Compression socks along with a good pair of nursing shoes can make a big difference in improving how a nurse feels throughout their work day.
Compression socks can help alleviate stress on the feet, improve blood flow/circulation and halt the progression of venous disorders.
To help you decide which socks are right for you we’ve put together our top 5 compression socks for men and women based on the ratings and reviews of those who have tried and warn them.
Each of these socks has been rated/reviewed by a minimum of 125 people and has a rating of at least 4.3 out of 5.
1. Vitalsox Recovery Patented Graduated Compression Socks
Vitalsox is well known for their wide range of compression socks and Vitalsox’s Recovery Patented Graduated Compression Socks are an excellent choice for those who are looking to improve the blood flow throughout their feet and calves.
These compression socks are made with silver drystat, lyrca and nylon materials to help reduce lactic acid production, improve blood circulation and increase oxygen delivery to the muscles.
Vitalsox’s Recovery Patented Graduated Compression Socks utilizes exclusive wicking to minimize and absorb moister and has antibacterial fibers for bacterial protection.
2. Eurosock’s Patented Graduated Recovery Compression Socks
Eurosock makes an excellent recovery sock their brand of Eurosock’s Patented Graduated Recovery Compression Socks, which are designed to minimize stress and recovery time by reducing foot and leg swelling, improving circulation throughout the leg and providing increased calf support.
The inclusion of drystat materials along with nylon, spandex and lyrca (with antibacterial fiber) help keep your feet dry while reducing the potential growth of nasty bacteria and fungus. Because these socks are unisex they can be purchased and easily warn by both men and women.
3. 2XU Women’s Compression Performance Run Socks
As the name suggests 2XU Women’s Compression Performance Run Socks are designed to provide quality foot support for runners, however they are also an excellent choice for those who do a lot of walking or spend long periods of time on their feet.
These compression socks are made up of 80% Nylon & 20% Elastane materials with a medical circular 360 degree knit construction to provide powerful support while remaining extremely lightweight. They also feature zoned breathing panels to maximize airflow and foot/leg comfort.
4. Vitalsox Graduated Compression Performance Patented Recovery Socks
Another excellent compression sock offered by Vitalsox is Vitalsox Graduated Compression Performance Patented Recovery Socks.
These performance compression socks are comprised of 70% silver drystat and are designed to improve cardiac output by improving blood return to the heart. As with their other compression socks these patented recovery socks also help reduce moisture and improve blood circulation throughout the feet.
5. Sockwell Women’s Chevron Compression Socks
Last but definitely not least in our list is Sockwell’s Women’s Chevron Compression socks, which are designed to reduce foot fatigue, minimize swelling and prevent potential soreness.
These socks are made using wool, nylon, bamboo rayon and spandex materials and have a light cushioned foot bed with arch support for added comfort. The elastic spandex material helps sock maintain its stretch-ability and remain in place throughout the day.
What are compression socks and how do they work?
Compression socks are designed to increase circulation and blood flow through the legs in order to reduce pain and increase circulation.
This increase in circulation is meant to help revitalize the muscles and reduce the recovery time in between workouts or during the course of a particular treatment.
Compression socks are also designed to help keep swelling to a minimum so that the user can wake up more refreshed after their workout or after long period of walking/running.
Compression socks are often warn by athletes such as runners, individuals recovering from certain leg conditions and in professions where employees spend large amounts of time standing/walking on their feet.
Prior to buying compression socks it is always a good idea to consult a healthcare specialist for advice and to have any potential medical concerns addressed in advance.
What are the benefits of wearing compression socks for medical purposes?
For those who are dealing with medical conditions compression socks offer many of the same advantages of improving circulation, helping manage used muscle fibers and potentially reducing recovery time when being used in conjunction with a prescribed medical/health routine.
Compression socks or compression stockings can also help prevent the progression of venous disorders among those dealing with varicose veins, poor blood flow or other venous conditions.
Unlike regular socks high quality compression socks use strong/tight elastic materials (often with special properties) to create additional pressure on the feet, ankles and legs to help improve blood flow circulation and oxygenation throughout the legs.
