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Best Overall: Physix Gear for Men and Women at Amazon "For a sock that has comfort and the right amount of support, Physix Gear Sport’s compression socks are a top choice."
Best Styles: NewZill Compression Socks at Amazon "Eight different colors, including bright rainbow stripes, hearts and polka dots that make them easy to spot in the sock drawer."
Best Odor Reducer: VitalSox Graduated Compression Socks at Amazon "Made with 70 percent Silver Drystat, a unique, patented material that builds silver ions right into fibers to inhibit the growth of bacteria."
Best for Lower Legs: HAPYCEO Unisex Compression Socks at Amazon "Boast a foot compression zone of 12 to 15 mmHg."
Best for More Compression: CompressionZ 30-40mmHg at Amazon "They compress more than some others, but also fit tighter."
Best Traditional: Dr. Scholl’s Travel Mild 2-Pack at Walmart "If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pair of compression socks (no bells and whistles necessary), look to Dr. Scholl’s."
Best Multiset: QUXIANG Copper Compression Socks at Amazon "Highly recommended by doctors and sports trainers for their ability to promote oxygen flow and blood circulation."
Best Maternity Socks: MadeMother Stockings at Amazon "Designed to fit during all stages of pregnancy and can aid in providing medical-grade graduated compression pressure."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks for Men and Women
For a sock that has comfort and the right amount of support, Physix Gear Sport’s compression socks are a top choice. The sleek, black socks have a futuristic, blue design pattern on the heal that is double-stitched for added support. They're made of washable Lycra fabric that won’t lose its form and have 20 to 30 mmHg of compression. The breathable material won’t slip, reduces inflammation and provides relief from sore muscles. They are slightly thicker than a dress sock, but they do not pinch the skin. And in addition to wearing them on long flights, they are comfortable for jobs that require people to be on their feet all day.
Best Styles: NewZill Compression Socks
Like fun, colorful socks? Take a look at the NewZill compression socks. The company offers eight different colors, including bright rainbow stripes, hearts and polka dots that make them easy to spot in the sock drawer. The socks are also very functional and have a patented Clima-Pro system to help keep them breathable and odor-free. The socks prevent cramping, fatigue and swelling for those long journeys. Made of thick, warm material, the socks have 20 to 30 mm/Hg of compression and make great gifts for frequent travelers or anyone with leg pain. Amazon buyers noted that although the socks provide support, they do not pinch or leave marks.
Best Odor Reducer: VitalSox Italian Graduated Compression Socks
The socks are made with 70 percent Silver Drystat, a unique, patented material that builds silver ions right into fibers to inhibit the growth of bacteria. This helps to keep the socks smelling fresh and keeps them dry, but they also have a patented gradual (lighter) compression for maximum blood circulation that was developed by Italian-based company Arcos Srl. The four-way stretch system ensures a comfortable fit, with elasticized bands that cradle ankles and foot arches. The fabric is soft against the skin and they come in seven different colors ranging from classic white to lime green or hot orange; they're a popular choice among athletes and travelers. These socks have 12 to 20 mm/HG of compression.
Best for Lower Legs: HAPYCEO Unisex Compression Running Socks
Effectively promote blood flow from your feet and ankles to your heart with the HAPYCEO Unisex Compression Running Socks. These top-rated socks are crafted from a blend of 52 percent cotton, 16 percent nylon, and 32 percent Spandex, so you can rest assured that they’ll keep your feet comfy in addition to providing necessary support to targeted compression zones. By keeping your lower legs and feet compressed, you can help alleviate swelling and pain related to plantar fasciitis — the HAPYCEO socks boast a foot compression zone of 12 to 15 mmHg. The low-cut socks are also moisture-wicking and highly breathable, so they stay odor-free, which is crucial when you’re traveling in cramped quarters. The popular socks come in one size and several colors, and in addition to being great for travel, they’re also effective for runners, yogis, bikers, basketball players, and other athletes.
Best for More Compression: Compression Socks 30-40mmHg
If you need a significant amount of compression when you travel, but prefer the look of a sock (versus an old-fashioned stocking), then Compression Z might be for you. These socks have 30 to 40 mm/Hg, so they will compress more than some others, but also fit tighter. Some Amazon buyers have suggested getting a size larger than usual because they can be snug, but they provide the needed support some travelers require. After a few washes, the Compression Z socks keep their shape and will not slide down when using them. The socks come in plain black, white or with geometric designs in bright pink and blue.
