Many of us will benefit from compression socks at some point in our lives for temporary or ongoing health conditions. Whether you just want to try out compression for post-workout blood flow or have been prescribed them by your doctor, we recommend the Physix Gear Compression Socks.
Compression socks are designed to improve your circulation and can help relieve or prevent muscle soreness, varicose veins, blood clots, and more. With so many medical benefits in one non-drug item, compression socks are a no-brainer.
While we liked the Physix Gear Compression Socks for their sturdy construction and anti-microbial fabric, there are tons of compression socks out there for you to choose from. Take a look through our Top 5 compression socks picks to find the pair that works for you.
Overall, the average person needs a compression sock that will provide a tight fit without causing discomfort. The Physix Gear Compression Sock comes in a huge array of sizes, is made out of anti-microbial fabric to fight odors and has a sporty look to it. These are a great pick for athletes, medical professionals, people with swollen feet, pregnancy, and diabetics.
Top 5 Compression Socks
|Name||mmHg (compression level)||Lengths Available||Price|
|Physix Gear||20-30 mmHg (medium compression)||Ankle Cut + Knee Socks||Check Price|
|Cambivo||20-30 mmHg (medium compression)||Knee Socks||Check Price|
|Rymora||15-20 mmHg (light compression)||Knee Socks||Check Price|
|SB Sox Compression Sleeves||20-30 mmHg (medium compression)||Toeless Ankle Socks||Check Price|
|SB SOX||20-30 mmHg (medium compression)||Knee Socks||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Compression Socks
Physix Gear Compression Socks
If you want something that is really customizable to your personal preferences, we recommend the Physix Gear Compression Socks. They’re available in both knee and ankle lengths and men and women’s sizes for a more specific fit.
These compression socks are made out of a mixture of nylon and spandex, so they have quite a bit of tightness and stretch along with durability. They might not be the best pick for you if you prefer 100% cotton compression socks, however.
We liked these as a sportier option for athletes hoping to boost their circulation, as they come in darker colors that mimic athletic socks more than traditional diabetic compression socks. A brightly-colored contrast fabric at the heel gives a fun pop of color.
These provide a good, tight fit, so make sure that you can stand a fair amount of compression. If you tend to sweat a lot, you might want to wear some thin socks underneath these, as they are about the thickness of a traditional crew sock.
Overall, this is our favorite pick for athletes and anyone who is on their feet every day.
Pros and Cons
- Wide variety of sizes
- Tight Compression
- Tend to Cause Sweating
2. Best Lightweight Compression Socks
CAMBIVO Compression Socks
If you are looking for a slighter amount of compression with a more breathable design, then the Cambivo compression socks might be a good pick for you. Though the mmHg rating is the same as the more heavy-duty Physix Gear, we felt that the lighter-weight fabric decreased the pressure somewhat.
The Cambivo compression socks still pack quite enough compression for those who are on their feet all day or for people experiencing discomfort from pregnancy. If you tend to sweat a lot or hate feeling your socks sticking to your legs and feet, then the Cambivo might be a good pick for you.
These compression socks have a relatively small range of sizes available, so it might be trickier to find a good fit if you have unusually small or large feet. These were among the best value socks that we found, though, since they’re available in a two-pack.
Like many of the other models we reviewed, the Cambivo feature a bit more of a sporty style with a color-contrast heel. Since they’re a little more lightweight, they might be a good pick for layering under other clothing.
Pros and Cons
- Stays Up Well
- Medium Compression
- Fewer Size Options
- Might not be Tight Enough for Some
3. Best Compression Socks with Bright Colors
Rymora Compression Socks
If you want to add a bit more pizazz to your life, we recommend the hot pink and lime green options of the Rymora Compression Socks. Though they’re available in the more run-of-the-mill black and white socks, too, we liked that there were a few more options alongside standard light compression knee socks.
These are a light-to-medium compression sock at 15-20 mmHg. What’s unique about these is that they have stronger compression around the ankles with increased compression as you go up towards your knee.
This might not be the best solution if you need tight compression all the way up your calves, but it’s great for people who are on their feet all day and just need slight compression on their legs but more on their feet.
These are great compression socks if you find that the “squeezing” feeling of traditional compression socks bothers you, but they won’t fall down around your ankles, either.
There are options for a padded heel and non-padded, so you might want to choose which fits your lifestyle better. Padded is usually better if you’re on your feet, but non-padded might be useful if you want to layer the socks.
Pros and Cons
- Gradual Padding
- Padded and Non-Padded Options
- More Color Options
- Compression might be too light for some
4. Best Compression Socks with Open Toes
SB SOX Compression Foot Sleeves
For something a little different than the others we reviewed for our Top 5 roundup, enter the SB Sox Compression Foot Sleeves. These are primarily for foot pain, not for legs, and usually get the best results for those with plantar fascilitis.
