Nurses have a very stressful job. Not only are you caring for the health of others, from simple coughs and colds to complicated surgery recoveries, but you also work long shifts that require you to be on your feet for several hours at a time.
The constant standing, walking, and sometimes running can really do a number on your feet, so it’s essential to properly equip yourself so you can spend more time doing your job and less time thinking about your pain.
Compression socks are one of many excellent solutions that nurses use to alleviate some of that stress put on the feet during these long stretches of activity. Today we’re going to look at some of the best compression socks for nurses and what you should look for in a quality product.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Blitzu Compression Socks
- Premium Product: Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks, Silver Drysat Series
- Best Value: Actinput Compression Socks
If you’d like to stick around a bit, we are going to dive into the details of compression socks for nurses as well as look at several other top products we recommend.
The Benefits of Compression Socks
Made for compression therapy in your legs, ankles, and feet, compression socks have many residual benefits that can make even the biggest skeptic interested. In fact, some doctors will also prescribe them to their patients as a solution to specific related health issues.
Here is a list of common benefits of wearing compression socks:
- Support veins
- Boost the circulation in your legs
- Mitigate swelling in your legs
- Prevent blood from pooling
- Reduce orthostatic hypotension, a condition that causes light-headedness and unsteadiness
- Prevent venous ulcers
- Prevent deep vein thrombosis
- Minimize pain from varicose veins
- Improve lymphatic drainage
- Reverse venous hypertension
As you can see, there are several great reasons to start wearing compression socks, especially if you are someone who puts a lot of stress and pressure on your lower legs and feet – like a nurse.
How Do They Work?
The general idea of compression socks is that they work to improve your blood flow, which can result in promoting or preventing the circumstances listed above. They accomplish this by gently squeezing your leg. Compression socks are made to be snug-fitting, and their unique stretch design provides pressure.
This added pressure to your ankles and legs can minimize the diameter of your significant veins, increasing the volume and velocity of your blood flow. This can also help your blood flow upwards toward your heart and prevent any reflux down to your foot.
There are a few different types of compression socks that you can use:
- Graduated compression socks
- Anti-embolism socks
- Nonmedical support hosiery
Each of these types of compression socks has varying traits and different purposes, so we’ll go over them to ensure you know what you’re looking for when you go shopping.
Graduated Compression Socks
If your doctor is the one prescribing you special compression socks, there’s a good chance that they will be graduated compression socks for the sheer fact that they are professionally fitted.
If you have ever bought socks before, you’ve probably noticed that there’s not a whole lot of sock fitting going on around you at the department store.
Graduated compression socks provide the highest level of compression at the ankle while gradually decreasing its grip as you move upward – hence the socks’ name. Many graduated compression socks are designed to adhere to particular length and strength criteria set by a medical professional.
These types of compression socks can end just below the knee or extend as high as the thigh or the waist. They help combat lower leg swelling, pooling of blood, and orthostatic hypotension. You can also get them in an open-toe design.
Anti-embolism socks were made to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis from occurring in your legs. They are similar to graduated compression socks in that their compression is a gradient from bottom to top.
The most significant difference between the two types is that anti-embolism socks are made for individuals who are immobile. Because of this varying detail, these compression socks will have different levels of compression to facilitate one’s range of motion – or lack thereof.
Nonmedical Support Hosiery
Various compressions socks and pantyhose exist on the nonmedical level, meaning you don’t need a doctor’s prescription or recommendation to get them. These are the most common types of compression socks, and they are most often used in cases of tired, aching legs that could use some relief.
Unlike the previous two types of compression socks, nonmedical support socks provide uniform compression as opposed to gradient compression. They also are likely to deliver less pressure than prescription compression products.
What to Look For
If you have never dealt with compression socks before, then you might feel like you’re at a loss on where to start. What features are important, and why? That’s precisely what we’re going to look at right now so that you can feel confident that you’re buying the right product for your needs.
The compression levels of compression socks are measured in millimeters of mercury, a unit of measurement used to determine pressure. You will see this unit abbreviated to mmHg. There are varying levels of compression in socks, so it’s vital that you know what to look for.
