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Best Compression Socks & How to Use Compression For Faster Recovery 

 June 14, 2022

by Jess
Item
Best Overall
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves
Best Sock Design
Cambivo Compression Socks
Best Heavy Compression
Gcbiger Compression Socks
Preview
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves (Ideal for Sports, Running, Shin Splints) (One Pair) (Black) (Extra Small) [XS]
CAMBIVO Compression Socks for Women & Men 3 Pairs, Flight Socks Compression Stockings for Calf Support, Running,Travel, Cycling
Compression Socks (3 Pairs) for Men Circulation 20-30 mmhg Medical Compression Stockings Women Nursing
Type
Compression Sleeves
Compression Socks
Compression Socks
£14.99
£16.99
Price not available
Best Overall
Item
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves
Preview
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves (Ideal for Sports, Running, Shin Splints) (One Pair) (Black) (Extra Small) [XS]
Type
Compression Sleeves
£14.99
Best Sock Design
Item
Cambivo Compression Socks
Preview
CAMBIVO Compression Socks for Women & Men 3 Pairs, Flight Socks Compression Stockings for Calf Support, Running,Travel, Cycling
Type
Compression Socks
£16.99
Best Heavy Compression
Item
Gcbiger Compression Socks
Preview
Compression Socks (3 Pairs) for Men Circulation 20-30 mmhg Medical Compression Stockings Women Nursing
Type
Compression Socks
Price not available

If you watch any professional sporting competitions, you may well have noticed that compression socks have become all the rage! They are no longer just a tool to keep your legs alive on long-haul flights, they are now a must-have fitness accessory for anyone who wants to maximize recovery so that they can train harder and more often.

Compression socks compress your calves, which improves circulation in the calves and pushed blood back up to your heart more consistently. This can aid performance in certain sports, such as endurance sports, but more importantly, it can limit the micro-damage done to muscles during hard workouts or competitions.

This minimization of damage means faster recovery so that you can be performing at your best more of the time. You can wear them while you are working out, but you can get just as much benefit from wearing them for several hours after a workout to aid recovery. In this article, we will take a closer look at compression socks and how they work. We will explore their key benefits for fitness and look at when and how to use them. We will also share with you our picks for the best 10 compression socks that you can buy today and have at your home tomorrow, plus a buying guide for what to look for when choosing compression socks.


What Are Compression Socks?

When we talk about sports compression socks, we are referring to knee-high athletic socks that squeeze the calf, applying gentle pressure to the legs. The pressure should be sufficient to apply pressure to the veins on the surface of the leg, but also to the deeper muscles and arteries.

The idea is that this additional pressure helps the blood circulate better, which also means better muscle performance. Yes, that’s right, compressing rather than opening the veins helps the blood flow better.

Compression socks are also used on long-haul flights because they ensure that blood flows from the legs back up to the heart, which prevents the blood from staying in the legs and feet and forming clots.

Compression socks are often recommended for specific circulatory-related medical conditions, and for athletes looking for certain performance gains.


10 Best Compression Socks to Buy Today

Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves

Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves (Ideal for Sports, Running, Shin Splints) (One Pair) (Black) (Extra Small) [XS]

These compression sleeves for your calves are great if you want to wear your compression socks while working out. They are made from 54% Polyamide, which gives them good moisture-wicking properties. They also have a non-slip cuff to keep them in place while you are working out, and graduated compression for even better blood flow.

Sale
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves
16,192 Reviews
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • Sleeve that covers the calf only
  • Graduated compression
  • 54% Polyamide, 39% Polyester, 7% Elastane
  • Available in six sizes and four colours


Cambivo Compression Socks

CAMBIVO Compression Socks for Women & Men 3 Pairs, Flight Socks Compression Stockings for Calf Support, Running,Travel, Cycling

These compression socks from Cambivo are well designed and come in a handy and affordable three-pack. Made from moisture-wicking fabric, they have an anti-slip cuff, reinforced heel for comfort and durability, and a broad toe design which is essential when working out and spreading your feet.

