If you’re on your feet a lot, odds are that you experience aches and pains in your body on the regular, especially on your shins and calves. That’s where compression socks come in handy, as they’re designed to support you during your workouts, sports or just when you’re on your feet for long periods of time. Curious? Great. Here’s what you should know.
So what are compression socks, exactly? Compression socks are great for recovery because they slow blood flow to your lower legs while you’re wearing them and then flood the area with fresh oxygen once you take them off, which helps with muscle recovery, explains Becs Gentry, a certified run coach/trainer and instructor at Peloton.
When it comes to buying compressions socks, you should aim for ones that are slightly snug, but not so tight that they’d cut off your circulation, explains Latoya Shauntay Snell, HOKA One One athlete, ultrarunner, and Runner’s Alliance ambassador.
Another thing to note? The look of the socks and where they deliver pressure, too. “Great compression socks are segmented into tight (compression) areas, as well as looser areas like around the toes and heels,” Gentry notes. “Good socks shouldn’t leave your lower legs or feet freezing cold if you leave them on too long, either.” (You want ’em to slow the blood flow, not cut it off entirely, obvs.)
Okay, now that you’re basically a pro when it comes to all things compression socks, you might be looking for some online shopping inspo. Keep reading for the 10 best compression socks to buy, according to expert recommendations and reviewer raves. Your lower legs will thank ya!
1. Best Overall Compression Socks
With over 42,000 positive reviews on Amazon, you can easily say that these compression socks are the best of the best. Not only do they look sleek, but they’re easy to slip on and off while still providing enough pressure on your calves. They’ve even got segments up your heel and into your arches and toes to support areas susceptible to overuse injuries.
Rave Review: “I’ve had a hard time finding compression socks that don’t completely cut off my circulation, but finally found a pair. I am taking a high blood pressure medicine that causes fluid to build up in my ankles. I flew from Arizona to New Orleans and walked for hours and my feet and ankles didn’t swell. The socks were actually comfortable as well.” —Lisa, amazon.com
2.Best Compression Socks For Running
“I love the funky styles and colors from the Pro Compression sock line,” Snell explains. And yep, they’re also pretty darn great for those of you who, like Snell, are runners. These improve circulation in critical areas like your foot muscles and tendons, which will help your feet feel less sore. These are also moisture wicking, an attribute that makes them great for wearing during a long, sweaty run.
Rave Review: “These socks will change your life. Well worth the investment. They last for years!”—El, amazon.com
3. Best Compression Socks For Plantar Fasciitis
Got sore feet and calves from plantar fasciitis? These socks target all of your sensitive areas: You’ll find they fit extra snug around the shins, achilles tendons, and arches. And yep, because of this pressure you’ll feel relief from any aches or cramping in these areas. Win!
Rave Review: “After removing these socks at home, I can actually see my ankle bones again!!! I have no swelling and no discomfort. My feet, ankles and legs do not feel achy, tired, heavy or full. These, by far, have been the best compression socks I’ve found!” —Kaelin, amazon.com
4. Best Compression Socks For Shin Splints
“I adore Nike compression socks as they are the perfect level of tightness to aid my recovery after long runs or hard speed sessions, especially when I have to sit down very soon after finishing my workout,” Gentry says. And if you work out that much, odds are you’re at risk for getting shin splints (i.e. shin pain) from overuse and tightness. These have a simple design that molds to your legs as you use them, making them a good preventative measure no matter your fitness level or preferred sport.
Rave Review: “Started wearing these socks several years back, when a pair came with my Nike Tiempos and never looked for a different sock. Great quality, longevity, and fit. Great product!” —Edin, amazon.com
5. Best Compression Socks For Women
“I’m an avid fan of Swiftwick socks, particularly the Flite XT and Aspire line. They are at the perfect length and I’m always blister free,” says Snell. So yeah, you’re not gonna find other socks as good as these that’ll fit right at your ankle and have a stitched Y shape at the heel to support your feet. Plus, they’re super breathable and, yes, they also have mesh bottoms for water release.
Rave Review: “Got these for running. I love the amount of compression they have. Fairly firm but very comfortable to wear all day. I like how they are lightweight and fairly thin but durable. I wear them for running, biking, as well as at work.” —Erica, amazon.com
6. Best Compression Socks For Cold-Weather Workouts
Yep, these socks are thick and heavyweight, so you’ll really feel the compression on your feet’s tendons and pains, but they’ll also keep you warm when the temps dip outside. They come up to your mid-calf to keep the cold out and are made with wool (which is naturally sweat-wicking, yet insulating).
Rave Review: “I always have cold feet and fingers and so I was determined to find a solution. My husband is from Canada and always wears the right things when we travel to the snow…I do not and I freeze every time. I looked for reviews and found these. I also bought another pair of super thick socks but these were PERFECT! I love their height and weight and they kept my feet warm and comfy throughout all of our sledding, walking, snowmobiling, and fun!” —Zee, amazon.com
7. Best Budget Compression Socks
If you want to enjoy the benefits of compression socks without emptying your wallet, you’ll love this simple beige option with over 19,000 positive reviews on Amazon. You’ll get three pairs of socks for less than *10 dollars*,and because of the simple coloring you can wear them just about anywhere.
Rave Review: “These are my first pair(s) of compression stockings. I like how they came in a three-pack and at a great price. They are easy to put on, not too tight, and nice material. At only 27 years old, I noticed some spider veins popping up. I am a nurse and on my feet 12+ hours during a shift. I need to start taking care of my feet/legs and this is the first step! About to work out with them on.” —Christina, amazon.com
8. Best Compression Socks For Travel
“I also use Comrade socks,” Gentry says. “They’re not so tight, but great for getting on when you’re still hot from a workout or in a tight space on a plane.” And yes, these are a little wider at the calves, so you won’t get annoyed adjusting them in tight spaces or tucking in pants.
Rave Review: “We work in healthcare on our feet all day, and these are the most comfortable compression stockings we have found. We are both larger, and were looking for ones that fit with the right amount of snug, without cutting off circulation. We also appreciate that these cover the full calf, as opposed to ones that have gone only to mid-calf.” —Courtney, amazon.com
9. Best Compression Socks Design
I mean, could these socks look more fun? With a bunch of different patterns, these compression socks will satisfy both your functional and creative sides. In each pack you’ll get multiple different patterns and colors, and each pair provides fast-acting compression relief for all your aches and pains.
Rave Review: “These compression socks are the best! I have had some in the past, but they were hard to get on and quite ugly. These are so easy to get on and are so cute! I got the seven pack and there are six different designs.” —Ronda, amazon.com
10. Most Comfortable Compression Socks
Yes, these compression socks are expensive—but it’s for a good reason! Not only are they made of high-quality, soft materials, but they also help those in need. For each pair of Bomba socks purchased, the company gives a pair to someone without the means to buy their own.
Rave Review: “They make my legs feel better and these are very comfortable and don’t squish my toes as other brands do. I would recommend these to anyone who needs a change. I will buy these again.” —Cate H., bombas.com
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