Levels 15 to 20 mmHg are common for over the counter compression socks. They are perfect for anyone who is looking to wear them on a regular basis for everyday walking, travel, and even sports.
While this level of pressure still delivers a snug fit that helps to improve circulation, these socks won’t be too tight on your legs or uncomfortable. You can usually find these levels in various styles and materials.
The next step up is levels 20 to 30 mmHg. These kinds of compression socks are best for varicose veins, spider veins, swelling, and post-surgery recovery. They are frequently used in daily wear and sports but are also popular for medical and injury recovery and to manage non-severe symptoms.
You can also choose to wear this same level of pressure even if you aren’t recovering from an injury or surgery. Some people prefer a little more force than the lower levels offer, and that’s perfectly fine. A professional who is on their feet a lot may find that lower levels don’t suit their needs, so this pressure rating is a good compromise.
Finally, levels 30 to 40 mmHg compression socks help you manage moderate to severe symptoms. A doctor or other medical professional is likely to recommend these socks for individuals at risk for blood clots, lymphedema, severe swelling, severe varicose veins, and those in post-surgery recovery.
Some people will use these compression socks for daily wear, but those who do are likely dealing with additional medical issues, besides discomfort and poor circulation.
Socks vs. Stockings
Compression products come in varying lengths and sizes, from knee-high to full pantyhose. One of the decisions you might have to make is determining which is best for you.
The most common compression sock is the knee-high sock, which ends just below the knee. These socks cover you from your toes to your calves, delivering stretchy compression along the way. Because compression socks are very stretchy, you might find that you can pull them past your knee.
It’s important that you do not overstretch your socks, as doing so can cause them to slide down or roll and, in some cases, result in a dangerous position for your condition.
If the knee-high size isn’t doing enough for you, you may consider the thigh-high compression socks. These socks – also called stockings – cover your entire leg up to your thigh, just below your rear end. If you’re looking to better your circulation throughout your whole leg, then thigh highs might be the right choice for you.
Finally, you can also get compression pantyhose or waist-high compression stockings. In this case, both of your legs are entirely covered, and they connect at the torso like a pair of pants. High waisted compression pantyhose can help circulate your blood and pull swelling out from your legs and through your hips.
Pregnant women often use the maternity pantyhose that have an expandable belly section.
The length of your compression socks depends highly on your level of need. The best way to determine this factor is to think about where on your legs you feel affected. If you’re dealing mostly with ankle swelling, then you shouldn’t need anything longer than a knee-high.
However, if your swelling is at or above your knee, then you should consider trying the thigh-high or pantyhose compression options.
When you think about compression socks, it’s unlikely that style is the first thing to pop into your head. The name doesn’t scream fashion, so it’s easy to assume that you’re stuck with whatever sock you can find that gets the job done.
Surprisingly, many compression socks come in different fabrics, colors, and styles, so you’re not forced to wear socks that look like they belong on a hospital patient.
Many men’s compression socks have a dress-sock style that features durable, opaque fabrics. Not only are these socks sturdy and comfortable, but they look nice with your dress shirts and work pants and hardly look like medical equipment at all.
In the same breath, we can also say that sheer fabric styles tend to be more suitable for women. Lightweight, transparent, and stylish, sheer materials allow women to easily match their socks to the rest of their wardrobe with ease.
While they look nice, sheer fabrics tend to be a little less durable, so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re deciding on the essential features.
Of course, there are tons are compression socks that come in athletic materials that use a technologically advanced blend, cotton, or wool. Because athletic socks are made from those participating in high-impact sports, these compression socks incorporate temperature control and moisture-wicking action.
Sports gear also tends to take a beating due to the high level of activity during their use, so these ones are typically more durable. You can use sports compression socks during practice or a game, but they are also popular for daily wear, post-surgery, and for varicose veins, spider veins, and swelling.
The price of your compression socks will vary depending on the brand, where you buy them, what kind they are, and whether they are prescription or over the counter products.
Essentially, the price of your compression socks can range from a mere $10 to as much as $100 per pair.
