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The Best Compression Socks for Women — Comfy, Stylish and Great for Circulation

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Written by Jenna Cartusciello

On the hunt for the best compression socks for women? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as picking the top-rated product. Ratings certainly matter, but so do the compression level, fit and feel, all of which can change depending on your specific needs. “Compression socks come in different sizes, strengths and lengths based on the medical condition you are trying to target,” says Laura Purdy, MD, board certified family medicine physician and medical executive. But how do you know what pair to pick?

We recommend first speaking with your doctor, who can help you determine the size, length and compression level you need. From there, it’s a good idea to look for a product that caters to your concerns, though you don’t necessarily need to get bogged down in the details. A great pair of socks can help alleviate many different conditions.

“Compression socks can be incredibly beneficial, particularly in preventing and treating certain circulatory issues,” explains Shoshana Ungerleider, MD, board certified internal medicine physician with expertise in vascular conditions. “They can help reduce leg swelling, alleviate aching and heaviness in the legs and minimize the risk of blood clots, especially in the deep veins (deep vein thrombosis). They’re also beneficial for those who stand or sit for long periods, helping to alleviate discomfort and fatigue.” Ready to find your dream pair? Check out our guide to the best compression socks for women below.

 

The 17 Best Compression Socks for Women

Finding the Best Compression Socks for Women

So, what exactly are compression socks? “Compression socks are specialized hosiery designed to apply gentle pressure to your legs and ankles,” says Dr. Ungerleider. “They come in various sizes and strengths, which are usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).”

Why are compression socks so helpful for improving circulation? “Blood in the legs is the furthest from the heart, and it has to travel against gravity,” adds Dr. Purdy. “Compression socks squeeze the legs gently, which helps blood travel back to the heart.” With this in mind, the most important feature of compression socks is graduated compression — meaning the compression is tighter at the feet and gets lighter as the sock rises up the calf. Socks that are too small or too tight near the knee can actually cut off circulation, so it’s important to pay attention to comfort level when trying different socks. Below, check out other features that are important to consider before making a purchase.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Compression Socks for Women

Compression Level

“When choosing compression socks, consider the level of compression that's right for you,” advises Dr. Ungerleider. There are four levels: low, moderate, firm and extra firm. Low pressure is between eight and 15 mmHg, medium is between 15 and 20, firm is between 20 and 30 and extra firm is between 30 and 40.

Regardless of the level you use, it’s important that it still be comfortable to wear. “It should be firm but not too tight. Look for graduated compression (tighter at the ankle and less so up the leg), breathable material and a comfortable fit. Make sure the socks are not too long or too short and that they apply pressure evenly without pinching.”

If your doctor advises you to use heavy compression but you find it too uncomfortable, ask about moving down to medium compression. You may also need to go up a size.

Primary Concern

The reason you want or need to wear compression socks will help you determine the right compression level. If you are treating mild leg tiredness or only need a little extra help improving circulation, low compression is a good choice. On the other hand, you may want to move up to moderate compression if you’re recovering from exercise or surgery or treating varicose veins. Firm and extra firm compression is reserved for severe medical issues such as blood clotting.

Features

While a saturated market makes it difficult to narrow down your options, it means you get to be choosy. Looking at features such as foot padding, sock thickness and whether the fabric bunches around the toes can help you make a better decision. Other bonus features to consider include copper infusion and fun colors.

Materials

Nearly all compression socks are a blend of fibers. Stretchy materials that add that squeeze without causing too much discomfort include nylon, spandex (ie. lycra or elastane) and polyester. Other materials are there to increase comfort, and they include cotton, merino wool and bamboo rayon.

Price

Before you balk at the prices of compression socks, remember: These aren’t ordinary socks. They’re specially designed to squeeze feet and calves in the right places to improve circulation. So, compression socks cost between $5 and $50 a pair, and most fall between $15 and $40.

What Are the Different Types of Compression Socks for Women?

