Compression Socks for Air Travel – Complete Guide (with Pictures!)

Image showing an airplane on flight

Whether you’re sitting in a cushy first-class seat or economy, air travel can be a bit of a headache. Coupled with little room and cramped space to sit in for hours, it can be less than ideal. One of the leading risks of sitting in a fixed position while in an airplane is getting blood clots in the legs. And it’s for this very reason that you might see people on the flight who wear compression socks for air travel.

In this article, we’ll first explore some of the conditions air travelers are prone to get during the flight. We’ll then move on to the different types of compression socks for air travel. And lastly, we’ll share a simple exercise to do during the flight to ease your condition.

Why Compression Stockings for Air Travel is Required

why you need to wear compression socks for flight

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clots in one of the veins inside your leg. In most situations, the clot will easily dissolve with no complications. But in other circumstances, it can break off and travel to the lungs. Although blood clots don’t always present symptoms, there are some tell-tale signs. You might experience cramping, discolored skin, soreness, or feeling of warmth. Whenever blood travels to the lungs, it may result in chest pain, fainting, shortness of breath, or coughing blood. 

If you aren’t already genetically predisposed to blood clots, the chances of developing deep vein thrombosis are relatively low. However, studies have shown that the chances of a blood clot do depend on the duration of travel time. For example, a flight longer than six hours could increase the risk of a blood clot.

There are other risk factors associated with a higher likelihood of blood clots, such as prior surgery, genetics, and leg trauma among others. This increases the chances of a blood clot, particularly during long periods of inactivity.

image showing blood clot during air travel and why you need compression stockings

For those with risk factors, the first step is to limit the risk of blood clots. One easy way to do this is to ask for a comfortable seat such as an aisle seat. This will make it easier to flex ankles, stretch legs, and move around the plane. But aside from that, physicians also recommend that folks traveling on airplanes should opt for air travel compression socks.

This is because compression socks have been effective in reducing the risk of a blood clot since it counteracts the pooling of blood in the leg, which can happen during inactivity while on the flight.

But what compression stockings for air travel should be purchased? Not all compression stocks are equal, and there have been complaints of ineffectiveness against some. However, below are a list of compression socks for air travel that seasoned travelers consider their favorites.

Eight Excellent Compression Socks for Air Travel

images of best Compression Socks for Air Travel

1. Compression Socks From a Medical Background

If you ask any seasoned expert, vein clinics, and vascular surgeons, they will tell you that this type of compression socks travelers find incredibly comfortable. Hear comments from some users.

“I fly many times a year, and for a long flight, I wear some random compression socks that give extra support, but sadly, they are challenging to wear. But since I’ve started using compression stockings from a medical background, I’ve found it more comfortable to wear, and you can also find them with full calf if you are specific about that.”

“Last year, I nearly died from a long-distance flight due to blood clots that I contracted. Ever since then, I couldn’t travel without compression socks for air travel. And then, I decide to settle with one that stems from a medical background. I’ve got great relief since then!”

“Compression socks with medical background come with cute patterns that you’d not want to miss out on. I regularly wear them often on long flights. In fact, in a recent visit I made to South Africa, I went with my compression socks. The use began after my surgery, and thus, I couldn’t go without them.”

2. Moderate Constrictive Compression Socks with Varying Patterns

These famous compression socks for travel are high-quality, quite affordable and offer moderate constriction.

Comments from users:

“They are also designed with unusual patterns. They are usually designed to avoid feeling overly constrictive. Each time I travel, either for lengthy surgeries or long flights, I can’t do without them.”

“Since I travel regularly, I’m equipped with practical ways to survive on a long flight. And one of the gears I can’t do without is a compression sock. And the pair that isn’t constrictive is the one I’ve gone for. They keep my feet warm even on cold flights.”

3. Compression Socks that are moisture wicking

You might be looking for something a bit more subtle than something that screams “Compression socks” to other people on the flight. These are designed with understated colors and wicks off moisture for sweaty feet.

A travel writer says: “After listening to horror stories from my travel writer friends who had a blood clot while on the flight, I began to wear compression socks each time I travel. I chose stylish compression socks because they do virtually everything. They are moisture-wicking, wards off bacterial, and can give you a comfy feeling.”

4. Compression socks that are long-lasting after several washes

They are quite comfortable and long-lasting even after several washes. And yet they still offer what other compression socks would offer.

One user said: “This is one of the best types of compression socks available. Even though they are designed for runners, air travelers can find it helpful because they are designed with good airflow, comfortable, and are durable.”

