Are you tired of your feet and legs swelling after long flights? Then it is time to get some compression socks. Nope, they are not just for old people and pregnant women; in fact, they are a lifesaver when it comes to toes the size of sausages.
Compression socks are a must for long haul flights because they help the blood in your legs circulate. And when you are sitting for long periods of time, the blood tends to pool in one place, which is why your feet get swollen.
So, say goodbye to balloon-sized ankles and say hello to your new travel must-have. Read more to find out which are the best compression socks you can buy!
The Physix Gear socks are one of the most popular options out there. And for a good reason - they offer a heavy amount of compression, which is perfect for really long flights. They are made from Nylon and Spandex, and they are stretchy enough that they won’t be too tight on your legs.
There are two sizes to choose from - S/M and L/XL. The smaller size is best for shoe sizes 5.5-9, and calves up to 15 inches. The larger size is for shoe sizes 8-15.5 (14 for men), and calves up to 19 inches.
You can get these in a variety of accent colors, but the main body of the sock is usually black, with one nude and one white version. And you can pick up just a pair of the tall socks, or you can go for a pair of tall ones plus a pair of short socks.
One downside to these socks is that they are a bit pricey, when you look at what other sellers are offering. They cost some $20, and for that amount of money you can actually buy a pack of 8 compression socks. So, it’s up to you - do you want 8 medium-quality pairs, or one that’s really good?
Another thing worth noting about these is that they are machine washable. You can wash them on gentle cycle with cold water, and them leave them to air dry. Do not put them in the dryer - the heat could melt away their stretchiness, and they wouldn’t be nearly as good at compressing your feet.
The Charmking compression socks are perfect for those of you that like to wear colorful socks. They offer a medium level of compression (15-20mmHg), which is great for travel
And these are excellent value for money - they come in packs of 5, 7 and 8, with the most expensive pack being around $30. That’s less than $4 per a pair of socks, which is a really good deal. And you can go for a pack of 8 really colorful socks, or a pack of 8 monochromatic socks, depending on what you prefer to wear.
They are made with 85% nylon, and they feel quite nice on your legs. The socks are neither slippery nor too hot, so you can easily wear them in the warmer weeks. That’s because of the breathable fabric they are made of, which manages to maintain your body temperature.
These come in two sizes - S/M and L/XL. The S/M size is the best option for shoe sizes 5.5-9 and calf circumference up to 15”, while the L/XL is going to be the best fit for shoe sizes 8-14 (or 15.5 for women), and calves up to 19”.
You can wash machine wash these, but only on gentle cycle. They are not suitable for really hot water or the dryer, because they will loosen up and lose some of their compression ability.
These knee-high compression socks are perfect for women who want to be comfortable and stylish at the same time. You’re travelling for work and you need to dress professionally for your flight? No problem; pick up a pair of see-through compression stockings. They will keep your feet nice and tight and help with the swelling, and no one will be able to tell that they are not proper nylon hosiery.
These offer a medium amount of compression, 15-20 mmHg. And they are made from 20 denier nylon, so they shouldn’t rip too easily. However, they are not as thick as some of the other compression socks you’ve seen here, and they will last you shorter.
Which is a shame, considering that they are not cheap at all. You get one pair of these, and it will set you back about $17. Considering that some other socks come in packs of 5 for the same price, that seems a bit expensive.
The NuVein compression stocking are available in two styles - closed toe and toeless. The former is perfect for those of you that struggle with swelling in your toes. And if that’s not an issue you have, then you might as well go for the latter - that style is something you can easily wear with sandals.
But it’s worth it this is the style you are looking for. And another amazing thing about these is the size variety - they are available in sizes ranging from XS to 3XL. Meaning petite and plus sizes, in addition to regular sizes. You can check out a detailed size chart on their Amazon page.
If you struggle with swollen ankles and feet, but not legs, after long flights, then you can consider short compression socks. These are great for warmer weather, since they are much more breathable and lighter for your feet than knee-high socks. And you can easily pair them with shorter clothing, and you won’t look ridiculous.
