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Compression Socks – How to Choose, Wear & Fabrics

Last Updated February 24, 2021

Table of Contents

Compression Socks vs Regular Socks
How Compression Socks Work
Types of Compression Socks
Styles – Compression Socks (plus Compression Stockings and Compression Sleeves)
Compression Levels – 15-20 mmHg Compression Socks (vs 20-30 mmHg Compression Socks)
Where to Buy Compression Socks

Many of us have experienced the frustration of leg and foot pain holding us back from the activities we love. Pain can prevent you from exercising, focusing at work and spending time with friends and family. But compression socks can help you get back into the swing of things.

Although there are are medications available to manage the symptoms of foot and calf conditions, you can improve your circulation without relying on pills. Compression wear can be an effective tool when it comes to preventing pain, managing illness and improving your overall wellbeing. If you are already taking medications, compression hosiery is a great alternative to adding yet another pill to your daily routine.

It is a relief to know that you can manage many circulation symptoms by simply wearing socks. Let’s take a look at why pressure socks are such a powerful treatment tool with so few side effects.

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How Are Compression Socks Different from Regular Socks?

Just like a “wok” is different from a “frying pan,” a “compression sock” is different from a “sock.” Wok this way (Get it? “Wok” not “Walk”) and let’s talk about it.

Regular socks offer a layer of protection between our skin and our footwear. Socks prevent blisters and can easily be changed out when we sweat. Compression stockings do this too, and so much more.

Unlike regular socks, pressure versions are made to accomplish many goals all at once. Because of the unique fabrics they are constructed of, compression hose can increase the wearer’s circulation, provide support to weak blood vessels and prevent (painful) edema.

In many cases, your compression hose will be able to prevent pain before it arises simply by improving your circulation. If you do have a medical diagnosis, touch base with your doctor and ask if compression socks can help you manage your illness. Compression wear is a simple, natural way to take care of your body.

How Do They Work?

These special socks increase healthy blood flow in the calves and feet by applying pressure. The sturdy, elastane fabric used to make compression wear fits snugly against the wearer’s skin. This firm “hug” from your compression stockings or socks decreases the diameter of the blood vessels.

By decreasing the diameter of your blood vessels, the vessels’ valves are able to fully close. Each time your heart pumps, the valves open to allow blood to move through the veins. Then they close briefly to prevent the blood from flowing backwards.

Sometimes our heart is able to move blood throughout the body without the help of medications or compression therapy. There are always circumstances where our blood vessels need that little extra boost, though.

When your blood vessel valves are not able to close all the way, you may experience dependent edema, varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency. Compression helps prevent these conditions from progressing and can reduce the painful symptoms that accompany poor circulation. More severe venous diseases tend to require compression wear with higher pressure levels.

Types of Compression Socks

“Graduated” or Not? Compression Socks vs Graduated Versions

Graduated compression wear works in a way similar to regular compression stockings or sleeves. They apply pressure to the wearer in order to improve circulation. Graduated goes one step further, though.

Rather than applying an equal amount of pressure across your leg, graduated applies a range of pressure levels. The highest level of pressure will be at your ankle. As the sock moves up your leg towards your knee, the pressure becomes gradually lower.

“Anti-Embolism” or Not? Compression Socks vs Anti-embolism Versions

Graduated compression wear with a low pressure level is often used for immobile patients. TED stockings, also called “anti-embolism”, rely on graduated pressure to keep blood moving throughout the body in patients who are bedridden (Note that TED hose are only effective if you are immobile). TED Hose are usually given out by a pharmacy, or a hospital with a pharmacy. Keep in mind you do not have to get them at a pharmacy. It’s just that a pharmacy is the most common place to find them. You can buy them online instead of the pharmacy.

“Medical” or Not? Compression Socks vs Nonmedical Support Hosiery

Graduated compression wear can also worn by fully mobile wearers as well – Your doctor may prescribe gradient pressure socks (just like they prescribe any other drug) if you have been diagnosed with chronic edema or chronic venous disease. They can also be used during pregnancy (and are very commonly prescribed during pregnancy).

Looking to Buy Some Compression Socks?

Give those legs a hug. All-day.

Easy, squeezy compression socks that last.

