The first time I wore compression socks was two years ago on a long-haul flight. If you had asked me about compression socks before then, I would have told you they were for people with health problems. But compression socks have come a long way in terms of style and functionality. Whether you’re traveling, on your feet all day, or play sports, here’s why Sockwell compression socks need to be on your radar.
Best compression socks for flying
I first heard of compression socks as a teen when I noticed my grandfather would wear them up to his knees some days. He had vein issues, was in the war, and had to wear the ugly socks for medical issues. My dad had vein surgery and had to wear them as well.
The compression socks they had to wear were skin color and not very fashionable at all. Somewhere along the way, I filed compression socks away in my mind as something only elderly people with health problems wore and never thought much more about them. If you don’t have circulation issues and leg pain and swelling in your everyday life, they’re not for you, right? Not exactly….
Then I moved to France in 2012 and have taken a lot of long flights since then. I noticed that after a long day of travel, my feet and ankles would sometimes be a little swollen and achy upon arrival. They’d have a weird sensation which wasn’t a big deal but was something I noticed. Also, whenever I’m on my feet all day, at a work event for example, my lower legs tend to get that same heavy sensation and even a little achy and swollen.
Trying compression socks never really crossed my mind because I didn’t have a problem with veins like my dad or anything that really bothered me and figured they weren’t really something I needed or that I’d even like.
Well, that has changed.
Little by little, I’d notice younger people around me wearing compression socks. Men and women in their 20s and 30s on their travels sported colorful compression socks. I also noticed that fitness instructors in my gym who teach high-impact classes wear compression socks with their shorts. I’d see compression socks mentioned on travel forums.
I’ve since learned that compression socks are NOT just for people with medical issues, nor are they boring and unfashionable like my grandfather’s socks back in the day. I first wore compression socks for my holiday season travels a couple of years ago when I had 24 hours of flights ahead of me.
To my utter surprise, my lower legs felt great after and there wasn’t even a hint of swelling upon taking them off the next day. Sold for life and I’ll never travel again without colorful compression socks (they have to look fun! come on ;-)). Compression socks make your legs feel great even if you didn’t realize your legs needed them in the first place.
So who and what are compression socks for and why are they something you should try? Let’s get into it and learn about what compression socks do.
What are compression socks?
Why wear compression socks? What do compression socks do exactly?
Here are just a few benefits:
- Boost circulation
- Support veins
- Help blood to not pool in your legs and prevent deep vein thrombosis
Even if you don’t experience any discomfort while traveling or exercising, compression socks help to apply gentle pressure to your legs and ankles, which promotes blood flow from your lower extremities to your heart. They’re good for you and can even boost athletic performance.
Activities where you might want to consider wearing compression socks include: Hiking, travel, running/fitness, days you’re on your feet for hours and any time you want to show your feet and legs a little extra love.
They just feel good on.
Dagny, below, wants to know if they make any for dogs. She was jealous there weren’t any for her to try on.
Sockwell’s VP of Design, Mercedes Marchand, explains how compression socks work:
“The compression at the ankle and arch is the tightest and gradually gets bigger towards the knee. This is called graduated compression. This graduation helps prevent the blood from pooling in the foot to minimize swelling and promote circulation back upward toward the heart. Swelling is especially aggressive when you sit or stand for prolonged periods of time.
The calf is often called the second heart. When the calf is moving, it is helping to pump blood upward. When you are stagnant for long periods of time, gravity pulls the blood downward.”
Who wears compression socks?
Men and women of all ages and sizes! Compression socks are NOT just for the elderly or those with health problems! I embarrassingly thought that for way too long and it’s just not the case. My feet and legs were missing out for years because I didn’t know compression socks could be so comfy and helpful, but now I know better. I’ll never fly again without them.