Cambivo Compression Socks
2,005 Reviews
Cambivo Compression Socks

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • Full sock design
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Comes in a pack of three
  • 3 size options and 4 colour options


Gcbiger Compression Socks

Compression Socks (3 Pairs) for Men Circulation 20-30 mmhg Medical Compression Stockings Women Nursing

If you want a higher compression than your standard 15-20 mmHg, then you’ll love this 20-30 mmHg option. They are made from a breathable knitted elastic that is almost moisture-wicking and have all the essential features including an anti-slip top, and cushioning around the feet. They are ideal for anyone who spends all day on their feet for work.

Gcbiger Compression Socks
476 Reviews
Gcbiger Compression Socks

  • 20-30 mmHg
  • Full sock design
  • Knitted elastic fabric
  • Extra foot cushioning
  • Available in 2 sizes and 6 colours


DZANS Copper Compression Socks

3 Pairs Copper Compression Socks for Men & Women (20-30 mmHg) Best Graduated Athletic Fit for Running, Nurses, Flight Travel & Maternity Pregnancy - Boost Stamina, Circulation & Recovery

These socks not only provide compression. They are woven with copper fibres, which are excellent for conducting electricity and stimulating blood cells for even better circulation. They have all the other great features that you would expect including moisture-wicking fabric and graduated compression.

TOPESCT Adjustable Wrist WeightsDZANS Copper Compression Socks
490 Reviews
TOPESCT Adjustable Wrist WeightsDZANS Copper Compression Socks

  • 20-30 mmHg compression
  • Full sock design
  • Copper fibres are woven into the design
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Available in 2 sizes


NV Compression 365 Long Compression Socks

NV Compression 365 Cushion Socks (PAIR) 20-30mmHg - For Plantar Fasciitis, Sports Recovery, Shin Splints, Medical, Work, Flight - Running, Cycling (Solid Bk, Small)

This is another pair of high compression socks offering 20-30 mmHg of compression. They are designed with extra ankle protection and shock-absorbing souls for those who want to use them during an intense workout.

NV Compression 365 Long Compression Socks
2,246 Reviews
NV Compression 365 Long Compression Socks

  • 20-30 mmHg compression
  • Full sock design
  • 365-degree ankle protection
  • Shock absorbing design
  • Available in 2 sizes and 4 colours


Cambivo Calf Compression Sleeve

CAMBIVO Calf Compression Sleeve Men & Women 2 Pairs, Compression Socks for Calf Support, Running Sleeves for Sports, Flight, Hiking

If you like the Cambivo design but prefer a sleeve to a full sock, then they have you covered! They offer the same great 360-degree graduated compression with snug cuffs at the top and bottom to keep them in place. They are made from a highly breathable and soft elastic fabric.

Sale
Cambivo Calf Compression Sleeve
1,127 Reviews
Cambivo Calf Compression Sleeve

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • Calf sleeve design
  • 360-degree graduated compression
  • Soft elastic fabric
  • Available in 3 sizes and 2 colours


Tread Compression Socks

TREAD Compression Socks For Women & Men - Great Support For Swollen Legs - Best Medical Grade Socks For Pregnancy, Travel & Flights, DVT, Nurses, Recovery, Sports

This is another great quality compression sock with a heavier compression of 20-30 mmHg. They are made from a breathable material and offer graduated compression along your calf. They have a non-slip cuff to keep them in place and a reinforced toe for durability.

Tread Compression Socks
251 Reviews
Tread Compression Socks

  • 20-30 mmHg compression
  • Full sock design
  • Non-slip cuff
  • Reinforced toes
  • Available in 6 sizes and 4 colours


Supply Cube Compression Socks

Compression Socks (Small/Medium)

These stylish black and blue socks are sure to be popular, and they are also great quality offering 15-20 mmHg of compression in a sock with a great fit design, though we’d like to see more size options available. They are made from moisture-wicking synthetic material that is also very breathable, no matter what you are doing.

