Speed Hound Recovery Boots Review vs Normatec Compression Boots

Speed Hound vs Normatec Compression Boots Review
Discount coupon codes for Speed Hound recovery boots can be found at the bottom of this review.

It has been a few years since I did my initial review on Normatec vs Air Relax and along the way I have continued to test new compression boots offerings. Speed Hound has been my favorite as of late. They offer an awesome device, with a super-slick user interface, and at very attractive price point of $695.

If the Speed Hound interface looks familiar that is probably because it is made by the same manufacturer that makes Rapid Reboot and Elevated Legs. However, Speed Hound has got the price down to $695 which is $300 less than Rapid Reboot. In addition Speed Hound is quieter, smaller, and has a convenient handle for one-handed movement. In addition, they have the hoses sewn into the legs. This last point may not seem like a big deal, but the hoses on Rapid Reboot come out of the boots at the bottom and the long cables can quickly get tangled making entrance and exit more difficult.

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!
But this review isn't about Rapid Reboot vs Speed Hound, it is SpeedHound vs Normatec and the reason why is because I still consider Normatec the best known brand when it comes to compression boots.

In short, Speed Hound does everything Normatec does but at 50% the cost of Normatec. I am a huge fan of compression boots and specifically over many other modalities like e-stim (Compex & Marc Pro), percussive devices (HyperIce and TheraGun), Bemer devices and even foam rolling.

The main reason why I am so big on recovery compression boots is because they are passive devices that don't require your attention. As athletes we are already busy and sometimes too tired to be bothered with anything additional and sitting in boots is so easy, so relaxing, and so fun. I am even typing this review while I am in the boots.

Speed Hound ($695 w/ coupon RecoverFaster22)

Normatec head unit is slightly
smaller than Speed Hound
- Small, portable, compression unit. It is very sturdy with a sturdy handle that pops up out of the unit and collapses for storage. A little bit bigger than Normatec and weighs 8lbs 11oz for the system.

- Best in class usability. The display is so clear and simple to use. I simply love it.

- 3 easy select time cycles of 10, 20, and 30 minutes. You can of course do more than one cycle.

- 10 easy select pressure levels ranging from 20-200mmHg. Normatec goes to 100mmHg over 7 levels. I really like the visual of the increasing pressure here for new users.

- 2 easy select modes including: flush and massage

- 4 programmable zones with the ability to shut off or turn on the exact zones you want. For instance if you just had a lower calf issue you could run just zone 1 and zone 2. You only get this feature in Normatec Pulse Pro model which is insanely expensive.

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt.

- Whisper quiet

- Available in 110V (USA) and 230V (Non-USA)

- Comes in two sizes.
Sizing comparison of leg sleeves
  • Medium (5' 5" and taller)
  • Long (5' 4" and shorter)

- Sizing Note - because you can turn off zones on Speed Hound, you could always go with Long if you wanted to share a long pair of boots with someone who needed short. You would simply deactivate zone 4 for the shorter person. You can do this as well on Normatec's Pulse Pro which is $2500. You can always buy a second set of legs too. They are $225

- Comes with width extenders for those needing more width. Speed Hound boots are slimmer than Normatec. While compared to most triathletes, I have pretty stocky calves and thighs and I fit comfortably, but if you have really large calves/thighs it is something to consider. They do have wider models as well so if you are a lymphedema patient reading this then I might suggest you go with the wider legs

- Carrying case is included so no need to buy an optional $150 carrying case.

- 45 day "love them" guarantee with a 2-year warranty.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

Highly affordable direct from Speed Hound with an extra $50 discount when you enter discount coupon code  RecoverFaster22 at checkout. They are NOT currently available Amazon as the company is doing it best to keep costs lows and selling direct helps keep those costs low.

2018-2019 Normatec Pulse ($1295)

- Slim design that can be used and moved with one hand. Head unit is smaller than Soundhound. Total system weight is 8lbs 7oz for the system.

