3 Easy Steps to Finding the Right Compression Sock for you

There are so many different compression socks, lots of people ask us how to choose the right one. We've taken your most commonly asked questions and put together 3 easy steps to choose the right compression sock for you.

Step 1: Choose your Compression

15-20 mmHg for Over the Counter, daily wear and sports recovery

Great for daily wear, travel, and sports, these easy to wear compression stockings help improve circulation without being too tight on your legs. 15-20 mmHg compression garments come in a variety of materials to fit any lifestyle.

20-30 mmHg for daily wear, sports recovery, medical recovery and to manage mild symptoms

Ideal for varicose veins, spider veins, swelling (edema) and after surgery. You don’t have to have a condition to wear 20-30 mmHg. People looking for a bit more support than the 15-20 mmHg usually choose to wear 20-30 mmHg.

30-40 mmHg for managing moderate to severe symptoms, medical recovery and daily wear

This stronger level of compression is recommended for blood clots (DVT), lymphedema, severe swelling (edema), severe varicose veins and post surgery.

Pro tip: What does "mmHg" stand for?

The medical abbreviation "mmHg" stands for "millimeters of Mercury", which is a unit of measurement for pressure. It’s the same unit of measure when you take your blood pressure. Compression stockings use a range for how much pressure it provides because the compression changes depending on your size.

Step 2: Choose if you want a sock or a stocking

Knee High - stops below the knee

Knee high compression socks stop below the bend of your knee, just past the curvature of your calf. Though some compression socks or stockings are stretchy enough to pull up over your knee, please do not do so. Pulling your knee highs over your knee might cause them to roll or slide down, which is uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous depending on your condition and the compression you’re wearing.

Thigh High - worn at the top of the thigh

Thigh high compression stockings cover your entire leg, stopping at the top of your thigh, below the fold of the buttock. Thigh high compression stockings are made to cover your entire thigh because it is intended to improve circulation throughout your entire leg.

Pantyhose / Waist High / Maternity Pantyhose - also includes Plus size pantyhose

Waist high (pantyhose, maternity pantyhose & Men’s leotard) compression stockings have both legs connected by a torso portion. Waist high compression stockings are able to bring swelling up and out of your legs through your hips. This is a key distinction between waist high and thigh high compression stockings. For women, maternity (or plus size) pantyhose have a highly expandable belly portion.

Which one do I pick?

The general rule of thumb is to ask yourself where the affected area is on your legs. If you have swelling only in your ankles, then a knee high sock should be sufficient. If you have swelling on or above the knee, consider a thigh high or pantyhose / waist high compression stocking.

Step 3: Choose what style to wear

Materials that are opaque leggings or like a Men's dress socks

These "middle of the road" fabrics are the most common and are ideal for both men and women because they are comfortable, easy to wear and are strong enough to provide enough compression to your legs. Opaque fabrics are more durable than sheer stockings and are ideal for after surgery, varicose veins and swelling.

Sheer fabric styles for Women

Sheer materials are lightweight, transparent and fashionable. Available from all our brands, sheer compression stockings make compression easy to pair with any stylish wardrobe. Sometimes, sheer fabrics do not provide as much containment for swelling and are less durable against snags and runs. The trade off here is that Sheer styles look better, but are not as durable or in some cases effective. 

Sports materials that are high tech blend, cotton or wool

Compression socks for running or sports are made of durable materials that control heat and moisture. Because of demanding wear and tear use, sport materials are constructed differently to increase durability. Sport and casual compression socks are still a great choice as a daily wear socks for post surgery, varicose veins, spider veins and swelling. However, these sport materials are generally only available in lower compression levels such as 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg. For conditions that require 30-40 mmHg or higher compression, opaque fabrics with strong containment is recommended.

Start Discovering your Options!

Call us for help choosing the right compression sock. We are incredibly knowledgeable different compression socks because we help many customers every day answer these questions.

Call or email us for friendly service at 1-888-577-9617 and support@legsmart.com.