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As I’ve gotten older, now in my mid 30s, optimizing my recovery has become essential for maintaining peak performance in the gym. Despite prioritizing a balanced diet, quality sleep, and regular stretching, I’ve found the need for additional recovery protocols like cold plunges and saunas to feel like my younger self.

As someone who’s always on the hunt for new recovery tools, I was excited to hear about the release of the new Normatec Elite air compression recovery device. These innovative leggings are designed to accelerate athletic recovery, targeting the muscles of the leg to boost blood flow and reduce soreness. With customizable settings like multiple pressure levels and advanced zone controls, this is a phenomenal recovery device for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. 

The Elite’s standout feature is an integrated control unit located directly on the side of each leg sleeve. This cutting edge technology eliminates the need for cumbersome hoses or bulky control units, which is honestly a huge quality of life improvement over the previous Normatec-3 model. 

In this Normatec Elite review, I’ll share my firsthand experience using the Normatec Elite, discussing whether it’s worth adding this device to your recovery routine. (Spoiler alert: These things feel amazing, but there are a few things you should consider before making the financial investment.) 

Our Reviews Are Intended To Help You Perform at Your Best

Our team of dedicated testers include certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, CrossFit Level 1 trainers, and even an Olympian. Many of us are home gym owners ourselves, and we use fitness equipment, sports supplements, and recovery tools on a daily basis. Whether we’re searching for the strongest pre-workout to pump up your performance at the gym, or discovering the best running shoes to help you tackle an upcoming marathon, we always strive to provide honest, unbiased reviews.

As a certified personal trainer, active CrossFitter, and recent HYROX racer, I’ve been using the Normatec Elite on an almost daily basis to enhance my recovery and athletic performance. This extensive usage has allowed me to thoroughly evaluate the overall customer experience, including performance, ergonomics and comfort, portability, and battery life. Additionally, I’ve assessed the construction and durability, warranty, and overall value for the money.

Normatec Elite

Hyperice Normatec Elite

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Portable air compression boots
  • 7 levels of compression
  • 4 hours of battery life
  • Bluetooth-enabled controls
  • Supposed benefits include decreasing muscle soreness, increased circulation, and improved recovery

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • More portable than previous iterations
  • 4-hour battery life
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • Expensive piece of equipment
  • Can't replace traditional hands-on massage from a professional

Bottom Line

The Normatec Elite boots are the latest iteration of air compression boots from Hyperice. These are more portable than previous versions and are controlled via the Hyperice app. You'll get a 4-hour battery life and 7 levels of compression with these boots to supposedly help recovery and muscle soreness.

A Quick Look at the Normatec Elite Review

Normatec is a prominent brand in the field of athletic recovery and rehabilitation, known primarily for its dynamic air compression technology. Originally founded in 1998 by Dr. Laura Jacobs, a physician with a Ph.D. in engineering, the goal of the technology was to treat breast cancer patients with a circulatory condition called lymphedema. After years of working with patients on the medical side of life, the brand expanded its scope to the athletic realm, developing products to enhance athletic recovery and performance. These devices, which include the Normatec boots, arm attachments, and hip attachments, are now used by some of the most elite athletes in the world, including basketball legend Lebron James, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, two-time CrossFit games champion Justin Medeiros, and pro surfer Kelly Slater.

In 2020, the company teamed up with Hyperice, another leading brand in the athletic recovery space known for products such as the Hyperice Hypervolt massage gun, and the Hyperice X knee and shoulder recovery devices. This collaboration has led to the creation of innovative products like the Normatec Elite, full-leg compression boots designed to enhance blood flow, reduce muscle soreness, and expedite recovery. 

In this review, I’ll cover my firsthand experience using the Normatec Elite, detailing how it works and how it compares to other recovery tools on the market. 

