CAMPING & HIKING

Best Compression Socks: Looking on the Top Products on the Market

Best compressions socks
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

If you’re not someone who suffers from leg conditions, then you probably haven’t heard of compression socks. You may have seen your grandparents wear them, but you don’t know what they’re worn for. However, compression socks are not solely designated for those with leg conditions or the elderly.

In fact, they come in handy if you’re also an athlete as well. But before we show you the best compression socks available on the market, you have to understand what they are and what they’re used for.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks are essentially stockings that are worn to squeeze your legs. You have two types of compression socks: graduated compression socks or compression sleeves.

Compression Socks in action

What’s the difference?

  • Graduated compression socks: These socks are tighter around your ankles and loosen as they go up your legs.
  • Compression sleeves: These sleeves are essentially the same as the graduated compression socks, but are only for the upper part of your leg.

Compression socks and sleeves act in the same manner, but one has foot compression (graduated compression socks) while the other does not (compression sleeve). But what do compression socks do?

What Compression Socks Do

So, now you know what compression socks are, do you know what they do? Compression socks are worn on your legs to apply pressure. This pressure helps increase blood vessel circulation which maintains blood flow and reduces swelling and discomfort.

By moving the blood through your body, it assists by transporting oxygen-rich blood throughout your body, and blood back to your heart. They also help prevent your legs from getting achy. Due to the compression, your veins refrain from clotting, thus, your blood flows more freely.

Compression Socks

Here are some of the main uses of compression socks:

  • Swelling
  • Aching muscles
  • Tired muscles
  • Varicose veins
  • Spider Veins
  • Prevent lightheadedness

Now that you know the function of compression socks, you’re probably wondering if anyone can wear them. Let’s take a closer look at this question.

Who Wears Compression Socks?

You should know that basically, anyone can wear compression socks. If you don’t have any of the above symptoms, however, you may still wear them.

You don’t need a doctor’s prescription for them either; you can simply buy them over the counter at any pharmacy or sports store. However, let’s take a look at who are ideal users of compression socks.

  • Athletes
  • Pregnant women
  • People who stand for long periods of time
  • People who suffer from leg issues
  • People who’ve had leg or foot surgery
  • People with circulation problems such as DVT, diabetes, varicose veins
  • People who spend a lot of time on planes

The individuals listed above are highly susceptible to circulatory problems, so compression socks will help prevent and alleviate any pain or discomfort.

Athletes and Compression Socks

As you read above, athletes are susceptible to circulatory issues. Though compression socks have been around for a long time, athletes have just started to wear them in the past couple of years. They’re great if you’re a runner or basketball player, but they are ideal for any athlete.

Athletes and Compression Socks

They’re used to increase blood flow, send oxygen faster into the muscles and prevent any tissue damage. In addition, compression socks assist with post-workout recovery, preventing muscles from becoming sore and crampy. Here are the main functions of compression socks for athletes:

  • Temperature control: Compression socks can provide extra warmth during colder training days and help control sweat.
  • Protection: Aside from their medical uses, compression socks can help you from obtaining scratches, cuts and bruises. Runners love the fact that if they’re running through trails, compression socks can protect them from irritating twigs or shrubs.
  • Dirt: If you’re running in the rain and mud, you’ll be able to withstand the elements as your compression socks will be the first ones to get hit instead of you. In addition, they’re extremely easy to clean.
  • Swelling: This is the main feature of compression socks. They’re able to limit swelling, especially if you’ve been doing long-distance running. You’ll be happy to know that they’ll prevent you from getting aching muscle after your workout.

Before you choose the best compression socks for running, take a look at the compression levels that are offered. It’s important to pick one which matches your symptoms.

Choosing The Right Compression Level

Compression socks are not a one-size-fits-all concept. In fact, they come in various compression levels that range from low to high support.

  • 10-15mmHG Light Support: This is relatively light support and is ideal for improving circulation, preventing in minor swelling and giving you some extra energy in your legs and feet.
  • 15-20mmHG Mild Support: Mild support provides you improved circulation, reduces mild swelling during pregnancy, mild ankle and leg swelling and prevents tired and aching legs. It also prevents DVT.
  • 20-30mmHG Moderate Support: Moderate support will help reduce mild to moderate ankle and leg swelling, mild to moderate swelling during pregnancy, improve circulation and prevent tired and aching legs. Also, relieves superficial thrombophlebitis and Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS).
  • 30-40mmHG Firm Support: Firm support will improve circulation, prevent tired and aching legs, reduce moderate ankle and leg swelling as well as moderate swelling during pregnancy. Relieves PTS, Orthostatic Hypotension and DVT.

While choosing the right compression sock for you, simply look at your symptoms and the level of pain and swelling you’re experiencing. That way, you’ll choose a compression sock that suits your symptoms and needs. So, now that you know the ins and outs of compression socks, let’s look at the top seven compression socks available on the market.