Supply Cube Compression Socks
46 Reviews
Supply Cube Compression Socks

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • Full sock
  • Graduated compression
  • Pack of two
  • Two size options


Pnosnesy Compression Socks

Compression Socks, (7 Pairs) for Men & Women 15-20 mmHg is Best for Athletics, Running, Flight Travel, Support (S/M, Beige)

These quality but affordable compression socks come in a variety of fun designs for anyone who wants more than just black or “sport”. They are made from a breathable moisture-wicking fabric that is machine washable, and with an anti-slip cuff, graduated compression, and reinforced toe.

Pnosnesy Compression Socks
2,494 Reviews
Pnosnesy Compression Socks

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • Full sock design
  • Machine washable
  • Pack of 7
  • Available in 8 colours and two sizes


Gr8ful Compression Socks

gr8ful® Compression Socks for Men & Women | Fab for Running, Calf Injury, Shin Splints, Achilles Tendonitis, Travel & Pregnancy | 1 Pair | Reduce Swelling + Pain, Aid Recovery. Black, 15-20mmhg, L/XL

Last but not least are these comfortable socks from gr8ful. They have all the great features of our top picks. They are made from a moisture-wicking fabric that offers graduated compression for the best possible circulation. Expect them to stay in place with an anti-slip cuff at the top and expect them to last with reinforcement around the toes and ankles.

Gr8ful Compression Socks
520 Reviews
Gr8ful Compression Socks

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • Full sock design
  • Graduated compression
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Two size options are available


What Are the Benefits of Compression Socks for Sports Performance?

There are three principal benefits to compression socks when it comes to athletics performance.

The first is improved blood circulation, which gives your muscles more of what they need to give their best performance in the field. Notably, they also help reduce cramping and swelling during a workout, so they can offer a lot of relief to anyone who regularly suffers from these issues.

This improved circulation can also enable a greater range of motion and flexibility while you are working. But the main benefits come in reducing muscle fatigue for endurance workouts, such as long-distance runs.

Second, that increased blood circulation also means that your muscles will become less damaged and are less likely to become sore as you use them. Good circulation also lets your body deal with the lactic acid that you are generating through working more quickly.

Finally, this also means a quicker recovery period so that you can be back giving your best again sooner.

Not sure how long to rest between workouts? Read our rest and recovery guide here.


When To Wear Compression Socks

You can wear compression socks during or after exercise.

If you suffer from cramps or other muscle issues while you are working out, you can use compression socks during a workout to minimize occurrences of this. Compression socks tend to be more useful for endurance training, such as long-distance running, than other forms of exercise. Basically, they are best for types of exercise where lactic acid build-up is an issue.

Resistance trainers might also wear compression socks while lifting. While this won’t provide any performance gains, it helps reduce muscular micro-trauma, allowing you to work that muscle again sooner.

Professional athletes, such as basketball players, who perform a HIIT kind of training and game might choose to wear compression socks regularly. This does not boost performance but hastens recovery, which is essential when you are expected to go out there and perform on an almost daily basis.

But the most common and effective use of compression socks is after training, to boost blood circulation to allow for quicker recovery.

For proper recovery, you should aim to wear compression socks for at least six hours after finishing your workout.

Foam rollers are also great for recovery. Read our full foam roller guide here.


Compression Socks Buying Guide

Besides a colour and design that you love, what else should you be considering when choosing the right pair of compression socks?

Pressure Rating

One of the most important questions is how much pressure the socks will apply to your legs, and their pressure rating should tell you this.

Pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), and you can find anything between 5 and 40 millimetres. Those looking for socks to wear on the airplane need lighter pressure, around 7-15 millimetres. Meanwhile, casual athletes might use something between 15 and 21 millimetres. Professional performance athletes can use stronger pressure, between 25-35 millimetres.