Best Traditional: Dr. Scholl’s Travel Mild Compression Socks, 2-Pack
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pair of compression socks (no bells and whistles necessary), look to Dr. Scholl’s. When it comes to preventing swelling and reducing pressure on the muscles in your legs, ankles, and feet during a lengthy flight, these socks are a stellar pick. They’re made from 95 percent nylon and five percent Lycra Spandex, and are specifically cotton-free in order to help reduce moisture absorption that can lead to irritation. Dr. Scholl’s socks have a mild compression level (just 10 to 15 mmHg) that applies slight pressure at the ankle (this pressure then gradually moves up the leg, to efficiently reduce swelling all over); there are two pairs per package and they fit women's shoe sizes 4 to 10.
Best Multiset: QUXIANG Copper Compression Socks
If you suffer from swollen or crampy legs and feet when you fly, a multi-set of compression socks is a worthwhile investment. QUIXANG's Copper Compression Socks — which are sold in a set of seven — come highly recommended by doctors and sports trainers for their ability to promote oxygen flow and blood circulation while also preventing fatigue, swelling, and spider veins. Durable and comfy, the socks provide a 15 to 20 mmHg compression and contain copper fibers that help revive and refresh your blood. These socks also have antibacterial properties to promote foot health and keep your feet dry and smell-free.
Best Maternity Socks: MadeMother Maternity Compression Stockings
If you’re pregnant, the Maternity Compression Stockings from MadeMother can help relieve leg stress due to traveling and carrying pregnancy weight. Many mothers report swollen legs, feet, restless feet and just general leg pain when pregnant, so traveling, walking and sitting for long periods can add to the discomfort. The stockings are designed to fit during all stages of pregnancy and can aid in providing medical-grade graduated compression pressure. The socks provide 30 to 35 mmHG to the ankle, 20 to 26 mmHG to the legs and 16 to 21 mmHG by the knee. They are made of nylon, are nude in color and have an open-toe design.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
We bought three top-rated pairs of compression socks and our reviewers tested them for 30 hours. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using these compression socks, from their material to how effective they were. We've outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in Airplane Compression Socks
Fit and height In general, the higher and tighter the sock, the better the compression, since more of your legs are covered. Most stop at the knees, but some designs can reach up to your mid-thigh, which is ideal for someone suffering from a pre-existing medical condition. A few reach only above your ankle and don’t cover your toes—perfect for travelers who suffer from plantar fasciitis.
Fabric All compression socks are designed to stretch and provide pressure, but the kind of fabric they’re made of should also be taken into account. Many are made with breathable Lycra, while others are made with thicker fabric for warmth and comfort. Some companies also integrate fabric technologies into their designs to help fight odor and static or to wick away sweat.
Application In addition to the desired compression, also consider any other needs you might have while wearing these socks. Basic compression is ideal for flying, but others are designed specifically for pregnant women or are FDA-registered to address specific medical conditions. Some socks also excel when worn while running, hiking, or playing sports by increasing airflow and reducing the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.
Test Results: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks for Men and Women (Best Overall)
What We Like
What We Don't Like
These socks were “surprisingly comfortable,” according to one of our reviewers. Our testers also liked their design and thought that they were very effective: “The compression is perfect when compared with other pairs and the material feels high quality and durable,” one person reported. On the other hand, our testers wished the feet of these socks were a little thicker and also noted the higher price point—though, overall, they still recommended the pair.
Test Results: NewZill Compression Socks (Best Styles)
What We Like
Easy to put on
Large range of designs
What We Don't Like
Some styles were cheesy
Could be more comfortable
“These compression socks were very easy to put on,” declared one of our testers, “and they were also moisture-wicking, which was nice.” Although one reviewer loved the wide range of styles available and liked some of the simpler designs, she felt that the some of the louder options (like hearts and polka dots) were “kind of cheesy.” Another negative, according to one of our testers, was that they weren’t as comfortable as comparable models: “You could really tell you were wearing them,” she said.
Test Results: VitalSox Italian Graduated Compression Socks (Best Odor Reducer)
What We Like
Quick to dry
What We Don't Like
Tight around the band
Could look more attractive
One of our testers was “really impressed” with how fast these socks dried. Our reviewers also liked their design and thought that they were incredibly comfortable: “I couldn't tell I was wearing them after a while,” one tester noted. On the other hand, one of our reviewers, who wore these socks on a plane, found that they were “tight around the band,” which annoyed her slightly during her flight. But overall, according to one reviewer, they were worth buying: “They aren't the prettiest socks,” she said, “but they were comfortable and I was less swollen after taking them off.”