The 16 Best Compression Socks of 2023

Our best overall pick is Bombas Everday Compression Socks

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The 12 Best Compression Socks of 2022

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

What are compression socks for? Well, that depends on who you talk to, as athletes, medical workers, and those who are pregnant or suffering from foot conditions can benefit from wearing them. "Some may use them for leg ulcers, others to improve circulation, while others still can even use them to prevent thrombosis during and after a long-haul flight," says Dr. Marion Yau, a podiatrist based in the UK. Compression stockings put gentle pressure on your lower legs and feet, which can help encourage blood flow to the area. The result? Reduced swelling and relief from various other discomforts of the lower extremities.

This type of hosiery comes in varying materials, styles, and lengths (including knee-high, crew, and ankle). Compression socks are sometimes prescribed by healthcare providers, but there are tons of stellar over-the-counter options. And just because they might be serving a medical purpose doesn't mean they can't be cute.

With that said, these are today's best compression socks for stylish support.

Best Overall

Bombas Everyday Compression Socks

4.5
bombas-everyday-compression-socks

Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Made with extra-long staple cotton

  • Strategic zone cushioning

  • One pair donated for every purchase

What We Don't Like
  • Too thick for some shoes

Ever since its 2013 launch, Bombas has amassed a well-deserved cult following. The sock maker's expanded offerings include the Everyday Compression Socks, which boast medium (15–20 mmHg) compression for a not-too-tight yet pleasantly snug feel.

Woven from a blend of extra-long-staple cotton and synthetic fibers with a Y-stitched heel and a seamless toe, they're as durable as they are comfortable. These compression socks have the brand's signature honeycomb arch supports and strategic zone cushioning. What's more, for every pair purchased, another is donated to someone in need.

Price at time of publish: $24

Material: Cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex | Size Range: S–L | Colors: White, Black, Grey

Best Budget

CHARMKING Compression Socks

4.9
Charmking Compression Socks

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Pack of three

What We Don't Like
  • Minimal compression

Compression socks can be expensive, but they don't have to be. Case in point: Charmking. With light pressure and 360-degree stretch, these nylon stockings come in packs of three and are available in a range of colors and prints.

Price at time of publish: $30

Material: Nylon | Size Range: S/M–L/XL | Colors: Various Multi

Best Lightweight

Burton Performance Ultralight Compression Socks

Burton Women's Compression Socks

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Budget-friendly

  • Ergonomic design

What We Don't Like
  • Not machine-washable

You don't have to be hitting the slopes to reap the benefits of Burton Performance Socks. Woven from a brilliant blend of merino wool and nylon, these mid-rise compression stockings are stretchy, supportive, and toasty-warm.

Price at time of publish: $30

Material: Nylon, merino wool, polyamide nanoglide, acrylic, polypropylene, elastane | Size Range: S/M–M/L | Colors: True Black, Blue/Green Slate +more

Best for Fitness

Sockwell Pulse Firm Women's Compression Socks

Sockwell Pulse Firm Women's Compression Socks

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Arch support

  • Anti-fatigue technology

What We Don't Like
  • May be too warm for year-round use

Designed for performance, Sockwell's Pulse Firm line flaunts anti-fatigue technology and full arch support, plus graduated compression (20–30 mmHg) up the calf. Fitness aficionados will also appreciate the lightly cushioned soles and seamless toe closures.

Price at time of publish: $30

Material: Merino wool, nylon, rayon, spandex | Size Range: S/M–M/L | Colors: Mineral, Black, Lilac +more

Best for Athletes

Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks

4.8
Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks

Amazon

What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Won't slip down

What We Don't Like
  • Not machine-washable

Whether you're a distance runner, cyclist, obstacle course racer, or downhill skier, you can count on Physix for below-the-knee support. Made with serious athletes in mind, these double-stitched compression socks help increase circulation for improved performance. And thanks to a stretchy band around the tops, they won't slip down.

Price at time of publish: $22

Material: Nylon, spandex | Size Range: SM, L/XL, XXL | Colors: Black, Black/White, Nude +more

Best for Recovery

CEP Tall Compression Socks 3.0

CEP Women's Tall Compression Socks 3.0

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Graduated compression

  • Cooling technology

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

When your overworked muscles crave TLC, slip into a pair of CEP 3.0 socks. The knit structure provides ample support and graduated compression (20–30 mmHg) from toe to knee, while HeiQ Smart Temp technology ensures you stay comfortably cool.

Price at time of publish: $60

Material: Polyamide, spandex | Size Range: 2, 3, 4 (based on shoe sizes) | Colors: Black/Dark Grey, Rose/Light Grey, Blue/Grey +more

Best for Pregnancy

Belly Bandit Compression Socks

Belly Bandit Compression Socks

Nordstrom

What We Like
  • Good for pregnancy

  • Odor control

What We Don't Like
  • Not machine-washable

With prenatal bodies in mind, these knee-highs from Belly Bandit are designed to maximize circulation and minimize swelling in your feet, ankles, and calves. Not only that, but the silver-infused heathered knit helps keep foot odors under control.

