This is so nerdy but I have been absolutely LOVING compression socks. It started during lockdown (I had been sent a pair and put them on and marveled over how secure they made me feel… kind of like a hug for your lower legs?) I really like the feeling of a more snug, secure sock.
They are just the best. They are comfortable, can help prevent athletic injuries, and they are GREAT for long flights. I’ve been asked if they hurt… NO… they feel really good! Compression socks apply gentle pressure on the ankle and leg. They’re worn commonly by professional athletes, pregnant women, people who stand all day, and those who are dealing with or are at risk for blood circulation problems. They can help to keep your legs from getting that restless feeling while you’re traveling. They are great for pregnant women, runners, or anyone who has a job where they are standing on their feet all day (I wish I knew about these back when I was waitressing). And they also just feel really good on!
5 Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks
They reduce leg and feet swelling
I remember a few years ago I flew to Europe. I had worn cute ankle boots and took my shoes off to sleep on the plane. And I kid you not, we landed and I could not zip my boots back up. I went through immigration with unzipped boots.
On my trip to Vienna, I wore compression socks and my legs/feet did not swell at all. I was also fine to wander around the city all day in (low) heels. Reduced swelling on a long flight is a MAJOR benefit here. Probably the main reason I wear them.
They boost circulation
Compression socks or compression stockings are actually great at improving blood circulation, so if you have poor circulation you’ll love these. Besides that, they can also lower your chances of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a kind of blood clot, and other circulation problems.
They will keep your legs from getting tired and achy
For this reason, they are great to wear for long walks or even long runs. They’re also great for pregnant women.
They help prevent varicose veins / spider veins
Wearing compression socks can help to prevent spider veins! They won’t get rid of existing ones but can help with the prevention of new ones.
They help with muscle recovery
An added benefit of that boosted circulation – compression socks (and compression gear like tights and tees) can help your body to avoid lactic acid buildup. This article has more information and technical details about that!
My favorite compression socks
Bombas makes great compression socks. They have two different types: a lighter compression (15-20mmHg) that just feels good for lounging or shorter flights OR a more technical “serious” compression (20-30mmHg) for longer flights, muscle recovery, or increased circulation.
My other favorites are DFND. These are my more serious compression socks (I wear them on the airplane – these were the ones I wore on my longer flight to Vienna). Truly the best for a long flight – it was amazing that my feet didn’t swell.
You might also want to look into graduated compression socks (that are tighter at the bottom and looser at the top). I’ve heard good things about this brand (they also offer a wider calf option!).
How to Use Compression Socks
It’s pretty simple. They are knee high socks. I bunch them up and put my feet in, and then slowly slide them up. The one important thing is that you want to make sure they’re evenly covering your leg so that they don’t bunch in one area or that one part of the leg doesn’t get more compression than the other.
Be sure to choose the right compression level.
You can also ask your doctor which level of compression would be best. I personally really like that Bombas offers two levels of compression – they have a more everyday sock for light compression and then a more moderate amount of compression for improved circulation.
Don’t overuse them…
I save my heavy duty compression socks (DFND) for long flights but regularly wear my lower compression socks (Bombas) around the house when I’m lounging and just want to feel comfortable. I probably wouldn’t sleep in them either but they’re great for wearing for a few hours at a time or on the airplane.
photography by Clay Austin.