5. Multifunctional Socks

If you aren’t concerned about style, then this type of compression socks for air travel should be the perfect choice for you. They offer additional compression if that’s what you need.

Here’s what a travel writer said: “As a travel blogger and attendants, I dislike swollen ankles and feet when on the air, thus I chose compression socks that are multifunctional but not stylish. It sure increases my circulation and ensures that my feet are warm even when the weather is cold.”

6. Affordable Compression socks

You don’t have to break the bank to get quality compression socks for air travel. You can find these types with excellent features without the massive price tag.

According to one comment: “Moderate compression socks with affordable prices are excellent for flyers. Though they might not be extremely fancy, they offer a fashionable look. They are also comfortable to wear. It’s essential that you feel comfortable when on a long-haul flight, so you don’t experience pains and Cramps.”

7. Compression Socks that cover the calves

These specific types of compression socks are designed for individuals who would like compression socks that cover their calves and prevent sweating.

A user says: “For many years, I do run long-distance races with compression socks, and each time I travel too, I can’t do without a compression sock. The ones I was using before was full socks, to me, they are too hot. But with this type of socks, I’ve never experienced such; I appreciate the fact that they are light and are comfortable for use.”

8. Compression Socks With Exotic Designs

This compression socks for air travel comes with unusual and exotic designs. They are lightweight, made from cotton, and offer incredible support for users.

A user commented: “If you are looking for less intense compression socks, you can turn to compression socks with exotic designs. They are comfortable and super cushioned.”

After going through this list, if you are heading to the pharmacy to purchase compression socks, these are the best options that provide support and comfort. Additionally, here are some simple exercises you can perform while flying to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Additional Exercises to Support Compression Socks for Air Travel

exercises to perform while travelling for a ling flight

While compression socks will definitely assist in the prevention of blood clots and make you feel very comfortable, there are a few other things you can do to feel more relaxed on the plane. While some feel comfortable moving around a few times while on the plane, others find it awkward to walk up and down or to do some stretching.

If you feel that way though, bear in mind that you might not ever see these people again. So why bother feeling awkward? In fact, they might be motivated to walk around and stretch as well and might follow your lead!

Ready to get some movement in? These airplane exercises will help prevent blood clots and assist your compression socks for air travel.

Exercises to perform while sitting

  • Ankle Circles: Lift your feet off the ground, touch your toes and create circles with them with your ankle. Do it both clockwise and anticlockwise.
  • Knee-to-Chest: With your fingers entwined, fold your hands right under your knee. Bend a bit forward and lift your knees to chest level. Retain this position for more than 15 seconds then gently lower your knee once. Complete a few reps before moving to another leg.
  • Knee Lifts: Using your leg muscles, lift your legs one-by-one while maintaining an upright position while sitting. Repeat this procedure for 15-25 times on each side.
  • Toe and Heel Lift: Place your feet flat on the ground close to each other but slightly apart. First, lift your toes high while leaving your heels on the ground. Then, gradually place your toes down and lift your heels high. Do this a few times.
  • Toe Curls: To do toe curls, make your toes move like they are trying to pick something. Complete a few reps of these.
  • Hip Presses: Place something, either a bag or blanket in between your knees and tightly squeeze them while you apply pressure on the object. Repeat and release a few times.

Exercises to perform while you are standing

  • Marching movement. Stand up and hold on to a seat, if needed. Lift one leg high and keep your knee bent. Repeat the same movement for the other leg.
  • Calf Raises. Stand erect on your toes as high as you can. Lower and raise it again. Do it a few times.
  • Forward Bend. Stand while your feet hip-width are apart. In a downward manner, bend your upper body and keep your knees tightly bent. Go as low as you can without squatting. Then slowly roll back vertebrae by vertebrae to prevent dizziness.
  • Quadriceps Stretch. While standing straight, bend one knee to let your leg moves backward toward your back. Hold your foot with your hand for 15 seconds and pull it closer to the butt. Do for the other side and repeat a few more times.

These are excellent stretches to keep you relaxed and comfortable, but provide some gentle movement. Practice these movements before your flight to get you in the habit and you will find yourself feeling much better when flying.

Conclusion

After these actions, you’ll find that next time you are on the plane, your experience will be significantly better than before. The features highlighted in our recommendations are extremely important for any compression sock for air travel you choose to purchase.

If you are still unsure, ask your doctor before flying which compression level will be best for you, and what features to look for when buying compression socks for air travel. And lastly, don’t feel awkward trying the exercises mentioned in this article. Even performing just one of these can be incredibly beneficial!

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