There’s no telling exactly how much you will pay for your specific pair of compression socks, but you should always do your best to stick to your budget. A higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality, but you also shouldn’t sacrifice quality to save a couple of bucks.
Find a happy medium and go with the socks that are going to get the job done without breaking the bank.
The Best Socks We Found
After learning more about what makes a suitable compression sock for nurses, we went ahead and found a solid list of products that fit the requirements. Take some time to read through our list of top products to make your search a little easier.
1. Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks, Silver Drysat Series
Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks are top of the line in terms of the world of compression products, but their Silver Drysat Series takes the cake. With their patented product design, you get nothing but quality with these socks.
Knee-high in style, these Vitalsox products deliver maximum circulation increase for overall better health and performance. The various elastic layers work alongside one another to stimulate blood flow and improve oxygen delivery, all while helping with foot and leg swelling and cramping.
With an athletic-like design, these socks were made for comfort and performance. They feature light padding for extra support, a unique interlocked diamond design for the perfect fit, and specialized fibers that wick away moisture and keep your feet cool and dry throughout your daily activities.
The gradient pressure begins as low as mid-foot, which provides support to the arch and helps with plantar fasciitis, shin splints, cramps, pulled muscles, and more. It ranges in pressure from 12 mmHg and reaches a strong 20 mmHg.
Not only are these socks 100% chemical-free and environmentally safe and recyclable, but they are also infused with silver to help fight bacteria and odor. With 14 color options to choose from, there’s a style for everyone.
- Graduated compression delivers varying levels of compression from the arch to the calf
- The interlocked design gives a highly comfortable fit
- Fabric is moisture-wicking and temperature controlled
- Socks are made from 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly materials
- Silver ions fight bacteria, fungus, and odors
- Provides all-day support in a wide range of colors to suit your taste
- Hard for pregnant women or elderly folks to put on
- Not made for those with larger calves
2. Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks
If you’re looking for a pair of compression socks that are durable but not too expensive, then you should check out these Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks. Available in a wide range of accent colors, these knee-high compression socks deliver graduated pressure ranging from 20 to 30 mmHg.
Made with double-stitched seams, you can bet that these socks will last you a long time through your long shifts at the hospital or the doctor’s office. The unique design of the socks provides you with compression and support across your heels, feet, calves, and toes.
Not only is the material anti-bacterial, but it is also moisture-wicking, so your feet stay dry and comfortable as long as you wear them.
While the graduated compression is firm, it doesn’t leave you wanting in terms of comfort. The Physix Gear compression socks are made for both performance and comfort, making them perfect for activities ranging from work to play.
Because of the targeted compression points, these socks are great for improving blood circulation. They come with a stylish design that anyone can get behind – no more boring or dull compression socks for you.
- Compression delivers an effective solution for leg swelling and discomfort
- Socks do not feel too bulky or warm
- Material stretches well for larger calves
- Made from quality, durable materials
- Anti-bacteria and moisture-wicking for comfort and smell resistance
- Design is fun and stylish and looks great
- Made with non-specific sizing that may not fit properly
- Socks do not come in petite and may be too long for shorter people
3. Zensah Fresh Legs Classic Stripes Compression Socks
An adorable twist on a functional product, these Zensah compression socks feature stylish strips while delivering excellent support and high-quality graduated compression. The knee-high length has your covered from toe to knee and even offers light arch support to help your feet out a little.
The deep heel pocket really cradles your foot, making you feel secure with a snug and hugging fit. At the same time, the toe hosts a no-slip band that keeps your socks in place as you go about your day.
Made from 85% nylon and 15% spandex, this fabric is designed to keep your feet cool during your daily activities. It also wicks away moisture, keeping your feet comfortable and dry during more strenuous activities.
Sleek, stylish, and effective, you can help prevent and lessen swelling in your legs while increasing circulation.
