Medical conditions, athleticism, better stability during the workday—there’s a ton of reasons to slip into a pair of compression socks, but any old pair won’t do. You need to look at things like the compression (mmHg) rating, elasticity, longevity, breathability, the list goes on and on. Fortunately for you, that’s what we’ve done here: defined everything you should be looking for, and combed the internet for the best pairs. Take a look at the twelve best compression socks on the market, and start feeling the benefits as soon as possible.
The Best Compression Sock
Physix proved to be the all-around best pair of compression socks for men and women, filling a number of roles that other compression sock brands just weren’t able to do properly. If you’re standing on your feet all day, if you like to work hard and play harder, Physix won’t give up on you. The blend of materials don’t lose their mmHg rating, even after extended twelve-hour use. That same fabric is also quick to dry after taking these off or kicking off your shoes for a few minutes. As a result, you don’t build up odor nearly as bad as you would with cotton socks, but don’t expect these to look excellent forever.
There are almost two dozen styles to choose from, and while they’re all plenty nice, they fade fairly quickly after your first wash and dry. People aren’t going to be looking at your socks all day, but you still don’t want them looking ratty. The top elastic band will also start to itch after a few hours of use, which usually only happens if you have the wrong mmHg rating. They’re just a bit tight, a small price to pay for their extreme comfort and excellent arch support. Make sure you also check our guide to the best running socks for more great products like this.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
Works all day without losing compression rating
Designed for multipurpose use (athletics, pregnancy, long work days)
- BrandPhysix Gear Sport
Fabric blend dries quickly
Socks do not retain odor like basic cotton ones do
Aesthetic coloring fades after first wash
Top band begins to itch after a few hours
SB is one of the leading brands of compression socks for women, but this unisex pair offers something fantastic for everyone. First and foremost, you get heel and arch support with slight padding, which helps keep your feet in the right position to promote positive circulation. There’s also a contoured ankle design that follows suit, giving you stability while ensuring great blood flow. There’s also a reinforced toe box, though it did leave something to be desired. There’s no seams on these socks, but the toe box does get uncomfortable after a few hours of use. It feels like your toes begin to scrunch up in there.
SB SOX Compression Socks are fantastically comfortable for your first few uses, but if you’re using a standard washing machine with the central turbine (anything that isn’t an HE washer), these will “pill up.” That’s when the fabric curls up and looks like little beads of lint stuck all over your socks. With the right washing technique, these will last you for years. SB is one of those few brands where the cuff actually doesn’t slide down your leg during the day, which is a common issue with most inexpensively-priced compression socks.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
Ankle protection provides stability and promotes positive circulation
Improved comfort thanks to the no-seam build
- BrandSB SOX
Cuff doesn’t slide down your legs like other socks do
Dual heel and arch support
Reinforced toe can get a bit uncomfortable at times
These only last for long durations if you HE wash them
SB creates stellar support socks, but that’s not all they’re good for. If the full enclosure of socks just doesn’t feel right to you, their compression foot sleeves will be the perfect switch. These unisex compression sleeves come with sweat-wicking fabric, which also comes in a ribbed design to help with fasciitis pain. They’re beloved by nurses and pregnant women, as well as men who spend twelve-hour days on the job site. That is, unless you live in the UK. There are a ton of sizes that SB offers, but their UK sizing chart has received a lot of criticism among user reviews.
Sizing can sometimes be fickle, but one design element that we just couldn’t get over is the lightweight heel. It makes the sock a bit more comfortable when you slip it in, but it doesn’t offer much in the ways of support. They could do with improving the padding on it. The way that these SB SOX Compression Socks are built, if you pop them in the HE washer, they should last you for about three or more years. Durable elastic, tough (but breathable) fabric, and a ton of support throughout your workday—that’s what SB is all about, and they’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head with these sleeves. You can combine them with one of the best shoes for standing all day from our list.
Comfortable top cuff and elastic toe opening
20-30 mmHg rating
Long lifespan of 3+ years due to fabric
- BrandSB SOX
Your feet stay dry thanks to the moisture-wicking fabric
Specific ribbing pattern removes fasciitis pain
Lightweight heel could use some more padding
UK size chart appears to be off (based on user reviews)
BLITZU takes a fairly standard black-and-gray style approach to these compression socks, because they focused on the function over everything else. Thanks to the thickness and front design, these are excellent for athletes looking to mitigate pain from shin splints, or prevent future ones from happening. Unfortunately, because of how thick the socks are, they’re not as breathable as others we’ve reviewed on this list so far.