Before You Buy

  • Normatec can be used as both a warm-up and post-workout recovery system. Using it for 15-20 minutes at medium intensity before a workout can help increase circulation and reduce muscle stiffness. After a workout, 20-60 minutes of medium- to high-intensity treatment can aid recovery by improving circulation and lowering blood lactate levels.
  • The Normatec Elite isn’t full body and primarily targets the quads, hamstrings, and calves. If you’re not going on long runs, bike rides, or squatting heavy weights, then this particular product may not be best for you.
  • Normatec may also be beneficial in medical and therapeutic settings, such as helping individuals recover from certain types of injuries.
  • The price of $999 is a significant investment in your athletic performance and recovery. Be sure to evaluate your recovery needs, and how often you plan on using this device to justify the purchase.

Are the Normatec Elite Boots Worth It?

The Normatec Elite compression boots are an excellent investment for elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone looking to enhance their recovery process using tech. This device is ideal for those who regularly engage in intense physical activity and need a reliable method to reduce muscle soreness, expedite recovery, and maintain peak performance.

A pair of Normatec Elite Recovery Legs being used on a couch.

However, for casual exercisers or those on a tight budget, the Normatec Elite, at $999, may not be the most cost-effective recovery option. Additionally, individuals who prefer hands-on recovery methods, like massage therapy or traditional stretching routines, may not want an automated compression device. 

Great for:

  • Professional athletes seeking top-tier recovery tools to maintain peak performance
  • Fitness enthusiasts who engage in intense physical activity and want to reduce muscle soreness
  • Trainers, coaches, and physical therapists who manage athletes’ recovery routines and need reliable and effective equipment

Not recommended for:

  • Those who engage in light or infrequent exercise 
  • Individuals who prefer traditional, hands-on recovery methods like massage therapy, yoga, or stretching
  • Budget-conscious consumers who need something cost effective

Normatec Elite Specs

Weight3.2 lbs (single boot)
Dimensions15.5″ x 40.5″ (single boot)
Price$999
SizesShort (5’3” and under), Standard (5’4” to 6’3”), Tall (6’4” and above)
BatteryUp to 4 hours
Compression levels7 levels
Tech capabilitiesConnects via Bluetooth to the Hyperice app
ZoneBoost TechnologyProvides extra time and pressure in a particular zone

Experience Using the Normatec Elite 

I’ve used various compression devices over the years, and without a doubt, the Normatec Elite is the simplest to use. There’s no setup or assembly required and you can put them on and start using them straight out of the box. My Elite came fully charged, and from unboxing to massaging took less than 5 minutes.

Looking at your legs in Normatec Elite Recovery Legs.

Here are a few things to note when using the Elite for the first time. Start by identifying the right and left legs—they are labeled above the control unit on each of the legs. For reference, the integrated control unit should be on the outside of your leg, not the inside. The power button is on the right side of the control units—just hold it for a second to turn on the two devices. You can then adjust the settings with three buttons, which you’ll only need to do on one of the control units because they are synced to one another. The level button adjusts the compression pressure and has seven levels that increase in intensity. The time button sets the duration of your session from 15 minutes up to an hour in 15-minute increments. Finally, the ZoneBoost button targets specific areas of the leg.

Once you have your settings ready, hit the start button and prepare for a relaxing and enjoyable massage. For your initial use, I suggest experimenting with different compression levels to find what suits you best. Note that you can change the pressure level during your session without stopping or resetting the device. I started at level three and worked up to level five after a few sessions. Even at level five, which provided excellent compression, I found the legs to be extremely comfortable. 

One thing to note is that while the pump is working, which is about 75% of the time, it emits a low hum similar to a massage gun. It’s like white noise and I barely notice it after a few minutes. It’s also worth commenting on the battery life, which is designed to last up to 4 hours. However, I’ve used the Elite for over 6 hours at this point and still haven’t had to charge the device.

A close look at the controller for a pair of Normatec Elite Recovery Legs.

After your session is complete, be sure to let the legs deflate properly before unzipping to avoid any damage. Once deflated, unzip and remove your legs. I recommend wiping them down with a slightly damp washcloth as your legs can get a bit sweaty during use. After cleaning, rezip the legs, fold them into thirds, and store them in the convenient carrying case that comes with the device.

