- High-quality compression socks provide firm pressure from the ankle to the upper calf, giving your legs the support they need during exercise, travel, long workdays, and many other situations.
- Compression socks squeeze the walls of the veins and leg tissues to help improve circulation and include the flow of the lymph fluids that bathe your legs’ cells. These improvements lead to less leg fatigue, achiness, and swelling.
- The CEP Progressive+ Compression Run Socks 2.0 provide firm pressure without sagging through the course of the day, making them comfortable and effective.
Though they’re often worn via doctor’s orders, compression socks are available to anyone. Many people choose compression socks because they provide comfort during pregnancy, long days on your feet, a punishing workout, or travel. There’s no downside to wearing them as long as you’re comfortable.
Compression socks work by squeezing the walls of the veins and leg tissues to help blood work its way against gravity to the heart. In other words, they improve circulation. There are also gains in the flow of the lymph fluids that bathe your legs’ cells. These improvements lead to less leg fatigue, achiness, and swelling.
Compression sock ratings
The compression in the stockings is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Specifically, compression socks are rated based on blood pressure. The majority of compression socks either have a moderate pressure rating of 10 to 20 mm Hg or a firm rating of 20 to 30 mm Hg.
None of the socks we reviewed have a rating above 30 mm Hg, but there are specialty shops where you can find these if needed. Graduated compression socks, the most common type, are tighter near the ankle than at the calf to avoid cutting off circulation.
Most compression socks are made from a blend of synthetic fabrics that provide a snug and stretchy fit. In the reviews that follow, we let you know what materials are used in the construction of the socks but unless you have an issue with a specific material, you should let performance be your main guide in choosing the best compression socks.
How best to use compression socks
There is a bit of a paradox associated with wearing compression socks. You may have purchased them to deal with leg swelling. Yet, this same swelling makes it hard for you to put them on. So, what can you do? There are countless resources on the web to help you out, plus we’ve compiled a few tips here, as well:
- Apply talcum powder or cornstarch to your feet before putting your socks on.
- Wear dishwashing gloves to get a better grip.
- Roll the socks before you put them on so you can just roll them up your legs.
While researching the best compression socks, we combed through hundreds of expert reviews and ratings of dozens of styles. Our guide features socks that provide great comfort, are relatively durable, and are attractive enough to wear in a variety of situations.
Here are the best compression socks you can buy:
Updated on 2/13/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated formatting, links, and prices.