The short socks by Charmking offer a moderate level of compression (15-20 mmHg). They are available in two sizes - S/M and L/XL. The good news is that you don’t need to worry about fitting your calves into these socks, sine they only come up to your ankles. Instead, you only need to focus on your shoe size.
The smaller size of these is best for men’s 5-9 and women’s 5.5-8.5 shoe sizes, while the larger fit men’s 8-14 and women’s 8-15.5 shoe sizes best. And since these are short socks, it’s not really an issue that they are only available in two sizes.
These socks are available in packs or 3, 6 and 7. You can choose between colorful and monochromatic packs, so there’s plenty of color variety for everyone. And the value of these is excellent - a pack of 7 socks will still cost you less than $20, which is pretty amazing.
Unfortunately, there is no information on the exact material these socks are made from. I can only tell you that they are made from some synthetic blend, and definitely not from cotton.
These compression socks are great for those of you that need more pressure in their legs to keep them from swelling. They offer a heavy level of compression (20-30 mmHg), which is not just suitable for long flights, but also for dealing with edema, varicose veins or diabetes. If you struggle with any of these illnesses, then these are a great choice for your next flight.
The Daily Use compression socks are made from nylon, with a moisture-wicking interior. Their openings are non-slip, meaning that they will stay put until you decide to take them off. And they are very breathable, so your legs should not get too hot in them.
A downside to these compression socks is that there is no size variety. They are available only in one size, which is suitable women’s shoe sizes 8-15, and calf circumference 14”-19”. For men the calf size is the same, but the shoe size is 8-14. This is supposed to be size XXL, but it’s more like M/XL.
If you think these will fit you, then you should pick up a pack. They are great value for money because you get three pairs for some $15, which comes down to only $5 a pair. The color variety is not impressive, but it does exist.
You can wash these socks in the machine, but only on gentle cycle. And you should hang them to dry - washing them on high temperatures and putting them in the dryer will cause them to lose elasticity, and king of defeat their purpose.
Foot sleeves are a good option if your main problem is not swelling, but rather foot/heel pain. They will help alleviate any pain, and make those long haul flight more bearable. These will also provide you with additional arch support, so they are easily combined with some less supportive shoes.
The level of compression is not specified, but judging from reviews I’d estimate that these socks offer a moderate level of compression - so 15-20 mmHg. They also feature an elastic opening that ensures they fit securely around your toes, but not so tightly that they make you uncomfortable.
And they are ribbed in strategic places, which really helps alleviating pain from plantar fasciitis.
There is a total of 4 sizes to choose from, which are appropriate for shoe sizes from 3 to 14. Be sure to check the size chart for these socks, to ensure you’re getting the ones that fit you well.
Unfortunately, there is no information on the exact material these socks are made from. But, I can tell you that they are made from breathable and moisture wicking fabric, which will help your feet stay dry and cool.
You can machine wash these, but only with cold water. Do not wash them with hot water, and do not put them in the dried - exposure to high temperatures could melt away their elasticity and render them useless.
Overall, this is definitely a pair of compression socks that is not going to be a great fit for everyone, but an excellent option for those of you that really need something this specific.
How about some colorful heavy compression socks? The Actinput knee-high socks offer 20-30 mmHg of compression, and they come in loads of different patterns. And they come in packs - you can get a single pair fore less than $10, or you grab a pack of 3 or 6 pairs, which is pretty good value for money.
Keep in mind that not everyone needs a high level of compression. These socks are best for people that experience a lot of swelling, or struggle with some medical condition in their legs.
These come in only two sizes, S/M and L/XL. The smaller size is suitable for calf sizes 9”-15” and shoe sizes 7-10.5 (6-9.5 for men’s), while the larger size fits calf sizes 14”-19” and shoe sizes 9.5-13.5 (8.5-12 for men’s). Unfortunately, they are not available in petite or plus sizes.