“When choosing compression socks, consider the level of compression that's right for you,” advises Dr. Ungerleider. There are four levels: low, moderate, firm and extra firm. Low pressure is between eight and 15 mmHg, medium is between 15 and 20, firm is between 20 and 30 and extra firm is between 30 and 40.

Regardless of the level you use, it’s important that it still be comfortable to wear. “It should be firm but not too tight. Look for graduated compression (tighter at the ankle and less so up the leg), breathable material and a comfortable fit. Make sure the socks are not too long or too short and that they apply pressure evenly without pinching.”

If your doctor advises you to use heavy compression but you find it too uncomfortable, ask about moving down to medium compression. You may also need to go up a size.

Low

Low compression socks are between eight and 15 mmHg, or millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Note that mmHg is the same scale used to take your blood pressure. This level of compression is ideal for mild swelling and pain, or to gently improve your blood circulation. It’s not ideal for medical conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Moderate

Moderate compression socks are between 15 and 20 mmHg. They are the most common level of compression because they are better at improving blood circulation than light compression socks but still comfortable to wear all day. This type of stocking is helpful for long flights or car rides, and with a doctor’s permission, they may be enough to treat certain medical conditions.

Firm and Extra Firm

Firm compression socks are between 20 and 30 mmHg and extra firm are between 30 and 40. 30 and 40 mmHg socks are considered medical-grade compression, and are best ordered through your primary care provider. Firm compression is great for exercise, moderate swelling  or, with your doctor’s permission, to treat certain medical conditions.

1

Best Overall: Jobst Activewear Compression Sock, 15-20mmHg, Knee High

Pros

  • Comfortable for all day wear
  • Petite and wide calf sizing available
  • Variety of compression levels

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Third party Amazon sellers don’t allow returns
  • Certain Jobst socks are thin and uncomfortable

Need a decent amount of compression but hate the struggle of pulling on your socks? We recommend the Jobst Activewear Compression Socks. Of all the moderate compression socks we tried, these were the easiest to pull on and the most comfortable for all-day wear, thanks to their thick, cotton-like feel. We also love that these socks come in petite and plus sizing — knee-high compression socks for women under 5’5” is a rarity.

However, Jobst socks are expensive. If you buy through Amazon, make sure you purchase through the official Jobst seller platform (and not an independent seller), because you may not be able to return the socks.

2

Best Firm Compression: Sockwell Firm Graduated Compression Socks

Pros

  • Moisture wicking
  • Blend of comfortable fabrics
  • Don’t come up too high

Cons

  • Hard to pull on
  • Air dry only
  • Pricey

What we love: Sockwell uses a blend of merino wool, rayon from bamboo, nylon and spandex to create graduated and comfortable compression. They’re also moisture wicking and therefore less likely to get smelly. We like that they have a little cushioning on the bottom and don’t come up to an uncomfortable point at the knee.

Features you may not like: Sockwell recommends air drying these socks to reduce shrinking. While some buyers say that they still use the dryer without issue, the socks will likely wear down more quickly as a result. Indeed, a few customers found that the heels of the socks become thin after a few months. As with most firm compression socks, these are difficult to pull on and take off.

3

Best Medium Compression: Wellow Compression Socks

Pros

  • Fun, classy patterns
  • Hold up well in washing machine
  • Available in wide-calf sizing

Cons

  • Too long if you’re under 5’5”
  • Hard to pull on and off
  • Pricey

Compression socks take some time to get used to unless you’re wearing Wellow. We like that these socks come in fun, classy patterns and have a cozy feel. Plus, the material is moisture wicking and antimicrobial, thanks to viscose from bamboo. The other materials — polyester, spandex and nylon add stretch so that the socks aren’t too difficult to pull on.

If you’re below 5’5”, you may find that the socks come up too high and cause discomfort around the knee. A few buyers note that the socks are difficult to pull on and off, and the material feels irritating after prolonged wear.

