On the golf course as much as when running or playing tennis, caring for your feet and ankles is extremely important. In any sport where you spend a lot of time on your feet, specialist garments like compression socks can help you feel better, avoid injuries, and hopefully perform better, too.
Do compression socks help golfers? Thanks to the added support to the joints and feet and to the way they boost peripheral circulation, compression socks can be an excellent golfing accessory. They will keep you energized and light-footed and reduce swelling and muscle soreness, too.
In this article, we’ll cover the main reasons why golfers should wear compression socks and give you some essential tips for buying the perfect pair for you.
Are Compression Socks Good for Golf?
Golf is first and foremost defined by spending a long time on your feet. This can make your feet sore simply through the demands of walking around a lot during a game. Moreover, golfers’ swings place added stress on their ankles, which means it’s important to protect them and support them adequately.
Gravity will also play its part. Standing and walking all day can cause blood and fluid to pool around the ankles. This leads to swelling and discomfort, which in turn, will sap your energy and diminish your concentration on the game. Finally, walking around a lot will make certain conditions worse, e.g. if you suffer from heel pain or plantar fasciitis.
Compression socks apply gentle pressure to the lower limbs, stimulating blood flow in the area and preventing blood and fluid build-up. The graduated style of socks boosts circulation upwards, thanks to being tighter at the ankles and gradually looser towards the knee. This gives an added benefit for golfers - since it’s the exact direction in which someone standing a lot will want to stimulate their blood flow.
Studies also show that compression socks are great for recovering after exercise. They massage sore muscles and reduce pain, while also preventing any swelling. The increase in blood flow to the legs and feet transports oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping them recover more quickly, and reduces inflammation.
The Benefits of Compression Socks for Golfers
From added support to boosted blood flow and helping reduce swelling and fatigue, golfers can count on compression socks for a multitude of benefits.
Joint Support and Stability
The strong grip that compression provides for legs and feet can help you feel more stable during a round of golf. Most people with flat arches can feel additional arch support from compression socks, while the tightness around the ankle is protective and reassuring at the same time.
Athletes recovering from foot and lower leg injuries like Achilles tendonitis wear compression socks for stability and to boost peripheral circulation, helping muscles and tendons recover quickly in between bouts of exercise. It’s the same with golf: as you walk on uneven ground and spend hours on your feet, that added support and stability can make a huge difference in comfort levels and in your performance.
Reduced Swelling and Muscle Fatigue
One of the main concerns golfers have is swelling caused by spending a lot of time on their feet. Most golf-related injuries are linked to sprains and strains that lead to swelling. These can be avoided (to an extent) thanks to compression socks.
When you sprain an ankle or simply put a lot of pressure on your feet, the tissues around the ankle become inflamed and can be painful. This is the body’s way to help healing - by rushing more blood to the affected area. When you wear compression socks while playing golf, you take some of the pressure off your ankles and feet - thanks to the support of the compression garment and also through the improved peripheral circulation that gives muscles more energy to support you. This will reduce the onset of swelling.
After a round of golf, you can relax and recover in a pair of compression socks to stimulate more blood flow in the area and to massage the muscles. This has been proven to decrease fatigue and soreness. It also speeds up the time it takes to feel fully recovered - giving you energy to go out again sooner.
Improved Energy and Endurance
There are few things as tiring and energy-sapping as swollen, sore feet. After all, they hold us up the whole day! Through improving peripheral blood flow, reducing the risk of swelling and fluid retention, and boosting stability and muscle strength, compression socks deliver that little extra energy you need to keep enjoying yourself on the golf course.
How to Wear Compression Socks for Golf
The benefits of compression socks for golfers are clear, but is there a specific way you need to wear these garments and how can you get the most out of them? Here are a few tips.
Wearing Compression Socks with Golf Shoes
Having appropriate apparel is essential to reduce pain and discomfort and to keep you performing your best on the golf course. That’s why we strongly recommend pairing your compression socks with adapted shoes for the sport - it will avoid injury and maintain your energy and stamina.
You can wear compression socks with golf shoes during your game, or afterwards (without golf shoes!) when you recover. Just make sure you also consider the material they’re made of and the environmental conditions. For example, on cold days when you want to keep your feet warm, we recommend merino wool socks that also regulate your temperature and wick away moisture. They are also a good choice in hot climates for keeping your feet dry.
Caring for Your Golf Compression Socks
It’s important to put on and take off your golf compression socks carefully, to avoid damaging them and to ensure they fit well and don’t hurt you. You should always ensure that the toes and heels are well nestled in the extremities of the sock, and that there’s no bunching or folding of the material.
When you’ve worn your socks for a whole game of golf, we recommend washing them on a gentle cycle with no added bleach or strong detergent. You can let them dry naturally for best results.
When to Wear Compression Socks for Golfing
Whether you wear your socks before, during, or after golfing, you can get different benefits. Before a round, compression socks can get you “warmed up” by increasing lower leg blood flow and waking up the muscles. This will get your calf muscles ready for a lot of walking and standing.
During a game of golf, compression socks deliver all the benefits we’ve just listed: support, stability, muscle massage, and improved blood flow. And they can stay on afterwards, too, to help you recover quicker. If you choose to only wear them during recovery, there’s no set limit on how long to keep them on - it all depends on how comfortable you are in them.
Finding The Best Compression Golf Socks
Ensuring optimal fit and adapted materials for your golfing socks are two key steps to making sure you reap the benefits of having them. Here’s what you should look out for.
Moisture Wicking and Breathability
For people who walk around a lot outdoors, especially in all kinds of weather, breathability is a key feature of the socks you choose to wear. The most versatile socks for this are those made of merino wool. This thermoregulating, hypoallergenic fabric manages to keep your feet warm in cold weather, and cool on a hot day. It’s extremely breathable and wicks away moisture in all conditions.
Moisture-wicking nylon is also a great option, offering flexibility and a sleeker, more athletic feel, while keeping feet dry.
Style and Design
The great thing about wearing golf compression socks is that you can get to show off lots of cool designs! Knee-high socks are the best and most obvious choice for all-weather golfing, and they come in lots of patterns and colors to help you add a personal touch to your outfits.
In cold weather, you can also opt for compression leggings or tights, which will give you full-leg coverage for extra warmth (and support for the knees, too).
Understanding Compression Levels
Most people won’t need very tight compression socks when playing golf, but it’s worth knowing that there are different levels of pressure that you can apply to the lower limbs, depending on your medical condition and preference:
- 15-20 mmHg - the everyday compression level that can be worn for as long as you’re comfortable; ideal for sporting activities and for casual recovery afterwards;
- 20-30 mmHg - firmer compression, used for those who suffer from moderate edema, deep vein thrombosis, or other circulatory problems;
- 30-40 mmHg - medical grade compression for more specific medical conditions and only available with a prescription from your doctor.
Sizing and Fit
A key element of ensuring your compression socks are effective is that they fit you right. This also reduces the risk of pain and discomfort. We recommend measuring your calf circumference and matching that up with your shoe size like in this table to find out your size.
When you put on your socks, follow this step-by-step process to ensure they’re tight enough to work well, but not uncomfortable. Then, enjoy the feeling of support and continuous massage!