What to Buy The 10 Best Compression Socks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed The LEVSOX 20-30 mmHg Compression Socks have noticeable arch support and an even better price-per-pair value. By Sarah Bradley Updated on April 5, 2023 Medically reviewed by Adam H. Kaplan, DPM Medically reviewed by Adam H. Kaplan, DPM Adam H. Kaplan, DPM, is a podiatrist and attending physician practicing at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health and Roosevelt Care Center. learn more Fact checked by Richard Scherr Fact checked by Richard Scherr Rich Scherr is an updates strategist and fact checker for Dotdash Meredith brands, including Health and Verywell. He is a seasoned financial and technology journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the Potomac Tech Wire for nearly two decades, and is a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun. He has also been a news editor for America Online and has contributed to the Associated Press and The Washington Post. health's fact checking process Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Share this page on Pinterest Email this page In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews Our Testing Process What to Know Level of Compression More to Consider Your Questions, Answered Who We Are We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Health / Brian Kopinski Compression socks aren’t just for seniors with vein issues anymore. Athletes are wearing compression socks to improve their performance and recovery, pregnant women are finding relief from leg and ankle swelling, and people who stand all day are using them to avoid that heavy, achy-leg feeling that comes from working a 12-hour shift on their feet. How do compression socks work all this magic? According to Jashan Valjee, DPM, of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Maryland, compression socks are designed to apply consistent and constant pressure to the feet, ankles, and calves, which forces your vascular and lymphatic system to work more efficiently and prevents the accumulation of fluid, swelling, and blood clotting. We had 21 staffers each wear compression socks for eight-hour days for one week. The staffers had various reasons for needing to wear compression socks, including working long hours sitting or standing, pregnancy, air travel, and one editor who has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes your heart to beat faster than normal when you transition from sitting or lying down to standing up. Her cardiologist recommended she wear compression socks to keep her blood circulating well. Throughout testing, our staffers rated the socks on a scale of 1 (would not recommend) to 5 (highly recommend) based on fit, support, comfort, feel, and value. A podiatrist on our Medical Expert Board also reviewed this article for medical and scientific accuracy surrounding what to look for in compression socks, who would benefit from wearing them, and for how many hours a day. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Levsox Compression Socks at Amazon Jump to Review Best Value: CHARMKING Compression Socks at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Travel: Away Travel The Compression Socks at Awaytravel.com Jump to Review Best for Wide Calves: Comrad Knee-High Compression Socks at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Pregnancy: Bluemaple Copper Compression Socks at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Varicose Veins: Bombas Women's Strong Compression Socks at Bombas.com Jump to Review Best for Running: Lululemon MicroPillow Compression Knee High Running Sock at Lululemon Jump to Review Best for Feet: Comrad Cozy Compression Socks at Amazon Jump to Review Best for Sitting: Wellow Women's Twist Knee-High Compression Socks at Wearwellow.com Jump to Review Best Medical-Grade: Hi Clasmix Graduated Medical Compression Socks at Amazon Jump to Review Best Overall Levsox Compression Socks 5 Amazon View On Amazon Why We Like It: From a comfortable fit to snug but flexible support, these socks have every quality that a good pair of compression socks should. It’s Worth Noting: The patterns are loud and lean somewhat feminine—if you’re hoping for a discreet pair of socks, this isn’t it. The best compression socks will fit well, feel comfortable, provide a just-right amount of support, and be affordable enough for you to buy multiple pairs. The LEVSOX 20-30 mmHg Compression Socks for Women and Men met all these requirements when we tried them ourselves, so we’ve selected them as our best overall pick. The fit, feel, support, and value were all perfect. They weren’t hard to wear; they were about as snug and flexible as tights or leggings. We were pleasantly surprised by the noticeable arch support, too. As for feel, our legs felt awesome after wearing them all day. The fabric itself was breathable and silky and held up well to multiple washings. Price at time of publication: $20 Product Details: Compression Level: 20 – 30 mmHgMaterial: 90% nylon, 10% spandexAvailable Sizes: S – XL Best Value CHARMKING Compression Socks 4.9 Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Charmkingus.com Why We Like It: You get eight pairs of well-constructed, comfortable, and supportive socks for just $20, making it easy to stock up. It’s Worth Noting: They’re made from a