- Striped design offers an adorable style for the fashion-forward buyers
- Graduated compression is ideal for swelling and improving circulation
- Fabric is moisture-wicking to keep your feet dry and cool
- No-slip toe band and deep heel keep your socks in place
- Expensive for just one pair
- No additional color options
- Sizing may be off
- Not suitable for those with larger calves
4. Blitzu Compression Socks
If performance is the name of your game, then check out the Blitzu Compression Socks. Made with 20 to 30 mmHg pressure levels, these socks are no joke when it comes to promoting blood circulation and oxygen flow and mitigating things like cramping, swelling, and pain from various conditions.
For an affordable price, you get to choose from 10 different color options ranging from black and white to vibrant pinks and purples.
Not only can these socks help combat swelling, but their unique design also absorbs shock and vibrations, ultimately fighting against injuries like shin splints. You can walk for hours and miles in these socks while they deliver ultimate compression, tendon stabilization, and pressure relief.
With the non-slip cuff, you won’t constantly be tugging at your socks to stay up. They stay in place without cutting off circulation, and the ribbing technology gives extra support.
Finally, you will find that the heels and toes of these socks are lightly cushioned, providing you will excellent comfort and over-the-top protection from everyday irritation. These 360-degree stretch socks are one of a kind and help you stay on your feet as long as you need to.
- Graduated compression offers advanced protection and relief
- Performance-focused products are perfect for any sport, activity, or intensive job
- Fun and vibrant color options make choosing these socks easy
- Cushioned toes and heels add extra comfort in pressured areas
- 360-degree stretch ensures even and firm support
- Non-slip cuff keeps socks in place
- Thicker than other brands
- May be difficult to put the socks on for some
5. SB SOX Compression Socks
It’s no secret that compression socks are more expensive than your average, everyday sock, so when you can find a quality pair for a reasonable price, you should really jump on it. The SB SOX Compression Socks give you everything you need in a compression sock without the high prices.
Available in up to 16 different color and pattern options, these SB compression socks give you the perfect fit and deliver 20 to 30 mmHg of pressure to your legs. Coming in just below the knee, you’ll find that these socks offer a smooth fit and have a varying size selection to suit your needs.
Using graduated compression technology, every inch of your feet, ankles, and calves get the pressure they need to improve your blood circulation. With premium construction, it’s easy to see that these socks were built not only for performance but to last.
Doctors and trainers alike have recommended this specific design, so it’s a safe bet to trust this manufacturer.
On top of that, these socks also provide excellent reinforced and cushioned heels and toes for optimal comfort. The intricate design of the stitching and material gives its wearers support, comfort, and relief while remaining lightweight and breathable.
These socks come from a trusted brand that offers many different types of support and compression products, so we feel pretty confident in their abilities to make a high-quality compression sock that any nurse can appreciate and enjoy.
- Socks provide good and solid compression from the ankle up for effective results
- Proven to relieve pressure and alleviate pain while spending long amounts of time on your feet
- Top band does not cut in or squeeze too hard
- Extra comfort is built into the toe and heel for maximum support
- Several color options to match outfits and suit styles
- Socks may show some wear and tear at connecting stitches over time
- Not as soft as some other options
6. Go2Socks Compression Socks
There are some folks in this world who will buy nothing but classic black or white socks. At the same time, there are also those who prefer a wide range of fun colors and designs when it comes to their sock drawers.
Perhaps the latter has something to do with a bright welcome of color when opening a sock drawer early in the morning, but nevertheless, Go2Socks Compression Socks has the designs you’ve been waiting for.
Gone are the days of boring and typical compression socks; if you have a creative spirit or like to add a bit of fun to your outfit (even if no one else knows it but you), then you can definitely rock a pair of these stylish yet effective compression socks.
With 30 different color and style options, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. While you’re oohing and ahhing over your new and unique fashion item, your legs and feet will be feeling the relief from the strong 20 to 30 mmHg compression.
Using a blend of high-quality fabrics, the Go2Socks help to reduce swelling, improve circulation, and decrease feelings of numbness. These same fabrics have also been designed to fight off bacteria and odor while wicking away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable. Temperature control makes it possible for you to wear these socks in both cool and warm weather – no problem.
