Compression socks, also referred to as compression stockings, are a type of specialized sock designed to help promote blood circulation. Compression socks are used to help promote healthy circulation in those with less-mobile lifestyles as well as athletes to increase aerobic endurance. Compression socks have been proven to reduce the risk of circulatory issues such as deep-vein thrombosis, blood clots, and, embolisms. [1] More recently however, compression socks have become popular among athletes seeking to temporarily increase circulation in their legs. This use of compression socks has shown the ability to ‘significantly’ improve athletic performance[2], and is therefore a very attractive legal means of performance enhancement.

Compression socks are used to help promote healthy circulation in those with less-mobile lifestyles, as well as by athletes to increase aerobic endurance

This article will help you better understand the benefits of compression socks, what compression socks do, how compression socks work, and where to buy compression socks. With all the benefits compression socks and stockings have to offer, it’s no wonder that these products have thousands of positive reviews online, and are becoming an increasingly-popular choice among health-conscious consumers and athletes. By far, the most popular type of compression sock is the graduated compression sock, which applies more pressure on the foot, and gradually decreases as it reaches the calf, knee, and thigh. Below, you’ll find a quick reference of some of the most popular compression socks available online.

Product name Rating Price
Compression Socks Blitzu Men and Women Performance Sport Running Socks. Graduated leg Support. Improves Circulation, Recovery. Relief for Shin Splints, Calf & Leg Pain, Plantar Fasciitis. Black L/XL Compression Socks Blitzu Men and Women Performance Sport Running Socks. Graduated leg Support. Improves Circulation, Recovery. Relief for Shin Splints, Calf & Leg Pain, Plantar Fasciitis. Black L/XL
(759)
Compression Socks for Men & Women, BEST Graduated Athletic Fit for Running, Nurses, Shin Splints, Flight Travel, & Maternity Pregnancy. Boost Stamina, Circulation, & Recovery - Includes FREE EBook! Compression Socks for Men & Women, BEST Graduated Athletic Fit for Running, Nurses, Shin Splints, Flight Travel, & Maternity Pregnancy. Boost Stamina, Circulation, & Recovery - Includes FREE EBook!
MudGear Obstacle Race Compression Socks, Outdoor Performance Running Socks for Mud Runs and OCR - 1 Pair, Black/Orange, Large MudGear Obstacle Race Compression Socks, Outdoor Performance Running Socks for Mud Runs and OCR - 1 Pair, Black/Orange, Large
(710)
Nurse Mates Women's 12-14 mmHg Compression Trouser Sock Ekg Nurse Mates Women's 12-14 mmHg Compression Trouser Sock Ekg
Sockwell Womens Chevron Travel Compression Socks (Guava, M/L) Sockwell Womens Chevron Travel Compression Socks (Guava, M/L)
Vitalsox Graduated Compression VT1211 Performance Patented Training, Race, and Recovery Socks Pairs with DryStat (Black, Large) Vitalsox Graduated Compression VT1211 Performance Patented Training, Race, and Recovery Socks Pairs with DryStat (Black, Large)

What Do Compression Socks Do

Compression socks are specifically designed to help promote healthy veins and normal blood circulation, and can greatly increase aerobic performance of muscles. These garments which can cover anything from your ankle to your entire leg help reduce incidence of varicose veins, lymphoedema, blood clots, and several other vascular and circulatory issues [3]. Compression socks come in various sizes and specifications, such as compression boots, ankle socks, half-calf socks, knee-high, and compression stockings—which cover the entire leg.

Compression socks are specifically designed to help promote healthy veins and normal blood circulation, and can greatly increase aerobic performance of muscles

These types of socks are often used by physical therapists as part of a compression therapy program. These programs are often designed to help patients suffering from conditions, such as paralysis, which result in a decrease in mobility. One of the most effective means of promoting healthy circulation is movement, and those suffering from conditions that limit their mobility are at much higher risk of developing circulatory issues. Compression socks are considered to be highly-effective, and are wildly-popular for their non-invasive approach for treating circulatory issues.

