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Article updated on June 4, 2024 at 12:00 PM PDT

Best Compression Socks for 2024

After testing over 15 brands, we found these compression socks to be the best.

Our Experts

Written by 
Kim Wong-Shing
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Amanda Capritto
Kim Wong-Shing Former Senior Associate Editor / Wellness
During her time at CNET, Kim Wong-Shing loved demystifying the world of wellness to make it accessible to any reader. She was also passionate about exploring the intersections of health, history and culture. Prior to joining CNET, she contributed stories to Glamour, MindBodyGreen, Greatist and other publications.
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What to consider

Level of compression

Comfort

Style

Our Picks

$30 at Amazon
best-compression-socks
Best compression socks for all-day wear
Pro Compression Marathon Compression Socks
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$44 at Amazon
best-compression-socks-1
Best stylish compression socks
Lily Trotters Signature Collection
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$50 at Amazon
best-compression-socks-2
Best compression socks for runners
Zensah Tech Plus Compression Socks
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$30 at Amazon
best-compression-socks-3
Best compression socks for circulation support
Sockwell Elevation Graduated Compression Socks
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$20 at Pro Compression
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Best short compression socks
Pro Compression Midlength Sock
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$13 at Amazon
best-compression-socks-6
Best post-workout compression socks
Physix Gear Compression Socks
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$30 at Swiftwick
best-compression-socks-7
Best cold-weather compression socks
Swiftwick Aspire Twelve
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Compression socks are a specialized version of the normal clothing accessory, known to help promote better blood flow, prevent deep vein thrombosis, avoid varicose veins and much more. They work by helping prevent fluid build-up in your lower legs by applying pressure to your calves and ankles.

This helps them keep swelling down, as it helps your blood vessels do their job. The constant pressure prevents blood vessels from expanding and blood from pooling, which can lead to weakened veins or varicose veins over time. Whether your goal is to sit or stand more during your daily routine, the best compression socks are here to help.

After testing over 15 brands, we found these compression socks to be the best at reducing daily leg swelling or a long flight.

What are the best compression socks overall?

It depends on your specific needs, such as whether you're using compression socks for work, exercise or something else. For all-day wear, try the Pro Compression Marathoner compression socks, which are easy to put on and provide the perfect amount of compression.

Best compression socks of 2024

$30 at Amazon

Best compression socks for all-day wear

Pro Compression Marathon Compression Socks

Out of all the pairs of compression socks I tested, the Pro Compression Marathon socks became my go-to. I knew these would become a favorite the instant I put them on partly because they're easier to put on than the others I tried, but they still provide just as much support. 

The Marathon socks reach just below the knee for full-calf compression. I wore these socks while sitting for hours at a time, doing household chores and yard work, running errands, taking my dog for walks and during workouts. They provided the perfect amount of compression for all activities and I felt comfortable enough to wear them out and about. This is great for pain relief and reduces muscle soreness. 

These socks come in countless (seriously, there are so many) styles, and in three sizes. You can buy men's or women's socks, but they're a unisex item. At $30, the Marathon compression socks are hardly a budget buy, but I'd happily pay for a few pairs to get me through a week of work.

$44 at Amazon

Best stylish compression socks

Lily Trotters Signature Collection

For compression socks fashionable enough to wear while running errands, going out to eat or doing basically anything, go with a pair from the Lily Trotters Signature Collection. Lily Trotters makes its signature socks with a blend of 93% nylon and 7% spandex, so they have just enough compression to feel noticeably snug. 

Designed specifically to make compression socks more attractive, you'll find no shortage of creative designs at Lily Trotters. I love the Four Kisses style, which looks classy and elegant, as well as the Over The Moon -- Orange for something more colorful.

I will say, Lily Trotters socks -- or at least the pair I tried -- tend to run tight at the top. If you have larger calves, consider sizing up. I ordered a medium or small-medium in all of the compression socks I tried, and the small-medium from Lily Trotters was the only pair that made significant indentations just below the knee.

$50 at Amazon

Best compression socks for runners

Zensah Tech Plus Compression Socks

I learned about Zensah when I tested face masks for running. I liked the Zensah performance face mask, so I decided to give its compression socks a go, and they didn't disappoint. These full-length compression socks are made in Italy and feature an 18% elastane content. The high elastane percentage means these socks compress well and don't stretch out, so they're perfect for long runs.

The mesh insert is what makes these compression socks great for runners. Placed on the calf part of the sock, the mesh component provides ultimate breathability so your socks don't end up totally sweat-soaked by the end of your run. The cushioned sole of the sock is a nice touch, too. I noticed these socks felt more supportive in the arch of my foot than the others I tested. 

$30 at Amazon

Best compression socks for circulation support

Sockwell Elevation Graduated Compression Socks

If you specifically deal with poor circulation, try a pair of Sockwell Elevation Compression Socks. These socks provide graduated compression from 20 to 30 mmHg, whereas the majority of over-the-counter compression socks range from 15 to 20 mmHg (mmHg is a medical measurement for pressure).

The compression begins at the ankle and decreases throughout four "zones" up to the top of your calf. They also feature arch support, a bonus for people whose feet swell in addition to their ankles. Made of bamboo rayon, merino wool, stretch nylon and spandex, the Elevation Compression Socks feel soft yet durable, and they wick moisture well. (If you want less compression, Sockwell has a lifestyle collection that includes tons of cute styles with 15 to 20 mmHg compression.

