With the excitement of taking a flight, people often forget just how long they will sit down for, and this puts you at risk of losing circulation in your feet and legs. For flights longer than 3 hours, this is a problem, so it’s recommended to get up out of your seat and take a wander up and down the aisle to get the blood pumping. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible because of turbulence or your seat neighbor falling asleep making it impossible to stretch your legs. To overcome this, you can get yourself a pair of the best flight socks. You also need a comfortable pair of shoes for flying.
Wearing compression socks for flying is the best way to keep the circulation up when trapped in your seat. The pressure they put on your feet and legs encourages blood flow, allowing you to get off the plane at your destination feeling as if you’re ready for all the fun and games your vacation will bring instead of taking a day to recover. You’re there to enjoy yourself, so take care of yourself before arriving, and you’ll have a great time.
The Best Flight Sock
20 – 30 mmHg
Encourages blood circulation
Stay in place
Our top pick for the best flight socks are the Physix Gear Compression Socks. These durable and comfortable socks come in a variety of colors and boast a pressure rating of 20 – 30 mmHg. They enhance and encourage blood flow both on the ground and in sky, and the combination of nylon and spandex ensures they slide on easily without feeling too tight.
Despite not being too tight, they stay in place throughout the flight to deliver the best results and total satisfaction. For those who have searched other compression socks but could not find the right fit, these could very well be for you. If you suffer from foot pain or DVT and find yourself on flights a little too often for your liking, these are an excellent way of keeping the circulation up throughout long journeys and reduces swelling for a pain-free experience once you land. Make sure you also check our guide to the best insoles for more great products like this.
Graduated compression design
Reduces lactic acid
Relieves muscle fatigue
The SB Sox Compression Socks deliver one of the most accurate, comfortable fits around to provide superb results at an excellent price. The graduated compression design ensures they apply more pressure around your ankle with less pressure the higher up the leg. This makes them ideal for flights, where most of your blood will pool around your ankle and heels, especially if the flight is longer than 4 hours.
While great for flights, they can also benefit you during and after your run, and they help reduce lactic acid to prevent muscle soreness. This versatility is a great thing to have, especially if you don’t fly too often but still want to get your money’s worth. The lightweight and breathable construction ensures optimal comfort on your red eye flight and 20 – 30 mmHg compression is one of the highest around. This may not be necessary for most of you, but we’d rather have too much than too little.
15 – 20 mmHg
Variety of colors
Relieve pain and discomfort
The CharmKing Compression Socks are the only sensible pick for those looking for top quality flight socks that also deliver fantastic valuer for money. Sold in a pack of 3, they are convenient and hygienic while also offering all the benefits decent flight socks should offer.
With a pressure rating of 15 t0 20 mmHg, they’re ideal for taking to the skies and anyone with circulation issues, and if you’re flying with friends and family (of similar heights) you can share the pairs you’re not wearing to ensure everyone have a comfortable, refreshing flight. They fit perfectly and avoid the issue other flight socks have with being too tight regardless of which size you select, and they’re also suitable for both men and women, while the variety of colors adds a splash of fun to what is otherwise a dull and tedious affair. We’re talking about flying, obviously. You may also like to check our guide to the best shoe stretchers.
20 – 30 mmHg
Stimulates blood flow
Prevent muscle cramp
Excellent for stimulating blood flow and preventing cramping, the Go2Socks Compression Socks are the perfect mixture of functionality and comfort. Out of all the options we identified, these are one of the least itchy around, while the thick sole is thicker and more padded than other options, easing the pain on your foot along with the rest of your legs.
They are also hygienic, fighting bacteria in a way you never knew socks could, and the odor-free design ensures you don’t need to wash them after disembarking a long flight, although we’d still recommend you do. They are machine washable for simple cleaning, so keeping them dirt and sweat-free won’t be a problem. Suitable for treating a variety of circulation and swelling issues, these socks may just be the go-to you’ve spent your life (okay, the last 10 minutes) searching for.
