After 10 hours of research evaluating 65 products, we picked Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks as our top choice.
Let's get one thing clear: the best compression socks will help with many areas but they are not an athletic miracle.
Many people think these socks enhance stamina and endurance, helping you to run longer and push harder. Not so. Compression socks are intended to improve circulation, relieve fatigue, and prevent swelling in the legs.
The good news is:
The best compression socks for men can increase your anaerobic threshold, speed up lactic acid elimination, and promote muscle efficiency.
So why use compression socks?
If you're a nurse on your feet all day, a cop who walks for hours, or you just spend a lot of time standing, compression socks can prevent blood pooling in your feet. They're also recommended for varicose veins, pregnant mothers, deep vein thrombosis, and for long-distance air travel.
Are they a good addition to your workout gear? They could be, but don't expect miracles just by putting on a pair of socks.
Below, you'll find our list of the best compression socks for you to wear whether you're a nurse, athlete, or traveler. Each sock has its own pros and cons, so give them a read to find out which sock is right for you.
Firm compression supports your feet from all angles and is designed to reduce fatigue and stabilize muscles. Particularly helpful when engaging in lengthy endurance sports or other outdoor activities. These socks are typically deemed to be very comfortable allowing your feet to breathe and stay ventilated while still maintaining firm support.
Some users say they tend to run fairly small in size (smaller sizes seem to essentially be “women’s sizes”, and larger sizes “men’s sizes”), something to keep in mind. The smaller fit leads to some difficultly in pulling the socks on and off according to some customers.
These socks are designed to keep your feet comfortable, dry, and blister-free while still maintaining good arch support. They fit firmly around your feet to provide added support and reduce muscle fatigue – particularly during extended periods of use.
Users describe them as having “minimal cushion”, but that is intentional as they are designed to have a “responsive feel”. Include firm compression and a contoured fit designed to keep your socks comfortably in place – nobody likes it when you’re socks start slipping off your heels! They have a unique “Y-shaped” heel that helps maintain a snug fit while still allowing easy movement.
These Swiftwick socks are made of a carefully selected lightweight “Olefin” fiber which is a thin, breathable fabric designed with a mesh footbed that is thinly knitted for optimum breathability and ventilation. This interesting fabric creates heat to keep your feet warm enough when necessary but also allows them to cool nicely.
They are designed to fit snugly so that there is no bunching or slipping of your socks, but also to allow for easy movement of your feet and comfortability. They have a crew cuff height (so they sit just below your calf for extra support) and a seamless toe that is intende3d to eliminate friction on your toes while engaged in activity.
These run you approximately $18 per pair. Though they may seem pricy (almost $20 for a single pair), prior customers typically say that these socks are worth it and they’d consider buying another pair after seeing how comfortable and effective they are. So, if you’re looking for a high-endurance pair of socks, $20 is probably worth it for a pair of these babies.
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer Socks offer a lot of flexibility for athletic use, including a flex zone at the ankle of the socks. They are high-density with a lot of build in cushion in the toe and heel for comfort and protection. Graduated compression socks (20-30 mmHg) making them great for activities requiring quick physical recovery.
Some users say they take a little extra time to slip on and off and are better for winter activities due to their thickness.
These socks are made primarily of Merino wool, which is a very advanced fabric including natural fibers that allow the sock breathe naturally, wick moisture, and actively prevent against odor. This durable fabric provides good arch support, calf and ankle support, and tends to reduce fatigue (during hiking, for example).
Designed for use on many types of terrain, you can purchase these socks in not only a variety of colors and designs, but also multiple heights with various cushion options so you can tailor the style to your particular needs. Users say the graduated compression is ideal and effective without causing the socks to be uncomfortable or to cut off circulation throughout your legs and body.
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineering Socks can be purchased in a relatively wide variety of colors and designs (depending where you purchase them – design options are limited on certain websites). They are made in the United States (using imported yarn) and are comprised of 50% Merino Wool, 43% Nylon, and 7% Elastane. The fabric they’re made of makes them easily breathable and able to wick moisture.
These socks fit nicely over your calf and end just below your knee. They have a flat knit leg so that they can easily fit into low-volume mountaineering boots for your hiking and climbing needs. Stylish socks that are great for most of your outdoor, athletic needs.
These socks are sold in single pairs, and run from approximately $24 - $36 depending on size, style, and where you decide to purchase them. They’re a bit on the pricier end due to their durability, but if you’re an avid climber or any other type of outdoorsmen, they might be worth the money.
These socks are highly versatile, designed to work well for a wide variety of activities, they’re great for both men and women, and they come in a WIDE variety of colors and designs (all in the same price range) – so you can choose just what’s right for you! The socks stimulate blood flow and improve the delivery of oxygen to your muscles. They have true graduated compression (15-20 mmHg), which helps support legs, reduce fatigue, soreness and cramping, and to prevent injuries (or relieve pain resulting from prior injuries).
If you’re not looking for something that comes up to just below your knee then these may not be the socks for you, otherwise, users are yet to identify any major cons to purchasing this item!