- Has a battery with a stated battery life of 3 hours. In my extensive testing this is pretty accurate but the Normatec Pulse 2015-2017 had a battery that wasn't reliable. I definitely recommend what Normatec calls the 2018 Normatec Pulse. I call it the Normatec Pulse Gen 2 and wrote up a separate post on the Gen 1 vs Gen 2 Pulse here. If you are a purchasing from Amazon you will be getting the Gen 2 pulse automatically as those units are sold direct to Amazon from Normatec. If you are purchasing from a reseller/vendor check with the vendor as they may still be selling old stock

Normatec Pulse System
- Comes in three sizes:
  • Short (under 5' 3")
  • Regular (5'4" to 6'3")
  • Tall (over 6' 4")  
- 7 pressure levels with a max of 100mmhg

- 1 mode of squeezing known in the industry as sequential compression, tweaked with Normatec's patented "pulse" technology with the zone boost option.

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

- 5 zones with no ability to program them off or on.

- Available in one "world voltage" model only

- Features hidden hoses sewn in the legs with dark fabric that won't show dirt.

- Optional attachments for hips and arms.

- Optional travel case. $150 for a hard-shell case.

- 2-year warranty for the Gen 2 Pulse. 1-year warranty for the 2015-2017 Gen 1 Pulse.

-  $1295 direct from Normatec or save $75 by using your Amazon Prime Visa (5% cash back) to purchase via Amazon Prime.

Final thoughts

I continue to believe strongly in recovery compression boots as a must own device for any serious athlete and I can't speak highly enough of Speed Hound. I simply love these boots and I know you will too. If you purchase Speed Hound you can be confident that if the sizing is not right or you just don't like them that you always have their 45-day "love them" guarantee.

Normatec makes an amazing device as well but is considerably more expensive and I just don't see how they can compete at this price level. Normatec has grown into a behemoth and a recent HQ move in super expensive Boston combined with all the athlete sponsorship they do with NFL, NHL, NBA sports teams and players inflates the cost to you the consumer. If you are a Normatec brand believer, do me a favor, take a chance on Speed Hound with their 45-day guarantee and drop me line later and tell me what you think.

Normatec does sell on Amazon which is convenient for many people. I can't recommend purchasing directly from Amazon enough. You can save 5% ($60) with an Amazon Prime Visa card + you get their amazing customer service and return experience.

Coupon Codes & Discussed Product Links:

- Speed Hound Compression Boots - Save $50 with discount coupon code:  RecoverFaster22

Normatec Pulse 2.0 Compression Boots on Amazon - Save $65 with your Amazon Prime visa card.

Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99 perfect chairs for relaxing in your recovery compression boots either at outdoor events or on the patio

Normatec on eBay - Used and New (Various prices, generally $700-$1000)
- Normatec Gen 1 Pulse vs Normatec Gen 2 Pulse Review
- Air Relax vs Normatec Review


  1. Hi
    What I need is the hip compressor. How much is for it?

  2. I just got the speed hound today and think the pressure is weak. I have it on highest setting. It is a strong squeeze, but I can’t say that it is doing anything. At least I don’t feel any different after using it. I have a hard time believing the pressure is twice that if normatec. Customer support recommends going to a wide boot. My thigh measures 23”, so I’m surprised by that and skeptical it will make a difference anyways. You seem to have good results with the standard width. Can you comment on pressure vs the normatec?

  3. I notice the speed hound had higher pressure but no mention in if this has any advantage it not. Maybe it's just a marketing thing and feels the same in your legs in use?

    Which is quieter to use?

    Any size comparison between units? Not just the pump but everything you would need to use the device to carry around.

    1. Normatec Pulse is smaller and easier to travel with and I really need to do a decibel reading on the Normatec Pulse 2.0 and Speed Hound as this question does get asked. I will do one at some point. I don’t see any advantages of Normatec other than size and their dual hose attachment mechanism. People already complain about the lack of scientific research supporting compression boots, it is really hard to argue with the the fact that so many pro athletes use them regularly when time is scarce, but Normatec would have a really hard time proving there was any physiological benefit to their marketing features over say Air Relax and Speed Hound. With that being said Normatec is a great product. I hope that what people get out of it is that you can purchase alternatives that are less expensive and achieve the same benefit (IMhO) and other more expensive brands.

