Here’s What It’s Like to Use Hyperice’s New Soreness-Busting Recovery Boots

Most pro athletes would tell you that the key to success is knowing when to push yourself—and recognizing when to take a break. Accordingly, there’s now a cottage industry of brands and companies dedicated to helping amateurs rest and recover like championship-winners do.

Leading the pack is Hyperice, which offers an extensive suite of recovery tools designed to help you bounce back from tough workouts. The splashiest of these is the Normatec system, an array of compression boots and sleeves, which expand and contract around the muscles in your legs to reduce soreness. This week, the company launched the Elite, which we had the opportunity to test before it was released.

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Review: Hyperice's Normatec Elite Recovery Boots Live up to the Name
Review: Hyperice's Normatec Elite Recovery Boots Live up to the Name


Hyperice Normatec Elite

Buy Now on Hyperice: $999

How Is the Normatec Elite Different From Older Models?

Billed as “the most advanced and fully integrated Normatec device to date,” the Elite will immediately stand out for how sleek it is—and, notably, for its lack of cords. Previous iterations, including the Normatec 3, have relied on some sort of connected power supply, which put limits on where you could use them. The Elite forgoes this issue by placing two smaller power units on each boot for a totally cord-free user experience. Sure, you’ll need to charge the units themselves when they run out of juice, but having to drag an extension cord to the couch is now a thing of the past.

Each unit sits on the upper thigh, right around where a cargo pant pocket would typically fall, so much so that I often felt like there should also be a pocket to slip my phone into while I wore the boots. The units allow you to adjust settings on the go quickly; from left to right, you have the pressure level, time, a specific zone setting, and the start and stop buttons. The actual power button is on the right-hand side of each unit, which felt a little weird at first—I kept looking for both power buttons to face one another on the inside of the boots.

What’s It Like to Use the Normatec Elite?

Using the boots is simple. Hyperice includes an oversized drawstring bag to fit both boots, so it’s just a matter of taking the sleeves out of the bag, zipping them onto your legs, and powering them on. They’re Bluetooth connected, and you can adjust the settings for both individually from your phone, but the timer will sync to ensure that your left leg doesn’t get compressed longer than your right leg. The time setting can be adjusted in 15-minute intervals up to an hour.

As with all Normatec devices, you can’t really move when zipped into the Elite boots, but it is easy to stop and start the process if you need a sudden break. If you’re concerned about the one-size-fits-all build, I’m 6’6″, and even at my comedically tall height, I had no issue with the Elite boots being too short. I doubt anyone, save Victor Wembanyama or Kevin Durant, would encounter a problem here.

Hyperice touts the battery life at four hours, a claim I found to be accurate over a few weeks of testing. While that sounds pretty short, I was able to use the Elite boots for a few days before I needed to recharge them. Most of my sessions clocked in at 30 minutes at the top pressure level of seven.

I found myself really enjoying the sensation. The best way to describe it is like a really big blood pressure cuff for your legs, but the compression feels more relaxing than constricting. It’s like a massage without going deep-tissue, relaxing yet restorative, and entirely painless. It’s such a good feeling that I actively looked forward to going on runs and then zipping myself up in them after.

What Kinds of Results Does the Normatec Elite Produce?

But the real proof was in how I felt the next day. Using the Elites, especially after a long run, left me feeling more prepared and a lot less sore for my next day on the track. That alone is well worth the $999 price tag. Perhaps what’s most impressive is that Hyperice managed to level up what was already a standard-setting product. And whether you’re a pro athlete or a weekend warrior, that improved performance is something to admire.

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