BLITZU Athletic Compression Socks will slide down your legs slightly as the day goes on. You don’t need to make huge adjustments except about five times in an eight-hour workday. They have the standard 20-30 mmHg rating that most compression socks have, featuring graduated compression to maintain excellent levels of circulation throughout the day. While the negatives are definitely something to consider, just note that these remain their elasticity and compression throughout extended use, which some thinner compression socks just can’t manage.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
Designed to relieve you of varicose veins
Primed for athletic and high-octane use
- Weight4.5 ounces
Designed for shin splint relief
Graduated compression maintains a healthy blood flow all day long
Not very breathable
Slides down your legs throughout the day
So far, we’ve looked at excellent compression socks that sit in the 20-30 mmHg compression rating range, but Vitalsox created these with a different function in mind. With a 12 mmHg rating, they’re not going to be viable for medical or work use, but instead work as an excellent unisex running and athletics sock. There’s a multi-level segmented arch support system (noticeable by the gray patches on the bottom) that cushion your heel and arch like nothing else we’ve ever used.
The flexible fabric keeps the toe box nice and soft, preventing any bunched-up feeling from striking you in the middle of a run. You will run into an issue when it comes to sizing; many users reported that they ran larger than the sizing selection, and we’d be inclined to agree based on our test pair. From the non-binding cuff to the Achilles tendon support, Vitalsox Italy Graduated Compression Socks do a stellar job of supporting you while exercising or enjoying sports. You can wear them with running shoes for underpronation from our list.
Non-binding cuff stays around your leg without sliding down
Soft toe padding thanks to the flexible fabric
12 mmHg compression rating
- Weight5.6 ounces
Fully antimicrobial design prevents bacteria and odor
Multi-level segmented arch support is like nothing you’ve ever used before
Not ideal for work/medical use
Run larger than sizing chart suggests
Copper is an excellent conductor, and a surefire way to promote better circulation. You’ve likely heard of copper gloves for rheumatoid arthritis patients, and these socks provide a similar benefit with copper threads throughout the arch support. It promotes great blood flow, but it’s important to keep in mind that the fabric is fairly thin, which makes the fasciitis support quality lack a bit. Even with the thinner fabric, you’ll still get about 6-12 months of use out of FuelMeFoot Copper socks with consistent athletic application.
The 15-20 mmHg rating is not designed for all-day work or medical use. Sweat-wicking fabric keeps everything nice and cool, so you can enjoy your run instead of worrying about your socks building up an odor. FuelMeFoot doesn’t have a lot of sizing options available for either men or women, though the sizes that they do offer are almost always a perfect fit when they arrive. Take a look at over twenty different colors and styles, and discover a better way to get your workout in.
15-20 mmHg compression rating
Available in over 20 colors and styles
6-12 month life expectancy
Addition of copper threading promotes better circulation (ideal for rheumatoid arthritis)
Sweat-wicking fabric remains dry even during high-octane use
Fasciitis support was fairly sub-par
Not many size options
We’re back to the 20-30 mmHg socks, and there are few better options than Go2Socks medical compression stockings. With a no-slip top cuff that actually stays up all day, as well as a antimicrobial design, these stockings are designed for extended use throughout your workday. They’re durable for certain, allowing you to machine wash them even if you don’t own an HE washer. Keep in mind that the coloration will fade after a few washes if you go with a more vibrant style.
You’ll be able to use these all day, but they will gradually lose elasticity past the eight-hour mark. Don’t worry: upon washing, they return to their proper compression rating, but may not provide as much support on twelve-hour days. Enjoy additional padding along the bottom for an improved level of comfort, which retains that antimicrobial aspect to prevent odor and bacteria growth. You can combine them with stability running shoes from our list.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
Additional padding along the bottom of the foot
Available in over 30 unique colors and styles
Antimicrobial design kills odor and prevents bacterial growth
Fully machine washable (very durable construction)
Slightly loses elasticity throughout the day (rejuvenates upon washing)
Loses coloring after the first few washes
If you have a nearly perfect arch, Crucial Compression is going to fit you like a glove. While these high quality graduated socks come with a slew of benefits, they aren’t as tight in the arch as we would have liked. However, they do have a flex fit design that contours to just about anyone, giving you comfort while also staying tight and compressed. They’re breathable as can be and built in an ultralight design, making them easy to slip on.
They’ll last for at least 18 months with regular care, but just note that when you kick off your shoes at the end of the day, they’re going to have a bit of an odor. Not as bad as cotton socks, but still something that doesn’t make much sense where they are breathable. Even after constant washing, the minimalist design retains color vibrancy, which is a breath of fresh air compared to competitor brands.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
Multipurpose between medical and athletic applications
Long-lasting design doesn’t fade in the wash
- BrandCrucial Compression
Flex fit design stretches properly while maintaining compression
Lightweight and breathable
Retains odor (noticeable at the end of the day)
Not enough arch support
It’s not often that you see shorter compression socks like these, but Bluemaple did an excellent job of adding absolutely wonderful arch support in a low-bearing sock. There are a few user complaints about the socks being a bit too low, and while that would normally be up to preference, there is a bit of an issue with the cuff on these socks. They just fit a bit too loose for compression socks, but they still won’t roll down on you in the middle of the day.