Mercedes tells us how compression socks can be beneficial for people of all ages. “Think of any demanding lifestyle that requires prolonged sitting, prolonged standing, or a need for recovery. I like to think of the wearers in 2 groups; one being pro-active or helping to prevent issues like tired achy legs and varicose veins or, two being reactive, those who already have issues and are trying to minimize and manage a pre-existing condition.”
Here are some examples of people who can benefit from compression socks:
- cafe or restaurant employees with long shifts on their feet
- hair stylists
- retail associates
- long hours at a desk or computer
- pregnant women
- nurses and medical professionals
Mercedes explains that people with demanding, on-your-feet professions can be supported by compression socks because the graduated snug fit helps minimize vibration of the muscles and lessens fatigue.
So let me tell you about Sockwell.
Sockwell is an American company who knows how to make high-quality, fashionable compression socks for travel and wherever life takes you. Sockwell compression socks don’t look like traditional compression hosiery of days past and this is something I love about them. No one wants to wear ugly socks if they don’t have to! Sockwell redesigned the compression sock and they have a wide range of socks including graduated compression, plantar fasciitis relief, bunion relief, relaxed fit/diabetic friendly, sport compression, and everyday essential comfort socks in a variety of colors and patterns.
To give you some quick history, Sockwell was launched in 2011 by Goodhew, LLC, which was founded in 2008 by Thomas Lee and Jim Markley in Tennessee. All of their socks are manufactured in the USA. The sock line is made of custom yarns featuring naturally biodegradable, naturally thermoregulating North American merino wool.
You might think of wool being scratchy and uncomfortable but that’s not the case. Wool is the original high performance fiber and is surprisingly soft. It keeps feet dry while controlling odor.
The wellness brand believes in sustainable sourcing, modern design, continually investing in technology to improve fit and performance, and supporting the needs of the community and customers. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know sustainability is important to me. Sockwell is a brand I’m happy to recommend because they’ve made a commitment to sustainable practices. They support American farmers who care for free-grazing Rambouillet merino sheep and make their products in American knitting mills.
Which compression socks should you wear?
If you are new to compression socks, Mercedes recommends starting out with one of Sockwell’s “Moderate 15-20mmHg” styles (mmHg is a pressure measurement involving mercury). This gives great support but is not too aggressive. She also recommends one of the Ultra light Cushion Sole styles to start with. This level of cushioning gives you a little extra “ahhhh” factor while not taking up too much room in your shoe.
My top colorful compression socks from Sockwell
The bottom line is that compression socks are GAME CHANGERS when you fly or if you’re on your feet all day. Have you ever worn compression socks for travel? Are they something you’d consider? Check out Sockwell’s socks here.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration between Oui In France and Sockwell. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Oui In France.
Mark H Bramhall says
Being 72+ I fall into Diane’s “old guy” category, but I will vouch for compression socks. My wife lives in Massachusetts while I live in Paris. Almost every month one of us travels to see the other. Lots of long flights. The compression socks help.
Note: I did get a large clot behind my knee that shed a clot just over 2 years ago. I got a “massive pulmonary embolism.” Dialed SAMU. Was lifted out of the third floor into the ambulance. Survived. I thank French healthcare. But I always use compression socks!
Hi Mark, they’re great for all ages and with all the traveling you do, I’m glad to hear you wear them too! OMG the embolism sounds so scary but glad the SAMU came to your rescue. What was the first symptom of the embolism that let you know something is wrong? Pain or swelling behind the knee? So glad you’re ok!!
Pam C says
Diane, if I had not read your blog re: Sockwell compression stockings, I would never have thought of wearing them. I am SO in your debt. I had a very long flight coast to coast (and a 7 (!!!) hour layover in Phoenix. Then a few days later I took Amtrak from Southern California to Pacific Northwest, California, and was on the train (and bus) forever. Then repeated that process going south a few days later. I thank you and my legs and feet really thank you. They usually look like puff pastry by the time I arrive and no edema whatsoever this time. I have continued to wear them if I’m having to sit for long periods, such as with my job.
