Normatec vs Air Relax Review - Recovery Compression Boots Comparison

Air Relax vs Normatec
Any discount coupon codes for Normatec can be found at the bottom of this comparison review! Current best Air Relax price is always available and automatically applied thru this link!

Simply put, Normatec and Air Relax recovery compression boots are awesome. As a professional triathlete, I have every recovery tool that exists and each tool has a purpose, however, I have come to rely heavily on my compression boots for general recovery. They are just too easy to use and I actually look forward to winding down my day, in bed, in boots, as they massage my legs, and I relax and watch an episode of Suits.

While professional athletes use recovery boots to recover faster and feel fresher, they are also great for non-athletes, after all, Air Relax and Normatec got their birth from the medical market specifically for lymphedema patients with intermittent pneumatic compression pumps, as they were called, and featured sequential compression technology. I won't go into great details here, but you can benefit from compression boots whether you are suffering from edema and pitting in the legs, have arthritis and need to get the blood flowing in the morning, are a long-haul driver looking for something more powerful than compression socks, have diabetic ulcers, MS, or just want a relaxing massage after a long day's work.

Compression boots squeeze blood &
lymph from the legs helping it back to the
heart, lungs & kidneys. The end result is you
recover faster and feel fresher!
While I am sold on recovery compression boots, the question is which set to get? Personally, I discovered Air Relax when I was looking for more affordable Normatec alternatives. While the Normatec Pulse ($1500) is a nice device, it was WAY more than I and many want to pay. Air Relax (about $545) makes a competitive product at a much lower price point. While I was a very early adopter of Air Relax in 2016, they are now the choice of many professional athletes and champions in cross-fit, basketball, cycling, triathlon, running and many other sports.

There are many other recovery boot systems available including Rapid Reboot, Recovery Pump, Elevated Legs, Podium Legs, Doctor Life LX7, and the older Normatech MVP - but I am only focusing on Air Relax vs Normatec Pulse today.

Air Relax ($545)

- FDA approved Class II medical device designed originally to treat patients with edema / swelling of the legs. As a result, they can go much higher in pressure. All the way to 230mmHg with 4 pressure levels. They have 3 different modes of squeezing.

- Small, portable, compression unit, smaller than the older bulky Normatec MVP system but larger than the Normatec Pulse.

- Manufactured in Korea. Features

- Time increment works off a 15-minute cycle which you can restart as many times as you would like.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt and YKK zippers for durability.

- System and pair of size 2 boots weigh 7lb 14oz.

- Available in both 110V (USA) and 220 (EU Asia).

Sizing comparison
- Comes in three sizes.
  • Size 2 (5' 3" to 5'7") 
  • Size 3 (5' 8" to 6'1") 
  • Size 4 (6' 2"+) 
- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

- Optional travel carrying case. $75 dollars for a well-padded, soft-shell design, with unique storage for other recovery tools.  I did a short review of the case with pictures and video here.

Highly affordable from buy from Air Relax USA today from $575 or on Amazon.

Normatec Pulse ($1195)

- Has a battery with a stated battery life of 2 hours. In my testing of the 2018 Pulse system was able to achieve almost 3 hours at level 5 pressure. The 2015-2017 Pulse system had problems with the battery. Get the 2018 Pulse if you have a choice.

Normatec Pulse System
- Comes in three sizes:
  • Short (under 5' 3")
  • Regular (5'4" to 6'3")
  • Tall (over 6' 4")  
- Assembled in the USA with parts from China.

- Pressure can go up to 100mmHg with 7 pressure levels and 1 mode of squeezing that Normatec calls "Pulse", hence the name.

- Zone boost option allows you to boost the pressure of one zone by 10mmHg over the rest. Max for that Zone boost zone is 110mmHg.

- Time increment is controllable in 5-minute increments from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt and also uses YKK zippers.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

- Optional travel case. $150 with hard-shell design

-  $1195 direct from Normatec and Amazon. I highly recommend purchasing via Amazon as you get 5% cash back (~$65) w/Amazon Prime Visa + longer return period. All the way until Jan 31st the following year during their holiday promotion. Normatec's direct return period is 14 days only. Plus you get Amazon's great customer service.