If you suffer from swelling, varicose veins or one of several venous conditions wearing compression socks may benefit you by improving the blood flow and oxygenation in your legs and lower body.
If however you are having heart issues, have an advanced arterial disease or are dealing with a leg/skin infection you should consult a doctor before using a pair of compression socks to make sure you don’t purchase ones that could further complicate your health.
Medical benefits of wearing compression socks:
- Reduces swelling in the legs
- Helps prevent/minimize varicose veins
- Assists in minimizing venous ulcers
- Assists individuals dealing with Lymphedema
- Improves blood flow and oxygenation
- Helps improve recovery time of achy/soar muscles
When you shouldn’t wear compression clothing
If you are an individual who is dealing with cardiovascular issues, have poor blood flow/circulation, are dealing with skin rashes or any medical condition that could be compromised by wearing compression clothing of any kind (including compression socks, sleeves, stockings etc…) you should not use compression clothing and get the advice of your physician before putting anything on that could put pressure on your body or alter your circulation/blood flow.
How to choose the best compression socks
When it comes to choosing the best compression socks for your needs there are several things you should consider before making your decision.
Some of the most important questions you should ask yourself before buying a pair of compression socks is, what materials are the compression socks made out of, is the material best to wear in hot humid environments (breathable, wicking, antimicrobial etc…) or cold dry environments (heat retention, blood circulation focused etc…), do you have sensitivities/allergies towards any of the materials used in the socks and what is the compression level of the socks you’re interested in buying.
With regards to compression the best socks will be the ones that are best for improving your particular condition (varicose veins, recovering from a venous disorder etc…) with the least amount of required compression to provide adequate results, as you don’t want to go overboard on the compression level and potentially negatively affect blood circulation.
Here are some of the most imporatant factors to conside when buying compression socks:
- Gradient or Uniform compression
When it comes to options compression socks come in a wide range of materials that each serve a particular purpose.
Compression socks may be made out of Nylon, Cotton, Spandex, Rubber, Wool, Silver DryStat, Polyproproline, Lyrcra, Elastane and Polyamide among other materials, and most compression socks are made from a combination of several materials to provide adequate warmth, flexibility, compression, antimicrobial properties and other benefits.
The combination of the materials can vary greatly depending on the primary needs of the compression sock and allow users to choose the ones that are best suited for their primary use case.
Individuals who are athletic for example may choose compression socks that are designed with specific wicking and antimicrobial properties to prevent discomfort as they workout.
Their compression level may also be different from someone who just walks causally, but wears compression socks to improve blood-flow or assist in the recovery of specific venous disorders.
To get a better idea of which compression socks are best for your situation look for specialized socks that are designed to provide you with the best results, and speak with a specialist to make sure you make the best buying decision.
The compression level of compression socks is often measured in mmHg and can range anywhere from 8 – 50 mmHg with higher numbers equaling high levels of compression.
It is recommended that compression socks with a compression level higher than 20 mmHg should only be warn with the advice of a physician, if you are dealing a medical condition that could be affected by the use of compression socks.
Here is a listing of the different compression levels for reference:
- 8 – 15 mmHg (mild compression) – helps reduce swelling, minimizes the formation of varicose veins, helps limit fatigue and aches.
- 15 – 20 mmHg (moderate compression) – adds additional prevention against varicose/spider veins, helps prevent deep vein thrombosis, great for long distance travel
- 20 – 30 mmHg (firm compression) – may be used to help treat edema, used during post-surgical treatment of certain venous conditions to prevent recurrence, helps prevent hypotension
- 30 – 40 mmHg (extra firm compression) – provides benefits to all the above, used in the management of venous ulcers
Please note that these are the suggested uses and benefits of various compression levels, and not a guarantee that it will cure or alleviate any medical conditions (always seek professional advice).
Aside from offering varing compression levels compression socks may offer adequate compression throughout the sock or be designed to offer higher levels of compression towards the bottom of the sock (around the ankles) and lower levels of compression towards the upper portion of the sock (around the knees) in order to help push blood flow back towards the heart and organs for improved circulation.
Gradient compression vs Uniform compression
Most compression socks are designed to offer either gradient compression or uniform compression options.
