When we think of air compression massage tools, big compression boots are often what come to mind – like the Normatec 3 Legs boots or the Therabody RecoveryAir JetBoots. The new Normatec Lower Leg compression sleeves from Hyperice however are quite opposite: they’re significantly smaller, are easy to use on the go and target solely the calf muscles. One thing that does remain the same though, is that they use the same technology as the Normatec 3 boots, they’re just in a slightly smaller package (and are half the price).
As a new runner, I’ve encountered all sorts of aches and pains in my legs – from shin splints to delayed-onset muscle soreness and tight calves – so I was excited to put the Normatec Lower Legs to the test.
Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs review: price and availability
The Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs were launched in October 2023 and are available to buy directly from Hyperice US (although they’re known in the States as the Normatec Go) and Hyperice UK for the retail price of $399/£429. Inside the box you’ll receive your two leg sleeves, as well as two USB-C charging cables to connect to a dual port wall charger.
Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs review: How do they work?
The Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs work almost similar to their predecessor, the Normatec 3 Legs, the key difference is the size. Air is pumped into the sleeves, which compresses the limbs and then quickly releases the tension by deflating them. It’s the same sort of feeling like when you have your blood pressure taken, but a lot smoother.
But why are Hyperice just targeting the calves? Well, as well as already having a full-size compression boot, the brand explains that the calf muscle is considered “the second heart” and says that targeting them has been “scientifically proven to significantly reduce inflammation and pain and increase circulation throughout your entire lower body”.
Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs review: ease of use
Using the Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs really is easy peasy; you just wrap the sleeves around your calves (they have a velcro fastening) and all the buttons are on the sleeves themselves, so once your legs are strapped in you’re pretty much good to go. The button control unit on the side of each sleeve is very user-friendly: there’s an on/off button, a start/stop button and then you’ve got one to choose your compression level and one to select your treatment time (between 15 to 60 minutes).
The sleeves can pair together so that they work simultaneously, or you can just use them individually. You can also control them via the Hyperice app, although I much prefer just using the controls on the sleeves, as I find this just a faff. However, doing so is straightforward; it just requires you to download the Hyperice app, turn on your Bluetooth and hit ‘connect’ in the app. It's also worth noting that the app doesn't offer any other benefits (e.g. targeted compression) it just lets you start and stop your session, select your time and pick the pressure - exactly what the controls on the sleeves do.
Overall, the Normatec Lower Legs are genuinely one of the easiest products I’ve ever used.
Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs review: recovery performance
There’s seven different compression levels on the Normatec Lower Leg sleeves, which you can alter throughout your session if you feel one isn’t doing much. I tested the Hyperic Normatec Lower Legs after three different runs and a weightlifting session. For the latter I really don’t feel like it made much of a difference, but when it came to my runs, they definitely did.
As mentioned earlier, as a new runner I’ve been experiencing all sorts of aches and pains – mainly DOMS in my calves and shin splints. As soon as I got in I strapped the sleeves round my calves and let them work their magic. I found level one to four a little too light, five (for me) was the sweet spot, whereas six and seven I found get really tight.
This is the first air compression massage tool I’ve tested, so I was slightly sceptical about whether the sensation of my calf being compressed by air was actually doing much. Afterwards my legs, although not pain free, felt more soothed. It was the next day though that I really noticed how less painful my calves were. In the past I’ve had to put off going for my next run for at least three to four days, but I literally felt like I could have done another after two days. Now, it’s very rare that I get pain in my calves after my runs and I don’t suffer from shin splints anymore. However, whether that’s down to the Normatec Lower Legs or improvements in my technique, it’s hard to tell. Although, I’d probably say it’s a bit of both, as the sleeves definitely make fitting in recovery a lot easier.
Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs review: verdict
I really like the Normatec Lower Legs; I like how portable they are and user-friendly. I can’t fault the build or performance of the product. But, are they worth their £429/$399 price tag? I think yes, but only if you really want to specifically target your calves, or are prone to getting significant pain in them. Otherwise, it's a very expensive purchase for one specific body part. They’re a lot more portable than the full leg compression boots that's for sure, so for those who do intense training and travel, they’d probably be far less hassle. However, full leg compression boots are arguably better value as they target your entire leg (albeit at a much higher cost).
Hyperice Normatec Lower Legs review: also consider
If you don't suffer from particularly bad calves and are looking for a more affordable option, then a massage gun is your best bet. Hyperice do plenty of these too; we'd recommend the Hyperice Hypervolt Go 2 if you're after a compact option, or the Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro, if you want a full sized massager. Alternatively, foam rollers are your cheapest recovery tool and are great for rolling out knots and easing stiffness.