How Do Compression Socks Work

compression-socks-diagram

Photo From The Alaskan Vein Clinic

Compression socks apply a pressure around your legs which reduces the overall diameter of your vascular system, which increases valve effectiveness—which ultimately works to increase blood flow. This type of ‘hack’ helps to reduce the development of varicose veins and promote healthy structuring of veins as you age. These types of socks have been used for centuries, finding their origin back as far as 5000 B.C. However, modern manufacturing processes have made them much more effective and readily available.

In patients with decreased mobility, compression socks work to help reduce the incidence of vascular disorders. When circulation is compromised by a lessening in movement or activity, the flow of blood through your veins can be disturbed. In healthy, active people blood flow is much like water through a pipe with strong pressure. Tiny valves in your veins prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction, which helps reduce blood clots and promotes healthy vascular structure. When circulation is compromised, blood flow can eddy—moving in different directions from the main current. Compression socks help reduce this type of incidence in people without full mobility.

The Benefits of Compression Socks

Compression socks offer a very potent ability to help reduce the effects of lifestyles in which mobility is largely decreased. For patients with paralysis, compression socks are a vital part of their day to day lives to help reduce the risk of vascular issues. For elderly people, often physically-unable to move as much as they were earlier in life, compression socks offer a very similar advantage. Compression socks have also become popular among athletes and sports enthusiasts for their ability in providing performance-enhancing effects. By offering the same circulatory advantages to a healthy person, compression socks are able to help reduce muscle recover periods and provide an increased effectiveness in athletic performance.

compression-therapy-varicose-veins

Photo From Dr. Segals

As our knowledge of medicine and health conditions deepens with continual research, very fundamental understandings have been re-iterated. One of those fundamentals of health is that walking just 10-15 minutes a day can help reduce your chance of disease greatly. Research has shown that walking regularly can help reduce the decline of cognitive function as we grow older[4],  as well as lowering all other incidences of disease such as heart attacks.[5] With such a startling new awareness (or perhaps just recollection of old ways) compression socks offer a powerful ability in helping to simulate the effects of exercise in those that are less mobile. For those that are still very mobile, compression socks offer powerful temporary boosts in aerobic performance and quicker recovery periods.

The Best Compression Socks

The benefits of compression socks are clear and well-documented; they help prevent vascular-related disease if you have mobility issues, and can increase you’re aerobic performance if your don’t. Technically, they are performing the same functions in both cases. Their are several different types of compression socks, such as full-length, knee-high, sock, and gradient. These different types are used for different applications and purposes, and you should always consult your doctor before making a decision on which design is best suited for you. However, in consulting the consumer market at-large, we have the possibility to understand which compression socks are the most-popular. By paying close attention to online reviews, sales numbers, price ranges, and manufacturer—you can determine a handful of compression socks that are clearly better than most. These compression socks are recommended choices if you are looking to improve your circulation.

Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks

Vitalsox has been making performance compression socks for nearly 2 decades, and have helped pioneer many of the more celebrated features of these products. Their Silver DryStat fabric utilizes the powerful anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties of silver particles. These nano-particles, more familiar to many as Colloidal Silver supplements, offer a powerful means to help fight off odor and bacteria commonly found in compression gear. Additionally, their self-wicking and self-drying MicroSupreme fabrics offer an additional edge in aerobic performance and circulatory assitance.

Vitalsox Graduated Compression VT1211 Performance Patented Training, Race, and Recovery Socks Pairs with DryStat (Black, Large)
Vitalsox Graduated Compression VT1211 Performance Patented Training, Race, and Recovery Socks Pairs with DryStat (Black, Large)
Price: $21.70
You save: $13.30 (38 %)

Physix Gear Graduated Compression Socks

Physix Gear specializes in high performance athletic gear, such as compression socks, compression sleeves, planter fasciitis foot compression socks, and kinesiology tapes.  Physix describes their compression socks as a comfortable alternative to doctor-recommended styles which are often rigid and stiff. They offer many different styles and colors, offer a 20-30 mmHg pressure, and are suitable for men and women of all ages and needs. While this company is relatively new in the market, they offer a tremendous product that has received tremendous reviews.

