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Find out how compression socks helped soothe my feet after a painful trip to Europe. Plus, our readers share their top picks for the best womens compression socks!
Best Compression Socks for Women
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
“I need help with the “unfashionable” side of travel!! What do travel fashionistas use to help them on the LONG flights to sleep (I.e., travel pillows, neck supports, etc.)? And, ouch! Those swelling feet! 15 hours from San Diego to Rome and three days to find my ankles again!”
Unfortunately, I too experienced the same problem with my feet several years ago. I traveled to Europe several years ago and my feet became extremely swollen and sensitive in the heat. I could barely put on any shoes – it felt like my bones were being crushed!
My feet got completely swollen from the heat and almost doubled in size! I never noticed this occurrence before despite the fact that I spend most of my travels in the heat and humidity of the tropics.
When I got home, the swelling became super uncomfortable and didn’t decrease. It got so bad that my toes went numb! Desperate for relief I kept my feet up and used ice packs to alleviate the discomfort.
I was sent a sample of compression socks by VIM & VIGR. They claim to be fashionable and ultra-lightweight compression socks. Because a few readers had asked if these travel socks really work, I decided to check them out.
I am very glad I did.
I wore them around the house for a few days with the hopes that they would help the blood to flow freely to my feet – thankfully, I think it worked because my toes came back to life. Finally, the swelling went down. While I can’t be 100% sure that these compression socks were the solution, it sure felt that they were!
Needless to say, I am definitely traveling with them from now on and adding them to my in-flight travel kit.
Why Wear Compression Socks?
Compression socks are designed to add pressure to your legs in order to maintain blood flow and reduce any swelling or discomfort. Doctors often recommend them if you have varicose veins or a condition that causes poor blood flow, but they’re also great for anyone going on a long flight.
One reader shares, “I wear them and I feel better about doing so especially on long flights. They do feel a bit tight at times and I want to pull them off but I know they are good to have on. They are great for those who do not get up or move around much or sleep through flight or have high blood pressure or leg swelling.”
You can also wear them after long days of walking. One reader says, “I wear compression socks all the time after my runs and long hikes. They feel great as a recovery sock and when you take them off your legs will feel great.”
The Benefits of Compressions Socks
In case you haven’t tried compression socks for yourself yet, VIM & VIGR has five reasons for sporting these knee-highs during all your daily activities.
Swelling – Whether you are traveling, sitting at a desk or moving all day, these highly advanced compression socks prevent and reduce leg swelling. One reader says, “I wear compression stockings on any long haul flight. It makes a huge difference. My ankles don’t swell from fluid retention and my legs don’t get that jittery feeling.”
Energy – After a long day at the office or at home, your legs feel lighter and more invigorated as a result of the knitting technology. A reader says, “I use them for the plane so my legs don’t feel as heavy. Also, after a long day of walking, I wear the socks and my feet feel lighter, if that’s the word. As you get older, they’re needed.”
Style – Don’t sacrifice fashion for health any more, VIM & VIGR’s line is available in stripes, polka dots, solids, and argyle.
Muscle Recovery – These compression socks work to increase oxygen delivery, decrease lactic acid, prevent cramps, and minimize muscle fatigue – especially after a hard work out.
Veins – The increased circulation from the advanced gradient compression works to diminish and inhibit spider or varicose veins.
CHARMKING 3 Pairs Copper Compression Socks
The Best Compressions Socks
CHARMKING compression socks offer a variety of designs and colors and offers a choice of fabric for individual comfort including cotton, nylon, and wool. The cool thing is that you can wear them in flight for compression benefits and also with boots or under trousers.
For more options, take a look at our readers’ recommendations for the best compression socks:
Our readers also swear by compression socks. One reader says, “I swear by compression socks! I was having issues where my arms would fall asleep while flying and the socks solved that!” Another reader adds, “I also wear compression socks after long days of walking. Just put them on and read a book for 20 minutes with your feet elevated.”
One reader recommends trying her strategy: “Wear compression socks and walk around while in flight. Once you get to your hotel, shower, and lay down on the floor and put your feet up on the wall. Your body should look like a capital letter L. 20 to 30 minutes should do. We fly international so we end up on the plane for 10 hours a flight. Works like a charm!”
