Scientists are working on a cure for jet lag, but there's already an easy solution for another common travel discomfort: A good pair of compression socks can help prevent swollen legs caused by poor blood circulation. “The major benefits of wearing compression socks is reduction of swelling to the lower legs,” Jackie Sutera, DPM, a Board-certified podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab, tells Inverse. “This helps with leg fatigue,” she says, which also affects runners and those who spend a lot of time on their feet. The best compression socks for men provide your preferred amount of pressure without feeling overly tight, and a few specs will help you choose the right pair to suit your needs.
Dr. Jackie Sutera is a Board-certified podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Fordham University in New York and earned her medical degree from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.
What to consider when shopping for compression socks
First, you’ll want to consider how much compression you need. “Compression stockings pressure ratings come in a range of numbers to indicate how much compression they have,” Dr. Sutera explains. According to Dr. Sutera, a moderate pressure rating of 15 to 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is the most common in over-the-counter compression socks (and it’s the one recommended for travel), but options range from mild to extra-firm. For most people, including runners and those without medical conditions, Dr. Sutera says to “start with the lowest level of compression and work your way up,” so you may prefer 8 to 15 mmHg socks to begin with. She also cautions against socks that cause numbness, tingling, or discomfort. “If this happens, size up — the feeling should be one of having your legs supported, like a ‘hug’, not constricted or tight.”
While you’re shopping, also look for compression socks that have gradient compression. “This applies a controlled amount of pressure at the ankle that gradually decreases up the leg, which pushes blood flow and circulation up the leg and [prevents] swelling at the ankle,” Dr. Sutera explains. All of the socks below feature gradient compression.
You’ll also want to consider fit and length, which ranges from ankle socks to over-the-knee options. There are also socks designed for wider calves and styles with stay-put cuffs or cushioned soles. Plus, many compression socks are made from moisture-wicking fabric blends that are a good choice for athletes.
Shop the best compression socks for men
In a hurry? Here are the top three picks for compression socks:
1. The expert-recommended compression socks: Jobst Compression Stockings
2. The fan-favorite compression socks: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks
3. The ankle-length copper socks with mild compression: Yeug Copper Compression Socks (5-Pack)
Finally, Dr. Sutera recommends checking with your doctor if you have very swollen legs, diabetes, or other medical conditions, to discuss safety and possibly a prescription for medical-grade compression socks.
With all that in mind, read on for the best compression socks for men on Amazon.
1. The expert-recommended compression socks
Pressure Rating: 15-20 mmHg | Sizes: Small — X-Large, including petite and full calf sizes | Material: 80% Nylon, 20% Spandex | Colors: 2
These moderate compression socks come highly recommended by Dr. Sutera. “A tried and true brand is Jobst. I have used these personally and have been recommending them my whole career,” she shares. The spandex socks have gradient compression and a reinforced heel. You can choose from black and beige.
One positive review: “Fits great, great support. Not super easy to get on, but they do loosen up a little. Love this Jobst brand, can always count on the quality.”
2. These fan-favorite compression socks with 60,000+ reviews
Pressure Rating: 20-30 mmHg | Sizes: Small — XX-Large | Material: 70% Nylon, 30% Spandex | Colors: 12
Amazon shoppers have awarded these compression socks more than 47,000 perfect five-star ratings. Made from a nylon-spandex blend, the socks are both breathable and moisture-wicking. The knee-high socks have gradient compression and stay-put cuffs to keep them from sliding down. In addition to being available in a dozen colors, these compression socks are also available in an ankle length style.
One positive review: “I shopped around and tried five different brands before settling on this one as my solution to leg swelling. These are very comfortable, they wash and dry easily, they never get musty or smelly like other socks I've tried that had a high cotton content, and these socks have proven very durable. I wear them all the time, at work, off work, fishing, everywhere. 5 stars.”