While many compression socks offer a lot of the same benefits, Go2Socks prides itself on delivering fun and funky styles for anyone who feels inspired by a great outfit.
- Impressive wide range of styles, colors, and designs to suit any taste
- Strong compression offers several health benefits
- Made from high-quality materials for long-term use
- Designed to fight bacteria, odor, and moisture
- Bottom of the foot features extra padding to minimize foot pain and improve comfort
- Not made to accommodate specific calf sizes
- Top band may be too tight for some
- Socks are likely to leave an impression of the design on your legs/feet
7. Actinput Compression Socks
Many smart shoppers out there like to get the best bang for their buck, so whatever product delivers quality performance and proves their value is a winner in their books. With the Actinput Compression Socks, not only do you get a product that does what you need it to do, but it also accommodates bargain shoppers and those who appreciate a good value.
Actinput is one of the few brands on this list that offers compression socks in several pairs per pack at the same price level as a single pair of socks from other brands. To put it plainly, you can get eight pairs of these socks in one package for the price of one pair elsewhere.
As if that wasn’t enough of a seller already, there are also 28 different value pack options with all sorts of designs ranging from plain black, white, and nude to wild colors and crazy patterns. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here, and it’s for an awesome deal.
With a lighter level of compression at 15 to 20 mmHg, these socks deliver effective compression to encourage blood flow, prevent cramping, alleviate fatigue and swelling, and improve athletic performance and recovery.
Made from high-quality materials, these socks were made with health benefits in mind. They offer a solid and firm grasp on your feet and legs while remaining comfortable, breathable, and moisture-wicking.
- Socks use graduated compression for the most effective relief and benefits
- Designed to deliver extra support for the ankles and arches
- Made from high-quality and durable fabric that is breathable and comfortable with anti-odor technology
- Easy to pull on and take off
- Wide range of colors and patterns
- Eight-count packs offer excellent value in terms of cost
- Socks run short for taller individuals
- Sizing may be off; some run small
8. Charmking Compression Socks
Another company with excellent style options and an awesome value, the Charmking Compression Socks deliver 15 to 20 mmHg of graduated compression to handle any situation, from your toughest nights as a nurse to your personal fitness goals.
The no-slip cuff at the top is secure enough that it won’t slide down your leg but fits like a charm without irritating you or cutting off circulation.
Using moisture-wicking fabric, the socks keep you dry and comfortable and work in tandem with the added ankle protection, arch support, and reinforced heels and toes.
360-degree stretch provides you with the perform snug fit but allows for freedom of movement and flexibility. The durable materials feature temperature control and breathability, so you can wear these socks whenever you want – cold or hot.
Coming in packs of eight for a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong in choosing from 27 different color and style options.
- Lightweight material makes them appropriate for the summer
- Wide variety of designs, colors, and patterns from pack to pack
- Socks deliver comfortable but snug fit to ensure full range of benefits
- Temperature control and moisture-wicking material add to comfort
- Effective for relieving pain and swelling
- Limited sizing options
- A little more pricey than other value packs
9. Sooverki Compression Socks
The options are seemingly endless when it comes to the Sooverki Compression Socks. Not only can you choose from several color options ranging from classics like nude, black, white, brown, and navy, but you can also select intense athletic looks and adorable patterns to match your style and your needs.
These socks come in packs of three and five, which is ultimately convenient for anyone who plans on using these socks on a regular basis. No longer will you have to wash your socks every day – this value pack delivers multiples, so you get the best ease of use.
Made with quality construction, these socks eliminate any seams wear your legs might rub together so they won’t rip or fray. The solid makeup of these socks features a 15 to 20 mmHg graduated compression, which is recommended by many doctors and trainers.
With this compression comes both comfort and grip, and the quality design ensures they will last. Compression across the foot, ankle, and calf delivers improvements in circulation and swelling while aiding with recovering, performance, and discomfort.