4

Best Light Compression: Dr. Motion Knee-High Compression Socks for Women

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to pull on
  • Great pattern selection

Cons

  • A bit too long if you’re under 5’4”
  • Material is on the thin side
  • Fabric may wear down

If you don’t have a medical condition that requires firm compression, light compression may be all that you need. The Dr. Motion Knee-High Compression socks are a great pick because they offer a gentle, graduated squeeze. We like that they are easy to pull on, decently cushioned in the foot and antimicrobial, so they’re less likely to get smelly. The cute patterns are a great plus.

What could be improved: These socks may feel too long if you’re under 5’4”, but the top rim is stretchy enough that folding them down wasn’t a big issue for us. While the material is supportive, it’s also thin and can get cold. The fabric may also wear down over time.

5

Best for Standing All Day: Clove Compression Socks

Pros

  • Fun colors and patterns
  • Cotton feel
  • Cushioned bottoms

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Run long
  • Folding down the top creates discomfort

If your legs feel swollen, achy and heavy at the end of a long day, try a pair of Clove Compression Socks. Clove socks are designed for nurses and healthcare workers, so they offer ample compression while still prioritizing comfort. We love that these socks have a cotton feel, thanks to a blend of cotton (42%), elastic, spandex and polyester. Also, they have cushioned bottoms and are relatively easy to pull on. The patterns range from classy to statement, so there is something for everyone.

It’s worth noting that these socks are long and can cut into the back of the knee if you are under 5’4”. We found that folding the tops down wasn’t an ideal solution, because it created an uncomfortable amount of pressure on the wrong part of the calf.

6

Best Budget: CS CELERSPORT Compression Socks for Men and Women

Pros

  • Moisture wicking
  • Soles absorb shock
  • Relatively comfortable

Cons

  • Run long
  • Can see wear and tear after several washes
  • No wide calf sizing

You don’t have to buy the most expensive pair of compression socks to achieve better vascular health. If you’re on a budget, we recommend the CS CELERSPORT Compression Socks for Men and Women. The fabric is moisture wicking and the soles help absorb shock, and the graduated compression is relatively comfortable.

However, these unisex socks run long, so you may find them uncomfortable around the knee if you are under 5’3”. A few buyers have noticed that they wear down after several washes, and we wish that wide calf sizing were available.

7

Most Comfortable: Bombas Women’s Everyday Compression Socks (15-20mmHg)

Pros

  • Machine washable (on cold, gentle)
  • Honeycomb arch support
  • Don’t roll down

Cons

  • No wide calf sizing
  • No sizing above large
  • Not available at other retailers

Unlike most compression socks, the Bombas Compression Socks don’t come all the way up to the knee, which is a welcome relief if you don’t like the feeling of tight elastic around your knee. Despite their shorter rise, these socks still manage to stay up throughout the day. They offer medium compression and the materials include cotton, polyester, elastane and nylon.

The downsides? There are no wide calf or extra large sizes available, and this product isn’t available at other retailers.

8

Best on Amazon: Go2Socks Compression Socks, Moderate (20-30mmHg

Pros

  • Variety of styles
  • Comfortable for moderate compression
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Extra material at toe area may cause blisters
  • Some pilling after frequent washes
  • No wide-calf or petite sizing

For a no-fuss, relatively affordable pair of socks available on Amazon, we recommend the Go2Socks Compression Socks. They come in a variety of interesting styles and several compression levels (light, moderate and heavy). We like that they’re machine washable and relatively comfortable for a moderate-compression sock.

However, there is some extra material in the toe area (at the seam) that can rub on the interior of your shoes and cause discomfort. Also, the socks pill after several washes and Go2Socks doesn’t offer wide calf or petite sizing.