  4. Great meaningful blog post Thomas, so big thanks for starters! Posted similar question at Amazon for you as well in lieu of benefits to others as well.

    If I maym my friend. My question to you would be, if you had to choose between Normatec and SpeedHound (leaving all possible subjectivity out), would you objectively select SpeedHound over NormaTec? p.s - I know it's a tough one to answer if the owner of SpeedHound is a friendly, but as far overall benefits, do you think 'we' all would get better return by spending the $300+ with Normatec? Pasting this at your blog as well. Thanks again brother!

    Regards from Puerto Rico!

    1. Joaquin Speed Hound is an awesome product and actually can be the better choice for the right individuals depending on their needs. In addition, I am currently looking into Normatec again after they started to sell at a lower price and I have found that my my unit has what appears to me to be a quality downgrade on the leg sleeves. The zippers are less robust and they are generic and not YKK. I don’t know if this is a permanent change and maybe they couldn’t source the products during Covid19 but what I can say from talking to many customers of Air Relax, Normatec, and Speed Hound is that they are all very happy with their purchase. Normatec is a little small unit now, but if you want to save the money Speed Hound is a great choice that you won’t be disappointed with.

  5. Question! Have you used the arm or hip attachments for speedhound? Are the arms designed the same as normatec? I cannot seem to find any information on them.

    1. While I have some arms I don't use them. This isn't to say they aren't beneficial, just as a triathlete I find my legs way more beat up and there is only so much time in the day. I do use the hips and I prefer the SpeedHound Hips over Normatec.

  6. Hi Thomas, I've been thinking of purchasing the Normatec now that the price has dropped a little. I saw you mention in previous comments about the quality of zippers being robust. Have you heard of or experienced any issues recently resulting in having to get a replacement device? Is it true that Normatec's customer service has the tendency to be slow in responses?

    1. Funny that you should ask as I believe there was some cheapening of the product with the Normatec Pulse 2.0 and maybe even mnore so with the most recent price drop. The zippers do not seem to be as high of quality anymore and feel very stiff when zipping them up. The boots feel stiffer as well but if that is for durability purposes I am ok with that. Regardless the zippers are not a fluid experience and sometimes the zippers even get stuck in the fabric. This happened with my first Pulse 2.0 but hasn't happened with my second, they just are not fluid in the zipper process. The Air Relax and Speed Hound zippers are now beefier than Normatec.

      I have not evaluated the customer service process in a few years with Normatec. There are issues that occur and that will occur with all the devices Air Relax, Normatec, Speed Hound etc. However if purchasing Normatec this is why I suggest doing so thru Amazon (https://amzn.to/2MAxJP8) because at least you deal with their returns process to start with.

      Speed Hound is very good about returns and offer a 45-day guarantee. I CAN speak to the head of Speed Hound in making sure you get a product that works for you and I have even seen him push people in the other direction if that worked better for that particular person based on their individual needs. I hope this helps.

  7. "I notice the speed hound had higher pressure but no mention in if this has any advantage it not. Maybe it's just a marketing thing and feels the same in your legs in use?"

    This is a good topic. I too wonder if the highest pressure of both the Speed Hound and the Normatec actually FEEL about the same, or can one apply more real world pressure than the other?

    1. Yes Speed Hound does go to higher pressures but I don’t use them that high because they are too much for me. I haven’t even used Normatec on the highest setting lately either despite only being 100mmHg. With the being said I do know people who use Air Relax and Speed Hound at much higher pressures. For them it works.

  8. Thanks Thomas. Another thing I was curious about was why you didn't go into more detail about the fact that the Speed Hound has four zones, and the Normatec has five, and five in a slightly shorter length than the four in the Speed Hound. That would seem to me to be a big plus for the Normatec product.

