Why You’ll Want Compression Socks for Flying, and Where to Buy Them
These versatile socks help promote blood flow and keep your feet warm — no chilly flights.
If you’re anything like me, your feet swell like balloons when you fly. I remember the first time it happened. I was 10 years old and a complete rookie to international flying. When I landed in London 10 and a half hours later, my ankles were pretty much the size of my neck. I had no clue what was going on with my limbs, and I worried my feet would never deflate back to their normal size.
Related: More travel essentials
In the following years, I learned much about the joys of controlling feet and ankle swelling while traveling (the cardinal rule is to not over-salt your eggs the morning before your flight). But compression socks are just as important: a great pair can work wonders.
The benefits of compression socks are vast and can help keep a multitude of symptoms at bay. They promote blood flow from the feet to your heart and can help to overcome the uncomfortable effects that traveling can cause. When you're thousands of feet in the air, the pressure affects your legs and can increase the chance of swelling or even blood clots. But because these socks are designed to hug your legs tightly, they help your veins and muscles circulate blood more effectively. The stimulation of blood flow also helps for prolonged sitting or standing — and keeps muscles from getting sore after strenuous activities like a long day of walking or hiking.
Luckily, because of the increased popularity of these socks, many companies have started designing more attractive styles that aren't so cringe-worthy to wear. Compression socks are no longer only for your grandparents, but a cute and effective travel hack.
Read on for our favorite pairs of flight socks that you need to pack for future travels.
These are as stylish as your favorite everyday socks, but they offer comfortable compression of 15-25 mmHG. Choose from 10 color combinations for a look that will go with your favorite travel outfit while helping improve circulation.
To buy: comradsocks.com, $29
These durable socks are a best-seller on Amazon with over 25,000 five-star reviews thanks to their ability to boost circulation and increase blood flow in your legs. Customers love that they are also made from an antibacterial material that is super soft and comfortable.
To buy: amazon.com, $15
These sleek socks feature a welt-top band that helps keep the socks in place without digging into your legs. They are also made from an incredibly soft microfiber blend and have a compression level of 12-14 mmHg.
To buy:amazon.com, from $14
These innovative socks combine compression fabric with kinesiology taping that helps reduce leg pain and increase blood flow. They have a compression level of 20-30 mmHg, plus a shock absorption effect that helps reduce swelling, making them great for long flights.
If you are looking for a high-quality pair of compression socks, over 1,100 Amazon shoppers suggest checking out this sleek pair. The seamless socks are made from a moisture-wicking fabric that helps keep your feet dry as well as a top cuff that prevents them from slipping down.
The durability of this style is what makes them stand out from the crowd — that and the variety of bright colors they offer. Made in Italy with an ultra-durable blend of fibers, these socks are meant to last.
To buy: amazon.com, from $25
Toe socks may look (and feel) funny, but don’t knock these Injinji socks until you try them. With the same properties as other compression socks, this style will keep your toes in proper alignment for extra-regulated circulation.
To buy: amazon.com, $49
These socks are perfect for summer travels when you need a no-show option because let's face it, knee-high socks don’t quite go with every outfit in your wardrobe.
Dr. Scholl’s has a reputation of working with podiatry, and these travel compression socks are no exception. The material reduces moisture absorption so your feet will stay, while also offering a more mild graduated compression level (10-15 mmHg).
To buy: amazon.com, $19
Sockwell’s moderate graduated compression pair fits just as snug at the end of the day as it did when you first put it on in the morning.
To buy: amazon.com, from $20
CEP makes a wide range of compression socks with a focus on athletes, but these socks are specifically made for travel and offer graduated compression on par with medical stockings.
To buy: amazon.com, from $40
Compression socks can be a pain to put on, but the four-way stretch on this pair makes them a whole lot easier to get on and off.
To buy: amazon.com, from $11
SB Sox makes styles with graduated compression that goes from 20-30 mmHg, which provides maximum support and comfort for travelers.
To buy: amazon.com, from $11
Take this pair on your next ski trip. The high filament yarns keep your feet dry and warm even in the most undesirable weather.
To buy: amazon.com, from $9
The firm compression on these unisex socks helps to stimulate blood flow, while the cushion under the foot provides extra comfort for travelers who are on their feet all day.
Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week.