Compression boots that use dynamic air pressure to massage your legs to help expedite recovery and reduce muscle soreness. System includes a pair of leg attachments, control unit, padded travel case, and instruction manual.
Wide range of pressure settings (20mmHG-200mmHG*)
Lightweight, easy to transport
Two different modes: Therapeutic and Complete Flush
Easy to adjust time, pressure, and settings during use
*mmHG refers to units of pressure, i.e. millimeters of mercury
At $700+, although cheaper than their competitors, it’s still a sizeable investment for a recovery tool
Maximum time setting of 30 minutes
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Compression boots are nothing new in the tri world, and—until lately anyway—it’s a segment of the market that NormaTec seemed to have entirely sewn up. Nipping at their heels, now, is a newcomer on the compression/recovery system scene: Speed Hound.
Having received FDA clearance just over a year ago, Speed Hound is approved for use for the relief of muscle aches and pains and for increasing circulation in the treated areas. Much like other compression boots, the system works by using dynamic pressure to inflate and deflate the sleeve balloons (around your legs) to simulate kneading and stroking of the tissue to promote blood circulation and lymph flow. Without any major downsides compared to similar products in the market and a $745 price tag (almost 50% cheaper than NormaTec’s offering), we expect that the Speed Hound Recovery Boots will emerge in the tri world.
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Speed Hound Pro Performance Recovery Boots: The Good Stuff
These boots are easy to set up and start using, and the system/control unit feels like it’s been designed with the user in mind. It took just a few minutes to get the hang of it on the first use. You connect the hose from the leg attachments into the control unit, sit down, get comfortable, choose your desired settings on the unit, and your recovery session is under way. The control unit is simple and feels very lightweight compared to others we’ve tried. It’s easy to set up and position alongside you on the couch—the ideal recovery spot—without any issue. You then choose between two modes: Mode A (Therapeutic) or Mode B (Complete Flush), as well as a preferred duration (10, 20, or 30 minutes), pressure (20 mmHG to 200 mmHG), and the zones of the legs you wish to target.
One nice touch is being able to alter the pressure and increase or decrease it mid-session with the touch of a button. The same rule applies for time duration and target, which provided some good flexibility to change our minds mid-session.
The system is also notably quiet compared to its similar models—like a well-behaved cat that gently purrs, making watching TV or holding a conversation infinitely easier as you recover. And then when you’re done, the Speed Hound was fairly easy to pack up and put away, and comes with its own carry case that keeps everything neat and tidy.
So does it work? For post-workout, it’s recommended to use the boots in Mode B (Complete Flush) for 30-45 minutes followed by 10-20 minutes in Mode A (Therapeutic). Like all good rule-following triathletes, we did exactly that on our first few tests (most notably after a peppy 15-mile run) and found ourselves noticeably recovered—whether placebo effect or not. Yes, of course our legs still feel tired (whose don’t after running 15 miles?!), but it took the edge off the soreness and most definitely eased the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) the next day.
Speed Hound Pro Performance Recovery Boots: The Not-So-Good Stuff
There’s not much to complain about when it comes to the Speed Hound. The only issue we encountered is that the maximum time setting is 30 minutes, which seems short for a compression recovery session, especially given the specific instructions for use post-workout extend beyond 30 minutes. But it was easy enough to extend our sessions when we wanted to.
The other challenge is that, although $745 is extremely competitively priced for the product, it’s still a large chunk of change for something that may or may not improve your recovery and, ultimately, your performance, depending on your specific muscular issues. And at that price, you’ll also want to be sure it fits and provides the right amount of compression. This isn’t an item that you’ll ever be using in a race, which can make it harder to justify the expense, but if used correctly, I would argue these boots can definitely help you train and perform better.
Speed Hound Pro Performance Recovery Boots: Conclusion
They’re easy to use, seem to make a tangible difference to our recovery, and are the most affordable product in the segment. The price tag alone is definitely one of its biggest plus points: it’s remarkable what you get for your cash compared to similar systems on the market. And while non-scientific, after each test, we noticed real differences to muscle soreness and recovery time compared to post-workouts without the boots—which is a huge boon for any athlete looking to train hard and recover harder. If you’ve ever been on the fence about whether compression systems like these are worth it, the Speed Hound system might just boot you in their direction.