  9. As an update, after trying both the Normatec Pulse 2.0 and the Speed Hound system, I ending up keeping the Speed Hounds. Mainly for three reasons:
    1) I found the Normatec zone pressure to be very inconsistent (foot too much, ankle and calf too little, and the zone boost didn't help at all)
    2) The Normatec boots do not have a zipper guard/flap, and I didn't appreciate the pain on my shin bones.
    3) The Speed Hound system comes with a carrying case, and that's an extra $160 with the Normatec system.

    Though the five zones of the Normatec system is better than the four zones of the Speed Hound system, for me that wasn't enough to overcome its negatives.

    1. Thank you for this feedback. Keep enjoying the boots and THAT RECOVERY!!!

  10. Hi - wondering what these devices actually accomplish - it is simply increasing blood flow/ flushing out lactic acids, or would they be an effective substitute for massaging tight muscles? Any insight would be appreciated as I am considering a foot/calf massaging device but would invest in this if it makes more sense... thank you!

    1. Yes these devices are more than just foot/calf massagers. They actually compress the whole area and help promote drainage in the lymphatic systems which helps the body clear waste. Definitely would go with them over a foot/calf massage unless you are just looking for purely the sensation of massaging.

  11. I'm really stuck with the sizing. I've never considered myself to have exceptionally large thighs for a cyclist but after measuring one is 23.5" and the other is 23.75". Their sizing for the standard width is up to 23" and the wide is 24"-28". So I guess that would put my going with the wide width, but I wonder if it will lack the ability to really compress my thighs since I'm at the very bottom of the range. It makes me wonder why other companies have a one size fits all that really seems to fit all? Its also making me reconsider going with Air Relax instead?

  12. I'm having a bit of analysis paralysis. I've never thought I had larger than average thighs for a cyclist but I measured them today when looking at the speed hound system and they're 23.5"/23.75". Since speed hound recommends the standard sleeves for up to 23" and the wide sleeves for 24"-28" it makes me wonder if neither will be "optimal" for me. Obviously I would go with the larger width, but I wonder if they wouldn't be able to compress as well as say, Air Relax or Normatec that have a one size(width) fits all. Do you know if speed hound's "wide" sleeves are wider than Air Relax's sleeves?

    1. John, the SpeedHound wide boots are just a smidge wider than the regular Relax boot in the same size. However, the SpeedHound boots will have more granular compression setting so you can more closely dial in the pressure. They have a great trial period at the very least. I would go with the wide sleeves but you can always go with the narrower ones as well as they come with an extender to widen them a bit. I hope this helps.

    2. Thanks! I was planning on going with the wide with the thought I could always return them if they were too wide but then I read of the SpeedHound site their official return policy says "To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it." which is confusing and contradicts their product description that says "Want to try? FULL REFUND & FREE returns within 45 days of purchase for purchases in United States - If you're not happy, we don't want your money!"

    3. So I just reconfirmed with SpeedHound. Good to check in on things every now and again. Yes they are returnable. That restrictions applies only to their apparel. Happy to connect you with the owner if you need to confirm further.

    4. No you can not. You would need a second controller to do that.

    5. Hi, wondering about whether to get a unit with the short or the pants. My main areas of concern are hip flexors, glutes, lower back, IT band, wondering if the hip shorts would be better for those areas than the pants.

    6. Hi MSK, in general the pants will be more effective for glutes and it band while not targeting the lower back at all nor the glutes. For those the hip shorts would be better. In general athletes I work with spend much more time in the pants.

    7. Thanks, because of Black Friday sale at Air Relax, I was able to get the pants AND the shorts for less than the pants only at some of the other sites. Will give them a try.

  13. On the speed hound can you do both arms at the same time without buying a second power controller?

  14. Great review. Thank you. Based on all 3 products (Air Relax, SpeedHound, and Normatec) can you try and tlrate them in terms of overall value as to which you would buy first, 2nd, 3rd? Trying to decide between the Speed Hound and Air Relax personally... Especially now that Black Friday is upon us. Thank you!

    1. Hey sorry for the late response. I would go with Speedhound at the current time. What did you decide. Whatever choice you made it is a good one! Getting into boots is the most important thing.