Compression Socks – Why to Buy? – Advantages of Wearing Compression Socks

The benefits of wearing compression hose range from increased energy to a healthier heart. Many illnesses can be managed by wearing pressure garments. ComproGear has created this directory of benefits based on each wearer or diagnosis – Take a look to find out how compression therapy can improve your wellbeing:

Athletes using Compression Sleeves

Athletes can use these special garments as both a preventative and a recovery tool:

  • Protective Support – The active pressure applied to your feet offers ankle and arch support. Twisted ankles are a concern for trail runners or hikers, but pressure helps hold the ankles firmly to reduce the incidence of injuries.
  • Speedy Recovery – An unfortunate part of being active is an increase in physical injuries. Sore muscles and pulled tendons come along with being an athlete. Continuous gentle pressure helps speed recovery from injuries by improving circulation without having to take an anti-inflammatory drug. The more oxygenated blood that can reach injured body parts, the faster the tissues can rebuild.
  • Reduced Lactic Acid Buildup – Better blood flow means waste products such as lactic acid can be circulated away from the muscles. Healthy eating helps with recovery too (which is why we recommend getting a good whetstone to sharpen your cooking knife, then get to work cooking a proper diet for yourself)

Do You Stand All Day at Work? – Are Compression Stockings Appropriate for this?

Standing and walking for long hours can take a toll on your circulation. You may begin to feel lightheaded or start to develop edema and pain in your calfs, ankles, or feet.

Pressure socks help by providing an extra boost to your blood flow as it works against gravity to move back to the heart.

Do You Sit All Day at Work? – Are These Garments Appropriate for this?

The discomfort that comes along with sitting for hours at a time can be alleviated with compression hosiery.

Though you may be stuck at your desk all day, your circulation can be maintained through pressure application and a short stretch break every 30 minutes or so.

“Heavy” Legs

A feeling of heaviness in the calves, ankles, and feet is common when you are on your feet most of the day. Those with very low blood pressure or major depression may also experience heavy-feeling limbs. This is a result of blood pooling in your lower body, but it can also be the result of exhaustion or certain drug interactions or even just normal effects of pregnancy. Healthy circulation can give you an extra boost of energy to get through the day. Again, you can curb this heaviness with some external pressure.

Dependent Edema

Dependent edema is swelling in the lower extremities caused by gravity working against your heart’s pumping action – your heart can struggle to pump blood efficiently when you remain in the same position for extended periods of time – as a result, your blood flow slows and the lymphatic system cannot move lymph.

Eventually, this can lead to a “less than healthy” pooling of blood and lymph – Swelling in the ankles or feet is a common sign of dependent edema – For those who are bedridden, dependent edema can also occur in the hands and abdomen, causing a great deal of discomfort.

Dependent edema can be a sign of a co-occurring illness or diet problem (If you struggle with edema, it is important to speak with your doctor about your symptoms) Underlying conditions that can cause dependent edema include kidney and liver illnesses, an inadequate diet or weakness in the heart muscle.

Check in with your physician to see if compression hose is safe for dependent edema.

Orthostatic Hypotension

If you often feel dizzy, have darkening vision or hear ringing in your ears upon standing up, you may have orthostatic hypotension.

This condition can be a side effect of medications, low blood pressure or dehydration – along with drinking water throughout your day or tweaking your medications or adding calories to your diet – compression socks can be used to naturally boost your circulation.

Varicose Veins

Any added burden to your blood vessels can cause blood to slip backwards behind the vessels’ valves, creating bulges. These stretched vessel walls push outwards on the skin, forming what we know as varicose veins.

You are at an increased risk of developing this condition during pregnancy or if you struggle with excess body weight. Sitting or standing for long chunks of time can also contribute to these bulges formation.

Women are more prone to this because of hormone changes, hormone treatments and hormone birth control–all of which are known to relax blood vessel walls. Compression stockings act as additional support for weakened vessel walls, reducing the incidence of varicose veins. This can be very helpful during pregnancy.

To prevent the formation of varicose veins, opt for a mild to medium compression strength such as 20-30mmHg. If you have had surgery to remove existing venous bulges, your doctor will also be prescribing compression stockings to be worn as you heal.

Chronic Venous Disease

Chronic venous insufficiency is the result of weak or damaged valves in the blood vessels. You may have noticed that many of the conditions best treated with compression wear stem from vessel valves malfunctioning. Unlike healthy valves that move blood in only one direction, weakened valves lead to blood pooling in the calves, ankles, and feet. This causes edema and increases your risk of blood clots.