Review of Top Products for 2017

Zensah Tech+

Zensah Tech+

Weight: 4 oz /   lbs

Size: small to x-large

Best Used: athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

Description: Made of 82% Polyamide/ 18% Elastane, these compression socks are ideal to prevent injury and alleviate shin splints. The Zensah Tech+ helps stabilize your muscles and provides extra support for your shins and calves.

By improving the blood flow, your shin splints are relieved and calf camping reduced. It also compresses around the ankle for extra support. They’re graduated compression, meaning that most of the compression is directed in the ankle and calf area.

It’s extremely comfortable and is designed with seamless toes, so you won’t have to worry about blistering and chafing. The anatomical design will give your left and right foot a perfect fit.

The lightweight design and moisture proof material will prevent your legs and feet from sweating and creating discomfort, thus, allowing you to wear these socks for any length of time.

The Zensah Tech+ socks also add arch support with their ultra-zone ribbing. You can wear these socks while running or working out to help support your feet and legs while allowing you to push yourself athletically.

These Italian made compression socks are ideal for runners, travellers, basketball players, and anyone who’s into fitness.

Related: The Zensah Argyle Compression Sock is another great option if you’re looking for a compression sock. These ones are less sporty in design and can we worn in the office.

SmartWool PhD Compression Socks

SMARTWOOL PHD COMPRESSION SOCKS

Weight: 5.3 oz /  lbs

Size: small to x-large

Best Used: athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

Description: The 50% Merino Wool/ 41% Nylon/ 9% Elastane graduated compression socks are USA made and are designed with performance -enhancing Merino blended with compression for optimal recovery.

The graduated compression is made with ultra-light cushion provides the support without adding bulk which many compression socks do.

The mesh ventilation gives your legs and feet extra breathability while controlling moisture. SmartWool PhD Compression Socks uses two elastics for greater stretch and assists in keeping the compression sock in place.

Merino Wool is also highly durable which ensures that your socks will withstand the use. It’s 20-30mmHG graduated compression which provides mild to moderate support against swelling, fatigue and ache.

The seamless toes also prevent chafing and blistering which is ideal if you’re running or playing intense sports. The 200 needle construction also provides users with a high density, however, without adding bulk and weight.

Overall, a solid compression sock is you’re looking for something durable and lightweight.

Related: The Smartwool PhD Ski Graduated Compression sock is a great option if you’re looking for a compression sock for your winter sports. It’ll help reduce moisture while giving you the extra calf and ankle support needed.

Icebreaker OTC Compression Socks

Icebreaker OTC Compression Socks

Weight: 13.6 oz /   lbs

Size: small to x-large

Best Used: athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

Description: The 48% Merino Wool / 44% Nylon / 8% Lycra compression sock is made in the USA is an over-the-calf sock which gives users the benefits of a compression sock without the weight. In addition, the Merino Wool is natural and allows the skin to breathe and regulate body temperature.

The Icebreaker OTC Compression Socks provides muscle support, increased circulation, performance and assists in recovery. The socks are designed with an anatomically fitted toe box, unique for left and right feet.

The reinforced heel and toe give extra durability and strength while the seamless toes prevent chafing, blisters and reduce bulk. They’re extremely comfortable compression socks and you’ll be able to wear them all day without any discomfort.

Related: Vitalsox Graduated Compression Sock is another exceptional compression sock that’s mainly worn by basketball players. It’s designed for high-performance sports and also works as a recovery sock as well.

Injinji 2.0 Compression Toesocks

injinji-2-0-compression-toesocks

Weight: 8.6 oz /   lbs

Size: small to x-large

Best Use: athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

Description: The compression 2.0 socks by Injinji is a part of Injinji’s 5 Toe Fit System which is designed with the graduated compression of the lower leg that assists in healing and increasing circulation while minimizing muscle aches and pains.

The heel is padded with terry which provides better support for downhill runners and those who need extra assistance in recovery. It’s made of 75% Polyester/ 20% Nylon/ 5% Lycra with 18-30mmHG graduated compression.

This compression sock is ideal for runners as it’s designed in preventing blistering in hotspots prone to runners. So, if you’re a runner that’s prone to blisters, muscle aches and pains then these socks are ideal for you.

Related: The Injinji Boot Original Weight OTC are very similar in function and design to the Injinji 2.0, however, is not designed with lightweight materials. So, it’s a little heavier than the 2.0 compression, however, works just as well.

PRO Compression Socks

PRO Compression Socks

Weight: 3 oz /   lbs

Size: small to x-large

Best Use: athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

Description: The 92% Nylon/ 8% Lycra Spandex compression sock is made of 20-30mmHG graduated compression, providing mild to moderate relief. PRO Compression Socks are a full-length compression sock that is made of the perfect blend of material providing both comfort and performance.

It’s made with moisture controlling materials that’ll keep your legs and feet dry during your activities. The entire sock is made with a non-slip design, keeping your sock nice and high the entire time.