I add this note from the “professionals” (McMaster University):
“The Bottom Line
Extended periods of inactivity – such as being on a long flight – can increase the chance of blood clots forming in the legs (deep vein thrombosis – DVT).
Risk factors for DVT include older age, obesity and various chronic conditions.
Compression socks and stockings help prevent clots by putting gentle pressure on the ankle area and part of the leg to keep blood moving.”
‘Nuff said … ?
So important to keep the blood moving and if they’re comfy, it’s a win-win!
Thanks so much for posting this. I travel Florida to California often and compression socks help. I have a few pairs that are so ugly ( definitely screaming senior), if I had something fun and colorful, I would not have to peel them off before landing!!
Note: for some reason Oui in France started coming thru Chic Chinoiserie’s blog.
Hi Wendy, you’re very welcome and hope you can get some fun, colorful pairs soon for your next trip!!
Could you please tell me what you mean by “coming thru” that other blog? It’s the first I’m hearing of anything like that and everything seems to be fine on my end. Do you mean in your RSS feed? Just trying to understand what you mean so I can rule out any type of tech issue. Thank you
Hi Pam, so glad I could turn you on to compression socks and that your legs felt great after your trips. Your description of “puff pastry” legs made me laugh and really happy there was none of that after wearing the socks. 😉
Karen Lewis says
The first time I wore compressions socks was on a 26 hour flight to East Africa from California. I’m an active person and it was tough – plus I had my 10 and 13 year olds to keep occupied. Those socks were a bear – they were soooo tight (overly so) and about impossible to put on. I LOVE Sockwells! I have 3 pair of various colors, they aren’t so ungawdly tight that I can’t pull them on, and they are a great sock for use during my travels so I count them as one of my daily socks. Everyone I’ve recommended them to has purchased them and also swears by them!
Hi Karen, I’ve only worn the medium level compression and haven’t tried the higher level. I can only imagine how tricky they’d be to put on. So happy you love your Sockwells! The colors make me happy. 😉
T. PERLA says
Compression socks for men and women at Decathalon. (12€ for men, 15€ for women)
Yup, you can get compression socks easily in France too!
Derick Young says
I have tried electrocautery and vein injections for varicose veins, but they are not very effective and the risk of scarring is greater, and they may not be feasible for diffuse extensive lesions. So, the best solution I found is laser vein removal.
Hi Derick, I’ll let me dad know about the laser vein removal in case that might help him out. Thank you and thanks for reading!
QiaJenae Hamilton says
Such a great vlog & loved the “reveal” on your youtube channel when you flew over to the states. Glad they work so well. With all my knee & hips issues, I daily deal w/ edema, but the drs. are ‘t great about a solution at this time. At my next appt. I’m going to ask about the milder socks. i had to wear the medical ones immediately after surgery & they were so painful, as I have big, muscular calves.
Thanks so much for the info. Even as I sit & type this, I feel my feet getting numb from being down. Sigh.
QiaJenae Hamilton says
Sorry meant this was a great blog & enjoyed the vlog, too!
So glad you enjoyed them both, Q! I’m sorry for the health issues you’re dealing with. That’s not easy. I hope the milder socks can give you some relief. How long has it been now since your hip surgery? I’ve lost track of time with the pandemic year. Was it in 2020 or 2019?
Hope all is well in Chicago!!
Aussie Jo says
This was interesting and something I will remember
Thanks for this post. I ordered 3 pairs of compression socks from Sockwell. Inshallah, I will be traveling from SFO to Egypt in November and next year I have a trip to Vietnam, a trip to Greece and a trip to Germany planned (booked and paid for). So these socks will definitely be used. I had some knowledge of the benefits of compression socks but had never worn them. Your article was well written and very clearly articulated the benefits of these socks.
Thanks Gail, so glad it was helpful. Hope you got some fun colors. 😉 Enjoy the socks and safe travels to you!!
Fiona Manonn says
Being an Indian myself I totally agree with everything you’ve written.