Peripheral neuropathy and numbness in the feet are symptoms of diabetes caused by poor circulation. Diabetics may require medical grade graduated compression or they may do well with over-the-counter pressure socks. Choosing the right level of compression is important for diabetics because too much pressure may make their circulation even worse.

Talk to your doctor about which type of pressure garment is safe for you. ComproGear suggests that diabetics only wear pressure socks made of sweat-wicking materials to keep moisture away from the foot. You may also prefer to choose an open-toe compression sock so that you can visually check your feet for any undetected injuries.

Maintaining healthy circulation (with pressure garments) alongside doctor-recommended treatments can slow damage to the blood vessels of the feet.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (a thrombus) forms in a blood vessel in your leg. It can become dangerous if the thrombus breaks away and moves through the bloodstream, as the thrombus will eventually come to rest at the lungs: This can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE)!

DVT is most likely to occur during long periods of sitting and inactivity. Blood pools and can become thicker due to poor circulation: This is why they are often worn during flights or while working a sedentary job.

Symptoms of DVT include:

  • Your skin may feel hot.
  • Edema and unusual swelling.
  • Tenderness around the calf or thigh.
  • Red streaks and discoloration appear across your skin.

Symptoms of PE include:

  • Fainting.
  • Heavy breathing.
  • Light Headedness.
  • Difficulty taking full breaths.
  • Pain underneath the rib cage.
  • Your heart rate becomes faster.

DVT and PE require speedy medical attention since they can be life threatening – Pressure garments are usually worn as a preventative measure against DVT and PE to keep the blood flowing at a healthy rate.

Compression Socks Compression Stockings Compression Sleeves Toeless Compression Socks
10-20 mmHg Compression
20-30 mmHg Compression
30-40 mmHg Compression

Give those legs a hug. All-day.

Easy, squeezy compression socks that last.

Product Review of ComproGear Compression Stockings

ComproGear specializes in knee-high 20-30 mmHg versions. This is the most versatile of the pressure ranges. Plus, no prescription is needed for a 20-30mmHg garment, and you don’t need to buy a crappy version at the grocery store. (Yes, these are so important you can get inferior versions at the grocery store. No, you don’t want to buy them at the grocery store. Just stick to buying groceries at the grocery store.)

ComproGear aims to create quality compression stockings for all your daily needs. That’s why we’ve chosen a combination of 65 percent nylon and 35 percent elastane (Spandex) for our socks to provide a stretchy but firm fit. Unlike cotton socks, our nylon-elastane fabric will pull sweat away for long-wearing comfort.

Take a look at our sizing chart to determine if you should order a small, medium, large or extra-large size for daily wear. You can use your shoe size and the circumference of your calf to find which size of sock is the one for you to wear daily.

Since people often shy away from wearing these garments out of fear of them looking ugly, we’ve taken care to provide options that will align with most modern clothing styles. We offer multiple patterns and colors so each customer can find a sock that suits their personal tastes:

Savory Chevrons: Deep turquoise and brown chevrons are patterned across a light-colored neutral background. The lighter hue of this sock makes it an ideal option for sunny weather

Sunset Stripes: This sock is made of a rich, chocolate-colored fabric with neutral stripes from top to bottom. A splash of mustard yellow at the toe, heel and hem reinforcements add a unique accent.

Red Wine: These burgundy-red knee-high versions will bring a touch of formality to your slacks, a dress or even shorts. Red wine is a classic unisex option that can be paired with many neutral colors. Not a trademarked™ color.

Mountain Blue: A customer favorite, this knee-high sock in a calming blue works well in both masculine and feminine wardrobes. The royal blue hue compliments most skin tones and is a great option for dressing up a casual outfit.

Onyx Black: A classic black compression sock is an essential in any wardrobe. Black can be paired with both work and casual attire, it doesn’t show stains and it is easily styled with patterned outfits.

Looking to Buy Compression Socks?

Give those legs a hug. All-day.

Easy, squeezy compression socks that last.

Different Styles

Compression socks are available in several styles. In general, you can choose the style you prefer based on comfort. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a particular style for your condition.


Closed-toe versions look like regular versions. They offer full coverage across the foot and are available in various lengths such as knee-high or ankle socks. Closed-toe compression hose are a great option fit for anyone prone to cold feet. The combination of improved circulation and covered toes is sure to keep the feet cozy.


Open-toe pressure hose are simply toeless. The fabric ends just before your toes begin. Having greater freedom of movement in the toes can feel more comfortable to some wearers. They also make it easier to wear sandals during warm weather or to show off your pedicure.