9

Best for Exercise: CEP Compression The Run Compression Tall Socks 4.0 (Moderate, 20-30 mmHg)

Pros

  • Great cushioning
  • Customized arch support
  • Prevent blisters

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Hard to pull on and off
  • Not comfortable for all-day wear

A pair of athletic compression socks will not only prevent blood from pooling in your lower extremities but also help you recover more quickly after your workout. We like that The Run socks from CEP Compression have excellent cushioning in the footbeds and the socks are labeled “left” and “right,” so they offer customized, contoured arch support for each foot. The material is also cooling and designed to prevent blisters.

However, these socks were difficult to take on and off and not comfortable to wear all day long. They’re also not available in petite or wide calf sizing, and they are one of our priciest recommendations.

10

Best for Varicose Veins: Comrad Knee High Compression Socks

Pros

  • Available in wide calf sizing
  • Stretchy and supportive
  • Perform well in washer and dryer

Cons

  • No petite sizing
  • No cushioning
  • Hard to pull on and off

Need socks that will help reduce varicose veins and still feel comfortable? Consider the Comrad Knee High Compression Socks. They come in a variety of cute, modern styles and colors, and the nylon and spandex blend feels stretchy and supportive. They also fare well in the washer and dryer.

On the other hand, most buyers agree that these are hard to pull on and off. A few buyers wish these socks had some cushioning (they are thin and have none). We wish these socks came in petite sizes.

11

Best for Long Flights: Away Travel The Compression Socks

Pros

  • Anti-odor materials
  • Dry quickly after a wash
  • 45% organic cotton

Cons

  • Not available at other retailers
  • Pricey
  • No petite or wide calf sizing

Air travel requires you to sit for long periods with little leg room, which makes you more susceptible to blood clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT). To reduce your risk, try Away Travel’s Compression Socks. They can be worn more than once without getting smelly, thanks to anti-odor technology, and they dry quickly after machine washing. We love that the material is 45% organic cotton, which increases comfort on a long flight.

However, Away doesn’t offer petite or wide-calf sizing, so women who fall into either category may find that the socks rise too high on the leg. These socks also aren’t available at other retailers, and they’re pricey.

12

Best for Long Car Rides: Dr. Segal Stripe Cotton Black Multi Energy Socks

Pros

  • Relatively easy to take on and off
  • Extra cushioning in footbed
  • Anti-odor

Cons

  • Not available at other retailers
  • Expensive
  • No petite or wide calf sizing

While most compression socks will work for a road trip, the ideal pair should be as comfortable as possible so you won’t take them off mid-ride. For this reason, we recommend the Dr. Segal Multi Energy Socks for long car rides. The 15-20 mmHg (light compression) socks are easy to take on and off but still offer good support and compression. We like that the footbed has extra cushioning and that the material is anti-odor.

The downsides: These socks don’t come in petite or wide-calf sizing, so some women will have a hard time finding the perfect fit. In addition, Dr. Segal’s products are expensive and not available at other retailers.

13

Best for Pregnancy: Bluemaple 6 Pack Copper Compression Socks

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Contain copper to help alleviate pain
  • Reduce swelling

Cons

  • No petite, tall or wide-calf sizing
  • Some quality issues
  • Wear and tear after several washes

Need the support of compression socks to get you through your pregnancy? Consider Bluemaple’s socks. They are sold in a six pack on Amazon (affordable!) and come in a variety of colors. We like that they contain copper which may help alleviate pain, and buyers note that they effectively reduce swelling.

On the other hand, these socks don’t come in petite, tall or wide-calf sizing. A few buyers have experienced quality issues (such as some socks having a strange fit) and noticed that you can see wear and tear on after several washes.

14

Best for Workout Recovery: CEP Compression Infrared Recovery Compression Socks

Pros

  • Infrared technology may hasten muscle recovery
  • Contoured for each foot
  • Generous footbed padding

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not available at most retailers
  • Hard to get on and off

For a pair of socks that will help you recover from exercise more quickly, try CEP Compression’s Infrared Recovery Socks. In addition to having graduated compression, these socks contain tiny ceramic particles that capture infrared heat emitted by your legs and reflect it back onto them, which helps further improve circulation and hasten recovery. We like that each sock is labeled “left” and “right” and contoured to fit each foot, and the footbed padding is generous.