The Actinput socks are made from a mixture of Nylon and Spandex, like most others. They have a non-slip cuff that will stay put while you’re wearing them, as well as a reinforced heels that provides some cushioning. The fabric they are made from is moisture wicking and somewhat breathable, so your feet should stay dry.
And just like with all the other socks, you can wash them in the machine, but only with cold water. Washing them with really hot water and putting them in the dryer will cause them to lose elasticity, which would turn them into normal socks.
Thigh-high compression socks are not for everyone - they are best for people who struggle with edema or varicose veins, which tend to hurt a lot after long flights. If that sounds like you, then these might just be the thing you need. But if that doesn’t sound like you, I recommend you check out knee-high or ankle-high socks instead.
Since these are pretty much medical compression stockings, you can wear them with skirts and dresses, and no one will be able to tell that you’re not wearing regular stockings.
They are available in closed toe, footless and toeless versions, which is great. The latter version is perfect if you plan to wear these with open-toe shoes, and don’t have any issues with swelling in your toes.
The top band of these socks is reinforced with silicone, which ensures that they always stay in place. That’s a very useful detail, since stocking rarely stay put without anything to hold them in place.
These compression socks are made from a mixture of nylon and spandex. The materials are anti-bacterial and breathable, so and the socks should feel really comfortable and keep your legs cool and dry.
You can get these in 5 sizes, ranging from S to XXL. They are not available in petite sizes, but I think S should be a good fit for petite women, since the socks are pretty tight.
They are machine washable only on gentle cycle, and they are supposed to be air dried. Putting these in the dryer or washing them on high temperatures will make them lose elasticity.
Here’s a pair of ankle socks that provide you with a high level of compression. The Ames Walker socks offer 20-30 mmHg compression, which is great for people who struggle with a lot of swelling in their feet and ankles. They are perfect for wearing with shorts and skirts, since they look just like any regular socks.
These are mostly made from Coolmax, which is a polyester blend known for its breathability and moisture wicking properties. That means that these sock will be comfortable to wear in all temperatures.
There are two colors and four sizes to choose from. Unfortunately, they are not available in plus or petite sizes, but they’re only ankle socks - getting them in a size that corresponds your shoe size will be fine. You can check the full size chart on their Amazon page.
The Ames Walker compression socks are really high quality, but they are also a bit pricey. You only get one pair for a little under $13, which is a lot of ankle socks. However, they will last you a really long time, because they are made from durable materials.
And, as with other compression socks, they can be washed in the machine with cold water. Don’t put in them in the dryer and don’t wash them with really hot water, because that can melt away the spandex in them, and cause them to lose all their elasticity.
The Adenlina foot sleeves offer a high level of compression (20-30 mmHg), and they are great for people who need lots of arch support. These foot sleeves are also suitable if you struggle with plantar fasciitis and heel pain, as they help relieve it. And especially if the pain gets worse after long flights.
They also alleviate any swelling in your feet and ankles, but won’t do much for swollen toes. You get a pack of three pairs for a little over $20, which is really good value for money. Especially because a single pair costs about $12, so you’re basically getting one pair for free if you buy a pack!
The sizing of these socks is a bit strange. There are four sizes total, but one of them is “one size fits all”. I don’t recommend picking that one up, if you want the perfect fit. The other sizes are based on shoe sizes - 6-10, 6-13 and 9-14. There is a size chart on Amazon, but it’s a bit confusing.
The socks are made from Nylon, and they are very breathable. Their cuff is non-slip, and it will stay in place the entire time you are wearing them. And the diagonal and diamond knitting patterns of certain parts really help in providing arch support and alleviating pain strategic places.
You can wash the Andelina foot sleeve in the machine, but only on gentle cycle. Washing them with hot water and putting them in the dryer will cause them to lose elasticity and they will not be as effective any more.
Do your feet swell up like balloons after long flights? That’s because you’re sitting most of the time, and gravity is causing blood to pool up in your lower extremities. Which causes swelling, pain, and in extreme cases, blood clots.
