9 Best Travel-Friendly Compression Socks to Improve Circulation in 2022

They may not be the most exciting items to add to your packing list, but a good pair of compression socks is a must-have for anyone who finds themselves boarding a plane on a regular basis.

Compression stockings offer frequent flyers a number of benefits, from serious medical precautions to cosmetic and comfort factors.Although doctors and orthopaedic specialists agree that they are not absolutely important Compression socks are still considered an invaluable travel tool for anyone looking to make long-haul flights a more comfortable experience for people with no prior medical conditions.

We spoke with a handful of professionals to find out the benefits of wearing compression socks while flying and some of the better compression socks on the market to look for based on your specific needs.

One of the best-known benefits of compression stockings is how they help prevent blood clots, a concern for many when traveling by air. They stimulate blood circulation in the lower half, which is especially useful on long-haul flights with prolonged sitting.

“Compression stockings and socks can improve comfort while traveling and are one of the easiest ways to avoid blood clots associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT),” Dr. Dr. explained. Bob Bacheler, Managing Director and Flight Nurse of Flying Angels. “Compression stockings/stockings are elastic, so they help prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities and prevent blood clots from forming.”

After a long flight, your legs usually take some time to adjust to the activity. In addition to promoting circulation in the legs, compression socks also help combat leg fatigue.

“To help with leg fatigue, it’s best to start with non-medical compression stockings that you can buy online,” said ViaTravelers founder Kyle Kroeger. “Non-medical support socks promote blood circulation and can be used on a plane. Wear it on and on the plane. A key benefit is that when you arrive at your destination, you can stay more active as a tourist.”

Sitting for long periods of time is common in flight and can cause fluid retention in the legs below the knee due to gravity. According to Derek Roach, owner of Flow Feet Orthopedics, this is also known as gravitational edema (colloquially known as swelling) and can be easily prevented with the right compression stockings.

“Elevation during flight has no effect on swelling; however, it’s your body’s position and gravity that forces fluid down your lower body,” Roach said.

Being able to stand up, walk around, or stretch on an airplane is limited; therefore, promoting blood circulation is necessary. “Compression socks help increase blood circulation, which prevents swelling in the lower legs and feet,” he explains.

Some surgeons and doctors believe that wearing compression stockings regularly — especially if you travel a lot — will help prevent the backflow of blood, which can lead to varicose veins in the legs.

The benefits of wearing compression stockings while flying often outweigh any inconvenience or minor discomfort that compression stockings may sometimes cause.

The Best Compression Socks and Stockings to Consider

Considering all the benefits of wearing compression socks on a flight, you may want to buy a pair for yourself. But, like most things we can buy, some are better than others.

“As a flight nurse, I often fly on extended flights ranging from 12 hours to 24 hours, and I always wear compression socks,” says Dr. Bachelor. “The most important thing to look for are well-fitting compression socks. If the socks are too tight and uncomfortable, they may be too small.

“Compression stockings should be of high quality; comfortable to wear; not clumped together, which can cause restricted blood flow; or sliding down, indicating they are too loose.”

When shopping for the right compression socks for your specific needs, you should definitely read the fine print. The main difference between compression stockings, anti-embolic stockings, and non-medical compression stockings is their height. Non-medical compression stockings typically grow below the knee, while compression stockings traditionally grow to the mid-thigh.

Both typically provide the same compression, measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Good compression stockings can provide 15 to 25 mmHg of pressure, and good compression stockings and compression stockings promote blood return without interfering with blood flow to the extremities.

Here are some expert-recommended compression socks you should consider before you embark on your next long-haul flight.

$17.99 $13.99 at Amazon

Attractive men's and women's compression socks

This three-pack of compression socks from Charmking doesn’t just provide plenty of support for your legs; they don’t sacrifice style, either. You can get the set in 35 different color combinations, so you can have a pair of compression socks to go with your favorite pair of travel shoes. They offer a lot of compression (15 to 20 mmHg) and are made of lightweight breathable fabric that retains its shape no matter the environment.

From $9.98 on Amazon

Hi Clasmix compression socks

These machine washable socks are made with copper, which is a good electrical conductor and helps blood circulation in the legs. They offer 20-30 mmHG of compression but are made of breathable fabric that draws moisture away from the skin. Nearly 29,000 five-star reviewers on Amazon agree that these socks work amazingly.

From $8.99 on Amazon

Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks for Men and Women

With over 50,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, these compression socks from Physix have a loyal following—and for good reason. The sock’s 20-30 mmHg compression and support is located on the heel and calf. Plus, they wash well without losing compression and offer moisture-wicking properties to keep your feet cool and dry. The socks are available in 11 different colors to best suit your style.

From $16.99 on Amazon

Powerlix Compression Socks for Men and Women

These compression socks offer more compression than some of the others on this list – 20-30mmHg – but still maintain their comfort. Socks are made from a soft, breathable, lightweight fabric composed of nylon and spandex. Non-slip cuffs at the calf ensure your socks won’t slip off your legs during travel.

$11.97 at Amazon

Pure Compression Store Compression Socks

Pure Compression Store compression socks are a popular and affordable option for frequent flyers and those with tired legs and tendonitis. Gradient cotton socks are not as tight as their counterparts, which makes them easier to put on and take off on the go. They are also breathable and made of cotton and copper.

Nordstrom $59.90

Belly Bandit 2-Pack Compression Socks

These two-pack compression socks are made from a blend of polyester, nylon, spandex and cotton. They are knee-high and provide random compression to help maximize circulation and reduce swelling. These can be great additions to your packing list.

$18.94 at Amazon

Windsor Collection Men's Progressive Compression Travel Support Socks

These progressive socks will help prevent circulation problems. Made of Coolmax, Spandex and Stretch, they support your legs from foot to calf. These shoes fit men’s shoe sizes 9 to 11.5.

“Progressive compression stockings (gradually reducing pressure as you move the leg up) can work wonders for those who experience swelling while flying or sitting for long periods of time,” says Roach. “Not everyone experiences swelling during a flight, but those with a less active lifestyle or poor circulation can benefit from these sock features.”

From $19.99 on Amazon

Silicone Thigh Compression Socks

Thigh compression stockings aren’t for everyone, but if you tend to experience painful swelling or discomfort in your legs and thighs while flying, they may be an option worth considering. The nylon-spandex blend and silicone lining help ensure the stocking stays in place and doesn’t curl around the thigh or roll off on the fly.

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