness3 in Olympic athletes who used compression leggings. As a marathon runner, I've seen firsthand how impactful massage can be on athletic performance4—so I was eager to find out whether an at-home tool like the Normatec 3 legs could garner similar results.

How to use the Hyperice Normatec 3 Legs

The Normatec 3 boots couldn't be easier to operate. First, you'll need to connect the two leg attachments to the control unit, which you'll then plug into any standard outlet. 

Then simply slide your legs into the boots, open the corresponding Bluetooth-enabled app, and choose between a preprogrammed "massage" or one of seven levels of compression.

The boots use a patented pulse technology for a more precise therapy that targets five overlapping chambers and delivers extra compression. 

Most often, I alternate between three routines in the Hyperice app: post-workout recovery (45 minutes), freshen your legs (45 minutes), and post-run recovery (45 minutes). There are also a number of shorter sessions I've enjoyed, such as a 13-minute run recovery and a 25-minute routine to improve sleep. 

hyperice normatec 3.0 legs
Image by Carleigh Ferrante / mbg creative

Why I love the Hyperice Normatec 3 Legs

I initially tested these compression boots because I wanted to speed up my recovery while marathon training, but I honestly underestimated the impact they'd have on my performance.

To my delight, I actually run faster on the days after I use my Normatec 3 legs, so much so that I now strategically plan these recovery sessions the nights before my speed training runs.

I feel immediate relief while the boots are on (seriously, the pulsing feels incredible), and my muscles are noticeably refreshed the following day—and they really seem to help with inflammation, too. When using these boots, there's a significant difference in how quickly I bounce back from a difficult workout or a long run.

What sets the Normatec boots apart from others I've tried is the pulsing technology, which the brand says enhances the movement of fluid and metabolites out of the legs to increase circulation and reduce soreness. Fun fact: Normatec products are actually designed by doctors with input from professional athletes and sports medicine professionals.

What's more, my recovery sessions with the Normatec 3 legs are incredibly relaxing. When I don't opt for the longer 45-minute routines, I always find myself adding time at the end!

The best part? It's an indulgence that's actually good for me and saves me a ton of money on professional sports massages. And the treatment doesn't have to be limited to your legs thanks to attachments for your hips and arms.

While they're not the most portable recovery tool and don't come with a carrying case, the Normatec 3 legs are more lightweight than previous models.

Hyperice does make a more portable version for those on the go: the Normatec Go Leg Sleeves. Plus, the brand recently partnered with Westin to help travelers prioritize movement and recovery—so these portable compression leg sleeves can now be found at Westin properties across the United States and Canada.

Hyperice Normatec 3.0 legs

hyperice normatec 3.0 legs

The takeaway

Compression therapy is absolutely worth the hype—and these Normatec 3 Legs are the best I've tried so far. They've become an integral part of my marathon training recovery routine; the relief I feel during (and after) each session with my boots is reason enough to continue, and the fact that they actually make me run faster is the icing on the cake.

Carleigh Ferrante author page.
Carleigh Ferrante
mbg Commerce Editor

Carleigh Ferrante is the Commerce Editor at mindbodygreen. She is a certified Health & Nutrition Coach and a born and raised New Yorker with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Psychology. Her work has appeared in Bustle, The Zoe Report, PureWow, The Everygirl, and more, covering topics such as fitness, travel, home, fashion, beauty, and dating, sex, and relationships. When she’s not testing and reviewing products and services, you can find Carleigh training for her next World Major marathon, planning her next vacation, or interviewing experts on her dating podcast, Mostly Balanced.