Price at time of publish: $60

Material: Polyester, nylon, spandex, cotton | Size Range: 1–2 (based on shoe size) | Colors: Black/White, White, Charcoal +more

Best for Medical Workers

Figs Multi Stripe Compression Socks

figs-striped-socks
Figs.
What We Like
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Breathable

  • Notably soft

What We Don't Like
  • Not machine-washable

Known for stylish scrubs that flatter all figures, medical workers can count on Figs for head-to-toe work attire. The brand's exceedingly soft and breathable compression socks are designed to alleviate the aches and pains associated with being on your feet all day.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: Nylon, lycra | Size Range: S–L | Colors: Green Multi Stripe

Best Knee-High

Comrad Knee-High Compression Socks

4.8
comrad-knee-high-compression-socks

Comrad

What We Like
  • Ombre design

  • Wide sizes available

  • Odor control

What We Don't Like
  • May shrink in the wash

Comrad's effortlessly cool Ombre Compression Socks offer medium (15–25 mmHg) support to increase circulation, reduce swelling, and aid in muscle recovery. The knee-high design is also infused with silver ions to keep foot odors at bay.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: Nylon, spandex | Size Range: S–L | Colors: Berry, Black, Teal

Best Crew

Champion Compression Sport Crew Socks

Champion Women's Compression Sport Crew Socks

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Memory-cushioned bottoms

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Limited support

Champion Sport Crew Socks deliver graduated support from the toes up to the mid-calf. The compressive design is enhanced even further with ultra-comfy memory-cushioned soles.

Price at time of publish: $18

Material: Polyester, cotton, nylon, spandex | Size Range: One size | Colors: Black, White

Best Ankle

Thorlo Experia Compression Low Cut Sock

Thorlo Experia Compression Low Cut Sock

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Stabilizing ankle wrap

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Ventilated toe boxes

What We Don't Like
  • Runs small

Sometimes all you need is a little support for your feet, which is why we love the low-cut Thorlo Experia Socks. Loomed from copper-infused polyester with stabilizing ankle wraps, midfoot compression, and ventilated toe boxes, they pull out all the stops to keep your puppies comfy and cool.

Price at time of publish: $16

Material: Copper-infused polyester, nylon, elastic | Size Range: S–L | Colors: White/Black, White, Royal, Grey +more

Best Copper

BlueenJoy Copper Compression Socks

BlueenJoy Copper Compression Socks

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Pack of six

  • Won't slip down

What We Don't Like
  • Wear down quickly

Copper-infused fabrics are thought to help increase circulation while minimizing bacteria-causing odors. In addition to progressive support up the calf, these copper compression socks have wide toe boxes and a non-slip cuff.

Price at time of publish: $28

Material: Copper-infused polyester | Size Range: S/M–L/XL | Colors: Various Multi

Best for Running

Vitalsox Compression Socks

Vitalsox Compression Graduated Socks

Walmart

What We Like
  • Four-way stretch material

  • Quick-drying polypropylene


What We Don't Like
  • Not true to size

Vitalsox Compression Socks are a popular choice among runners, but they're also a good option if you're active, pregnant, or otherwise dealing with foot or calf pain. They’re lightly padded, which provides additional comfort and helps to avoid friction from impact exercises like running.

Price at time of publish: $30

Material: Silver DryStat, spandex, lycra, nylon | Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Black, Royal, Yellow +more

Best for Travel

Sockwell Firm Graduated Compression Socks

Sockwell Firm Graduated Compression Socks

Ames Walker

What We Like
  • Luxe and breathable fabric

  • Contains odor control

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to put on

Sockwell’s sock uses four zones of 20-30 mmHg graduated compression and offers natural moisture management, odor control, and thermoregulation so you can feel as comfortable as can be as you reap the benefits of the design.

Price at time of publish: $30

Material: Merino wool, rayon, nylon, spandex | Size Range: S/M-M/L | Colors: Black, Bluestone, Charcoal +more

Best for Wide Calf

Copper Joint Wide Calf Copper Compression Socks Wide Calf Copper Compression Socks

copper-joint-wide-calf-copper-compression-socks

Amazon

What We Like
  • Enhanced compression provides superior arch support

  • Copper helps reduce odor

What We Don't Like
  • Some reviewers note they can be hard to remove

Infused with copper, these compression socks from Copper Fit are known for their intense arch and ankle support (the copper also functions to help control foot odor). They are specifically designed for wide calves, with fabric that comes right up to below the knee. Reviewers note that the compression is strong, so consider ordering a size up.

Price at time of publish: $29

Material: Nylon, spandex, polyester | Size Range: S/M/L/XL | Colors: Black, White

Best Compression Alternative

Danish Endurance Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking Socks 3-Pack for Men, Women & Kids, Walking, Trekking, Work, Outdoor

Merino Wool Cushioned Hiking Socks 3-Pack

Amazon

What We Like
  • Thermoregulating merino wool keeps feet cool

  • Moisture wicking keeps feet dry

  • Targeted cushioning is a less binding alternative

What We Don't Like
  • Don't offer that much compression support

If you want the support of compression socks, but find them too binding or uncomfortable, we suggest trying a pair that features targeted cushioning. These are specially designed to offer arch and sole support with added cushioning that protects against blisters. This blend of merino wool is made with moisture wicking technology so that you can enjoy a cozy feel while still maintaining dry feet.