Materials and Size

The Hyperice website doesn’t specify the exact material used for the Normatec legs, so I reached out to their customer service team and they informed me it’s a “nylon diamond ripstop” fabric. This type of fabric has a tight weave that offers superior strength while still being very light weight, providing the Normatec legs with a premium feel.

Normatec Elite Recovery Legs

As far as the size, the Normatec Elite is available in three options, small (for heights up to 5 feet, 3 inches), medium (for heights from 5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 3 inches), and large (for heights 6 feet, 4 inches and above), ensuring a fit for everyone. In addition, each leg weighs just over 3 pounds, making them extremely light and easy to put on by yourself.

Compression

For details regarding Normatec’s advanced compression technology, I interviewed Gilad Jacobs, Chief Innovation Officer at Hyperice and Founder of Normatec Recovery. 

Jacobs says the science behind Normatec’s devices lies in its dynamic air compression technology, which uses a patented massage pattern to mimic the body’s natural physiology to enhance blood flow. 

“The first mechanism (of the Normatec Elite) is the muscle pump of the gastrocnemius soleus, a pulsing action to get blood moving,” he explains. “Next up are the one-way valves on the veins and lymphatics which creates a directionality of flow, preventing gravity from bringing it (blood flow) right back down. Then we release the compression which is like peristalsis, the way that our body moves food and other things through our gut.” 

Side view of a person wearing Normatec Elite Recovery Legs.

This dynamic pulsing action, and the constant compression and subsequent release of compression works to enhance blood flow, reduce muscle soreness, and expedite the recovery process.

The Normatec Elite offers seven levels of compression, ensuring you can find the perfect setting to meet your recovery needs. Personally, the highest I’ve gone is a five, which provided a powerful pressure that felt great—and I typically prefer the intensity of a deep-tissue massage. Additionally, the Elite features ZoneBoost technology, which allows for targeted compression by providing extra time and pressure to specific areas of the leg that need some extra attention. This is perfect for when you require focused recovery on a particular muscle group in the leg. 

Battery

The company claims that the Elite boots have a battery life of up to four hours, but in my experience they far exceed this expectation. I’ve used the Elite legs for eight 45-minute sessions so far, and I still haven’t had to charge them. This impressive battery performance truly highlights how Normatec seeks to over-deliver for their consumers.  

A good look at the Hyperice logo on a pair of Normatec Elite Recovery Legs.

The actual charging device is a standard wall-outlet charger that conveniently connects to both legs simultaneously. This means you can charge both boots at the same time without needing to charge them individually, a feature that I find particularly convenient and efficient. 

Tech Capabilities and Conveniences

The Normatec Elite legs offer Bluetooth connectivity, enabling seamless integration with the Hyperice app on your smartphone. This allows you to easily customize your compression level, session duration, and ZoneBoost technology directly from your device.

Display on a pair of Normatec Elite Recovery Legs.

Furthermore, the legs sync effortlessly with each other. When you initiate a session by setting your preferences on one leg and pressing start, the other leg automatically synchronizes with these settings and begins operating accordingly. This streamlined synchronization enhances user convenience and ensures a hassle-free experience.  

Normatec Elite vs Normatec 3 Legs

Normatec 3 Legs

Normatec Pulse Leg Recovery System

GGR Score: 5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 7 levels of compression
  • Short, standard, and long boot sizes available
  • Carrying case neatly packs away all component

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 7 levels of compression
  • Short, standard, and long boot sizes available
  • Carrying case neatly packs away all components

Cons

  • Big, bulky, and hard to travel with
  • Compression measurement (in mmHg) not specified online
  • Expensive ($700-900 depending on where you buy)

Bottom Line

A hands-off way to increase blood circulation and improve muscle recovery.

The key difference between the Normatec Elite and the Normatec-3 compression boots lies in the quality of life improvements. 

The Normatec Elite offers consumers a seamless experience with two leg attachments, each of which has the control unit directly integrated into its side. This eliminates the need for a separate, standalone control unit and subsequent air hoses that are necessary components of the Normatec 3s. Moreover, the Elite boasts a slightly improved battery life, which enhances the usability between charges. Beyond these improvements, both models are designed to deliver identical compression performance, as well as incorporate the ZoneBoost technology for targeted recovery. 