These are toeless compression socks, which might be great if you want something that you can sneak in under some peep-toe shoes. If you find the feeling of socks without toes weird though, these might not be the best compression socks for you.
If you frequently have swelling in your feet, then this is probably about the right amount of compression to give you relief without having to go for the full-on knee-sock design.
The compression level is 20-30 mmHg, so it’s a standard medium-level tightness. This might also be helpful if you have fallen arches, problems with your Achilles tendon, or other minor foot problems.
The foot-specific attention of the SB Sox Compression Foot Sleeves is nice if you work in a profession where you’re on your feet for long periods of time, since the compression is concentrated on the arches and ankle.
Keep in mind that the sizing for these is unisex, so check out the sizing chart before you order to make sure you get the right size. The argyle design in a bunch of different colors was an added plus for us, as these felt more like preppy socks than a medical accessory.
Overall, the foot sleeves are a great pick if you have a lot of foot pain but not necessarily leg circulation issues.
Pros and Cons
- Relieves Minor Foot Conditions
- Toeless Design
- Medium Compression
- Trendy Design
- No Leg Support
5. Best Compression Socks in Larger Sizes
SB SOX Compression Socks
We loved the functionality of the SB Sox compression socks in the classic knee-length, and the key thing to remember here is that the sizes tend to run large. This is a huge blessing if you have trouble finding socks that aren’t too small for you.
SB Sox performs very well both for athletics and on long airplane rides, so they’re a great pick for people who don’t necessarily have a medical condition requiring compression socks but want to head off potential trouble.
That said, they’re tight enough that they could be a good substitute for people who want to try out the benefits of compression socks without springing for a prescription pair.
Another thing we liked about these compression socks is that they’re really long, so that might be great if you are tall and have a hard time finding socks that go high enough to give your legs relief.
Style wise, the SB Sox feature an athletic style with lots of different color options.
The sizing for SB Sox is unisex, so just like with the foot sleeves you’ll want to make sure that you check your measurements to get something that fits correctly.
Overall, this is a great pick for anyone looking for a solid, basic pair of compression socks that fits larger sizes.
Pros and Cons
- Larger Sizes Available
- Long Sizes
- Many Color Options
- Might Not Fit Smaller Sizes
Who Needs Compression Socks?
First off, we are not doctors and this information is not meant to be taken as medical advice. This is simply our two cents on why we think compression socks might be a good idea for some folks.
That said, compression socks are generally used for one of three reasons: to treat a medical condition, to relieve overtired feet and legs, and to avoid blood clots on long flights.
The bottom line here is that if you find a great pair of compression socks that fit you well and have an appropriate level of compression, you can probably use the same pair for all three purposes.
You don’t need specific compression socks for athletes, different ones for traveling, and so on, unless your doctor specifically prescribed you a certain pair.
If you’ve been prescribed compression socks by your doctor, then you should definitely start wearing them. In that case, you probably want to go with one of the models that your specialist suggests.
If you’ve been doing some research and think that you might benefit from wearing them, then you’ve got a broad selection to look through.
Some conditions that can benefit from or be prevented by compression socks:
- Varicose Veins
- Foot Swelling
- Plantar Fascillitis
- Fallen Arches
- Muscle Soreness
- Muscle Cramping
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Of course, you should consult your doctor before trying to treat any condition on your own. If your doctor has suggested compression socks, though, they can be a great way to get relief for a wide variety of medical issues affordably and without drugs.
If you don’t have an advertised medical condition and you are just find yourself thinking, “wow, my feet and legs hurt a LOT,” then you can probably do yourself a big favor by getting some compression socks.
Generally, feet and legs hurt and swell due to overuse, so you are probably familiar with these symptoms if you work in one of the following industries:
- Food Service
- Nursing/Medical Care
- Athletics/Coaching (this includes amateurs)
Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive and you might suffer from foot and leg pain and swelling even if you work in a sedentary profession.
Since so many people work in these industries, however, dealing with the side effects is a huge deal. Compression socks are the most affordable and convenient means of relief.
The good news is that the swelling and pain from constant standing and walking is usually not serious, but it is quite uncomfortable. If you have other complicating health factors, like the ones we listed above, then frequent swelling could make your condition worse.
Compression Socks for Flying
Getting ready for a big trip? You’ve probably heard people mention compression socks, which might seem counterintuitive since all you’re doing on a plane is sitting still for hours and hours on end, and didn’t we just talk about how feet and legs well and hurt from standing and walking on them too much?
As it turns out, sitting still for those transatlantic flights can be deadly. Sitting still for long periods of time, even as short a time as 4 hours, can cause the blood to flow more sluggishly through your veins, which can result in a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis.