Additional Travel Products for Comfort
- Inflatable Neck Pillow – stores easily
- Sleeping Liner – great for warmth on long flights
- Ear Plugs – drown out unwanted sounds
- Eye Mask – if you can’t sleep with the light on
For more tips, check out our post on how to survive a long flight!
When is the Best Time to put on your Compression Socks?
The best time to put on your compression socks is first thing in the morning before the blood has time to pool in your feet. Compression socks work by decreasing ankle swelling and helping your blood return to the heart.
They can sometimes be difficult to put on. So for ease, you may find it best to put your compression socks on before you leave for the airport. Especially if you are wearing boots during the flight.
As one TFG reader shares, “I find it’s best to put them on as soon as I get up on the day I’m traveling. It’s one less thing to hassle with later, and who wants to inflict that wrestling match on your seatmate?”
Remember to always speak to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have!
Do you use compression socks? Share in the comment section below!
For more airplane essentials, please read:
- What to Wear On A Plane
- 10 Airplane Essentials
- 5 Airplane Skin Care Essentials
- How to Look Good after A Long-Haul Flight
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This was a very informative article on compression socks. I think I’ll check out your recommendations because I’m starting to have issues on my flights!
I wear compression socks at work (Nurse) so it was a no-brainer to use them for traveling too! I have converted family as well- even my husband uses them when traveling!
Trying out some recommended vim & vigr merino socks for my next international flight. Love the amount of useful info contained in each blog.
Hi Alex! I need to wear them on flights but find they look very unappealing under leggings or slimmer fit pants. Many of the flight outfits you recommend have leggings…what pants work best with compression socks without getting the funny look at the top of your calf or leggings sticking to the socks? (My calves aren’t tiny 🙂
Hi there, you should always wear what you feel comfortable in! If leggings aren’t for you, wear pants that you feel more comfortable in! ?
What is the best mid weight long sleeve shirt to wear on flights
Hi Elizabeth, the best place to ask your question would be to post it on our TFG facebook group and post your question there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous community of helpful female travelers that love to share their advice and clothing recommendations. You may also find this article helpful for ideas for what to wear on a flight: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/what-to-wear-on-a-plane/ Happy travels!
I know this is a very old post, but wanted to add, from the medical perspective, the symptoms you describe, swelling and pain after a long flight, are the most common reasons we do venous Dopplers to evaluate for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), not something to mess around with hoping it will go away. Obviously, prevention is best, so the advice given above about walking around frequently, as well as compression stockings, some seated leg exercises and staying hydrated, is very good.
Hi Nancy, thank you for taking the time to share your insight with us! We always recommend and advise that if you are unsure of anything always check with your doctor. Happy and safe travels!
When I was pregnant I wore compression socks on our long-haul flights. While they were uncomfortable, they definitely helped reduce swelling in my ankles though I felt so old wearing them. Now, I’ll have to check out the cute ones! Didn’t even know that was possible.
Hi Emily, thanks for your comment. So good to hear that you benefited from wearing them! I neglected them for the longest time! Safe travels!
I have worn compression knee highs for years while working in the medical field. I now use them when traveling in cooler weather for sight seeing. They are wonderful for helping your legs last through long days. To make them easier to put on get a pair of dollar store dish washing gloves with textured fingertips (will not take much room in your suitcase). With the stockings inside out scrunch them up the way you would normally. Now put your toes in the correct way. Work slowly up the leg. The gloves help to get a better grip on the stockings without putting your fingers or nails through them.
WOW that’s a great tip! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I too wear compression socks on flights, at least those longer than about 4 hours. My doctor recommended them as they reduce the risk of blood clots, which women are typically at higher risk for during long flights. They are a pain in the a** to get on, but they do stop swelling and make my legs feel much better.
I always wear (cute) compression socks on long flights! I finally got tired of having swollen ankles which took days to recover after a flight, so I decided to try them despite feeling like I was too young to need them ;). They make a huge difference for me!
Ha that’s what I felt too – too young 😉 but as it turns out they’re not so bad after all!