Healthy Body

3 of the Best Compression Socks to Alleviate Leg Fatigue From Swelling—and Boost Circulation

Allie Flinn

Photo: Getty Images/Marcos Calvo
You've likely heard the hype around compression socks—but are they actually worth the money, or are they just another product you'll use exactly twice before shoving into the back of your drawer? Well, for starters, you can believe the hype: "The major benefits of wearing compression socks is reduction of swelling to the lower legs," explains podiatrist Jackie Sutera, DPM. This helps with leg fatigue and pain, and can aid in preventing leg wounds in people who have medical issues like diabetes or poor circulation. "It happens by encouraging the blood to circulate back up to the heart and not to 'pool' in legs and feet," Dr. Sutera explains. And if you invest in some of the best compression socks, they will certainly be useful while exercising, during recovery, and just for day-to-day life.

The people who can reap the most perks from compression socks are those who spend a lot of time on their feet, pregnant people, and people with superficial varicose veins, says Dr. Sutera, adding that both adults and children can benefit during physical activity. That said, if you have arterial circulation problems (arteries bringing oxygenated blood from heart and lungs to the body), thin, brittle skin, or wounds, compression should be avoided, and Dr. Sutera recommends consulting a medical professional prior to starting any treatment protocols. "If you have very swollen legs, poor circulation, diabetes, severe varicose veins, etc., see your doctor for guidance and possibly a prescription version of compression stockings," she says.

If you don't have any major medical conditions, she recommends starting with a low level of compression and working your way up to higher compression. "We find that people will use them more often if they are comfortable and easy to wear," says Dr. Sutera. "The more compression, the tighter and harder they are to put on and off.”

With that in mind, shop our picks for the best compression socks below

Comrad Knee High Compression Socks — $25.00

Who knew that compression socks could actually be, well, cute? Comrad offers multiple sizes and lengths of compression socks in a variety of colors and patterns, from basic black to navy stripes to the fun, color-blocked design pictured above.

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Swiftwick Aspire Four — $18.00

Designed for cycling and trail running, these firm compression socks give you extra support and help improve circulation with a barely-there feel. The cut of these socks fit just below your calf, and they come in nine different colors.

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Ostrichpillow Compression Socks — $30.00

Say hello to your new everyday compression socks. These feature gentle compression and are made from a blend of bamboo and recycled polyester, which makes them incredibly soft and breathable. The mismatched colors and patterns bring a sense of whimsy to something that’s inherently practical.

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