The 5 Best Compression Socks and Stockings

Our Top Picks from the Compression Stockings Category

Written By: Megan Smith, PT   Category: Product Reviews   Updated: 8/21/2018

#1: Jobst Unisex Sport Compression Socks

Jobst Unisex Sport Compression Socks

Special Features:

  • Carbon fibers - Unique among athletic compression socks, it comes with activated carbon fibers that are integrated within the socks to provide foot odor control that also helps to keep the feet feeling cool and fresh.
  • Wide knee band - Comfortable knee band helps to keep the sock up during daily wear and strenuous activity
  • Cushioned padding - A cushioned padding in the achilles and foot sole area helps to protect tendons and absorb impact during exercise
  • Added comfort - Extra soft yarns with a smooth finish provide added comfort and durability to the socks
  • Wick away moisture - Microfiber technology helps to wick away moisture from the skin, leaving the legs and feet dry and cool
  • Stylish sporty colors - Choose between two two-tone color options

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#2: Jobst Relief Open Toe Thigh High Extra Firm Compression Stockings

Jobst Relief Open Toe Thigh High Extra Firm Compression Stockings

Special Features:

  • 30-40 mmHg compression - This stronger level of medical gradient compression is used to relieve severe swelling in the lower extremities. It is indicated for a number of different circulatory disorders and conditions, including varicose veins, post-DVT, edema, and venous ulcers.
  • Silicone free - These thigh highs are appropriate for silicone allergies, as they do NOT have a silicone band. They are preferable for those who use lotion adhesives to keep the stockings in place.

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#3: Jobst Activewear Knee High Firm Compression Socks

Jobst Activewear Knee High Firm Compression Socks

Special Features:

  • Designed to provide comfortable gradient compression.
  • Ideal for active lifestyles with a look and feel like athletic socks.
  • Offers the ideal combination of therapeutic efficacy and Dri-release yarn.
  • All-day comfort knee band keeps socks firmly in place without binding or pinching.
  • Soft, comfortable construction is durable and strong for long-lasting wear.

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#4: Jobst Relief Open Toe Firm Compression Pantyhose

Jobst Relief Open Toe Firm Compression Pantyhose

Special Features:

  • 20-30 mmHg compression level - A firm medical grade class II garment widely used by people with moderate to severe swelling from lymphedema, edema, and varicose veins.
  • Gradient compression - Provides firm compression which starts at the ankle and gradually decreases the compression level up both legs to the waist
  • Reinforced heel - Provides durability and a longer usefulness of the stocking
  • Unisex - The pantyhose are appropriate to be worn by both men and women for therapy and comfort

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#5: Jobst Relief Open Toe Knee High Firm Compression Stockings

Jobst Relief Open Toe Knee High Firm Compression Stockings

Special Features:

  • 3-D Relief weave is a durable, comfortable combination of high-quality fibers to reduce irritation and improve therapeutic compliance
  • 20-30 mmHg compression is perfect for moderate to severe lower extremity swelling and discomfort

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Product ModelBrandView Best Price
#1: Jobst Unisex Sport Compression SocksBSN MedicalView Price
#2: Jobst Relief Open Toe Thigh High Extra Firm Compression StockingsBSN MedicalView Price
#3: Jobst Activewear Knee High Firm Compression SocksBSN MedicalView Price
#4: Jobst Relief Open Toe Firm Compression PantyhoseBSN MedicalView Price
#5: Jobst Relief Open Toe Knee High Firm Compression StockingsBSN MedicalView Price

Medical-grade compression in modern, stylish designs

Compression stockings are specially fabricated socks, thigh highs, and pantyhose designed to enhance circulation in the legs and feet. Used by both men and women, compression hosiery reduces swelling and pain in the lower body, and can help treat and prevent a host of circulatory disorders.

Unlike the “support” hose and the dowdy medical “TED” hose of yesteryear, today’s compression hosiery is formulated to offer gradient/graduated compression in attractive, stylish designs. 

Gradient compression hosiery provides more pressure or tightness at the ankle, with pressure gradually decreasing as it continues up the calf and leg. The level of gradient pressure varies to more specifically suit different types of circulatory disorders, and is measured in mmHg units of pressure. This compression action encourages blood to flow more freely which results in less swelling, fatigue, and pain in the legs and feet.

Lighter, graduated compression (15-20 mmHg) offers gentle support for minor circulatory concerns, such as mild swelling or fatigue, while the stronger compression levels (30-40 mmHg) offer a higher gradient for more severe swelling or pain from serious circulatory disorders, including lymphedema and venous ulcers.

Understanding compression levels, features, and product benefits

Who needs gradient compression stockings?