combination of nylon and spandex, so they aren’t the most breathable socks on the market. If you need a full week’s worth of compression socks but don’t want to spend a full week’s salary stocking up on them, CHARM KING Compression Socks come in an 8-pack for just $20 (and no, they don’t skimp on quality). When we tried them out, we thought these socks were supportive without being overly restrictive. We wore them for a whole 12 hours, and our legs felt great throughout a variety of activities, from sitting to walking to working out. The socks also didn't bunch up or slide down during use. The only area where the CHARM KING socks underperformed slightly was how they felt, simply because they weren’t quite as breathable as other pairs and sometimes left our feet a little sweaty. Overall, the CHARM KING socks are the perfect blend of quality and cost-savings. Price at time of publication: $20 Product Details: Compression Level: 15-20 mmHgMaterial: 85% nylon, 15% spandexAvailable Sizes: S/M and L/XL Best for Travel Away Travel The Compression Socks 5 Away Travel View On Awaytravel.com Why We Like It: These socks are so comfortable that you’ll forget you’re wearing them. It’s Worth Noting: They’re more expensive than other options, at $35 for one pair. When you’re traveling long distances, the last thing you want to think is, “Ugh, I can’t wait to take these compression socks off!” With the Away Travel Compression Socks, that definitely won’t be a problem—in fact, you might even forget you’re wearing them, just like we did when we left them on for our work day and to happy hour later. When we slipped them on, the Away Travel Compression socks were immediately cozy. We appreciated how lightweight and comfortable they are, but also how they stayed in place all day, went on and came off easily, and helped our legs feel less fatigued at the end of the day. The fabric was soft and breathable and washed up well, too. The only downside is that these are a bit pricey for a single pair, but we think they’re worth the investment, especially if you spend a lot of time traveling and need a reliable but comfortable pair of compression socks for your trips. Price at time of publication: $35 Product Details: Compression Level: UnspecifiedMaterial: 45% organic cotton, 25% Coolmax® polyester, 20% lycra, 10% nylonAvailable Sizes: S – XL Best for Wide Calves Comrad Knee-High Compression Socks 4.8 Comrad View On Amazon View On Ameswalker.com View On Comradsocks.com Why We Like It: They’re cozy and can accommodate wider calves with ease. It’s Worth Noting: After about eight hours of wear, we were ready to take them off. You get a lot of stretchable comfort with the Comrad 15-20 mmHg Knee-High Compression Socks, making them work well for a variety of activities and a variety of body sizes. In testing, these socks hugged our feet and legs with just the right amount of tightness—never too much or too little—and didn’t lose their shape during wear or washing. In terms of fit and support, the Comrad socks were snug and cozy, stayed in place, and helped our legs feel supported and energized during long stretches of sitting (including air travel). The socks didn’t perform quite as well for feel, only because we were ready to take them off and let our feet breathe after about eight hours. Still, we thought the fabric was generally soft and durable, surviving multiple washings without showing signs of wear. Price at time of publication: $32 Product Details: Compression Level: 15-20 mmHgMaterial: 91% nylon / 9% spandexAvailable Sizes: S – L, plus medium wide and large wide Best for Pregnancy Bluemaple Copper Compression Socks 4.8 Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart Why We Like It: They relieve fatigue regardless of your activity level. So they'll benefit you even if you’re resting up before giving birth. It’s Worth Noting: After very long days (i.e., from morning until night), the socks become tight and itchy. If you’re shopping for compression socks because you’re pregnant, you need a pair that can energize your legs no matter what you’re doing: walking, exercising, sitting, or even just chilling on the couch growing a baby. We liked how compatible the Bluemaple Copper Compression Socks were with all of our daily activities. Since they come in an affordable variety pack, expectant moms can wear them as often as needed. We love the quality-to-cost ratio as we’ve spent the same amount of money on a single pair of compression socks before (so a multipack at this price, with this level of quality, can’t be beaten). We also gave them high ratings for feel since they were breathable, kept our feet cool and dry all day, and featured a soft, non-restrictive fabric that washed up well. These socks are also super supportive; the difference in how our legs felt between wearing them and not wearing them was noticeable, with the socks relieving end-of-day heaviness and fatigue. Our only complaint was that on some days, after more than eight hours of wear, our legs did feel a little tight and itchy. In all, the Bluemaple socks are a great, flexible option for pregnancy. Price at time of publication: $20 Product Details: Compression Level: 15-20 mmHgMaterial: 85% nylon, 15% polyesterAvailable Sizes: S/M and L/XL Best for Varicose Veins Bombas Women's Strong Compression Socks 4.9 Bombas View On Bombas.com