A pressure sleeve is a footless compression sock. Sleeves offer coverage from the ankle to the knee, focusing pressure application on the calves. Athletes wear pressure sleeves after workouts to help improve blood flow to muscles as a mode of pain prevention. Another healthy option is to wear them during normal daily tasks to boost circulation and speed up recovery. They’re not a magic pill, but they do help.

Compression Fabrics come in Different Compression Levels

You will often encounter the following four compression ranges. To get the most out of your socks, consult your physician for help in choosing the very best compression level for your condition.

8-15 mmHg, Mild Compression

Mild is still strong enough to prevent spider veins and leg bulges. This may be an ideal level if you sit or stand all day at work. Not very commonly sold at the store, since more people are looking for more strength.

15-20 mmHg, Moderate Compression

Moderate compression is ideal for travelers, pilots or anyone who must sit for long chunks of time. It can prevent serious conditions such as DVT or ward off the discomfort of minor edema. Not as commonly sold at the store.

20-30 mmHg, Firm Compression

This is the most commonly sold level at the store. Firm can be used during pregnancy to keep varicose veins from forming and to manage puffiness in the legs. Wear this pressure rating if you suffer from orthostatic hypotension to end the dizziness that can accompany this disorder. Your doctor may also recommend you wear 20-30 mmHg compression hose after sclerotherapy.

30-40 mmHg, Extra Firm Compression

Extra firm can be used to manage post-thrombotic syndrome, venous ulcers and to prevent DVT in those prone to blood clots. Since this is a higher pressure rating, you may need to get a prescription from your family doctor. These are almost never sold at the store and should be used with extreme care.

Lengths of Compression Stockings

You will have the option to choose from several lengths as you shop for pressure hosiery. The length you find the most comfortable, effective or stylish may be the best option for you. Shop around from store to store to see what you like. However, if you have a medical diagnosis your doctor may recommend a specific length for you.

Full-Coverage Compression Tights

Full-coverage tights or pantyhose cover the pelvis down to the toes. The women’s version is usually made of a thinner hosiery material, allowing the compression pantyhose to replace a regular non-compressive sheer pantyhose.

A men’s version is available with a design similar to chaps or a belted waist.

Thigh-High Socks

Thigh-high hose may end mid-thigh or go up to just below the pelvis. Some wearers find these easier to wear than full-coverage tights since they allow for more airflow and do not need to be pulled down during restroom use.

Thigh-highs are essential for managing varicose veins or venous ulcers above the knees.

Knee-High Socks

This length is the most popular of the compression wear options.

You can find them in open-toe, closed-toe and footless styles. ComproGear offers a range of select knee-high versions that can be worn during travel, at work, at home or during workouts.

If you have a history of blood clots, knee-high socks can be a great medication-free way to prevent thrombosis.

Ankle Socks

An ankle compression sock is a short version that ends just below or just above the ankle bone. These are comfy and can be simpler to pull on than a longer compression sock. Note that they may not offer all the same benefits as knee-high or thigh-high, though, since they only cover the foot. Ankle socks are a nice option for athletes. If you do have a medical diagnosis, choosing a longer version will be ideal.

Why Are 20-30mmHG Knee-High Pressure Socks the Most Popular?

ComproGear specializes in knee-high 20-30 mmHg versions because they are the most versatile and most commonly sold. They provide firm enough pressure to manage moderately advanced medical conditions, yet no prescription is needed to buy them. Extra-firm can be less comfortable, but 20-30 mmHg is easily tolerated by most wearers.

As you begin your search for a great brand of pressure socks, look for fabrics with a combination of nylon and elastane. ComproGear brand are made of this trustworthy combo of materials as they allow for both stretch and strength.

Nearly everyone can find a reason to wear a knee-high compression sock in the 20-30 mmHg range: athletes, seniors, working men, mothers-to-be, office employees, nurses, etc. If you don’t know where to start, a 20-30 mmHg compression sock is a safe bet.

ComproGear is focused on providing each customer with the best fit. Size small, medium, large and extra large are available for you to choose from. Find your size by lining up your shoe size and your calf measurement on the ComproGear size chart.

Compression wear is no longer just beige. At ComproGear, we want to give you multiple options that can be mixed and matched with your personal style. Ours come in a variety of unique patterns and rich colors: Savory Chevrons, Sunset Stripes, Red Wine, Mountain Blue and Onyx Black.

