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  • Writer's pictureThe Underwear Review

Should You Wear Compression Socks When Traveling?

Your new favorite travel companion to improve circulation, reduce swelling, and prevent fatigue.

Man traveling at airport.

You know that uncomfortable and irritated feeling that hits somewhere in the middle of an hours-long flight or car ride.

Stuck in the same sitting position with little wiggle room and no place to stretch your legs, you may find yourself getting both a little stiff and stir crazy.

But traveling for extended periods in this sitting position can cause problems beyond cramped limbs.

When you’re stuck in this position for extended periods (i.e. traveling), blood pools in the lower extremities of your body, which in turn can lead to serious health problems.

The most common of which is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), or the forming of a blood clot in a deep vein of your leg.

Thankfully, there’s an effective, affordable, and comfortable solution available to you: compression socks.

Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about wearing compression socks while traveling and include top picks for the highest-rated men’s compression socks for traveling.

So, before you hop on that next flight or plan your next road trip, learn some more about how compression socks can improve your travel experience and overall health.

Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by The Underwear Review. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.

Should You Wear Compression Socks When Traveling?

You’ve likely heard of people wearing compression socks when traveling, but perhaps thought it was mostly to help those with circulation issues.

That’s partly true. Compression socks are highly recommended to wear when traveling for individuals that are pregnant, at high risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis, have history of blood clots, or recently undergone surgery.

Compression socks are recommended for these individuals because they apply a slight pressure to the lower legs, which in turn promotes blood flow and prevents blood from pooling in the veins, thus reducing the risk of clots.

That being said, however, compression socks are a comfortable and beneficial option to wear for anybody that’s going on a long flight, drive, or ride.

Even individuals that aren’t at a high risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or other circulatory health issues can still enjoy the benefits of improved circulation while traveling.

Keep in mind that the level of pressure found in compression socks varies.

Graph of compression sock pressure levels.

So, if you’re looking for an everyday compression sock option with mild pressure that’s good for traveling, opt for a compression sock with up to 20 mmHg of pressure.

On the other hand, if you’re someone with varicose veins, swelling, or pain in your legs, consider a moderate pressure option when traveling that falls between 20-30 mmHg of pressure.

Compression socks with firm pressure between 30-40 mmHg are used to address health concerns, including venous deficiencies, deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, and lymphedema.

While anything upwards of 40 mmHg would be considered heavy pressure and require a medical prescription and consultation with your healthcare provider.

This pressure level variety allows you to pick a compression sock that matches your individual fit and feel preferences, as well as address any personal health matters.

Wearing compression socks, along with periodically standing and moving your body, will improve your circulation and allow you to arrive at your destination in overall fresher, less stiff condition.

Do Certain Compression Socks Work Better for Traveling Than Others?

While any pair of proper fitting compression socks would provide circulation benefits for travel, certain sock designs and features do work better than others when traveling.

For example, not all compression socks utilize a graduated compression design, which is recommended for traveling.

A graduated compression design applies the most pressure at the foot and ankle, then gradually decreases in pressure moving up the leg.

This special design promotes the best conditions for circulation, moving deoxygenated blood in your lower extremities back toward the heart.

Airplane seats for travel.

You’ll also want to consider your specific needs when purchasing compression socks for travel, as compression socks come in a variety of pressure levels (mmHg).

For a more mild and everyday fit, opt for a compression sock design with a 15-20 mmHg pressure level.

On the other hand, if you’re specifically looking to improve circulation in your legs while traveling, opt for a 20-30 mmHg pressure level.

Additionally, when browsing compression socks for travel, look for options that prioritize cushion and comfort.

A cushioned footbed is always a nice feature to have while traveling, and comfortable material that’s breathable and moisture-wicking will make for a more enjoyable extended wear.

The Highest-Rated Men’s Compression Socks for Traveling

We’ve put together a list of the highest-rated men’s compression socks that work great for traveling.

These high-quality picks are comfortable, stylish, and durable. So, grab a pair (or a couple) and boost your next travel experience.

1. Physix Gear Compression Socks

Physix Gear Compression Socks

Available on Amazon: Physix Gear Compression Socks

The Physix Gear Compression Socks are a versatile and high-quality option with double-stitched seams and quick-drying, highly breathable fabric. These compression socks have a true graduated compression design with 20-30 mmHg of pressure that’s great for travel. Available in multiple colors.

2. NEWZILL Compression Socks

NEWZILL Compression Socks

Available on Amazon: NEWZILL Compression Socks

The NEWZILL Compression Socks feature comfortable fabric with a high-quality, no-chafe construction. These compression socks have stay-put cuffs, a soft footbed, and 20-30 mmHg of pressure intended for travel. Available in multiple colors.

3. Bombas Performance Compression Socks

Bombas Performance Compression Socks

The Bombas Performance Compression Socks feature a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric with a Honeycomb Arch Support System that cradles the arch of your foot. These compression socks have a 20-30 mmHg compression level that’s ideal for performance and travel. Available in multiple colors.

4. Sockwell Compression Socks

Sockwell Compression Socks

Available on Amazon: Sockwell Compression Socks

The Sockwell Compression Socks have a comfortable merino wool fabric with an ultra-light cushion sole, arch support, and seamless toe closure. These compression socks have a true graduated compression design with an everyday wear 15-20 mmHg pressure level.

5. Wanderlust Travel Compression Socks

Wanderlust Travel Compression Socks

The Wanderlust Travel Compression Socks feature friction-free seams, soft foot padding, and a special Y-Gore heel. These compression socks have a graduated compression design with 25-30 mmHg at the ankle, 15-20 mmHg at the calf, and 10-15 mmHg under the knee.

How Should Compression Socks Fit?

When it comes to finding the right fit for compression socks, there are a few factors you’ll want to keep in mind.

For starters, you’re right to assume that compression socks will have a tight fit, as it’s right there in the name. However, there is such a thing as too tight in this case.

So, look for compression socks that offer a snug and supportive fit that’s not overly restrictive or binding. Generally, any feeling of discomfort in your toes, feet, or calves is a sign that your socks are too tight.

Man putting on compression socks.

Additionally, when the sock is on and pulled up, it should have a smooth fit that does not bunch in any area, especially in the toes, footbed, or ankle.

The best way to ensure a smooth fit is to follow any sizing guidelines offered by the provider.

If you’re unsure about a measurement or are in between sizes, consider reaching out to the provider, as they often have advice about which way to lean in your decision.

Taking the time to ensure you have proper-fitting compression socks will pay off, as the best way to ensure you receive the benefits of compression is through a proper fitting garment.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks?

Whether you’re strictly looking to wear compression socks when traveling or you’re also interested in incorporating them into athletics and everyday wear, compression socks offer several health benefits.

The main benefit of wearing compression socks is improved blood flow in your legs, which in turn can lead to several beneficial results.

For example, improving blood flow and circulation in the legs leads to a reduction in the risk of blood clots, varicose veins, and other circulatory-related issues.

Improved blood flow also helps to reduce swelling in your legs by promoting lymphatic drainage and preventing fluid build-up.

For athletes and individuals with physically demanding jobs, improving lymphatic drainage and flushing out fluid build-up helps to prevent fatigue, reduce inflammation, and promote faster muscle recovery.

The compression pressure applied by the socks also provides better support to your muscles, which in turn helps to reduce fatigue and your overall risk of injury.

Wearing a pair of compression socks is an easy and comfortable way to improve blood flow in your legs for overall health and improved travel experiences.

And if you’re on the lookout for comfortable socks, be sure to check out our picks for the most comfortable crew socks and dress socks.


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