Now, if you struggle with swollen feet after long flights, you definitely need a good pair of compression socks. They keep your legs nice and tight, which helps the blood circulate and stops it from pooling in one area. This in turn means that the swelling is reduced, and your feet feel pretty much the same as they always do.
And I’m not only talking about 10+ hour flights. I’m talking about any flight longer than 3 hours, and even the shorter ones, if they make your feet swell.
There are lots of different types of compression socks - short, tall, toeless, closed toe, foot sleeves etc. Depending on what kind of swelling you experience, you should choose a type that’s going to work best for you.
If your entire lower legs swell up when you fly, then your best bet are knee-length compression socks. They will keep the blood flowing in your lower legs, and reduce the amount of swelling. But, they might be a bit uncomfortable in the summer days. Even though most of the socks that you see here are very breathable, it’s still not nice to wear thick, knee-length socks mid-July.
If you only experience swelling in your ankle or your toes, you should be fine with ankle-length compression socks. These are much easier to bear in summer, and they’re great for wearing with shorter clothes. But they won’t do anything for your swollen calves.
Foot sleeves are designed to reduce ankle swelling and provide you with additional arch support. This type of compression socks is usually good for people with plantar fasciitis, as it really helps relieve heel and feet pain. But if your toes tend to get swollen, this type of socks won’t do much for you.
There are also thigh-high compression socks, but they are more medical-grade than for travel. However, they are a good choice if you have edema or varicose veins, which tend to hurt after long flights.
The pressure of a pair of compression socks is measured in mmHg - millimetres of Mercury. It can range anywhere from 8 to 50, so you need to pay attention to the the amount of pressure in the socks.
The best compression socks for flights offer either moderate (15-20 mmHg) or heavy (20-30mmHg) compression. Go with moderate compression if your feet do swell up to a bearable degree. And go for heavy compression if you feel like you might just float away after the flight. Additionally, higher levels of compression are the better option for people who struggle with varicose veins, diabetes, edema and similar illnesses.
There are other levels of compression (light, surgical & maximum), but none of those are suitable for flying. So, if you stumble upon a pair of socks that offers less than 15 mmHg or more than 30 mmHg compression, avoid them. And you won’t see any like those in this review - I’ve only selected compression socks that offer moderate and heavy levels of compression.
Compression socks should be tight on your legs, but not so tight that they make you uncomfortable. Most of them don’t come in too many sizes, but there is always some variety to choose from. And you need to pay attention to two things when choosing a pair of tall socks - your shoe size and your calf circumference.
It’s easier if you’re going with short socks; with them, you only need to think about your shoe size.
I will talk about the sizing in each of the mini reviews, so be sure to check those. And keep in mind that most of these socks are only available in 2-3 sizes - only some of the pairs are actually available in plus sizes. Whenever that’s the case, I will mention it in the pros boxes.
Not sure which of the socks are the best fit for you? Not a problem - here are our top choices, so pick a pair that is best suitable for you!
Knee-high compression socks are the best for swollen feet and I recommend the Actinput ones. They are made from breathable and moisture wicking material, and they will provide you with heavy compression. In addition to that, these socks are very affordable, and they come in packs of 3 and 6. Purchasing larger packs will give you excellent value for money, and you can choose your favorite patterns.
If you mostly deal with swollen ankles, then the Charmking short socks are a good option for you. They are also an excellent choice for hot summer months, since you can easily wear them with shorts and skirts. They will help with swelling in your ankles and feet and reduce any pain in them because they offer a medium level of compression. And they are really good value for money, since you can get a pack of 7 socks for less than $20!
If you struggle with edema or varicose veins that hurt like hell after long flights, then thigh-high compression stocking are just the thing for you. These ones provide a high level of compression, and help not just with pain, but also with swelling in your legs. You can choose from three different styles (toeless, footless, closed toe) and two colors, and all of them will feature silicone dots at the thigh cuffs.
Head over to Amazon to see the color variety and prices of all of the compression socks featured in this review.
Also, check out our related posts for ideas on other must-have travel gear!
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!