man using normatec boots

Rapid Reboot vs Normatec vs Air Relax

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11 Minute Read

Whether you’re a professional athlete or new to fitness, using compression boots to recover from an injury is now considered a necessity and an integral part of post-workout treatment. However, with so many compression recovery boots out there, it can be difficult and time-consuming to make the right decision.

In this article, we’ll cover all the content around the top three compression boots out there to help you make the best decision in line with your recovery time and body type. We’ll go over all the details of the top three compression boots brands and the products they offer: Rapid Reboot, Normatec, and Air Relax.

From their pressure settings to travel bag options, the different sizes available, to what hip and leg attachments they come with, our unbiased comparison will make you a compression boots recovery expert. Here’s what you should know if you need the right compression boot for your fitness regime!

What Are Compression Boots?

Although they used to be considered solely a medical-grade device, compression boots are now considered the standard for treating muscle soreness and regenerating parts of the body towards recovery. Athletes and coaches deem these recovery boots as an essential recovery tool to treat Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and other pains and aches on the feet and legs.

Soreness can set in a day or two after you’ve worked out, and many people choose to push through the pain or don’t even feel it while they are in the middle of their training. These products ensure that you get the proper help you need to recover and prevent worse injury.

If you use your feet and strain your muscles during any physical activity as an athlete does, then considering a recovery boot with a compression system is a worthwhile investment for your health and long-term recovery. This starts with listening to your body and understanding how it works.

runner stretching outside

Why You Should Focus on Blood Circulation

Many people don’t know just how sensitive their legs and feet can be, especially while working out. Your full body muscles produce lactic acid, which builds up during intense exercise and training. It can lead to pain, sore muscles, and aches.

Your legs are all the way at the bottom of your body and very far from your heart, so it is a lot of work and much harder for waste from your legs to be pumped out to your lymphatic system.

Your lymphatic system maintains your body’s fluid levels and uses your lymph nodes to filter out waste like bacteria and viruses to expel these impurities from our bodies. It is common for exercise-induced trauma to appear in your blood and your internal organs.

By taking care of your legs and using the right tools to manage fluid levels, you can rebuild your tissues and muscles much faster. And this starts by getting your blood circulating.

strava athlete using air relax boots

Some of the best ways to get your blood flow circulation moving and ease discomfort are massaging and stretching. Remember to stretch all your limbs before you workout, and especially after you are done working out as well. This will get the blood flowing through your body. It will also make you more flexible, boost your energy, and improve your range of motion for the next time you exercise.

Massage therapy works alongside stretching to improve and protect your system. However, we cannot recommend recovery boots enough to speed up your healing process. With these products, you’ll get back to your favorite physical activities much faster than simple rest and relaxation.

How Do Compression Recovery Boots Work?

Compression recovery boots use an air compression system to help circulate your blood flow, starting with your legs and slowly flowing towards the rest of your body.

The air compression system in these recovery boots uses a form of peristaltic pulse technology, intermittent pneumatic compression, or what we can call ‘compression therapy’ to set you on the road to recovery. The system does this by transmitting air across the various chambers of the boots. This is meant to imitate the natural muscle pumps of your legs, accelerating the removal of the metabolic waste and in turn relieving you after a workout.

Athletes worldwide rely heavily on compression boots to provide relief as they recover from any form of strenuous exercises and workouts.

Compression recovery boots have the ability to boost your body’s natural healing course by strengthening the blood flow and promoting cellular repair and protein synthesis to fix any muscle damage or strain.

female athlete stretching outside

How do you use recovery boots?

With boots, you will easily pull a boot up over your leg the same way you would a sock. Depending on its size, the boot will cover your full leg, and you can then pump air into them to compress and massage your legs while you relax or go about your regular tasks as much as possible.

Your legs might start to feel heavy as you use the boots, and this is because the air that is being pumped in the form of air compression helps your body circulate blood. This enables your legs to feel fresher faster and aids in speeding up your recovery process. Alongside this, the circulation stimulates the lactic acid to withdraw from your legs and will leave you with more energy than before.