Looking to Buy a Pair of Compression Socks?

Give those legs a hug. All-day.

Easy, squeezy compression socks that last.

Who Should Wear Compression Stockings?

There are benefits for nearly anyone when it comes to wearing compression hosiery. Compression wear is worn for both medical and non-medical reasons by:

  • Runners.
  • Busy moms.
  • Weight lifters. (We suggest using a posture corrector to perfect your lifting form and prevent injury.)
  • Frequent fliers.
  • Pregnant women. (Make sure you’re taking your Prenatal DHA pill too.)
  • Yoga practitioners.
  • Professional athletes.
  • Anyone with a desk job. (It can help to get a pull up bar and use it throughout the day.)
  • Trades and construction workers.
  • Those recovering from venous ulcers.
  • Patients who are prone to blood clots.
  • Those with hypotension and dizziness.
  • Women who are prone to varicose veins.
  • Nurses and medical staff that are on their feet all day.

How Long Should You Wear Them?

Unless otherwise instructed by a physician, you should remove your compression wear before you go to bed. Most cause decreased circulation if worn all night as you sleep. This may exasperate your symptoms instead of helping your condition.

Only some types of compression wear are safe to be worn all through the night. For example, TED hose is a type of compression wear that has a very low pressure gradient, making it safe to be worn for many hours while immobile.

You can get the best results from your pressure garments by wearing them all day, morning to evening. Put them on when you first wake up and remove them before sleeping. A great tip to keep in mind is to put your socks on first thing in the morning before any calf size increases have occurred. This makes the donning process easier.

You must also remove your compression wear before showers and baths. Afterwards, allow for your skin to fully dry before putting your pressure hose back on. If you find that your skin is sticking to the sock fabric, dust your legs with talc powder before putting them on.

How to Wash and Dry

It’s easy to take care of your compression wear. Try to wash your socks or stockings each day and put on a fresh pair the next morning. If you own a few sets of pressure garments, you’ll always have a fresh pair to put on. This will also prevent you from missing a day.

Follow these simple steps when washing your hosiery:

  1. Soak the garment in cool water with mild soap, gently squeezing the fabric over and over like a sponge. Do not twist or stretch the fabric when it is wet.
  2. Squeeze the garment to remove any excess water. Do not wring or stretch the fabric when damp.
  3. Hang the garments or lay them out to air dry overnight. Do not put it on a heater or run them through a drying machine as this will damage the fabric.
  4. Don’t forget to wash yourself! (Use a good quality loofah and some hypoallergenic soap to remove any dead skin cells that built up from being in those socks all day.)


Nearly everyone can find a reason to wear them. Wearing compression stockings comes with many perks; whether you are motivated by medical or non-medical reasons, pressure therapy can benefit you.

If you don’t know where to start, 20-30 mmHg knee high is a great option. Connect with ComproGear and try a pair of knee-highs for yourself. All customer purchases are covered by our 100% Lifetime Guarantee.

Where to Buy Compression Socks

You’re in the right place. ComproGear specializes in high-quality versions!

How high quality are these socks? We researched 230 manufacturers to partner with in the production of our socks. We got custom samples from 14 of them, and picked the 1 supplier that had high enough quality to meet our strict standards.

After a professional inspection of the final product, we partnered with hundreds of everyday people like you and me to try them on and perfect the fit.

Just take a look at some of their comments:

comprogear compression socks customer review
comprogear compression stockings customer review
comprogear compression sock customer review

People love our products. And I’m sure you will too. That’s why we ship every order through Amazon’s Fulfillment Network. That gives you fast 2-Day shipping, secure payment, and a 100% lifetime money back guarantee.

Plus returns are 100% free. Not sure about your size? Just buy 2 different sizes, try them both on, and return the one that doesn’t fit. (Literally just place it back in the shipping box and leave it on your doorstep!) or email <> and we’ll complete the return/refund for you.

Do This Next

Buy Compression Socks or Compression Stockings

ComproGear Socks can STOP your foot, ankle, and calf puffiness fast!

(Plus there’s nothing better than preventing ugly varicose veins…)

Each pair is designed to feel great and make you look FABULOUS. (Plus all the medical and sports benefits!)

What’s the next step? Click the button below to check out the different colors and sizes:

Give those legs a hug. All-day.

Easy, squeezy compression socks that last.