Price at time of publish: $40


Material: 
Merino wool, nylon, elastane, acrylic | Size Range: S/M/L/XL | Colors: Black, Grey, Brown, Black, Red, Green

Meet the Expert

Dr. Marion Yau (aka Miss Foot Fixer) is an award-winning celebrity podiatrist and YouTuber based in the United Kingdom.

What to Look For in Compression Socks

Performance

There are many different types of compression socks, and it's necessary it find a pair that provides the right amount of support to help you achieve your goals. You may want a pair that helps reduce fatigue and prevents injury while you’re exercising, or perhaps you want to use them for recovery, on long flights, or at any other time that you may need to regulate your circulation. The amount of compression you'll need in each scenario can vary and is measured by mmHg (see an explanation of this below).

Material

In order to deliver the supportive stretch you're after, compression socks are typically made with synthetic materials, such as nylon, rayon, lycra, or spandex. For added breathability and durability, some are woven with cotton, merino wool, and other natural fibers.

mmHg

When shopping around for compression socks, you'll often see an mmHg rating. This unit of measurement is short for "millimeters of mercury" and indicates the compression level range. For instance, socks with 15–25 mmHg would offer at least 15 and no more than 25 millimeters of mercury of pressure, with the lower number in the range indicating the amount of pressure applied to the calf and the higher end of the range reflecting the pressure on the foot and ankle.

Light compression is known to alleviate mild symptoms, such as minor leg swelling and mild discomfort from long periods of sitting or standing, and to promote stability and good posture in athletes, while mild compression can promote faster recovery after exercise. Socks with 20-30 mmHg and above are considered medical-grade and should come recommended by a doctor to prevent and alleviate symptoms of various medical conditions.

Length

Compression socks are typically knee-high, offering increased circulation and supportive benefits from the knees down to the toes. However, you can also get shorter styles, such as crew socks or ankle socks.

Care Instructions

Compression socks vary in terms of their care instructions. Many recommend hand-washing or at least air-drying, so be sure to check the tag or product description before cleaning them. If you prefer low-maintenance socks, look for a machine-washable pair.

FAQ
  • What do compression socks do?

    Compression socks are a relatively thick and tightly woven type of hosiery designed to increase circulation back to the heart by putting light pressure on the lower legs, ankles, and feet. This can help reduce swelling, alleviate tension, and potentially aid in recovery from a strenuous workout or injury.

    "Generally, compression stockings are not useful for painful conditions, but elastic stockings and tubigrips have been reported to help with sprained ankles," Dr. Yau says. "Compression socks can also be of benefit for plantar fasciopathy (aka plantar fasciitis)."

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

    You can wear compression socks all day or for shorter periods. Medical workers and others who spend most of the day on their feet may opt for extended wear, while athletes might wear them only during or after physical activity.

    Bear in mind, though, that it's not necessarily helpful to wear compression socks to bed, as when you're lying down, you take away the effect of gravity that causes a circulation issue to begin with, a report from the Cleveland Clinic says.

  • How tight should compression socks be?

    Compression socks don't have to be exceedingly tight to offer therapeutic benefits. "Make sure they do not feel too tight, as this can lead to more harm than help by restricting circulation, impairing healing, and causing more foot pain," says Dr. Yau.

    The stockings should be snug but not uncomfortably tight, ideally with graduated compression that's tighter on the toes and slightly more forgiving up the calf. If your socks leave a deep indent or red marks on your legs, they're probably too tight

    You should replace your compression socks after three to six months of regular wear since the elastic fibers eventually break down and start to lose their effectiveness, according to the National Health Service in the U.K. and

  • Is it okay to wear them every day?

    Yes, you can wear compression socks daily. However, the amount of time that you should wear them will depend on the intended purpose. Be especially aware of the time you should wear medical-grade compression socks, which you doctor will delineate upon recommending or prescribing them.

  • Who should wear compression socks?

    Anyone looking to alleviate swelling and increase blood flow can wear over-the-counter compression socks. Medical-grade socks can be worn by those who have a prescription to use the garments to manage serious health concerns and the symptoms that go along with them.

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer specializing in fitness, pregnancy, and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed a podiatrist, pored over user reviews, and researched the general purpose, benefits, and various uses for compression socks. She looked at styles from a wide range of brands and carefully considered the material, length, price, and mmHg ratings before making her final selections. From the brands on this list, she has tried and loved Bombas, Thorlo, Belly Bandit, and Champion. Theresa is a regular contributor at Byrdie, where she covers workout apparel, at-home therapeutic devices, and cosmetics.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any compression socks from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Borkow G, Gabbay J. Putting copper into action: copper-impregnated products with potent biocidal activities. FASEB J. 2004;18(14):1728-1730.

  2. Borkow G. Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the SkinCurr Chem Biol. 2014;8(2):89-102. doi:10.2174/2212796809666150227223857

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