$20 at Pro Compression

Best short compression socks

Pro Compression Midlength Sock

A second pair of Pro Compression socks made the list because they're just that good. I'd wear these midcalf compression socks around all day, just like I'd wear the full-length pair, but for different activities. I loved wearing the Pro midcalf socks while running errands and doing home improvement projects. These babies took me through a full day of home renovations including sanding, painting and assembling furniture, and they looked stylish enough to wear on several "Oh shoot, I forgot this" runs to Home Depot.

I also tried out the midcalf socks for a long day of work, but I didn't like them as much for that. My calves still swelled, leading to an indent where the hem of the sock was. I like these a lot, but I'll stick to wearing them on more active days and during workouts. All in all, the crew sock style is a great choice for people who want compression localized just to the heel and ankle.

$13 at Amazon

Best post-workout compression socks

Physix Gear Compression Socks

If you're the type who likes to wear compression socks after your workout rather than during, try these Physix Gear knee-high compression socks. I chose these as the best post-workout socks because they reminded me of NormaTec compression when I wore them. The graduated compression is so effective that you can feel the different pressure levels throughout your calves, especially when you're walking or moving around. If you really pay attention while wearing these compression socks, you'll feel a gentle pulsating sensation; you can actually feel the increased blood flow in real-time. 

I wore the Physix Gear compression socks after a few weightlifting sessions, several long walks and a couple of runs, and even if I can't say they actually helped my muscles recover faster (it's hard to tell), I can say they felt soothing after an intense workout. These compression socks are also more affordable than most at less than $20 a pair, and the collection includes very laid-back styles you can wear anywhere. 

$30 at Swiftwick

Best cold-weather compression socks

Swiftwick Aspire Twelve

Editor's note, September 2023: When we tested the Swiftwick Aspire Twelve socks, they were made with merino wool. They're now made with Swiftwick's signature Olefin fabric, which is also moisture-wicking and lightweight.

These Swiftwick compression socks are designed for all-season activities. They're part of Swiftwick's running and snow sports collections, designed to adapt to the weather thanks to the natural crimps in the merino wool fibers. When it's warm outside (or any time you sweat), merino wool absorbs moisture into its porous fibers and then wicks it away from your body as a vapor. When it's cold, the crimped fiber works as an insulator, keeping heat close to your skin.

With 11% spandex, the Aspire 12 compression socks offer plenty of compression for long workouts or full days of outdoor adventure. Although I don't live near many hiking trails anymore, I know I'll pack these socks for any road trips to the mountains.

Factors to consider when buying compression socks

Level of compression: Compression socks can offer mild compression, moderate compression, firm compression, extra firm or "severe" compression. This is measured in mmHg, a unit of pressure. Mild to firm compression socks are commonly sold over the counter, and are usually between 10 and 30 mmHg. They're ideal for work, travel, sports or mild varicose veins. 

Extra firm compression socks may go up to 50 mmHg or more, and these are recommended for more serious conditions like blood clots, medical recovery or severe varicose veins. Compression socks are also available by prescription.

Some compression socks come with graduated compression, with the tightest fit around the ankle and a looser fit higher up. These are popular because they can be more comfortable and easier to find the right fit.

Comfort: Ideally, your compression socks should feel like a gentle squeeze; if you feel any pain, numbness or tingling, they're too tight. Consider whether the socks are made with a breathable fabric, if they have a seamless toe and any other comfort factor that you specifically require from your socks. Compression socks also come in various lengths, from ankle to waist-high. 

Style: Like regular socks, compression socks come in different lengths, colors and styles. If you'll be wearing them at work, for example, you might want a business-friendly look. Some compression socks are sheer and lightweight, while others are more opaque and sturdy.

Special uses: If you're using compression socks for a medical issue, like to prevent blood clots after surgery, look for anti-embolism stockings rather than regular compression socks. Ask your doctor to help you choose the right kind. A professional can also prescribe prescription-grade compression socks, which will be specifically fitted to your measurements.

Price: Compression socks may come with sticker shock if you're used to buying cheap socks, but you can still find more budget-friendly options if you need to.

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FAQs

What do compression socks do?

Compression socks apply pressure to your feet, ankles and calves. The pressure prevents blood and fluid from building up, which can lead to swelling and discomfort. They're helpful for people who sit or stand for long periods, athletes, people with varicose veins or anyone else who wants to improve blood flow in the legs.

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When should you wear compression socks?

Put on your compression socks in the morning, when they'll be easier to get on. They're safe to wear all day if you need to (like at work). You shouldn't sleep in compression socks, and make sure to give your legs time to rest, per Cleveland Clinic.

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Is there a downside to wearing compression socks?

Compression socks are generally safe for most people, but they may feel uncomfortably tight or even cut off your circulation if they don't fit you properly. One sign of this is seeing indents on your skin when you take them off. 

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How long many hours a day should you wear compression socks?

The length of time that you wear your compression socks will depend on what you're using them for, but they're typically safe to use all day long, from when you wake up until you go to sleep.

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What are the side effects of wearing compression socks?

Side effects should be minimal if your compression socks fit properly. Side effects of poorly fitting compression socks could include skin irritation, decreased blood floor or superficial blood clots, 

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