Travel Must Have: Compression Socks

Compression socks are a common topic of discussion. Here is the low down on the science behind them and top recommended brands.


The Traveling Shopaholic

6/30/20233 min read

The topic of compression socks is a common one within the travel community. As a healthcare provider, I am in the very PRO compression sock camp :) Let's dive in.

First of all, it's important to acknowledge that long hours of sitting or standing during travel can have some negative effects on our bodies, particularly our legs and feet. Thankfully, there's a simple yet effective solution that can make your journey more comfortable and alleviate common travel-related discomforts: compression socks.

Understanding Compression Socks: Compression socks are specially designed garments that apply gentle pressure to the legs, ankles, and feet. They are crafted using elastic materials that exert graduated pressure, meaning the pressure is highest at the ankles and gradually decreases as it moves up the leg. This unique design promotes proper blood circulation and helps prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities.

Why Wear Compression Socks While Traveling?

  1. Blood Circulation Boost: Prolonged periods of inactivity during travel can impede blood circulation and lead to uncomfortable swelling, leg cramps, and even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Compression socks aid in improving blood flow, keeping your legs and feet refreshed and reducing the risk of circulatory issues.

  2. Reduced Leg Fatigue: Long-haul flights or road trips often involve prolonged sitting or standing, which can cause leg fatigue and discomfort. Compression socks provide graduated compression, which helps combat muscle fatigue and minimizes aching sensations, allowing you to stay energized throughout your journey.

  3. Prevention of Edema: Edema, or fluid retention, is a common occurrence during travel. Compression socks assist in preventing edema by preventing excess fluid buildup and promoting efficient lymphatic drainage. Say goodbye to puffy ankles and feet!

  4. Alleviation of Varicose Veins: Varicose veins, those enlarged and twisted veins often visible on the legs, can be exacerbated by long periods of immobility. Compression socks assist in preventing the progression of varicose veins by improving blood circulation and reducing the pooling of blood in the veins.

Finding the Right Fit: Finding the perfect pair of compression socks is crucial for maximizing their benefits. Here are some key considerations when selecting compression socks for travel:

  1. Compression Level: Compression socks are available in various compression levels, ranging from mild to extra-firm. The appropriate level depends on individual needs and the duration of your travel. In general, the minimum recommended compression level would be 15mmHg to counteract gravity. I typically wear 20-30mmHg for travel but 15-20mmHg is easier to get on (this graphic is a good one to explain how to get them on easily!)

  2. Size and Length: Compression socks come in different sizes and lengths to accommodate diverse leg shapes and heights. It's essential to measure your legs accurately, taking into account the circumference of your ankle, calf, and thigh. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's sizing guide to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit.

  3. Material and Comfort: Look for compression socks made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics to keep your feet dry and comfortable during travel. Seamless designs and cushioned soles provide additional comfort, especially for long journeys.


There are countless options out there to fit every size body and budget! Here are three top choice

  1. Bombas

  2. Jobst

  3. Physix

Compression socks are a practical and science-backed solution for enhancing your travel experience. By promoting proper blood circulation, reducing leg fatigue, preventing edema, and aiding in varicose vein management, they can make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable. Remember to find the right fit, considering compression level, size, length, and comfort. So, the next time you embark on a travel adventure, make sure to pack your compression socks and keep your feet happy throughout the journey!

**Remember, the information shared in this blog post is not medical advice but rather general information about the benefits of compression socks for travel. Every individual's situation is unique, and it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional regarding your specific needs, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

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