Compression Socks for Men & Women, BEST Graduated Athletic Fit for Running, Nurses, Shin Splints, Flight Travel, & Maternity Pregnancy. Boost Stamina, Circulation, & Recovery - Includes FREE EBook!
Compression Socks for Men & Women, BEST Graduated Athletic Fit for Running, Nurses, Shin Splints, Flight Travel, & Maternity Pregnancy. Boost Stamina, Circulation, & Recovery - Includes FREE EBook!
Price: $24.95
You save: $11.04 (31 %)

Blitzu Graduated Compression Socks

Blitzu is a company specilizing in several performance gear markets such as headlamps, trail lights, and lanterns. Additionally, they offer a line of compression wear that includes a very well-reviewed design of compression socks. The Blitzu compression socks have been designed with principles of kinesilogy taping in mind, and offer a full degree of elastic and performance-oriented support. These socks are made specifically for use in high-endurance physical activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and sports. These socks come in serveral different colors and sizes, and are suitable for men and women or any age.

Compression Socks Blitzu Men and Women Performance Sport Running Socks. Graduated leg Support. Improves Circulation, Recovery. Relief for Shin Splints, Calf & Leg Pain, Plantar Fasciitis. Black L/XL
Compression Socks Blitzu Men and Women Performance Sport Running Socks. Graduated leg Support. Improves Circulation, Recovery. Relief for Shin Splints, Calf & Leg Pain, Plantar Fasciitis. Black L/XL
Price: $19.97
You save: $15.00 (43 %)

Sockwell Graduated Compression Socks

Sockwell focuses more on aesthics than many other brands on this list, and specifially cater to the demands of women’s styles. They offer a large selection of different patterns and colors, largely inspired from their sister company Goodhews, which make regular socks in designer patterns and colors. The Sockwell Compression socks come in graduated forms, typically in the 15-20 mmHg range, and offer multiple zones of compression to help support active lifestyles. These socks are designed largely around the stylistic interests of women, but offer a lines of men’s products as well. Sockwell products are made in the USA and contain a unique blend of 5% bamboo fibers in their products.

Sockwell Womens Chevron Travel Compression Socks (Guava, M/L)
Sockwell Womens Chevron Travel Compression Socks (Guava, M/L)
Price: $24.95
You save: $0.04 ( %)

Where to Buy Compression Socks

Compression socks are a common commodity among sports stores these days, and are made by many major brands such as Nike, Champion, and Under Armor. However, for more specilized and high-quality compression socks, you’re best bet is to shop online . Most of the brands mentioned in this article sell products from their websites directly, although those prices reflect the MSRP, which is always higher than actual market value. For the best deal on compression socks it’s recommended that you buy online from retail marketplaces like Amazon, Overstock, or Jet. On these sites you’ll have access to actual customer reviews, lower prices, and often free shipping through programs such as Amazon Prime.

For the best deal on compression socks it’s recommended that you buy online from retail marketplaces like Amazon

Compression socks offer a powerful ability to help enhance aerobic performance and address circulatory issues in limbs. Research has shown compression therapy to help prevent such conditions as swelling, muscle pain, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosus. Additionally, many physical therapists rely on compression socks and leggings to help provide those with immobilities a way to help reduce their risks of blood clots and vascular issues. If you are seeking to enhance your athletic performance and unlock additional endurance, brands such as Physix, Vitalsox, and Blitzu offer great compression sock products. Overall, these types of performance products offer a very effective means of ‘hacking’ your body to unlock hidden potential and help prevent disease in many cases.

Compression Socks
Performance Health Products
Compression socks offer a powerful means of reducing the risk of vascular diseases in people with limited mobility, as well as increasing aerobic performance in athletes. Many large brands offer compression products, but a select few smaller brands offer powerfully-designed compression socks that outperform and outlast the competition.
Benefits
Increase Circulation
Decrease risk of Vascular Disease
Prevent Varicose Veins
Increase Aerobic Endurance
Prevent Blood Clots
Overall Rating
Available on Amazon

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565483/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19057400

3. http://www.cmaj.ca/content/186/10/E391

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766353/

5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/23/lower-your-risk-of-heart-disease-in-as-little-as-15-minutes-a-day.aspx

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