Gradient compression offers a tighter level of compression at the ankle or wrist which gradually lessens the closer it is to the top or center of the body to improve circulation in the desired direction.
In other words if you wear gradient compression socks for example the socks will be tightest around the ankles and lightest around the knees or lower thighs to help circulate blood back up the legs.
Uniform compression clothing on the other hand applies an equal level of compression throughout the garment to offer an even level of pressure stabilization over the muscle group/body part. These compression socks may be used to treat patients dealing with particular medical conditions such as edema or other similar medical situations.
Compression clothing can vary widely in terms of the size/length they are offered in, which can greatly impact the blood flow and circulation of the user.
Compression clothing may cover the calf (compression sleeves), the foot to knee region (compression socks) or the entire leg (compression stockings/support hose’s) to provide the user with unique benefits based on their particular needs.
Understanding what you need out of your compression clothing will help you make a better buying decision and take advantage of their unique properties
Understanding the different types of compression clothing
Compression clothing can come in many different types including compression socks, compression sleeves, stockings, tights/hose support hoses and athletic compression gear.
Each piece of compression clothing is designed to provide support or aide in the recovery of a particular condition.
For example compression socks may be ideal for athletes that are looking to improve blood circulation and recovery times during/after an intense workout, while maternity compression stockings are ideal for pregnant mothers that want to improve the circulation throughout the lower portion of their body while they are pregnant.
Depending on your particular situation the compression clothing and material you choose can vary drastically.
here is a brief explanation of the various types of compression clothing and their purpose:
Compression socks are commonly used by high performance athletes and individuals dealing with specific medical conditions. Compression socks are often used to improve circulation and oxygenation throughout the legs, treat venous conditions and prevent/minimize muscle fatigue and soreness .
Calf compression sleeves
Calf compression sleeves are similar to compression socks, however they leave the feet fully exposed and uncompromising during walking, running or other physical activities. These stockings are great for individuals that need to minimize their compression area or need to keep their feet uncovered for any particular reason.
Compression stockings are similar to regular stockings, however they offer a greater level of compression than regular stockings. These stockings may be sold simply as compression stockings or maternity stockings depending on the situation and can vary in length from knee high to the top of the thighs. Compression stockings may be used to improve blood flow throughout the legs during pregnancy or to help an individual prevent or recover from certain venous conditions.
Compression tights offer the greatest area of coverage for athletic individuals and can cover the entirety of the lower body from the ankles (not feet) to the hips or cover the hips and upper legs/thighs. These tights can commonly be found worn on athletes looking to improve their blood flow and recovery times, and may be preferred over compression socks due to the larger area of coverage, compression level and sports oriented design.
In any case compression clothing is often noted for improving recovery and reducing the affects of venous medical issues, so it may be worth it to you even if your performance doesn’t jump through the roof by wearing compression clothes.
Here are the most commonly known types of compression clothing:
- Compression socks
- Calf compression sleeves
- Compression stockings / support hose
- Maternity compression stockings
- Compression tights
- Running compression socks
Where to buy compression socks
Compression socks and clothing can be found generally sold at local sporting good retailers, one stop retailers such as Walmart and target, athletic footwear stores , specialty stores and at online eCommerce website such as Amazon, Overstock and Zappos.
Each shopping location offers its own advantages and disadvantages to the buyer so decide what’s most important to you prior to buying your compression socks.
For example if you really want an individual to talk to prior to making your purchase or want to be able to pick up/return your item as soon as possible than it may be a good idea to shop at a specialty store or athletic footwear store that has knowledgeable staff who can help you with your buying decision.
If however you prefer to be able to read lot’s of reviews and opinions, comparison shop or browse the best sellers list than you may prefer shopping online at Amazon.com or a similar eCommerce website.
Do you need a prescription to buy/use compression socks?
The simple answer is no, you do not need a prescription to purchase compression socks.
In fact you can find compression socks sold at many different retailers and outlets as well as online.
However, if you have a medical condition it is always recommended that you speak with your physician prior to buying compression socks or clothing as they’ll be able to recommend the best options for your particular condition.
Aside from being used for athletic purposes compression socks can also be very beneficial for a number of medical conditions and a local physician can help you choose the right socks to improve your situation.