Sleeve or Sock

You will actually find both sleeves, that cover just your calf, and full socks on the market. The only benefit of the full sock is that you can wear it as a sock as well and don’t need another pair of socks for shoes. But if you are wearing them for barefoot sports, or you just like to hand around the house barefoot, sleeves can be a more comfortable option.

Fit

Of course, a pair of compression socks will only provide the promised pressure if they fit properly. Most makers give comprehensive size guides but be sure to measure your legs in the morning before they have started to naturally swell over the day.

They should feel tight, but not actively uncomfortable when you are using them. While socks that are too tight won’t benefit you, they won’t cause serious damage such as cutting off blood circulation to your feet as this would require a pressure that is stronger than your own blood pressure.

Features

Most socks will have a variety of key features, specifically:

  • Graduated compression – as you don’t want the same compression across your entire calf;
  • Anti-slip cuff – to ensure that your sock stays covering your calf as it should;
  • Reinforced toe and heel – since these are the first things to wear out in socks!

Comfort

If you are going to be working out in your compression socks, or even wear them for an extended period during recovery, you need something that is comfortable and not something that you want to be constantly scratching or adjusting.

For active workouts prioritize moisture-wicking fabric, and you will also come across options that promise to prevent other problems such as chafing and blisters.


FAQs

How do compression socks work?

By gently applying pressure to your circulatory system in the feet and legs, compression socks encourage blood down in the legs to flow back up to the heart, which promoted better circulation generally and prevents specific issues such as swelling and clotting in the legs.

Can you wear compression socks every day?

For most people without specific medical issues, it is safe to wear compression socks every day. Just make sure that they fit correctly. Also, take them off and wash them on occasion!

They are safe to wear for several hours at a time when sitting, but you should not wear them to bed. This is to prevent skin irritation and also not to interfere with your body’s natural recovery processes during sleep.

How often should I replace my compression socks?

If you wear compression socks regularly, they need to be replaced every 3-6 months as the elastic fibres wear out and they lose some of their compressing abilities.


The Verdict

Item
Best Overall
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves
Best Sock Design
Cambivo Compression Socks
Best Heavy Compression
Gcbiger Compression Socks
Preview
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves (Ideal for Sports, Running, Shin Splints) (One Pair) (Black) (Extra Small) [XS]
CAMBIVO Compression Socks for Women & Men 3 Pairs, Flight Socks Compression Stockings for Calf Support, Running,Travel, Cycling
Compression Socks (3 Pairs) for Men Circulation 20-30 mmhg Medical Compression Stockings Women Nursing
Type
Compression Sleeves
Compression Socks
Compression Socks
£14.99
£16.99
Price not available
Best Overall
Item
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves
Preview
Rymora Calf Compression Sleeves (Ideal for Sports, Running, Shin Splints) (One Pair) (Black) (Extra Small) [XS]
Type
Compression Sleeves
£14.99
Best Sock Design
Item
Cambivo Compression Socks
Preview
CAMBIVO Compression Socks for Women & Men 3 Pairs, Flight Socks Compression Stockings for Calf Support, Running,Travel, Cycling
Type
Compression Socks
£16.99
Best Heavy Compression
Item
Gcbiger Compression Socks
Preview
Compression Socks (3 Pairs) for Men Circulation 20-30 mmhg Medical Compression Stockings Women Nursing
Type
Compression Socks
Price not available

A good pair of compression socks are essential for anyone who needs to perform athletically on a regular basis. Compression socks can minimize the inevitable damage that comes with pushing yourself to your physical limits, and they can promote blood circulation for faster recovery.

This is essential for professional athletes that need to give their best on an almost daily basis. It can also help you when you are working to transform your body, as you can minimize the time it takes you to be fully recovered and get the most out of your next workout.

Wear them while you are performing your exercise to protect your muscles and wear a clean pair for several hours after exercise to speed up recovery.


References

Last update on 2022-07-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author 

Jess

Jess is the yoga and fitness editor here at The Fit Brit. She is a qualified yoga teacher and semi-professional capoeirista, and currently lives in Brazil.


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