The various gradient compression levels available are designed to treat and/or prevent a host of different circulatory concerns, disorders and disease. Here is a general breakdown:

15-20 mmHg: This lighter level of support is indicated for travel, and for those who sit or stand for extended periods of time. It mitigates minor swelling, fatigue and pain, and is used for milder circulatory involvement from varicose veins, orthostatic and postural hypotension, post-sclerotherapy, spider veins, pregnancy, and for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prevention.

20-30 mmHg: This is the most frequently used level of pressure, and is indicated for moderate to severe swelling caused by a host of circulatory issues, including edema, venous insufficiency, varicose veins, lymphedema, post-sclerotherapy, hypotension (postural and orthostatic), and superficial thrombophlebitis. This compression level is often used to prevent DVT and stasis ulcers, and offers effective relief for swelling and fatigue related to pregnancy, and for postsurgical swelling.

30-40 mmHg: This stronger level of gradient support is indicated for severe swelling and pain originating from more severe circulatory diseases and disorders including lymphedema, postural/orthostatic hypotension, venous ulcers, varicose veins, and edema. It’s also used following DVT, and for post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). Due to its strength, it is recommended that you only use this level of compression under a doctor’s supervision.

What are the benefits of compression, and how do I know which level is right for me?

Gradient compression therapy enhances the blood flow to and from extremities, which improves circulation and results in a wealth of benefits for the entire body.

Compression therapy also reduces swelling, fatigue, and pain in the limbs. And because the severity and involvement of circulatory dysfunction varies widely from one individual to another, compression hosiery is designed in alternating strengths to better accommodate these differences.

The pressure levels of compression stockings are measured in mmHg units of measurement. The mm stands for millimeters, and the Hg stands for mercury, from the Latin “hydrargyrum”, originating from the measurement of mercury rising with changes in air pressure. It’s a complex calculation also used in blood pressure analysis, but for compression hosiery, it simply describes the level of compressive pressure inherent to the stocking.

The range, such as 30-40 mmHg, relates to the lowest compression the stocking will offer (30 mmHg), to the highest (40 mmHg).

Medical classes for compression stockings

Although there are other levels of compression stockings, the most commonly used are referred to in medical classes. The 15-20 mmHg level is considered to an over-the-counter class, while the 20-30 mmHg level is called medical Class 1, the 20-30 mmHg is medical Class 2, and 40-50 mmHg is medical Class 3.

Even though you can purchase the medical Class 1 and 2 compression stockings without a doctor’s prescription, it is highly advised to consult with a healthcare professional before making any compression stocking selection. There are certain conditions that would preclude some individuals from using this kind of therapy hosiery, and it is also crucial to choose the right strength for your unique requirements to reap the most benefits from wearing it.

What features should I look for in gradient compression hosiery?

Contemporary compression hosiery has a lot to offer its wearers, and both women and men can find the styles they need to suit different occasions.

Gradient compression stockings come in knee high, thigh high, chaps, and pantyhose configurations to accommodate a variety of therapy requirements, and a wide range of sizes and colors to fulfill personal preferences and ensure the perfect fit.

Choose athletic socks for sports and active-wear, ribbed or brocade knee highs for casual and business wear, and opaque thigh highs and ultra sheer pantyhose for special occasions and dress wear.

Quality-constructed compression stockings like the Jobst and Juzo brands we offer will provide multiple features that set these products above the rest. It is very important to choose compression hosiery that is durable and will retain its shape, even after multiple washings; if the stockings become loose, they will not provide any therapy benefits.

Some of the most important features to look for in compression socks/stockings include:

  • Latex and silicone allergies. If you have latex or silicone allergies, be sure to select compression hosiery free of these materials.
  • Comfort. Compression hosiery should fit snugly, but not uncomfortably; higher quality stockings can be worn all day to make you feel better, not worse!
  • Toe area. Look for an open toe design for more versatile wearability. A closed toe should be roomy with a smooth seam.
  • Heel area. The heel should be reinforced to better resist shoe abrasion.
  • Easy application. Some compression hosiery can be hard to put on because of the stiffness of the material used for compression. Choose brands that specifically design their stockings to be super soft and easy to don.
  • Moisture-wicking. The specialized materials and weaving techniques utilized by some of the higher quality brands effectively wick moisture away from the feet and legs, and keep them feeling dry, cool, and odor-free.

How long should I wear gradient compression stockings?

If you have consulted with your doctor regarding the use of compression therapy stockings, we recommend following the doctor’s instructions of how to use them and when to wear them.

Generally, it is advised to wear them every day to better control and manage particular circulatory disorders, prevent problems from getting worse, and stop the development of new conditions.

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