Three best compression socks

By
tech-spanfeller
BestReviews

Some medical-grade compression socks apply consistent pressure across the entire length of the sock.

Compression socks apply pressure to the feet and calves to improve blood flow, making them an effective way to treat a number of circulatory conditions. However, they're also frequently used by athletes to refresh and energize their legs during practice and
competition.

These socks come in a wide variety of styles, materials, colors, and sizes, making it difficult to know where to start your search. We've put together this shopping guide with all the details so you can make an informed decision.

Considerations when choosing compression socks

Types of compression socks

Knee-high and below-the-knee compression socks

This popular compression sock style is easy to put on and provides adequate support for most people. However, it doesn't provide any compression above the knee.

Thigh-high compression stockings

A thigh-high style is only needed if your circulation issues extend above the knees. A silicone band around the top of the stockings helps hold them in place, though they are known to slip.

Waist-high compression stockings

Waist-high stockings resemble women's pantyhose and offer full compression from the toes to the waist. If you need overall compression, these get the job done, but they could be too uncomfortable or cumbersome for some people to wear.

Compression sleeves (open-fit compression socks)

Compression sleeves are often worn on the legs by athletes or others who don't like to have their toes constricted. While compression sleeves can be more comfortable, they don't prevent the pooling of blood in the ankles and feet the way some of the other sock styles do.

Athletic compression socks

As more athletes add compression socks to their gear, manufacturers have developed models with extra padding in the heel and toe and extra flexibility in the ankle and arch of the foot. The fabric in these socks is usually more durable and may include antibacterial and/or deodorizing additives.

Compression sock features

Compression level

The pressure of compression socks is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). A physician who recommends that you wear compression socks will also recommend a pressure level. Before you decide on a compression level on your own, you might want to consult your physician. Here are the compression basics:

Mild compression: Mild compression provides between 8 and 15 mmHG and helps relieve normal aches and pains and can help prevent some fatigue. These socks can also help prevent spider and varicose veins.

Moderate compression: Moderate compression provides between 15 and 20 mmHg and can help prevent swelling, aches, and pains, as well as provide relief from varicose and spider veins ranging from moderate to mild. This pressure level can also be used to prevent the deep vein thrombosis that's associated with long-distance travel.

Firm compression: Firm compression provides between 20 and 30 mmHG and is used to treat many circulatory and venous disorders. These socks can handle more severe varicose and spider veins, as well as prevent the pooling of blood from deep vein thrombosis and similar conditions.

Extra-firm compression (30 to 40 mmHg): Only a physician should recommend compression of this level. These socks are only used to manage the most severe circulatory and venous disorders.

Size

Sizing is an important matter because socks that are too loose don't benefit you, and socks that are too tight can cut off circulation to the lower extremities. To make sure you get the right size and an accurate fit, you'll need to do some precise measuring first thing in the morning.

For knee-high compression socks, measure:

the narrowest portion of the ankle

the widest portion of the calf

the height from floor to knee
 

For thigh-high compression socks, measure:

the widest portion of the thigh

the height from floor to mid-thigh
 

For waist-high styles, measure the above and:

the height from floor to the top of the back of the thigh

Materials

Compression socks can be made of any combination of Lycra, cotton, spandex, and nylon. Styles that weave silver nanoparticles into the fabric add antimicrobial properties that can limit odor and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Socks made with microfiber will also have moisture-wicking properties and excellent breathability, which are important for athletes.

Compression sock prices: The cost of the socks is largely based on the compression level. Compression socks with mild compression usually range between $10 and $20, though some can cost as much as $30, depending on the brand. In the $40 to $60 range are moderate to firm compression socks. Prescription/extra firm compression socks start at $70 and can go well over $100.

FAQ

Q. How do compression socks work?

A. Compression socks add support to your veins. Normally, as leg muscles contract, they squeeze the veins and push blood back toward the heart. Prolonged sitting or standing can lead to a weakening of the vein walls. At that point, gravity takes its toll and blood can start to pool in the feet rather than make its way back to the heart. By applying pressure to the muscles of the foot and leg, compression socks provide support for vein walls and keep the blood flowing.

Q. Can I clean my compression socks in the washing machine?

A. Always read the manufacturer's instructions before washing and drying your socks. Some compression socks are machine washable, but it's easy for these garments to get stretched out or lose elasticity, so we recommend washing them by hand with a mild detergent in lukewarm water. Roll them in a towel to remove excess water before hanging them to dry.

Compression socks we recommend

Best of the best: MudGear Graduated Men's and Women's Compression Socks

Our take: Athletes and those who need all-day support can't go wrong with these socks. MudGear also offers impressive customer support if you have questions or issues with the socks.

What we like: The graduated compression works exceptionally well for athletes, yet they're designed for all-day comfort. It can be hard to find compression socks that
fit everyone, but these come pretty close.

What we dislike: The fabric can be warm when it's hot outside. Some customers experienced holes and/or tears with normal use.

Best bang for your buck: A-Swift Compression Socks for Women and Men

Our take: An affordable compression sock that comes in fun, colorful options. If compression socks will be part of your fashion statement, these are the ones for you.

What we like: The fabric has antibacterial and deodorizing properties. Argyle, polka dots, camels, and sheep are only a few of the patterns available. These socks are
meant to get some attention.

What we dislike: Might be too long for shorter individuals.

Choice 3: Blitzu Performance Compression Socks for Men and Women

Our take: These socks come with some serious compression that's perfect if you're on your feet all day. They are also affordably priced if you're on a budget.

What we like: The durable material comes in several color options. The weave of the fabric prevents the discomfort found with some other designs.

What we dislike: The strong compression can be too much for some people, and it tends to get tighter after the first washing.

Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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