Why We Like It: They combine the well-loved Bombas comfort with medium-to-strong compression capable of treating medical conditions like varicose veins. It’s Worth Noting: They’re a little pricey, and you might end up with some indented sock lines on your calves at the end of a long day. If you have varicose veins, you’ll probably need to opt for more compression to find relief. We like that the Bombas Women’s Strong Compression Socks offer 20-30 mmHg of compression but never actually feel like it, thanks to the signature Bombas comfort. We looked forward to wearing these socks, which fit almost perfectly and felt amazing. They did require some effort to get on, but they stayed in place well and never felt overly restrictive. They also helped us feel supported during several cross-country flights. Our feet didn’t sweat in these socks, and we regularly forgot we were wearing them. When our editor took them off at the end of the day, she noticed some indented lines on her legs from the strength of the socks, but they went away quickly. For socks that also provide medium-to-strong compression, there are many wins. Price at time of publication: $28 Product Details: Compression Level: 20-30 mmHgMaterial: 64% cotton, 15% polyester, 12% nylon, 9% spandexAvailable Sizes: S – L Best for Running Lululemon MicroPillow Compression Knee High Running Sock 4.8 Lululemon View On Lululemon Why We Like It: These are truly designed for movement and exercise, offering performance-enhancing support and soothing post-workout relief. It’s Worth Noting: They are only for working out—these aren’t cozy compression socks to slip on while you sit at your desk. Many athletes are catching on to the fact that compression socks can improve their athletic performance and aid in their muscle recovery after workouts. To work out in a pair of compression socks, you’ve got to know they’ll be comfortable like these are. We loved how these socks supported our legs while running, walking, and spinning. To be clear, though, these are workout socks: We could only wear them for short periods of time before they started to cause discomfort. But when that short period of time involved any kind of exercise, we were impressed by the deep compression they provide around the calves and the perfect amount of flexible support we felt in the heels, ankles, and feet. We also noticed they wick away sweat, offer comfy cushioning, and hold up for several rounds through the washing machine and dryer. The only thing we felt was lacking was the fit. This pair has a designated left and right sock, which lululemon says makes them fit more comfortably, but we thought it made the toe seam a little stiff and uncomfortable. Price at time of publication: $38 Product Details: Compression Level: UnspecifiedMaterial: 93% nylon, 7% elastaneAvailable Sizes: S – L Best for Feet Comrad Cozy Compression Socks 4.8 Comrad View On Amazon View On Comradsocks.com View On QVC Why We Like It: These socks were made for anyone who wants their cozy house slippers to come with a side of extra support. It’s Worth Noting: They’re truly “light support,” offering more benefits to the feet than the legs. These aren’t the most supportive socks on this list, but moderate support isn’t necessary for everyone. And if you want your compression socks to come with a serious side of comfort, we recommend the Comrad Cozy Compression Socks. With light support of 10-15 mmHg, these socks are easily mistakable for extra-comfy knee-highs (except for the circulatory benefits, which we felt as we tested). We’d describe these as a mashup of slipper socks and compression socks. We loved how warm, soft, and snug they felt and that they stayed in place, weren’t bulky, and were compatible with our daily activities. The only drawback to their light compression is that we didn’t feel they helped our legs much—the extra circulation was mainly in our feet. The plus side to the minimal compression is that we never once felt the need to take them off at the end of the day. Price at time of publication: $32 Product Details: Compression Level: 10-15 mmHgMaterial: 81% feather nylon, 16% nylon, 2% spandex, 1% polyesterAvailable Sizes: S – L Best for Sitting Wellow Women's Twist Knee-High Compression Socks 4.5 Wellow View On Wearwellow.com Why We Like It: They work best for people who spend a lot of time in stationary positions. It’s Worth Noting: The fabric could be more comfortable, and they seem to run long. If you spend long hours at your desk, compression socks can relieve fatigue and soreness in your legs. The Wellow Compression Socks are well-suited to offering support while seated for prolonged periods. In testing, we liked that the Wellow socks offered the right support and didn’t overheat under our sweatpants (hello, work-from-home people!). We thought they ran a bit long, but we think that attribute could work well for taller users—and we didn’t experience any added discomfort from needing to fold them over to fit under the knee. We liked that they’re pretty supportive— enough to make our legs feel awake at the end of the day—but the fabric isn’t the most comfortable. We felt like these socks were just a little too scratchy, which made us ready to take them off at the end of the day. But, overall, we think these are great for anyone who works a 9 to 5 and doesn’t plan on wearing them