Final thoughts

Not long ago it would have cost you $5,000 for a pair of Normatech Recovery MVP boots. The price has come way down with the Pulse system and they have made the system considerably smaller, more durable, and included new features like a battery. Normatec popularized compression boots for pro athletes and they make a great a device that everyone likes and I have no problems recommending.

Air Relax makes an extremely compelling alternative at a very attractive price point that allows more people to discover the benefits of recovery compression boots. It is ~$900 less than Normatec and that is a huge difference for many people. Air Relax has grown by leaps and bounds since I first reviewed them in 2016 and now outsells Normatec 3:1. I have received so many messages from happy Air Relax customers who wanted compression boots but didn't want to pay the Normatec price and I have no problems recommending them as well.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that I recently (April 2019) put a recommendation on another product in this space. It is from a young but growing company that makes a fantastic set of recovery boots at an equally compelling price point albeit slightly more expensive ($650 with a case). I really like the size and shape of the unit and the user interface is super slick and allows you to easily see the pressure levels as a "range of pressures" in combination with the ability to turn on and off specific zones. I really want to encourage people, especially triathletes, to take a look at this brand as well.  I did a short comparison review of these boot here - Speed Hound vs Normatec Review.

Discussed Product Links:

Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System - $1195 on Amazon
- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Leg System + Hips - $1595 on Amazon
Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1200)
- Normatec Pulse 2.0 Detailed Review

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 - perfect chairs for compression boots recovery if you are on the go or even at home on the patio.

Air - from 

Air Relax on Amazon - from $580
Air Relax on eBay (3rd party sellers only)
- Air Relax Carrying Case Quick Review
Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 perfect chairs for relaxing at outdoor events or on the patio

Blue Seventy Coupon Code - 20% Off Discount Sale - Expires Dec 31, 2018

Save 20% at 
Save 20% at with discount coupon code Gerlach2020 

Discount coupon code expires Dec 31st, 2019

The code is good on everything BlueSeventy carries including wetsuits, skinsuits, goggles, and core shorts.

No restrictions, you can save 20% on the top of the line Helix wetsuit along with their Fusion and Reaction lines.

For those not familiar with BlueSeventy. BlueSeventy has been making suits for over 10 years and previously had the partnership with Ironman for the M-Dot branded suits. There are a lot of other suits out there from Roka, TYR, Xterra, Aquasphere, Nineteen, and Orca. The most important consideration in my experience is a suit that fits properly. A suit that doesn't fit properly will be uncomfortable or let in too much water. In either case you will be slower. Buy a suit that fits first, features should come second.

Air Relax Coupon Code Discount Sale - 15% Off Flash Sale

Read Air Relax review here
Air Relax Coupon Code Promo Sale - Any current 2022 promotions available on Air Relax recovery compression boots & accessories are posted at the bottom of my Normatec vs Air Relax here. If any promotional deals / sales / coupon codes / discount etc become available I post them there.

I also have a $50 off coupon + free shipping coupon (good all of 2022) for Speed Hound Recovery Compression boots system which is my current recommendation for best value compression boots - click here for that coupon.

Base Salt Coupon Code - 15% OFF Discount Promo

Use Coupon Code Base15 at checkout 
Use Base discount coupon code Base15 to save 15% on Base Salt, Amino, Hydro, Bars or any other Base Performance product at

Base products are also available via Amazon Prime

I have been using Base "Rocket Fuel" since September 2015. It started with my victory at Ironman Wisconsin and has led to Ironman finishes of 8:20 and an Ironman 70.3 finish of 3:55. For me, I use 3-4 scoops of Hydro, a scoop of Amino, and depending on how hot it is, I will use 3-5 scoops of salt per bottle. I use 2 bottles for 70.3s. My Ironman nutrition strategy is a little more complicated and depends on a variety of factors.