All day support
20 – 30 mmHg
Anyone looking for pain relief and all day support can try out the CompressionZ Compression Socks. These socks deliver 20 to 30 mmHg pressure with graduated compression that targets specific areas of the leg and ankles for maximum efficiency. This targeted design ensures a secure fit that’s still comfortable and not too tight to distract you during your flight. For more on-the-ground activities, they are also useful for keeping your energy levels up if you’re a nurse or endurance athlete, or just someone who loves to run.
Designed to last for months without signs of fraying or tearing, these socks are an excellent choice for encouraging blood flow regardless of whether you’re sitting in a cabin or aching through a long shift. The pressure may too much for some situations, but if you’ve ever gotten off a flight to see your feet and calves have ballooned like the packet of chips in your carry on, they may be worth the punt.
12 – 20 mmHg
Silver drystat construction
Maximum circulation increase
More suited for casual flyers and athletes, the Travelsox The Original Patented Graduated Compression Socks provide 12 – 20 mmHg of pressure which for most of you will feel just right and ensure a flight or run that’s the most comfortable you’ve ever experienced.
This comfort is accentuated through the moisture wicking and odor-free material so you can feel safe you won’t be that person who stinks up the whole cabin while also enjoying an easy and breathable 4 hours or more. The silver drystat construction also keeps your feet dry, which is excellent for long-haul flights and also work to keep your legs feeling energized during exercise. Delivering maximum circulation increase, swelling and foot and leg pain will be nothing but a memory and while the styles aren’t as popping as other options, we’re not here to look good, but feel good, instead. Our guide to the best boot dryer offers more great accessories so check them out.
Improves recovery time
Reduces cramps, shin splints, and aches
Living up to its name, the Acel Comfort In Action Designer Compression Socks provide superb comfort while also working to ensure blood flows just as well as it does when you’re not confined to a seat for 4 hours or more.
The increase in circulation makes your legs feel like they are moving and mimics the effects of being on-the-move, while the body forming material ensures a secure fit that’s just right for delivering optimal pressure for spectacular results. If you’re prone to cramping when stationary for too long, these socks can help with that and also prevent aching once you wake up the next morning in a brand new city so you can do all your sightseeing and exploring without battling against fatigue.
25 – 30 mmHg
Reduces pain and swelling
Improved performance and endurance
Soft foot padding
For those who can’t stay in one place for more than a few days, the Wanderlust Travel Compression Socks are perfect for world travelers who are just as concerned with comfort as they are with seeing all the wonders of the world.
The 25 – 30 mmHg graduating pressure rating provides more than enough satisfaction and reduces pain and swelling during what could be your fifth flight in as many days. Its energizing properties reduce fatigue and aches, which increases performance and enhances your endurance. This also means they’re excellent for your morning jog, making them great for athletes. They provide excellent breathability to eliminate hot spots and discomfort, and the soft foot padding eases the tension you might feel on longer flights, while the Y-Gore heel fits securely around your heel to prevent shifting.
Flight Sock Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of The Best Flight Socks
Even though we feel very much so in the 21st century, we still couldn’t find any flights with WiFi to test these socks out and live-report until we reached our destination (plus, we’d have had to turn straight back around, so there was the little point). However, all was not lost, and instead we focused on these 3 factors to help us make our selection.
Brand - Finding the right brands is essential for ensuring we select only the best quality products around. Through our research, we identified which brands are worth bringing to you to guarantee you end up with right flight socks for your next adventure.
Price - We know socks, even fancy compression socks, aren’t that expensive, but the price is still worth considering, especially if you’re looking for a bargain. Another reason to think about the price is for identifying quality, but while you’re not always guaranteed top quality when paying the highest price, you can still expect to get an excellent product.
Reviews - Reviews are excellent for gauging how well a product performs long after the initial excitement of buying it dies down. Through these reviews, we discovered the good and the bad about our initial long list of flight socks so we could narrow it down to the 10 superb products you see above.