The only other complaint about Bluemaple Compression Socks is the toe box being a bit loose. It scrunches up near your toes during use, making things a big uncomfortable at times. You’ll benefit from the effective treatment of the symptoms of fasciitis for about twelve months bfero needing to replace these socks. There’s a 100% no questions asked refund policy if you’re not over-the-top in love with these socks right out of the package. If you’re on the fence about picking a pair of compression socks, you have nothing to lose with Bluemaple.
Effective at fighting fasciitis
Average life expectancy of 12 months
100% no questioned asked refund policy
Fantastic arch support that sustains throughout the day
Moisture-wicking fabric blend
Toe box not fit to size
With women’s sports and athletics in mind, CEP designed a tall order, knee-length sock that brings all the benefits of 20-30 mmHg compression to a stylish design. CEP Long Athletic Women’s Running Socks have nearly twenty styles to choose from, but as a heads up, you might not get the exact design shown during your order as their stock rotates from time to time. What you will get is a seamless design that promotes circulation while proving supportive and comfortable throughout the day.
From dawn ‘til dusk, these won’t slip down on your calves, no matter how much you’re moving around. They are a bit tight to slip on at first. They’re designed to compress of course, but they could do with a bit more elasticity in the top cuff. Once you slip this on, you’ll be in the comfort of fully breathable polyamide and elastane, providing a cool and moisture-free environment throughout the day.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
85/15 polyamide/elastane blend
Does not slip throughout the day
- Weight3 pounds
Seamless design puts comfort and support above all else
Breathable construction reduces overheating and sweat buildup
Very tight fit to get on and off
Sock design may vary upon delivery
You’d think that Dr. Scholl’s, king of footwear, would be closer to the top spot on the list. These are excellent compression socks, though they do come with a few odd issues. For one, the price scaling is a bit flawed depending on your size. They’re socks, so the cost jump isn’t fully justified here. Dr. Scholl’s brings in one of the best graduated compression systems out there, feeling flawless on your feet with the no-seam design and the lightweight 10-15 mmHg compression rating.
Because they’re a 97% nylon construction, Dr. Scholl’s Travel Knee High Socks are durable and work to resist odor buildup and moisture retention. They aren’t that machine washable though, which they state as a feature. The socks will begin to pill up after a little bit, which can impact comfortability. Dr. Scholl’s guarantees these for at least one year after purchase, though most users get two to three years out of these before retiring them. Good quality socks that could use a bit more arch support, and a more understandable pricing model.
97% nylon construction
Guaranteed by manufacturer for one year
Lightweight 10-15 mmHg rating
- BrandDr. Scholl’s
- Weight3.2 ounces
Graduated compression feels flawless
Fabric blend removes irritation and nullifies moisture retention
Stated to be machine washable, but is not recommended
Very large price scale depending on size
Last but not least, SUGUE comes in with a wildly inexpensive pair of compression socks, available in an array of a dozen colors and styles. SUGUE Compression Socks use graduated compression technology to give a more natural feeling to these socks, and did an excellent job creating a solid cover of heel support. You don’t get much in the ways of arch support, and these tend to run a bit small which doesn’t help the issue. You should definitely buy a size-up.
The only comfort issue was the seam near the toe box. A few times throughout the day, you might notice it. It’s not overly itchy or aggravating, just a minor inconvenience that most compression sock brands have eliminated as an issue. With an antimicrobial construction and a shock-absorbing exterior, it’s like applying armor to your feet to fight odor, and reduce swelling from hard steps.
20-30 mmHg compression rating
Shock absorbing exterior
Antimicrobial aspect kills bacteria
- Weight2.9 ounces
Graduated compression works well with elastic cuff
Extensive heel support maintains comfort on long days/long runs
Tends to run small
Seam on the toes can be uncomfortable at times
Compression Socks Buying Guide and FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Compression Socks
Reviews – User reviews act as a preliminary before purchasing and testing compression socks for our own. An overwhelming number of user reviews with a high average rating gets picked up on the radar, and we see what all the fuss is about. If you’ve ever read personal online reviews for products, you know that one in every ten provide an objectional, contextual review with intelligible content. We seek those out before making our shortlist of products to test.
Brand – With any clothing material, there are a hundred off-brands from nickel-and-dime manufacturers just trying to make a quick buck. We’ve screened every brand to ensure quality, customer support, warranty fulfilment, and reliability based on a long customer track record.