Normatec EliteNormatec 3 Legs
Price$999$799
Weight3.2 lbs (single boot)3.2 lbs (single boot)3.2 lbs (control unit)
Dimensions15.5″ x 40.5″ (single boot)15.5″ x 40.5″ (single boot)
SizesShort (5’3” and under), Standard (5’4” to 6’3”), Tall (6’4” and above)Short (5’3” and under), Standard (5’4” to 6’3”), Tall (6’4” and above)
BatteryUp to 4 hoursUp to 3 hours
Compression levels7 levels7 levels
Tech capabilitiesConnects via Bluetooth to the Hyperice appConnects via Bluetooth to the Hyperice app
ZoneBoost TechnologyProvides extra time and pressure in a particular zoneProvides extra time and pressure in a particular zone

Customer Experience 

Normatec is known for providing excellent customer support and backing their products with a standard one-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects and malfunctions. Customers seem pleased with Normatec’s customer service team and claim they address concerns promptly and efficiently. 

Regarding the return policy, customers have 30 days from the time they receive the Normatec Elite to initiate the return. Note that Hyperice does not cover shipping costs for returns. 

Customer Reviews

As the Normatec Elite is a recently launched product, customer reviews are not yet available. We will continue to monitor customer feedback on both the brand’s site and third-party sites and update this article accordingly once reviews become available. 

Final Verdict of Our Normatec Elite Review

Overall, the Normatec Elite is a phenomenal compression therapy device that may help speed up recovery and improve athletic performance. With seven levels of compression, the advanced ZoneBoost technology, and substantial quality of life improvements over the Normatec-3s (no separate control unit or hoses), we highly recommend this product for those who engage in intense physical activity and can justify the high price for a recovery product like this. 

Full Rating

Normatec Elite

The Normatec Elite boots are the latest iteration of air compression boots from Hyperice. These are more portable than previous versions and are controlled via the Hyperice app. You'll get a 4-hour battery life and 7 levels of compression with these boots to supposedly help recovery and muscle soreness.

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 999

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.3

Normatec Elite Rating

Value – 3.5
Construction and durability – 4.5
Ergonomics and comfort – 4.5
Compression – 5
Portability – 4.5
Battery – 4.5
Warranty & returns – 3.5
Buy Now

Normatec Elite: FAQs

Do Normatecs actually work?

While ongoing research continues to explore the benefits of pneumatic compression therapy devices like the Normatec Elite, existing studies indicate1 their potential to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and enhance recovery. Many users, myself included, have reported noticeable improvements in their recovery after integrating Normatec into their regular routine. Personally, I’ve found that my lower body feels significantly less fatigued following long runs or intense squat sessions after using the device.

Is the Hyperice Normatec worth it?

If you’re a dedicated athlete or fitness enthusiast who regularly engages in intense physical activity, then the Normatec Elite may be a worthwhile investment to enhance your recovery and performance. However, given its price tag, it’s essential to weigh the investment against your budget and recovery needs. If you’re seeking similar benefits at a slightly lower cost, the Normatec-3 model is designed to provide identical compression and may be a more budget-friendly option.

Does Normatec do lymphatic drainage?

Yes, the Normatec Elite can aid in lymphatic drainage. In fact, that is what this device was originally designed for. The compression provided by Normatec devices mimics the body’s natural muscle contractions, which plays a key role in lymphatic circulation. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate use of a device such as the Normatec Elite for specific lymphatic issues.

References

  1. Haun, C. T., Roberts, M. D., Romero, M. A., Osburn, S. C., Mobley, C. B., Anderson, R. G., … & Martin, J. S. (2017). Does external pneumatic compression treatment between bouts of overreaching resistance training sessions exert differential effects on molecular signaling and performance-related variables compared to passive recovery? An exploratory study. PLoS One, 12(6), e0180429.

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