This decreased blood flow can cause blood to coagulate in the veins of your feet and legs, which could cause a blood clot. This causes enough trouble on its own, but if the clot travels up to your lungs it could cause a pulmonary embolism, which is often fatal.
Now, different people have varying levels of risk associated with sitting still for a long time (like family history of blood clots), but if you’re going to be on a very long trip, it’s not a bad idea to consider a pair of compression socks.
The gentle squeezing of compression socks stimulate blood flow in your feet and legs, which helps keep the blood from pooling and forming clots. If you’ve ever seen someone chafing wrists to get the blood flowing back to the extremities, it’s basically the same principle.
What Does mmHg Mean?
Okay, so you’ve started shopping for the perfect pair of compression socks for your poor, tired feet, but now you see that people are throwing crazy acronyms around.
You’ve probably seen the word mmHg in descriptions of compression socks. This means millimeters of mercury and it’s a way of describing how much compression the socks give -basically, how “tight” is the “squeeze.”
Generally speaking, the compression ranges are as follows:
- Very Light Compression – 8-15 mmHg
- Light-Medium Compression – 15-20 mmHg
- Medium Compression – 20-30 mmHg
- Heavy Compression -30-40 mmHg
Most of us need an average compression of about 20-30 mmHg. Anything tighter than that typically gets into the prescription compression socks territory, which you would need to talk to your doctor about.
Your socks should feel secure and like they’re gently squeezing your leg, but generally speaking they shouldn’t feel tight or confining. Too tight socks run the risk of cutting off your circulation, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do!
Compression socks shouldn’t slide down your legs once you have them pulled all the way up, because this ruins the circulatory benefits- not to mention that would look funny and be super uncomfortable!
It’s best to try out a few different brands of compression socks to figure out which ones are the best fit for your height, calf size, and compression needs.
Are Compression Socks for Athletes?
In the workout and training space, people are all about compression socks these days. In fact, many of the recent style changes in compression socks are to adopt a sportier style that makes them look more like traditional under-the-knee length sports socks.
Basically, athletes need compression socks for the same reason that nurses and teachers do – they use their feet and legs a lot.
Sore feet and legs come with the territory if you’re training, and some soreness is usually an indicator that your workouts are stretching your muscles in an effective way. Too much soreness can leave you sitting on the bench when you’d rather be on the field, though, so compression socks are a great way to avoid that particular hazard of athletics.
Lactic acid can quickly build up in your blood stream during intense physical activity, so it’s crucial to keep the blood flowing through your body’s built-in cleaning system.
Some athletes who rave about compression socks benefits:
- Soccer Players
- Baseball Players
- Basketball Players
Some athletes even find that the circulatory stimulation of compression socks makes them perform better during training and in their chosen sport. This makes sense, since blood flow is important to keep the oxygen flowing through your body, and oxygen is essential for any physical activity.
If you’re buying compression socks specifically for training or athletics, it’s a good idea to look for the most breathable fabric you can find. You’re probably going to sweat a lot in them, so you don’t want all of that moisture to accumulate in your feet and cause odor or fungal problems.
What Should I Look for in Compression Socks?
When choosing the best compression socks, you are looking for breathable fabric, proper fit, durability, and padding.
Let’s take these one at a time.
Breathable fabric just means that a good airflow is provided between your socks and your skin. Cotton is typically famous for it’s good airflow, but synthetic materials can provide a good airflow too, just like your favorite athletic shirt.
Propr Fit – Make sure you read the size guides. One person’s Medium is another person’s Extra Large and sizes are definitely not standardized across all compression socks brands and styles.
Durability – Even the best compression socks won’t do you any good if you don’t wear them consistently, which means that you need some socks that will hold up to frequent washings. And yes, you definitely want to wash your socks often!
Padding – Since you’re probably looking at compression socks because you have foot health issues, our guess is that you need some extra padding, too. Most compression socks come with some kind of padding in the heel, arch, and/or toe area, and the higher-end models are usually the most padded.
If you take these four elements into consideration, you’ll probably be able to pick out the best pair of compression socks for you just fine.
You also want to take thickness of the socks into consideration to make sure they fit with your shoes or with other socks that you plan to layer them with.
Sometimes thick socks or wearing multiple pairs can make your shoes too tight of a fit.
While we liked the Physix Gear Compression Socks the best, there were a lot of similarities among the socks we reviewed. At the end of the day, the average person needs something with middle-range compression in the 15-30 mmHg range that is available in the proper size.
Any of the socks on our Top 5 Roundup would work well for those suffering soreness, cramps, and swelling from sports, standing all day at work, or minor health conditions. They would also be a good preventative measure to think about before you go on a long plane trip.
Of course, you can go crazy with different colors and patterns, and why not? There’s no reason why you can’t be comfy and have some fun at the same time.