It is recommended that you discuss the best options with your trainer before using them, but these boots can be worn before your workout or before a race, and during your rest time. If the boots make you feel worse or give you serious pain, you should stop using them immediately and consult a professional.

Compression systems can be used by people from all walks of life and not just athletes. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, like nursing or waiting staff do, strapping on these massaging contraptions before a workout could be just the thing your feet need.

Compression Boots vs Compression Socks

Compression socks start off tighter at the bottom and get progressively looser as they go up. They work upward, whereas the boot gives a more holistic compression massage throughout the whole limb. Compression socks are known to provide help more passively, and boots also work a lot faster in providing the user with relief.

Top Benefits of Compression Recovery Boots

Some of the advantages of using compression recovery boots regularly and as part of your workout routine include:

  • Boosts blood flow and circulation
  • Reduces swelling and heaviness
  • Lowers overall muscle fatigue
  • Decreases waste material in your blood
  • Facilitates in relaxation post or pre-workout
  • Reduces recovery time
  • Improves flexibility and motion range
  • Reduces stiffness in your muscle

The Top 3 Best Compression Recovery Boots

  • Rapid Reboot: A full-body compression therapy system. Comes with a 2-year warranty. Priced for value.
  • Normatec: Uses massage-like therapy and pulse technology. Comes with a 2-year warranty. Premium price.
  • Air Relax: Small and portable compression unit. Comes with a 1-year warranty. Budget-friendly pricing.

Rapid Reboot Review

The Rapid Reboot compression recovery boots come with their own Rapid Reboot recovery system. It includes a control pump that you can use to fill your boots with compressed air repeatedly and deflate when required. This provides you with a therapeutic massage-like sensation that puts comfortable pressure on your legs.

woman using rapid reboot boots outside

The unit is relatively larger than other compression therapy boots and is an important point to note if you want to carry it with you while traveling. It is one of the best compression recovery boots in terms of the user interface, as many athletes worldwide find that the Rapid Reboot recovery system is easy to use. This is useful for new users who prefer visuals in their compression recovery systems control unit.

Use them to soothe your legs after a workout or train your body as part of your pre-training program. This compression system offers three session options. These recovery boots can run for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30 minutes at a time.

Rapid Reboot Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 10 pressure settings that are easy to use and adjust according to your personal comfort level
  • Multiple sleeve sizes for a perfect fit
  • Attractive design & durable, premium material

Cons

  • Needs to be plugged in to use so it is not easily portable
  • The battery does not last for longer than 30 minutes at a time

Popular comments and reviews

Most customers are happy with this compression therapy boot and find that its price justifies what it offers. Users also find that the brand’s customer service team is very helpful and responsive to queries. The unit seems to be pleasantly quiet while being used, and customers seem to like its packaging and ease of use.

The bulky size and weight seem to give a few customer discomforts, and some would like more pressure options. Overall, most reviews for this item are positive, with Amazon reviews showcasing 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Normatec Review

On the other hand, the Normatec Pulse products are one of the best recovery machines in terms of superiority and money well spent. It costs more than the above-mentioned boot system but comes with additional functions and features like Bluetooth and extended sessions of use.

man using normatec boots

The Normatec recovery boots are known to be more portable as well. With a slim design and rechargeable battery, your recovery process can continue on the move. Professional athletes and pro sports teams worldwide use the Normatec Pulse system to ensure that their recovery session is sped up. The item helps athletes expedite towards faster recovery and aids coaches to schedule their athlete’s goals around a training plan and healing schedule with accuracy.

You can use the compression device’s app to customize your recovery, save your settings for future use, and share your recovery data with others. These compression recovery boots come with a Zone Boost feature to extend the time and pressure on a particular zone.

Normatec Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy to use and comes with its own fully integrated mobile app
  • Highly portable due to the good battery life
  • Long-lasting & comfortable material
  • Futuristic design & technology

Cons

  • Excess air needs to be manually removed from the boots after use (a simple press works)
  • More expensive than the competition

Popular comments and reviews

Most customers of this brand and product praise the battery power and portability. These compression recovery items last longer than most users expect, and most customers find that its functionality usage makes up for its price. Customers are also very happy with the pressure options, the level of pressure the boots provide, and the durability.