Copper Compression Socks are a great conductor of electricity and also aid blood circulation through your legs using copper fibers designed to revive blood circulation (hence the name Copper Compression). Along with great, graduated compression, these socks are very helpful for anyone who has to sit or stand for long periods of time, whether it be at work or during lengthy periods of travel.
The graduated compression in these socks provides support for your legs, helps reduce fatigue, soreness and cramping, prevents injuries, and significantly relieves pain from prior injuries, such as pain resulting from shin splints, calf cramps, blisters, or pulled muscles.
They have a unique reinforced heel and bottom of foot section. Customers who have been medically prescribed to wear compression socks for health reasons typically say they are very effective and significantly reduce swelling.
These stylish socks come in many, many designs and colors you can choose from without having to pay more for the design/color-scheme you like. They are made with a special silver fiber that is designed to provide optimal moisture control that will keep your feet dry and comfortable, making it less likely you will sustain blisters.
Copper Compression socks are made with a wicking design that prevents chaffing and irritation during extended periods of use, and are also designed to be anti-static and to improve blood circulation. Users typically note that they feel these socks are high in quality for their cost.
A 3 pack of Copper Compression Socks will cost you between $8.88 - $16.99 on Amazon (currently an “Amazon’s Choice” item). The pricing for various colors/designs/sizes is relatively similar and the manufacturer offers a 100% Money Back Guarantee to ensure your satisfaction with the product – that’s always a good sign!
Midweight compression, good elasticity, easy to put on, long-lasting, stylish, bright colors, extra cushioning in the heel and toe, padded foot bed, 100% sweat-shop free, tested and endorsed by Olympi athletes, and inexpensive.
Reviewers report the fit can be a bit too tight for some and the elastic calf band can be painful.
For runners who want to improve endurance by boosting circulation, these are the socks for you. Not only are they durable and comfortable, but they offer midweight compression that will enhance blood flow to your legs and feet. Best of all, they come with padding in the heel, footbed, and toe to reduce impact while you run. Wear these with your running shoes and you'll feel like you're running on clouds!
The elasticity of the socks is a tad too tight, so you may need to buy a size larger in order to fit. However, the graduated compression ensures consistent pressure all along your leg, ankle, and foot.
The socks are made in the EU (sweat-shop free manufacturing), using premium quality materials. All in all, a very durable pair of socks!
If you have larger calves, you may find the elastic band at the top can be a bit tight (painfully so, in some cases). Runners may want to try a size larger in order to avoid impaired circulation when they run.
However, once you get the size right, you'll find these socks are beautifully comfortable. In addition to the foot padding, the socks use a breathable material that will keep your feet cool. The mixture of 95% Polyamide and 5% Elasthan ensures good elasticity and compression without making the socks impossible to pull up.
At $10 per pair, these are the best-priced socks on our list. They offer quality, comfort, and durability at a highly affordable cost—definitely a good choice for runners and all athletes to consider.
Unisex, durable material, graduated compression, reinforced heel and toe, great cushioning, form-fitting, excellent ventilation, enhances joint stability, available in multiple sizes, odor and stretch-resistant, and long-lasting.
Limited style options and they may begin to "pill" with regular wear.
For those who wear compression socks every day, you'll find these are the most durable option on the market. Not only are they made of premium material (very soft and comfortable to wear), but the design of the flat seams, heel and toe cushioning, and the non-stretch elastic band ensure that the socks last well for years to come.
Note: Some users have complained of the fabric "pilling" in the washing machine.
The socks offer graduated compression across your calves, shins, ankles, and feet. The arch support and cushioning will help to reduce joint impact while the graduated compression will improve circulation and joint stability. Whether you're at work, traveling, or training like a boss, these socks will keep up with you.
The socks are made of a material that are both odor and bacteria-resistant. You can wear them all day long thanks to their ventilated design, with breathable mesh that will keep your legs and feet cool. Thanks to the midweight compression, you'll never have to worry about poor circulation again.
The socks use layers of elastic to ensure even, consistent compression across the entire leg, ankle, and foot. The compression isn't so tight that you lose mobility and agility for high intensity training, and they're designed to be comfortable even after hours of wear.
At $16, these are a well-priced pair of compression socks. They come in a wide range of sizes (though only three styles), and you'll find they are the best choice for daily use.
Lightweight compression, comfortable, durable, sleek design, ultra-soft material, good elasticity, comes in a wide range of styles, non-binding top, compatible with most foot sizes, comfortable pocket for your heel and toe, and affordable.
Mid-calf fit can be uncomfortable.
If you're a nurse on your feet all day, these socks are a must-have! Their lightweight compression makes them perfect for all-day use: they'll improve circulation and prevent blood pooling without being so tight they hurt.
The socks come in a wide range of styles: from zebra print to EKG to owls to pets and all the colors of the rainbow. Whatever the color, shape, or cut of your nursing outfit, you'll have no problem finding a pair of socks to match.
