How to Put on Compression Socks

How to Put on Compression Socks Step-By-Step

Figuring out how to put on compression socks is the hardest part of wearing them, since they’re designed to be quite fitted. It’s especially tricky if you have thin compression socks like pantyhose.

Your doctor may tell you to wear compression stockings if you are at risk of a blood clot or have issues with blood flow. They also help with varicose veins and swelling around the ankles. You can wear compression stockings as a preventive measure when taking a long flight, too. Because compression stockings are stretchy and have a tight fit, it is important to put on compression stockings the right way. Here are some tips on donning and doffing the socks.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Putting on Your Compression Socks
  1. Slip your arm into the sock until your fingers reach the toes. Your palm should be resting in the sock's heel.
  2. Starting at the cuff, fold the sock over towards your hand until it meets the heel. Make sure to fold the sock onto itself.
  3. With the sock still inverted, pull it firmly onto your foot. Make sure your toes are securely in the toe pocket. Starting with the cuff, gradually roll the sock up.
  4. Adjust so that your heel is properly positioned in the heel pocket and the cuff sits below the knee. Make sure the cuff is not pulled up too high and do not fold the cuff over.

Watch our video on how to put on your compression socks:

How to Put on Compression Stockings

Put your hand through the top of the stocking. Grab the foot and heel. Turn the stocking inside out with the heel facing you. Step into the foot of the stocking. Pull it close to your heel. Unfold the stocking, smoothing it out into a single layer of fabric. Pull it up to two fingers lower than knee-high.

If you are putting on TED Hose, you may find that you have a harder time sliding them on. This is because they are for a much more instense treatment. You can read about the differences between compression socks vs TED Hose here.

Removing Compression Stockings

Slide your fingers into the band, just below your knee. Gently pull the fabric down to your heel. You may find it easier to roll the fabric as you go. Pull downward to get the sock off your heel.

Tips and Tricks to Make Putting on Compression Socks Easier

Put Them On First Thing In the Morning

Compression gear is hard to put on over other clothing due to it's tight nature. This is why putting it on first thing in the morning can make it easier. Get in the habit of putting them on before anything else and you will feel the benefits of graduated compression all day long.

Add Slip with Cornstarch

If you’re trying to figure out how to put on compression socks without aggravating skin irritation, apply a bit of cornstarch powder to your legs to help the socks slide on. Just sprinkle some one over your ankles and legs and your socks will slip right on.

Wear Latex Gloves for a Better Grip

If you’re struggling to figure out how to put on thin pantyhose, try wearing rubber gloves while you pull them on. This will help to grip with smooth fabric. Alternatively,  you can try compression socks in different fabrics to see if they are easier to to grip. We offer 4 dynamic fabric types:


  • 200 needle-count 
  • Premium natural cotton fiber
  • Multi-dimensional weave for comfort and breathability


  • 400 needle-count for strength & flexibility
  • Multi-dimensional weave for breathability
  • Superior strength and stretch

Moisture Wick Nylon

  • 400 needle-count for superior flexibility and comfort
  • Draw sweat and moisture off of skin
  • Lightweight fabric stretches wide while maintaining strength

Merino wool

  • 200 needle count
  • Sustainably sourced, high-quality, double-covered elastic fibers
  • Naturally breathable, moisture-wicking and odor-fighting

Try a Sock Pulling Tool

 A nifty tool called a stocking donner also can help you slide on your socks smoothly. This is great for those whom are challenged with mobility. These devices can be found on Amazon.

How Do You Put Compression Socks On Someone Else?

There are times when a loved one needs help putting on compression socks. A sock donner can help tremendously for this. Additionally, you can try flipping the sock half way inside out, as shown in the video above, and securing the foot bed on your loved one. After that, pull the remaining sock up the leg, adjusting as needed.

How Do You Put On Compression Socks With Arthritis?

Compression socks area great tool to help arthritis. The method shown in the video above should help to make it easier, or using a sock donner as mentioned before.

Our Cotton compression socks are extremely stretchy and easy to put on, so we recommend them for those with arthritis. Additionally, our socks come in wide calf sizes which can make them easier to put on.

man and woman wearing VIM & VIGR Compression Socks

How Do You Take Compression Socks Off?

I like to think of taking compression socks off like peeling a banana. Start at the top, and slowly invert them down your leg until you get your heel. Then you can slide them off like you would a normal sock.

Why are Compression Socks So Tight?

 Compression socks utilize "graduated compression" to gently squeeze your legs and prevent blood from pooling. When you sit or stand all day, blood begins to pool in your feet and ankles. This is in large part because of gravity, but it can be exacerbated by factors such as lifestyle, health, and career.


    • Roxanne

      I tried these on this morning and they feel so good. No trouble getting them on. I am going on a long bus tour in a few days and wanted to be sure they fit before I leave. I am so pleased and will be buying more pairs when I get home.

    • Jeanne Cronin

      Dear V&V – your directions for putting on compression socks (I sometimes have gotten into a wrestling match with my leg; trying to put a sock on…) work just fine. I find I use the same method in reverse, for removing a C sock I fold it over on itself down my leg and pull it off at the toe. I especially like the merino wool socks. I have purchased an extra pair to give to our fantastic USPS worker as a holiday gift. Thank you, Vim & Vigor Jeanne Cronin, Cambridge, MA

    • Jessica

      Hi I have dysautonomia so need to wear compression socks. I have a lot of trouble with socks creasing at the front of my ankle. I have all four fabrics of sock offered and I seem to still be getting a crease with all four. How could I prevent this? I measured before I order to be sure I have the right size

    • VIM & VIGR

      Hi Carolyn! You might find that our cotton or moisture-wick nylon socks are easiest to put on – they have quite a bit of stretch. Hope that helps!

    • Carolyn CROUCH

      I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands and feet. I need to wear compression socks but find the action of putting them on to be painful as well as challenging. Must of your socks are cotton. Would nylon be easier to put on for my situation?

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