Some grievances for Normatec include the lack of warranty available with the item and the comparatively higher price. It is rated at 3 out of 5 stars on Amazon and 4.8 out of 5 on Best Buy.

Air Relax Review

These compression therapy boot systems are very budget-friendly and one of the market’s best recovery boots. It is available in 4 compression modes: peristaltic, sequential, massage, peristaltic + sequential. So users can set the mode they are comfortable with.

Because the Air Relax recovery system is affordable to most, it is one of the most widely used and recommended brands by health professionals and athletes alike. If you do CrossFit, cycling, train as a runner, or any other organized sports, these compression boot systems can be carried with you at all times. The Air Relax products are small, light, and portable and come in 3 different sizes: size 2, size 3, and size 4.

This system also comes with a carrying case and optional arm and hip attachment.

Air Relax Pros

Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • Light & portable with a good battery life
  • Straight forward setup

Cons

  • Sizing and attachments aren’t as customizable as other brands

Popular comments and reviews

The price tag on this item makes it attractive for many users across the world. It is not complicated to use and seems to provide relief to the customer even after only a few minutes of usage. Users recommend that new buyers check the size carefully to fit comfortably on more petite people, but some users complain that the extenders are difficult to use and do not fit.

These boots get a rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon.

Compression Recovery Boots: Buyers Guide

Let’s look deeper into some of the more technical aspects of each of these three compression devices to help you make the best decision for your recovery and training.

Battery life

The Rapid Reboot compression recovery boots do not come with their own internal battery and must be plugged in at all times of use. This makes it difficult to carry and use while you are on the go, but once plugged in can be used for a long time. The Normatec, on the other hand, will run for 6 hours on battery and can be used unplugged.

The Air Relax Plus System comes with a rechargeable battery pack that provides you with 2 to 3 hours of operating time after charging for 6 hours. It will also depend on what pressure levels you are using the device on and for how long at a time. As a runner or an athlete, you need to see what kind of battery life will best suit your lifestyle.

Price range

The most affordable one out of these products is the Air Relax and can range from $390-$600 depending on which model, attachments, or upgrades you choose for your device. The Normatec boots are the most expensive out of the three and are available for $1,000 and more. One of the favorites when it comes to price and value for the best compression recovery boots is the Rapid Reboot, which is priced in between the other two at $800-$995.

normatec boots hung as stockings

Attachments

All three of these compression boots covered in this article come with additional optional attachments for your hips and arms. These are sold separately from the main compression devices and can be used for additional support during your recovery, training sessions, or massage therapy.

Power and pressure

You can easily adjust the Rapid Reboot Recovery System’s pressure to be between 20 mmHg and 200 mmHg with 10 levels to choose from. The Normatec compression boots go to 100 mmHg over 7 levels, but the Air Relax system gives the highest pressure options of all 230 mmHg across 4 pressure levels.

Verdict: Which is the best compression recovery boot for you?

These are just some factors that you would need to consider when selecting the best compression boots for you. It would depend on your usage and what level of athletics or training sessions you undergo regularly. For the cheapest and most affordable option, the Air Relax boot seems like a good pick. If you want a device that you can easily carry around with you, the portability of Normatec and Air Relax work well. Rapid Reboot will bring you durability and great service from the brand in the long run.

Use this buyer’s guide to inform you in your decision-making process, and let it help you make a wise decision regarding your health. Compression boots are devised to help you recover faster, so your goal should be just that. Pay attention to your schedule and speak with your coach and other professionals in your field to make the best decision for your lifestyle and choose the perfect compression boots for your body. As athletes, you will want to pick a recovery boot that is easy to use yet fully functional for your post-workout recovery system.

woman working while using air relax boots

Athletes who train several times a week for many hours at a stretch look for recovery boots that offer the best circulation for their body parts, that are easy to use, and widely available. Look at what features will add value to your lifestyle and if that brand is known for its customer service and help post-purchase. Ultimately, if you choose any of the three recovery devices we have listed here, you’re sure to get one of the best compression boots on the market right now.

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