Your feet are sore, and your muscles are crying for summer break. When you hear the words “compression socks,” you may think, “I’m not willing to wear those ugly beige hospital thigh-highs.” It’s time to give up your pain, because the compression socks you’re going to buy are cuter, cheaper, and more targeted to your needs than what you remember. They’ll make your favorite comfortable teacher shoes even cozier!
“The biggest misconception about wearing compression socks is that it is for old people with bad veins,” says Dr. Mark Mendeszoon, a podiatrist with the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Within the last decade, there has been a crossover for compression socks to be utilized for anyone who may stand for a long period of time, fly or travel, or for comfort.” Anti-embolism socks, he points out, are what most patients get in the hospital, but graduated compression socks, used by athletes, prevent blood from pooling in the lower leg.
Cute patterns and colors abound these days, but Mendeszoon cautions to make sure your socks go all the way to the knee and are made of quality fabric. “It is very important that patients try on socks first before they buy them,” he says. So if you’re shopping online, make sure the site has a good return policy. Here are a few of our choices for attractive and effective socks so that you can still stand up at day’s end.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
Best Compression Socks for Teachers
Comrad compression socks come in a variety of patterns and colors. Some of our favorites are the space-age combed cotton, the indigo tie-dye, and the black-to-white ombre. They are a bit of an investment, though, with three packs running about $86. The company uses recycled water for 80 percent of its dying, and the company says its antimicrobial silver prevents odor and bacteria.
Happy customer: “The toe and heel area in this sock are super soft and comfortable with plenty of space, so your toes and ankles don’t feel squished.” —Alicia, a medical student.
Buy it: Comrad Socks
The money-back guarantee promises that you’ll get the fit you need, and fit is crucial with compression socks. These are the cheapest we’ve seen, with an 8-pair themed pack costing between $17.98 and $26.99. Those themes include hearts, black-white-gray, and summery Americana.
Happy customer: “They’re lightweight enough to wear in the summer as you would normal socks—but have helped greatly with compression as needed! I wear these for 8-10 hours a day and never ONCE are they uncomfortable!” —Shannon G.
Buy it: Charmking Compression Socks
Made with 31 percent merino wool, these compression socks are more luxe than most we’ve seen. The company offers both moderate and firm compression; As with other brands, the firm pair can be somewhat challenging to pull on. They run $29.99 and come in muted, botanic patterns.
Happy customer: “They save your feet, legs, and back. Anyone working long hours on their feet up and down concrete floors will appreciate these.” —P. Schuh
Buy it: Sockwell Compression Socks
For every pair of socks purchased from Bombas, the apparel company donates another pair to a person without a home. Compression socks are made primarily from cotton or merino will and have a reinforced heel to last.
Happy customer: “Not only are they comfortable all day, I’ve had zero swelling since I started wearing them at work.” —Randi M.
Buy it: Bombas Compression Socks
If the idea of knee-high compression thoughts makes your calves a bit claustrophobic, Bitly’s anklets help with plantar fasciitis while allowing the toes to wiggle and the legs to breathe free. They are also one of the cheapest offerings, with a single pair costing $15.95.
Happy customer: “This morning, I can take a step with almost no pain.” —Bill Z., who suffers from plantar fasciitis
Buy it: Bitly Compression Socks
CEP’s compression socks aren’t cheap, but they are serious and come in almost every variety imaginable. A pair of tall running socks goes for about $60. The company also makes footless compression sleeves and no-show compression footies. Check the website’s clearance page or REI for dramatic discounts.
Happy customer: “Love these socks. I’m a 60-year-old nurse, and I started wearing knee-high compression socks last winter. Now it’s summer, and I was getting warm in my knee-high socks while running the hallways. I bought these compression ankle socks. So far, no leg or foot pain, and I’m not warm!” —Elizabeth
Buy it: CEP Compression Socks
7. SB Sox
With 20 to 30 mm HG, these socks promise serious pressure, resulting in increased blood flow and less swelling by the end of the day. At $18.95 on Amazon, they include fun stripes and Argyle patterns. Customers say they run a little tight, so err on the next size up.
Happy customer: “I am on my feet 12 hours a day, so I decided to try compression socks. After a few days of wearing SB Sox, I decided to buy two more pairs. I LOVE the way they fit over my calf and go all the way up to my knee. My legs no longer ached, and there is no more swelling around my ankles. I even wear them at home when I am not working.” —Cindy D.
Buy it: SB Sox Compression Socks
8. Physix Gear
Physix Gear’s Sports Compression socks ($14) were named the best overall value by VeryWellFit.com, where personal trainer Christine Luff wrote they were picked because of their “overall quality, performance, value, comfort, and durability.” Bonus: The heels are decorated with electric colors or tattoo-like flowers.
Happy customer: “I work around 12-20 hours a day on my feet on concrete or steel. These arrived today, and they’re absolutely perfect. First off, they’re extremely comfortable, well made, and attractive. Moments after putting them on the pain in my foot and legs instantly chilled out tremendously.” —Christopher C.
Buy it: Physix Gear Compression Socks
Teachers and nurses: Both spend entire shifts on their feet. Prevention Magazine ranked Levsox the best socks for nurses because of the “lightweight fabric that prevents moisture buildup.” Llamas? Flamingos? Psychedelics? This company’s wacky patterns have you covered and will cost $21 for three to four pairs.
Happy customer: “I am a tech college electrical instructor, and I work 12-15 hrs per day. They say they are for nurses, but I figured I am on my feet as long as they are and figured these would be the right compression. There was such a huge difference when I wore these to work. My feet and legs did not ache or swell after working 8 hrs. I did not feel nearly as tired in general either. I highly recommend these socks.” —M. Kordasiewicz
Buy it: Levsox Compression Socks
Mojo sells medical grade as well as athletic compression socks. Most important, in a garment that can run tight, Mojo’s socks come up to 3X and will fit most legs. At $24, they come in a wide range of solid colors, some somber and others decidedly flamboyant.
Happy customer: “I searched high and low. Don’t get me wrong, they did not glide on like the L’Eggs commercial from years gone by, but the experience was way less of a struggle.” —Lisa