Socks are often an afterthought in fashion — unless, that is, you have foot or neck pain, or a job that requires you to be on your feet for hours. If any of those scenarios apply to you, owning a pair of stylish compression socks is the best solution possible. And make no mistake: functional socks that are good for your health can look great, too.
Compression socks can prevent blood from pooling in the legs and feet, decrease the risk of blood clots, and relieve inflammation that is the root of so many of our aches and pains.
This list includes socks with graduated compression from the ankle throughout the calves, socks with incredible arch support, and athletic running socks that are made with moisture-wicking fabrics to prevent bacteria and odors from becoming a problem. Maybe you suffer from a foot condition like plantar fasciitis or have intolerable pain in your legs. Perhaps you love traveling but always experience leg swelling on long flights — or you work long hours at a hospital or school. All of these situations call for a quality pair of compression socks that delivers mild to firm compression, depending on your needs.
Compression socks can help your feet and legs feel more relaxed and you'll feel less fatigued at the end of the day, but they're not always the most attractive of garments. If you like to have fun with your socks — think: professional argyle, colorful polka dots, or fun animal prints — we've got you covered.
1Best For Everyday Wear: Nearly Knee-High Compression Socks That Come In 34 Colors And Patterns
If you're searching for everyday compression socks that don't look like they're medical-grade, it won't be easy to find a better brand than this one. With more than 30 color/design choices that include hearts, polka dots, sheep, and stripes, these socks will put a smile on your face, no matter how painful your foot or leg injury. Don't let their cuteness fool you, either: These almost knee-length socks are super functional. They feature graduated compression that's strongest at your ankle and silver-yarn anti-bacterial fabric that keeps fungus and odors at bay, while also regulating your body temperature so that you never get too cold or too hot.
2Best For Running And Cycling: Compression Knee Socks That Are Moisture-Wicking And Anti-Bacterial
To be fair, these knee-length compression socks can be worn by anyone — athletes, nurses, travelers, whoever. But their moisture-wicking properties and anti-bacterial fabric, which keep feet cool and clean, make them the ideal choice for runners, cyclists, or your average gym devotee. These socks have graduated compression that provides optimum support at the heel and ankle before becoming lighter as they extend up the calf and leg. They come in nine colors with sizes for women and men, and their stay-put cuffs and breathable materials come especially in handy when you're running long distances.
3Best For Anyone Who Spends All Day On Their Feet: Cozy Knee-High Compression Socks That Come In 39 Designs
Whether you're a nurse, teacher, or have one of a number of professions that keeps you on your feet for hours, these knee-high compression socks are exactly what you need to keep your blood flowing and support your feet, ankles, and calves. With graduated compression and made from a soft microfiber blend with a heel and toe pocket, these socks fit well (even larger calves, according to reviewers) and relieve foot pain. They won't roll down on the job and offer snug support without feeling too tight and constricting. The best part is, they come in a whopping 39 designs, from solids, stripes, and polka dots to owls, shamrocks, and butterflies.
4Best For Plantar Fasciitis: "Sleeve-Like" Compression Socks With Incredible Arch And Ankle Support
Plantar Fasciitis is a sometimes torturous foot condition that's caused by inflammation along the bottom of the foot and can cause stabbing pain in the heel (especially when you first wake up in the morning). If you're a runner or have found yourself wearing compromising shoes for the sake of fashion, you may be at greater risk for plantar fasciitis. Thankfully, these ankle-length compression socks can help. These have great arch support and graduated compression in the ankle and heel to relieve inflammation and reduce pain. These sleeves can be worn in place of socks or under another pair of compression socks for even more of an impact.
5Best For Travel: Medical-Grade Compression Socks For Travelers
Leg and foot swelling is extremely common on long flights. If you love traveling, but hate what airplanes do to your poor feet, try these medical-grade compression socks, which were made especially for travelers. These classic black, knee-high socks have graduated compression, a seamless toe box to prevent blisters, soft foot padding, and optimum arch and heel support. The cuffs adjust to your calves so that these socks never roll down or stretch in the wash.
6A 6-Pack Of Patterned Knee Socks With A Seamless Toe For An Incredible Value
If you require the support of a great pair of compression socks every day, it helps to be able to stock up on some truly great choices — like these from Dr. Motion, which come with six colorful pairs in a pack. These graduated compression socks promote better circulation and reduce swelling, but they also have sweet features like smooth seamless toes and are made of an anti-odor fabric. Reviewers say these fit well over larger calves and that they notice after wearing them for hours their feet and legs hurt way less.
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