What are Compression Socks and Why do you Need Them?
Compression socks are tight fitting, spandex-stretchy knee-high socks. You probably associate them with nurses or grocery store clerks. And, as usual, those nurses know what they are doing. Compression socks for travel are a leg’s best friend.
It seems a little counterintuitive, but super tight socks actually help the circulation in your legs. The compression helps boost your blood back to your heart. For people on long plane rides, it helps to keep your blood from pooling in your feet, and some studies show that it can aid in relieving jet lag.
These socks could even save your life, or so I’ve been told. Blood clots can form in your legs while on a long flight and travel to your brain. Scary! Compression socks prevent clots.
The benefits continue off of the plane. Many people walk far more when traveling, and stand for long periods of time in museums or museum bathroom lines. The compression socks will help here by aiding circulation, keeping you energetic all day. Many athletes are wearing these kind of socks because they aid in recovery from exercise. So many uses!
As a side note, women over 45-ish tend to get itchy rashes on their legs while traveling. I see it all the time, it’s apparently due to blood settling in the legs when standing or walking for long periods of time. These magical socks will keep that from happening. What’s next? Can they walk the dog?
Which Compression Socks are Best for Travel?
Athletes need compression socks and stockings, and even wear them on their arms. I don’t know how physical and aggressive you are in your tourism, but I think the knee-high socks work just fine for my needs. Elbow pads in the Sistine Chapel might be nice, though.
I’ve tried a number of brands to find what works for me. Actually, I asked for compression socks for Christmas and absolutely everyone bought some for me, so I have a few pairs. Let me warn you, these can get expensive. Here are some suggestions of socks to consider:
You’ve seen the commercials, I know you have. My kids bought these for me because they have the “magic of copper”, whatever that means. The copper part of it all seems like a bunch of hooey, but I do like these socks. They are well made and have nice contours built into the heel and calf, which means they evenly squeeze my leg, like a pleasant hug. They are my favorite, or maybe that’s the copper poisoning talking.
Coming in at twice the price, these lack the magic of copper but seem more durable. I’d liken these to professional level socks, if that’s a thing. If you’ve decided you like compression socks, up your game with these ones.
These are the Rolls-Royce of compression socks. They claim to have some juju in their design that makes the blood circulate even better. What sets them apart, for me, is the material and colors. Instead of the normal blend of poly fibers, these come in a luxurious Merino wool and bamboo blend, mixing soft coziness with durability. They are also adorable. The patterns are all super cute. I want one of each. This would be the best pick for women that like to wear funky socks with skirts, or for people like me with feet that are freezing, even in a desert.
Are you suspicious that this is some kind of snake oil or black magic? $20 is a crazy amount to pay for socks, and these can get much higher than even that. Try these cheapies I found on Amazon. They aren’t anything special, but will give you the idea if wearing tight socks is the thing for you.
Sarah’s Opinion of Compression Socks
I am a skeptic. This seems like some kind of hype to me. But after receiving a bunch of these for Christmas, I can report that they seem to work. I have long legs, and I get lightheaded on planes if I don’t move occasionally. My legs also twitch after a while and I need to stretch them. I don’t have that problem with compression socks. My legs feel happy and cozy in their sausage casings. I didn’t suffer from much jet-lag on arrival as well. This could absolutely be a placebo effect, but I’ll take it. Anything that makes long-haul flights more cozy and bearable is worth it. The Sockwell pair are the best fitting, most comfortable, and warmest. Well worth the money, I’ll never fly without them again.
As for wearing them in museums and on long walks, I can report that they seem to help. I have a wee varicose vein that is attempting to become a problem, and wearing these regularly has helped to keep it to a dull roar.
Overall assessment, I give compression socks a big thumbs up. Even if it’s a placebo effect.
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