For nurses of below-average height, the socks are just the right length. For the average-height person, the mid-calf length just feels weird, like you need to pull up the sock. Thankfully, the non-binding top won't squeeze your calves or cut off blood flow.
The socks are lightweight and stylish, made from super-soft microfiber that feels amazingly comfortable on your feet. Thanks to the padding in the heel and toe, you'll be able to walk around all day long without tired feet. Definitely the top choice for busy nurses!
At less than $10 per pair, these are the best-priced compression socks on our list. They may not be designed for athletic wear, but they're just what a nurse needs to be comfortable all day long.
Designed specifically for sports use, knee-high socks, graduated compression, well-ventilated, moisture-wicking fabric, great for runners and high intensity trainees, comfortable, can be worn for hours, not too tight, well-priced, and antibacterial fibers.
Not the most durable, and the sizes are difficult to get right.
For athletes who need compression socks, you can't help but love these. They offer everything you need to keep your feet comfortable: soft material, decent ventilation, good arch support, and padding to reduce impact. The knee height ensures that your lower legs (calves down) are thoroughly covered, with compression to improve circulation.
Though it's tough to get the sizes right, the socks are fairly easy to slip on. They're not so tight that they'll cut off circulation if you wear them while traveling, but they keep your feet nice and comfortable. Thanks to the mixture of 70% Silver Drystat, 10% Spandex, 10% Lycra, and 10% Nylon, you'll find these socks are one of the comfier options for athletes.
The 70% Silver Drystat material is antibacterial (to reduce odors and athletes foot) as well as moisture-wicking. The mesh integrated into the leg of the sock offers excellent ventilation, and your feet will never overheat in these bad boys. The material is nicely elastic, making them easy to slip on.
The graduated compression ensures even, consistent pressure all down your calf, shin, ankle, and foot. The socks are designed with runners in mind, and they'll prevent shin splints and pooling blood after a long run.
Starting at $19, these are one of the best-priced pairs of compression socks. They may not be the most durabie (many users report loss of elasticity after a few weeks), but they're a good choice for athletes just getting into using compression garments.
Comfortable, soft, supportive, easy to stretch and slip on, made in the USA, versatile sock, light cushioning in the sole, offers arch support, seamless toe closure prevents discomfort in your shoes, and reinforced toe and heel box.
A bit too small for very thick calves.
If you're looking for comfort above all else, these socks are definitely what you want. Made with 32% uber-soft Merino wool, you'll find these are as comfortable as the snuggly socks you love to wear on a cold winter day. Thanks to the addition of Stretch Nylon, Bamboo Rayon, and Spandex, they have just the right amount of elasticity and compression without losing their durability.
The socks offer moderate compression, making them perfect for all-purpose uses. They're not so tight that you'll have to struggle to pull them up, but they stay nicely in place and won't slip around. They're just the right blend of super durable and amazingly comfy.
The graduated compression design ensures even pressure on your calf, ankle, and foot. The seamless toe closure will be nice and comfortable in even tight sports shoes, and the reinforced toe and heel seams give these socks an added durability you'll love. The elastic of the calf is a bit tight for men with larger muscles, but the length is ideal for taller-than-average guys.
There is even a bit of padding built into the heel and forefoot, offering padding to reduce impact on your joints. The arch support in the socks will keep your feet comfortable no matter how much you jump or run around.
At $21 per pair, these are a great pair of socks. They're pricier than you'd pay for regular socks, but the ideal price range for compression socks. Best of all, they're durable enough for everyday wear and comfortable enough for work, sports, and travel.
Wide-calf design, covers the calves and ankles, good compression, versatile, comfortable, lightweight, adaptable to all activities, well-sized, supportive, easier to slip on and off than other compression socks, and midweight compression.
Pricey and only available in limited style/color options.
For those who want a quality pair of compression socks that works for every activity—work, sports, and travel—give these Physix socks a try. They're comfortable even after hours of wear, highly durable, and resistant to the sort of wear and tear that occurs when you walk or run all day long.
The socks offer midweight compression, meaning they're tight enough to improve circulation and reduce swelling without being overly constrictive. They're not medical-grade socks, but athletic wear that will help you be comfier in your own shoes. The supportive design will keep your legs, ankles, and feet stable as you move around—great for athletes with weaker ankles and feet.
The knee-length socks have an extra-wide calf design, meaning they won't compress your calf muscles too tightly. The mouth is also wider than average, with enough elasticity that the socks will be fairly easy to pull on. However, once they're in place, the midweight compression keeps your calves, ankles, and feet firmly supported.
The material is beautifully soft and comfy, with zero risk of chafing or rubbing. The design prevents constricting on the calves or ankles, but they won't slip off when moving around. However, some users have complained they're a bit too tight for men and women with very large calves, and they only come in one style with very few color options.
At $22 per pair of socks, these are a tad on the pricier side for "just another pair of socks". However, remember that they're specialized socks intended to improve circulation and reduce swelling. The cost is about average for compression socks, but there's no arguing with the high quality and durability of these bad boys!