- Toe box doesn’t squeeze your toes together uncomfortably
- Socks are extremely comfortable and provide extra padding and support
- Graduated compression helps with cramping and blood circulation
- Value pack is convenient for frequent wearers
- Temperature control detail prevents your feet from getting warm and sweaty
- Designs are true to size
- Fun and varied color and pattern options
- Certain styles and patterns cost more than others
- Cannot be dried in the dryer, as they may fall apart
- Sock colors and designs are inconsistent in length, with some coming up to just partway on the calf
10. NEWMARK Compression Socks
If you’re in the market for an affordable yet effective compression sock, then NEWMARK might be the brand that you want to stick with. These socks deliver true graduated compression for your best performance and recovery.
Made to be highly durable, anyone who spends ample amounts of time on their feet can benefit from the socks’ ability to improve circulation, reduce swelling, and mitigate pain and fatigue you feel in your legs.
More than that, these socks feature a shock absorbing toe and heel cushion to reduce the stress placed on the bottom of your feet. With a reinforced design, you will truly feel the comfort.
Specialized fabric wicks moisture away from your feet as you wear them, making these perfect for all-day wear or even athletic events. The breathable fabric is lightweight yet durable, so you can trust that they will get the job done without affecting your performance.
- Several color options are athletic, cool, and fun
- Athletic fit delivers comfort and support in all the right places
- Easy to put on and take off
- Breathable material is lightweight, durable, snug, and moisture-wicking
- Machine washable and dryable
- Affordable price
- Sizing options are not great for slender legs
- Material is a little thin
11. Newzill Compression Socks
The Newzill Compression Socks not only come with great comfort and style, but they also come highly recommended and endorsed by an Olympic Fencer from the US team. Using 20 to 30 mmHg graduated compression, these functional socks help your performance, recovery, and other health issues.
Several sizing options for both men and women help you get the perfect fit, but it’s the detailed construction of the sock that really packs a punch.
Starting at the top, we have a non-slip cuff that keeps your sock in place. Nothing is more irritating than constantly pulling up your socks all day, and Newzill recognizes that. The unique clima-pro system ensures each wearer is comfortable even through a hot and active day. This same system prevents odor and delivers high breathability.
The padded heel helps to absorb shock and reduce stress and pain, while the reinforced toe helps to prevent blisters and abrasions.
Any compression sock on the market is likely to deliver ample amounts of healing pressure and support, but Newzill stands out as one that is focused on the quality of the details. Plus, you get to choose from 12 different color options, which is a nice bonus.
- Excellent fit that delivers compression in all the right areas without ever feeling too tight
- Customer service for the company is incomparable
- Compression eliminates swelling and pain
- Extra cushioned heels and toes deliver comfort and absorb shock for overall less stress and pain
- Fabulous color and design options to suit styles and taste
- Thick and durable material
- Small issues may occur with sizing
- Stitching on the heel is a bit low-quality
As you can see, there are tons of great options on the market in terms of awesome compression socks that nurses can look into. Of course, we had to single out a few of our favorites.
As our best overall choice, we went with the Blitzu Compression Socks. With 20 to 30 mmHg of graduated compression, these socks get straight to the point: excellent compression for circulation, oxygen flow, and so many other benefits.
The ribbing technology, coupled with the kinesiology taping design, offers unmatched support from the calf to the Achilles tendon and down to the foot, where you’ll enjoy the extra padded cushion.
Now, if you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on a pair of socks, then you will love our premium option. The Vitalsox socks are an Italian made design that delivers thick and quality material to compress and alleviate pain, swelling, etc.
In a variety of colors, you can get a pair of socks that match your style and absorbs moisture, regulates temperature, fights odors, and reduces bacteria. Plus, these socks are 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly.
Finally, for best in value, we’ve chosen the Actinput Compression Socks. These socks deliver similar levels of compression and multiple benefits, but you can buy them in packs of eight – giving you the best value for your dollar at about two bucks per pair.
Additionally, there are almost 30 different style packs to choose from, each one providing you with a wide range of colors and patterns. If you’re someone on a budget who needs compression socks on a daily basis, you can’t beat this value.
Compression socks have so many great benefits, especially for professionals who are on their feet for several hours a day. Check out these favorites along with the options we discussed above to find your next pair.