If you've ever left a flight or a long day of standing with swollen ankles and legs, you're not alone. But don't fret — there’s actually an affordable and super comfy solution: Compression socks. These knee-high wonders work by applying graduated pressure to your calves and feet, improving blood flow and, as a result, alleviating any swelling. Dr. Soo Rhee, M.D., a vascular surgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine, praises compression socks for "relieving leg discomfort related to varicose veins, leg swelling and even improving the venous circulation, decreasing your risk of blood clots." Nowadays, you can find commercially available compression socks in any style, and don't need to suffer from varicose veins to get your hands on a pair from the pharmacy. So whether you're on your feet all day, an avid runner, planning for a long flight or have swollen feet from pregnancy, you can find compression socks at the your ideal level of compression for some much-needed relief.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles lab is comprised of footwear experts who have tested and researched everything from walking sneakers to no show socks to sandals. In the past year, we've tested over 90 different socks, including compression socks, to determine the best available online. To find the best compression socks, we conducted in-Lab and consumer tests with hundreds of users to gauge overall comfort, performance, ease of use, breathability, moisture-wicking claims and durability. The picks ahead are from top-performers in our recent socks tests and popular brands online with options for every type of user.
#1 Best Over All Compression Socks
Available in both solid colors and a variety of fun colors and prints, these compression socks stood out in Lab and consumer tests with high scores across the board in performance and durability. One product expert at GH has used these socks for over eight years and raved, “I have several brands of compression socks, but I reach out for these the most. They keep my legs feeling strong and energetic even after being on my feet all day or on a long plane flight.” She also loves that they don’t look “too medical” or “too sporty” and can be paired with anything from boots to sneakers for everyday wear. The pair was also popular among consumer testers, including one tester who was impressed by how she didn’t experience any swelling in her ankles after a long flight.
In Lab tests, these cotton socks surprised our analysts with their sweat-wicking fabric, earning higher scores than popular options made of synthetic fabrics. They also aced our other tests, with top scores for their excellent abrasion resistance and little-to-no shrinkage after multiple launderings. Just keep in mind that some users noted that putting on these socks wasn’t easy, but the long-term comfort more than paid off.
The brand also offers compression socks in higher compression levels, like 20-30 mmHg and 30-40 mmHg, different materials — such as merino wool or nylon — and compression tights for users who struggle with socks rolling down or users those who prefer more coverage.