3. These ankle-length copper socks with mild compression
Pressure Rating: 8-15 mmHg | Sizes: Small — X-Large | Material: 85% Cotton, 8% Copper Fiber, 7% Spandex | Colors: 9 (also available in crew length)
These cotton-spandex ankle socks are also made with copper fibers, which some research suggests may help with odors when sweating. The socks have gradient compression zones and soft sole cushioning to keep you comfortable. They’re also moisture-wicking and have earned more than 2,200 five-star ratings on Amazon.
One positive review: “When I first tried these on I did not think they would work as the compression factor seemed a bit low; but at the end of the day my lower calf and ankle area looked great. I have purchased 3 packs of these and wear them pretty much every day.”
4. These merino wool socks with stronger compression
Pressure Rating: 20-30 mmHg | Sizes: Medium — XX-Large | Material: 31% Merino Wool, 31% Rayon, 30% Nylon, 8% Spandex | Colors: 7
To help regulate your temperature, these compression socks are made with merino wool and a blend of rayon derived from bamboo, nylon, and spandex for a comfortable, stretchy fit. The over-the-calf socks have four zones of gradient compression and also offer odor and moisture control.
One positive review: “Of the 5 different brands of compression socks I have purchased over the past 4 years, I like these from Sockwell the best. They are definitely the most comfortable with the right amount of compression without being too constrictive. 5 stars for these socks!!”
5. These compression sleeves with firm foot & ankle support
Pressure Rating: 20-30 mmHg | Sizes: Small — X-Large | Material: 75% Nylon, 25% Spandex | Colors: 4
The design of these compression sleeves focuses on the ankle and heel, and it’s earned an impressive 7,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers. The stretchy nylon-spandex blend is moisture-wicking, and the socks have gradient compression. Choose from packs of one and two in four colors.
One positive review: “Once they are on, it's so easy to forget they are there. I wear them over my socks to work and it greatly reduces the heel, arch, and ankle pain. It doesn't bunch up in my shoe or slide around on my foot. I love that the toes are open.”
6. These cotton socks with mild compression
Pressure Rating: 8-15 mmHg | Sizes: Medium — Large | Material: 55% Cotton, 40% Polyester, 5% Elastic | Colors: 6
These breathable cotton-polyester compression socks look like a sophisticated dress sock, but they also have gradient, mild compression throughout. They’ve earned more than 1,500 five-star ratings on Amazon and are available in several combinations of neutral shades and prints.
One positive review: “These socks are ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! Easier to put on than most compression socks. Very comfortable. Fit nicely and have compression in EXACTLY the right places.”
7. These compression socks for wide calves
Pressure Rating: 15-20 mmHg | Sizes: Small — 5X | Material: 80% Nylon, 12% Copper, 8% Spandex | Colors: 1
These wide-calf compression socks are designed to fit larger calves comfortably and offer moderate gradient compression throughout the leg. They’re made from a nylon-spandex-copper fabric, which helps wick moisture away to prevent odor. While they’re only available in one color, the black and copper style is versatile enough to go with everything.
One positive review: “my doctor said I had varicose veins in my ankles and recommended some compression socks. I am glad I landed here, these socks are absolutely wonderful and for less than half of what brand my doctor recommended. I have large calves, wear a size 13, and these socks fit over everything perfectly. Ankle swelling has gone down, and I am about to order some more of these.”
8. These ankle socks with a heel tab for easy on & off
Pressure Rating: 15-20 mmHg | Sizes: Small — X-Large | Material: 79% Nylon, 9% Lycra, 12% Sweat-Wicking Nylon | Colors: 6
These bright ankle compression socks have pull-on heel tabs and a padded heel and arch. The Lycra-nylon blend is moisture-wicking and the socks have gradient compression. Each of the two seamless socks is designed to best fit the right and left foot for greater comfort. Choose from packs of one or three.
One positive review: “I drive a lot for work often 10-12 hour days stopping and starting in and out of the car etc. My feet usually swell after a long day and ache. not anymore! comfy and happy to wear them, so much I bought more!”
Jackie Sutera, DPM, Board-certified podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab
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