Price – They say if it’s too good to be true, that it’s too good to be true. We take price into account, but also understand that attentive companies don’t charge bottom-of-the-barrel prices for good quality products. Price was a factor, which excluded some ridiculously expensive socks from our list. Everything here hits a sweet spot between quality and price, keeping it perfectly balanced.
Features To Look For In Compression Socks
Fit – We’re not talking about whether they’re the right size or not, but how the fit is described in the description material. This includes additional padding on the bottom/shin area, segmented patches for arch support, toe boxes and heel support. Gauge your need based on impacted areas, swelling, discomfort and aching, and determine how many fitted elements you need in your compression socks before purchasing.
Use – What are you going to be using them for? If you know your feet are swelling but you don’t think you need to go to the doctor over it, choosing up to a 30 mmHg compression rating is still safe, but it is important to understand how you’re going to use it. You shouldn’t use these for more than twelve to sixteen hours in a day, and you should be active while using them (standing up at a job, working out, etc.). You can also wear compression socks for long car rides or plane rides, though you should regularly remove them every two to four hours to let your legs breathe a bit.
Length – Circulation socks are almost always fairly high, which why you’ll often see them referred to as circulation or compression stockings. Aiding the circulation in your feet would be a lost effort if you didn’t also improve the blood flow in your calves. You can find some compression socks known as foot sleeves, which provide the same benefits, but rest just above the ankle and leave your toes exposed.
Compression Level – Medical compression socks come with different degrees of compression, measures in mmHg, or as it’s scientifically known as millimeters of Mercury. You’ll see ratings from 12 mmHg up to 30 (for products available online at least). Your mmHg dictates how much pressure you will feel, and if that pressure is gradual. Gradual compression begins in the ankles, and gets slightly looser as it goes up your legs to provide comfort and stability.
Compression Sock FAQ
Q: Why Would I Need Compression Socks?
A: Pressure socksincrease blood flow in areas that you might not be getting enough. Blood flow (and having that blood flow as close to the surface of your skin as possible) dictates the health of your skin, and of course your cardiovascular health. Compression socks serve two main purposes: medical, and athletic. You could group uses such as long shifts at a stand-up job in the medical category.
Ankle compression socks have varying degrees of use, as well as an entire compression system that we’ll learn about in just a few moments. Eight hours of compression on your ankles, arches and calves can greatly improve your quality of life, especially if you notice swelling at the end of the day or constant aching throughout your daily routine. Compression socks are commonly used to combat varicose veins and fasciitis.
Q: Are Compression Socks Just for Sports?
A: Compression socks are designed for a multitude of purposes, including long work hours, travelling and long car trips. They are not just for sports, but more often than not they are sought out by runners and athletes for their increase in blood circulation and better transference of oxygen through your blood. When you work out for extended periods of time, swelling is certain to happen, but compression socks can help to prevent that. There are a few different styles of sports-related compression socks that you can find.
RCS – Running compression socks come with increased arch and heel support, usually through padding or segmented additional fabric along the bottom of your socks. You’ll also find the term “graduating compression” a lot when looking at running compression socks, which means that the compression is strongest in the ankle, and gets slightly lighter as it goes up your legs.
ACS – Athletic compression socks serve a wide range of activity, most notably including shin splint protection via extra padding or thicker fabrics towards the front of the socks. These can be used with running, but with their slightly less breathable design, they are better suited for full-body engagement activities.
SCS – Sports compression socksare designed for football, soccer, basketball, basically any sport that requires constant dynamic movement. Sports compression socks usually have a tighter or more contoured cuff to prevent them from sliding down your legs during activity.
Q: What Are mmHg Ratings?
A: Each mmHg rating serves a different purpose, letting the user know how strong the compression is and what it is used for. These are the most common types of mmHg ratings:
12-15 mmHg: Lightweight use for sports, minor rheumatoid arthritis pain, and inflammation. Not medical grade
15-20 mmHg: Over-the-counter compression level that helps with swelling and minor aching. Not medical grade.
20-30 mmHg: Medical grade class 1, offering a light level of compression that helps with varicose veins, pregnancy-related bloating and swelling, and post-surgery use.
30-40 mmHg: Medical grade class 2, used for blot clots and thrombosis DVT. Not recommended to purchase over-the-counter for self-diagnosed issues.
40-50 mmHg: Medical grade class 3, used for severe or potentially life-threatening medical issues. Do not use these unless your doctor has specifically prescribed you to use them.
Not all mmHg ratings are available over the counter, but if using a 20-30 mmHg compression sock doesn’t seem to help with swelling or pain, it is recommended that you consult your primary healthcare physician to determine the underlying cause of the issue.