The downsides: CEP Compression products are expensive, and the Infrared Recovery socks aren’t available at most retailers. They also tend to run long, don’t come in wide-calf sizing and are difficult to get on and off.

15

Best for Minor Swelling: Muk Luks Women’s 2-Pair Pack Compression Socks

Pros

  • Easy to get on and off
  • Don’t roll down
  • Great for all-day wear

Cons

  • Not compressive enough for serious conditions
  • No petite (short) sizing
  • Not available at other retailers

If you’re in the mood for fun patterns and light compression, opt for Muk Luks’ Compression Socks. The 8 to 12 mmHG of graduated compression means these socks are easy to get on and off and still provide gentle support and promote better circulation. The nylon fabric stays up on the calf and doesn’t roll down, and these are comfortable enough for all-day wear.

However, these socks don’t offer enough compression for serious conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). We like that they come in wide-calf sizing but wish they also came in petite sizing.

16

Best Mid-Calf: Dr. Motion Mid Crew

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Light compression
  • Don’t cut into the calf

Cons

  • Compression level (mmHg) unclear
  • A few buyers had negative customer service experiences
  • Some people received the wrong colors

If you don’t like wearing knee-high socks but need some level of compression for your feet and calves, consider a mid-calf sock like the Dr. Motion Mid Crew. These socks offer light compression to add support and reduce minor swelling. We love that they don’t cut into the calf but still stay up, and the light cushioning in the heel and toe helps absorb some shock.

However, it isn’t clear how much compression exactly these socks provide, though we could feel it. A few buyers had negative customer service experiences, though the majority did not.

17

Best Ankle: Dr. Motion Ankle

Pros

  • Light compression
  • Breathable material
  • Anti-slip

Cons

  • Compression level (mmHg) unclear
  • Still slip around a bit in shoes
  • Compression is concentrated in arch

If you only need pain relief and swelling reduction in your feet, consider an ankle sock like Dr. Motion’s Ankle Compression Socks. They have light compression to gently increase blood flow and decrease minor swelling, breathable mesh material and anti-slip tops so they won’t fall down off your heels.

On the other hand, we wish Dr. Motion explained how much compression these socks provide (the exact mmHg isn’t clear). A few buyers noted that they still slip around a bit, rather than staying in place, and others wish they had more compression throughout the sock — the “squeeze” is concentrated in the arch.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How many hours a day should you wear compression socks?

    A:It depends on your doctor’s recommendation. Depending on your medical history, your doctor may tell you to wear them for most of the day or only for a few hours.

  • Q: Who should not wear compression socks?

    A:“People with certain conditions, such as severe peripheral arterial disease, skin infections or dermatitis may be advised against using them,” says Dr. Ungerleider. “Additionally, those with sensory disorders of the limbs, uncontrolled diabetes or peripheral neuropathy should consult their doctor before using compression socks, as they may not be able to feel if the socks are too tight and potentially harmful.”

  • Q: How much do compression socks cost?

    A:Most compression socks cost between $10 and $50.

  • Q: Are compression socks HSA and FSA eligible?

    A:Generally, compression socks that help treat a medical condition and offer at least 30 to 40 mmHg of graduated compression are HSA, FSA and HRA eligible. We chose not to rate 30 to 40 mmHg compression socks, which we recommend ordering through your primary care provider.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Author photo

By Jenna Cartusciello

Affiliate Commerce Writer Jenna loves recommending great products to her friends and family, so helping the rest of the internet on their quest to find the best stuff makes tremendous sense! Though she mainly writes in-depth buyer’s guides these days, Jenna still enjoys crafting the occasional health article. In her spare time, she loves immersing herself in creative writing. Her favorite authors (for anyone who is willing to geek out with her) include Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed, and Jennifer Egan.

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