Features To Look For In Flight Socks
There are still a few minutes before takeoff so hold tight on deciding on the best flight socks for you right now, here are some important features to think about when making your decision.
Pressure Rating - Your compression socks are measured in millimeters of Mercury, which is identified with mmHg. There is a variety of pressures, ranging from 8 mmHg to as much as 40 mmHg, but with such a range, it means you should find the pressure that suits you.
Not everyone will need the biggest pressure rating, and it’s only in extreme cases where you should go to those lengths. Typically, 8 to 20 mmHg suffices to encourage your blood flow.
For frequent flyers or those who suffer from deep vein thrombosis, 20 mmHg is enough to keep the blood flowing on flights lasting longer than 3 to 4 hours, but you should complement this by taking a walk around the cabin and doing stretches.
Size - Flight socks which are both too short or too long are not effective, so you must find the right size to get the full benefits. Depending on whether you’re wearing knee or thigh-length flight socks, you can measure yourself to find the best size for you.
Sitting down with your feet flat on the floor, use a tape measure to get a measurement of your ankle, your calf, and from heel to the top of the calf. These measurements will help you find flight socks that will fit perfectly, other than merely guessing and maybe getting the right size, but also maybe not.
For thigh socks, follow the same steps of knee socks, and when you’ve done that, measure the width of the highest part of the thigh before standing up and measuring the length of the heel to the top of the thigh.
Comfort - As with most items of clothing, comfort is a massive thing to consider. If your socks aren’t comfortable enough to wear all day, wearing them will feel like a chore more than anything else. You want to feel comfortable when on a flight, so socks which are soft, not too tight, and with no abrasive seams will enhance your experience and allow you to focus on getting through the flight and not the discomfort around your legs.
Flight Sock FAQ
Q: What are flight socks?
A: Flight socks are also known as compression socks and they help to encourage and regulate circulation by applying slight pressure to the feet and the legs which reduces the distance between veins to keep the blood pumping.
On long flights where you get little chance to stay active, flight socks are useful for preventing issues such as deep vein thrombosis, edema, or phlebitis, and potential blood clots which may be dangerous. They stop the blood succumbing to the pesky law that is gravity (even when you are defying it) and pool in your soles.
The pressure is not painful, and anyone who wears flight socks often can not tell the difference between these socks and slightly tight regular socks. However, not any old socks will do, so if you’re concerned about DVT or other issues, you can’t just pull your old soccer socks out of the back of the drawer.
Flight socks are useful for more than wearing on flights, too, which is why you see the local running gang galloping down the street in long socks. They are also useful for people with poor circulation, even if they’re not flying and pregnant women.
Q: Do I only need flight socks for air travel?
A: Flight socks are a useful option to have during air travel, but you shouldn’t wholly rely on them to solve all your potential circulation problems, and they are certainly not magic miracle workers. To ensure a healthy flight without issues, you need to mix it up.
This means you should still get up out of your seat even if you’re wearing flight socks, as there’s only so much these can do and they are no substitute for legitimate movement.
Depending on the size of the cabin, you can get quite a circuit in if you want to stretch your legs and feel you’re doing something other than staring at the back of someone’s head. Just make sure you get this stroll in before (or after) dinner is served.
Also, wear loose clothes to prevent restricting your movement too much. We know anyone who wears joggers and baggy hoodies onto airplanes can soon feel like the scruffiest person at their destination, especially after a long flight, but no one will care how you look and you’ll feel better for it.
Doctors also recommend staying hydrated, but not too hydrated, otherwise, you’ll end up running to the bathroom every 10 minutes, much to the chagrin of your neighbor. Instead, try to balance your liquid intake with electrolytes like Gatorade. It’s important to stay hydrated, as staying still for too long coupled with a lack of hydration can lead to blood clots, which few people know.