for extended periods. Price at time of publication: $29 Product Details: Compression Level: 18-25 mmHgMaterial: 76% bamboo, 16% polyester, 6% spandex, 2% nylonAvailable Sizes: S – XL Best Medical-Grade Hi Clasmix Graduated Medical Compression Socks 4.7 Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart Why We Like It: They feature gradient compression, which helped us warm up for physical activity more quickly. It’s Worth Noting: We’re not sold on the overall quality after multiple washes and wears. Medical-grade compression socks feature gradient compression, or compression that starts off strong around the ankles and then slowly decreases further up the leg. This encourages blood to circulate away from the lower extremities and toward the heart. As the only sock on this list specifically designed with gradient compression, we love how well the Hi Clasmix Graduated Medical Compression Socks work as a medical-grade equivalent to prescription socks. In testing, we liked how well the socks fit and noticed they went on easily, kept our feet warm, and never sagged. We also noticed the compression working (they felt pretty tight for the first 15 minutes, then eased up). We even loved how these socks made our legs and feet feel while we exercised on a studio bike. They primed the lower legs for the ride and helped us feel ready and warm up faster. The only potential drawback to these socks is that they didn’t wash up quite like new, and we noted some inconsistencies in the fabric after laundering them. Price at time of publication: $19 Product Details: Compression Level: 20-30 mmHgMaterial: 85% nylon, 15% polyesterAvailable Sizes: S/M and L/XL Our Testing Process We began by speaking to experts about who may benefit from compression socks and how they help. Experts we spoke to include: Jashan Valjee, DPM, of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Maryland Diana Levin Valencia, DPM, a podiatrist in private practice in New York Bruce Pinker, DPM, of Progressive Foot Care in New York. Then, we narrowed down a list of the most popular socks on the market and tested them for fit, feel, support, and value. To do this, we stood on our feet and sat down for multiple hours at a time in each pair of compression socks. Then we noted how our legs felt during and after wear, including how easy it was to put on and take off the socks, how soft and breathable the fabric was, and whether the socks were overly loose or restrictive while being worn. Finally, we repeated this evaluation for one week (i.e., standing or sitting for several hours in a row and occasionally exercising). During that week, we washed the socks to see how they held up and judged each pair’s overall value or quality relative to their cost. What to Know About Compression Socks One look at a package of compression socks, and you’ll have some questions. Not only are there different levels of compression, but there’s also a wide range of prices and various fabrics used. Level of Compression According to Dr. Valjee, there are three main levels of compression, measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg): Light (8 to 15 mmHg)Mild (15 to 20 mmHg)Heavy (20 to 40 mmHg) Different levels of compression are needed for different conditions or uses; someone who spends a lot of their day standing may only need light, supportive compression, while someone with spider veins or edema may need to look for socks with heavy compression. Breathability Even if your feet don’t naturally run hot, if you plan to spend most of your daytime hours in compression socks, you should consider their breathability. Most medical-grade compression socks are made of either cotton or stretchy synthetic fibers like LYCRA® and spandex, says Dr. Pinker. Both can be constructed to be breathable, though cotton (or cotton blends) often perform better than synthetic fabrics. If your feet do run hot and you’re worried about sweating or odors, Dr. Valjee suggests choosing a sock made of moisture-wicking material and infused with copper or antimicrobial silver; this can not only keep your feet more ventilated, but these metals are antimicrobial (i.e., they’ll eliminate the bacteria that cause odors). Reason for use The reason why you want or need to wear compression socks will help you determine the level of compression you need, as well as any other features that might be helpful. The people who most benefit from wearing compression socks range from athletes and pregnant women to people who stand all day and people with vascular diseases. Here’s a look at how compression socks can be used in many cases: People who stand all day. Dr. Valjee wears compression socks on his surgery days because he stands for most of his work day. They’re popular with nurses for the same reason—if you spend most of your day on your feet, compression socks can give you added support and comfort. People with chronic swelling. Compression socks can improve circulation, preventing fluid buildup in the legs. People with a previous injury in the lower extremities, who are diabetic or pregnant, and people with venous insufficiency tend to have consistent swelling throughout the day, says Dr. Valjee. People who travel long distances. When you sit for prolonged periods, your circulation declines. That can increase swelling and your risk for blood clots, Dr. Valjee says, noting