Which men’s compression socks are best?
Our bodies aren’t meant to be stationary. But in our modern lifestyle, we often find ourselves sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time. This can result in blood pooling in the legs, causing discomfort, swelling or a heavy feeling.
Compression socks are a simple fix to improve circulation and to keep your lower extremities feeling energized. They come in different levels of pressure, from mild to prescription. For moderate compression, the MudGear Premium Compression Socks are your best bet.
What to know before you buy men’s compression socks
Men’s compression socks are worn during inactivity or activity, depending on your needs. Under a doctor’s supervision, they can treat or prevent a number of venous conditions. By hugging your leg muscles and feet, the socks keep veins straight and narrow so that the valves can pump properly. This improves circulation and keeps legs feeling refreshed.
Types of compression socks
Compression socks fall into two categories: anti-embolism (or TED hose) and graduated.
- Anti-embolism or thrombo-embolic deterrent (TED hose) compression socks provide uniform pressure throughout the sock. They are used almost exclusively on bedridden patients or post-surgery, and typically have lower pressure than graduated socks.
- Graduated compression socks are widely available. They can be used to treat conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, spider veins, swelling or discomfort from prolonged sitting or standing. They are tightest at the ankle and decrease in pressure/tightness as they ascend the leg.
Compression socks use a medical unit of measurement, millimeters of mercury (mmHg), to rate their level of pressure.
- Zero compression would be the pressure a regular athletic sock provides, which isn’t constricting but may offer arch support and padding.
- Mild compression, between eight to 15 mmHg, alleviates general discomfort and tiredness. This level can also help reduce varicose and spider veins.
- Moderate compression, between 15-20 mmHg, can help prevent varicose and spider veins. They are also an excellent choice for preventing DVT while traveling.
- Firm compression, between 20-30 mmHg, are used to manage more serious venous disorders. They also can prevent DVT while traveling and they help reduce swelling.
- Extra firm compression, between 30-40 mmHg, offer prescription level pressure and should only be worn under the supervision of a doctor to treat severe venous disorders.
What to look for in quality men’s compression socks
There are several styles and lengths of compression socks.
- Knee-high socks are ideal for everyday use. They fit over the calf and are perfect for alleviating achy or swollen feet and legs. They are also easy to put on.
- Athletic socks are also knee-high length but feature extra padding and breathable materials, such as mesh. Many users find that regular knee-high compression socks work just fine for activewear.
- Thigh-high socks are used for issues that stem from above the knee. They often feature silicone bands to keep them from riding down.
- Waist-high stockings offer full-length compression from the foot to the hip. They resemble tights and may not have full coverage on the feet. They are also pricey.
- Compression sleeves, also called open-fit compression socks, and feature partial or no foot coverage. These can be worn with sandals but aren’t recommended if you’re experiencing swelling in the ankles or feet.
Most compression socks feature a blend of materials including polyester, nylon, Lycra, cotton and Spandex. Select socks incorporate silver or copper nanoparticles to curb the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungus. Others may feature zinc-infused yarns to increase blood flow. If you’re wearing compression socks for athletic activities, select a moisture-wicking and breathable material, such as microfiber.
Size and fit
Men’s compression socks come in small to extra-extra-large sizes. Look at the manufacturer’s sizing chart for ankle, calf and thigh measurements. Some brands come in sock sizes four through16. You don’t want a compression sock to fit too loosely or it will have no benefit. A compression sock that’s too tight, however, will cut off blood flow and cause more problems. Be sure your socks don’t bunch or crease, which can also restrict blood flow.
How much you can expect to spend on men’s compression socks
Expect to pay less for less compression, such as $10-$20 for a pair of mild compression socks. Moderate to firm compression socks cost between $40-$60. Prescription socks and waist-high ones can cost upwards of $100.
Men’s compression socks FAQ
Is there anyone who shouldn’t use compression socks?
A. Yes, if you have fragile skin, dermatitis or a skin infection, avoid compression socks. Also, if you’re experiencing severe swelling, peripheral artery disease or peripheral neuropathy don’t use compression socks. Also consult your doctor if you have concerns about wearing compression socks with your medical condition.
How do I clean my compression socks?
A. The answer varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some compression socks can be machine-washed while others can be hand-washed only. We recommend only doing so in cold water. Air-drying your compression socks can help them last longer and reduce shrinking or damage to fibers.
What are the best men’s compression socks to buy?
Top men’s compression socks
MudGear Premium Compression Socks
What you need to know: These graduated compression socks offer superior performance for a wide variety of activities.
What you’ll love: The knee-high length offers moderate compression and stays up as you run or hit the trail. They feature ventilated mesh and padding for athletic wear, and they’re built to be durable for long-distance competitions.
What you should consider: The thick material can be too warm for hotter weather.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top men’s compression socks for the money
Dickie’s Men’s Light Comfort Compression Over-the-Calf Socks
What you need to know: For mild compression, these comfy socks do the trick and are a great value.
What you’ll love: The knee-high length offers eight to 15 mmHg of pressure, and they work fantastically without being too tight. The footbed is nicely cushioned and the material is moisture-wicking. They’re perfect for everyday wear and won’t slide down.
What you should consider: For some users, they didn’t notice any compression and the pair feels like regular socks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Dr. Scholl’s Men’s Graduated Over-the-Calf Compression Socks
What you need to know: A two-pack of compression socks, these have light compression perfect for everyday wear.
What you’ll love: They look like dress socks and can be worn to work and have high marks for alleviating foot swelling. They can be tumble-dried and don’t need to be hung up to dry. They are also very comfortable to wear and don’t restrict blood flow.
What you should consider: The socks are too loose-fitting for some.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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