I Travel More Than 40 Days a Year, and These Compression Socks Keep My Feet Feeling Fresh Through Flights and Workouts

Photo: Getty Images/martin-dm
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I think we can all agree that traveling takes a toll on us physically. Usually, after a long flight, my entire body just feels off. Between the lack of circulation and overall movement, plus terrible sleep, I typically end up getting off the plane a few unwelcome souvenirs: swollen ankles, achy feet, and restless legs. But recently, I wore Bombas’ Everyday Compression Socks ($28) on an international flight and arrived at my destination actually feeling… fresh.

I already have a trusty pair of Bombas ankle socks for trail running, but to be honest, I was hesitant to try the compression socks; knee-high anything just seems like a lot of coverage. Yet after experiencing the benefits, I may be switching up my travel game.

Bombas Everyday Compression Socks — $28.00

Height: Ankle and knee-high
Sizes: Small, medium, and large
Colors: 6


  • Soft, comfy material
  • Fabric is thin enough to fit under pants
  • Supportive arch cradle
  • Medium compression for a snug but not overly tight fit
  • Great brand mission to donate one pair of socks for every pair purchased


  • Run a bit warm

Bombas Performance Compression Socks — $36.00

Height: Ankle, crew, and knee-high
Sizes: Small, medium, and large
Colors: 3


  • Soft, comfy material
  • Supportive arch cradle
  • They stay put and don’t fall down
  • Great brand mission to donate one pair of socks for every pair purchased


  • Hard to pull on (but I guess to be expected)

What are compression socks?

Compression socks are specialty socks that apply a gentle squeezing pressure to your feet, ankles, and lower legs (depending on which height you wear). They are “useful in travel or extended sitting situations by increasing circulation and decreasing swelling in the lower legs,” explains Sandy Baird, DC, a chiropractor in Oakland, California, who primarily treats runners for foot, ankle, and knee injuries.

Experts In This Article

“Not all compression socks are created equal,” says Dr. Baird, explaining that the amount of compression is classified in numerical ranges. The lowest limit is around 15-20mmHg—the rating of Bombas’ Everyday socks. More serious socks have a higher range: 20-30mmHg, the rating of Bombas’ Performance socks. Above that, you get into the “medical grade” range, and you’d want to check with your doctor before trying that much compression. For the general population, 20-30mmHg is the sweet spot, says Dr. Baird, though Dallas foot and ankle surgeon Nam Tran, DPT, recommends “starting at the lowest and increasing the compression as tolerated.”

To ease myself into the world of compression socks, I ordered a few products: one everyday compression pair, one knee-high performance pair, and one targeted performance (crew height) pair.

How Bombas compression socks stand up to travel

Before my long travel day (including almost 12 hours of in-flight time from Salt Lake City to Italy), I wore my classic white and blue Bombas Everyday socks. When I first slipped them on, they offered barely perceptible compression, which is preferable for me, especially since I knew I’d be wearing them for hours on end. They’re fairly thin so they fit nicely under the baggy jeans I was wearing. One downside? I tend to overheat on clammy, crowded flights, so by the wee hours of the morning I was starting to feel them.

Closeup of legs in Bombas Everyday Compression Socks and a backpack
Photo: Author

Despite that, I was thrilled at how my body felt. Throughout my entire life, I’ve gotten what I call “leg aches” and often have to pop an ibuprofen to ease the discomfort. So, I normally arrive at my destination feeling restless with calf pain. But not this day—I walked into the Venice airport relaxed and ready to beat my impending jet lag.

How they feel during workouts

Running is far from my favorite activity, so if there’s anything I can do to make it easier on my body, I’m here for it. “One benefit a lot of people are unaware of is that compression socks can dampen the muscle vibration that occurs during running,” says Dr. Baird. “This may decrease muscle fatigue and lessen post-exercise soreness.”

Closeup of legs in Bombas Performance Compression Socks and sneakers
Photo: Author

So, obviously, I wanted to see for myself and took the Bombas’ Performance socks on a road run. These socks have a higher compression rating, and as soon as I put them on, my feet started to tingle. It took me a few wears to get accustomed to the sensation: My entire leg feels like it's in a blood pressure cuff, especially around my forefoot, ankle, and top of the calf.

While I still feel immense relief every time I take them off, my legs thank me the next day when my persistent calf soreness is quietly absent. But most impressively, my feet were pain-free the morning after breaking in a new pair of boots on a 10-mile city walk (and yes this counts as a workout in my book).

Bottom line: It looks like I have a new must-pack item.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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