that people who travel by plane are especially at risk because of the high cabin pressure during flights. Athletes. Compression socks can be helpful both during and after workouts. According to Dr. Valjee, the circulatory effects of compression socks clear away lactic acid buildup, reduce inflammation and pain, and make room for freshly oxygenated blood, which can increase performance and improve recovery. People with lymphedema or peripheral vascular disease. Medical-grade compression socks are often gradient, which means the amount of compression is higher at the ankle and then decreases as the socks go up the leg. This makes it possible for the compression to direct blood flow up and away from the lower extremities toward the heart. This can be helpful for patients with venous diseases such as varicose veins, vein insufficiencies, and lymphedema, as well as patients trying to prevent deep vein thrombosis or recover from varicose vein surgery. Cost Technically, more expensive doesn’t always equal better quality with compression socks, but the pricing is often dependent on the type of fabric used. In that way, says Dr. Valjee, you can expect to get more out of more expensive pairs. For example, athletes might want socks with additional shock absorption; people with sensitive skin may need to look for natural fabric; and people who sweat a lot may need to choose moisture-wicking fabrics infused with antimicrobial properties. All of these things can increase the cost of your sock, Dr. Valjee notes. More Compression Socks to Consider While these compression socks didn’t meet all of our expectations, they may still be of interest to you: Sockwell Moderate Graduated Compression Socks: We liked this pair—they were cozy and breathable, provided noticeable warmth, and stayed in place—but we ultimately didn’t feel they were worth the cost ($30 for one pair). Copper Fit Easy On/Easy Off Knee High Compression Socks: These socks fit well and felt supportive, but we didn’t like how tall they were because the top of the sock hit right at knee level in an uncomfortable way. Kindred Bravely Compression Socks: For extra-firm support, these socks work well; for the average user, though, we think they’re far too stiff and tight to be comfortable. PRO Compression Marathon Socks: We thought these socks were too tight to be used regularly: it wasn’t easy to put them on or take them off, and they left deep, red marks on our legs at the end of the day. Your Questions, Answered Can I sleep in compression socks? No, you should not wear compression socks while sleeping. Dr. Pinker says it’s better for people with leg swelling to remove the socks and elevate their feet at night. He also says there are a few other times when you should avoid wearing compression socks or wear them with caution, including: If you have diminished circulation in the legs, like with peripheral artery disease.If the skin that the socks would cover is irritated or infected, or there are open wounds.If the compression socks cause chafing, irritation, or bruising of the legs, ankles, or feet. How many hours a day should I wear compression socks? There’s no set number of hours when you should wear compression socks, but Dr. Valjee says they’re the most helpful when you wear them during the most active part of your day. It’s also best to put them on in the morning when your legs are least swollen and then take them off at night before bed. If you don’t need to wear compression socks all day but want to use them to aid your workout recovery, Dr. Valjee recommends wearing them for several hours after athletic activity to keep your muscles from swelling and prevent tissue damage, resulting in less pain post-workout. What level of compression should I use? Dr. Valjee says that unless a doctor has advised you otherwise, it’s best to start with the lightest amount of compression and work your way up from there if you’re not satisfied. Most people using compression socks for normal daily activities, like working out, traveling, or being on their feet all day, can choose socks with 10 to 15 mmHg of mild compression or 20 to 30 mmHg of moderate compression. These amounts can also help people recovering from surgery or injury. If you have venous disease or edema, you may want to aim for compression socks with 30 to 40 mmHg of compression—and if you need more than that, your doctor can prescribe even firmer socks. Who We Are Sarah Bradley has been a freelance writer since 2017, tackling health commerce articles, product reviews, and shopping guides on everything from dry skin moisturizers and wart removers to menstrual cups and toothbrushes for braces. She has written about podiatry products many times, so she knows how to look for products that offer true symptom relief. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit 5 Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Office on Women's Health. Varicose veins and spider veins. Codiţă I, Caplan DM, Drăgulescu EC, et al. Antimicrobial activity of copper and silver nanofilms on nosocomial bacterial species. Roum Arch Microbiol Immunol. 2010;69(4):204-212. Medline Plus. Venous insufficiency. Lim CS, Davies AH. Graduated compression stockings. CMAJ. 2014;186(10):E391-E398. doi:10.1503/cmaj.131281 Centers for Disease Control. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).