The graduated compression will increase blood flow throughout your body, resulting in fewer aches and pains in your muscles.

These socks are ideal for runners, specifically marathon runners because they support muscles and tendons that are susceptible to inflammation and cramping. Compression socks are great for runners because they use stronger elastics, providing more pressure to your legs, ankles and feet.

These socks are traditional to graduated compression socks by providing maximum pressure to the ankle and relaxing up towards the knees.

Related: PRO Compression Sleeve is great if you’re not looking for foot support. They’re full-length and come up to the calf, so you’ll have ankle and leg compression.

CEP Women’s Compression Socks

CEP Women’s Compression Socks

Weight: n/a

Size: small to x-large

Best Use: runners

Description: CEP Women’s compression socks are 85% Polyamide/ 15% spandex and made in Germany. These socks are specifically designed for runners, providing them maximum support and benefits.

CEP is a well-known brand for their progressive designs. These socks are designed to improve blood flow, reduce muscle aches and pains while assisting in a quick recovery time.

What’s great about these socks is that you’ll be able to wear them during warm-up and recovery as it acts in both activating and healing your muscles.

The 2.0 socks are also built with metatarsal compression for outstanding support. You can be sure that these socks will control heat and moisture, making sure your feet stay dry, preventing chafing and blistering.

It also is designed to promote balance and stability which reduces muscle vibrations and protects tendons and ligaments. The anatomically designed footbed is fitted with a 15mmHG compression over the arch to help relieve Plantar Fasciitis. The Halo Top-Band is designed to prevent pinching at the top of the calf which many athletes experience when wearing compression socks.

In addition, these compression socks have been featured in a published medical study called, “Study of the Influence Compression sports socks have on athletic performance,” by Dr. Kemmler which illustrated that runners experience a 5% boost in energy and endurance.

Related: If you’re a fan of the CEP’s compression socks, they also have a Women’s Progressive+ 2.0 Calf Sleeve which also provides ankle and calf support without foot compression.

2XU Women’s Compression Socks

2XU Women’s Compression Socks

Weight: 9.6 oz /   lbs

Size: x-small to x-large

Best Use: athletes and outdoor enthusiasts

Description: The 2XU Compression Performance Run Sock is one of the most technically advanced performance sock on the market. It’s designed for maximum support and offers flexibility to protect the calf, hamstring, quad, glute and abductor muscles.

It’s also extremely comfortable and made with a waistband giving you a streamlined fit. The flatlock seams aim to reduce chafing and blistering so that users can focus on performance. The graduated compression increases blood circulation and focuses on aiding in recovery by reducing muscle stiffness and soreness.

The high filament threads allow for quick drying while absorbing the moisture from the skin into the exterior fabric. It’s made of Invista Lycra which provides an outstanding fit and support.

It’s also antibacterial and comes with UPF50+ Sun protection, which many compression socks do not include. So, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, your legs will be protected from the sun.

Whatever your sport is, or if you suffer from DVT and/or other circulatory issues, you’ll be greatly supported with these compression socks.

Related: If you’re a fan of these compression socks, they have the same socks available for men as well. The 2XU Men’s compression performance run socks are a great gift for someone who’s active or suffer from circulatory issues.

Conclusion

Now that you know what compression socks are, what they’re used for and who wears them, it’s about time you went out and got yourself a pair. We showed you the top seven compression socks available on the market, so, we recommend you try them on and see which one fits you the best.

Choose your Compression Socks

Remember to consult the sales clerk and make sure you have the right size and the proper level of graduated compression. Give them a try, you’ll notice immediately that your symptoms of aching and sore muscles will be greatly reduced. So, get yourself to the store and try on one of these compression socks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Kendra Larson

    I’m big fan of Zensah socks. My feet don’t get really sweaty wearing these, and the most important, they prevent my feet from getting blisters on long runs. I have tried many compression socks, and there are none that compare to Zenzah. Also, they look nice 🙂

    • Mark Foster

      Hi Kendra! The breathable and moisture-proof material really work, doesn’t it? The added arch support is also an outstanding feature – so is its reasonable price! You won’t bust your budget buying this pair of compression socks, that’s for sure.

  • Luke Carver

    Just a tip with the Injinji socks: always buy one size bigger than you would normally wear! Your toes should have space and not be too tight. I originally bought the wrong size, mistakenly thinking these are true-to-size. After speaking to Injinji’s customer service team – who are brilliant, by the way – and exchanging them for a bigger size I haven’t had any issues since, whereas, with the smaller size I had issues with blisters. Has anyone else found that a bigger size is better?

  • Mark Foster

    The best option is to get the size that fits you well. I f you want to have more comfort and to ensure longevity for your compression socks, make sure you wear the correct size. A snug fit is always better according to the manufacturers of these socks. If you’re not used to wearing these socks, it may feel tight – but at the end of the day, your feet will adjust and you’ll feel the difference.

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