Help me find compression stockings to wear while flying
September 18, 2016 7:34 PM   Subscribe

The last couple of times I've flown I've experienced ankle swelling. I'm flying again in two weeks and would like to try compression socks. What brand/features should I look for? What brand has worked for you? I already know that I need to get up and walk during the flight, try to keep from crossing my legs, etc-- this question is simply about recommendations for compression socks/stockings to wear during long flights. Thanks, fellow MeFi travelers!
posted by bookmammal to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Last time I flew long distance I just bought cheap compression socks (knee-length) from a random pharmacy. They worked great - noticeably less (no?) swelling and I generally felt better than usual after the flight. They cost like a total of $10. I'm not sure there's much advantage to any posher brands, but I've only tried these ones, so can't swear to it.
posted by lollusc at 7:36 PM on September 18, 2016

I've really liked my Sockwell compression socks. I haven't tried any other brands, but I like the colors Sockwell offers and they've been comfortable and seemed to cut down on the ankle swelling on flights for me.
posted by HMSSM at 7:43 PM on September 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Runner and very frequent flier here

I swear by CEP

They are a little spendy but last FOREVER and they even make sleeves that also give great compression if you want to wear sandals. They also come in fun colors and the plain black are totally doable if you are wearing dress slacks.
posted by floweredfish at 7:56 PM on September 18, 2016

My wife works as a nursing assistant, and she has the Sockwell socks HMSSM referred to, though she bought hers from QVC. She has to stand on her feet for roughly 12 hours a day at the hospital, and she swears she's seen a lot of improvement in her comfort and mobility since she started wearing them - she no longer feels as tired after a full shift as she used to.
posted by Roger Pittman at 7:56 PM on September 18, 2016

I used compression socks for a few months after surgery and also on a flight a couple of months ago. I like Yorkberg, Go2, and NeoG brands. They are shorter in length than the other brands I tried (Pure, Bracoo, Gabor, BeVisible and Zensah). The problem with a too-long length is that the sock can come over your knees if you're short like me. If not, you may have the opposite problem and they may be too short. So the thing you'll want to consider is height - how far is it from your knee to your ankle? Some brands show the height of the socks in inches but most don't. This is where Amazon Prime came in very handy - free & no-hassle returns.

I'd also recommend socks, not sleeves. Sleeves cut off at the ankle, which might be where you swell. I like the feel of the sleeves better because I can choose my socks (or go sockless) but practically speaking they don't work for me. One brand that I found is a happy medium is the NeoG brand, which is more like a nude stocking and has open toes. I like the NeoG because they feel a tiny bit more snug than a sock, and they are more of a nylon material, which I like better.

It's a personal preference, though - all of the compression socks I listed above work as well as any other. Some are hotter than others, I think. I don't think brand or cost matters, and I tried several. I ended up going with the ones that were the most reasonably priced and the most comfortable material-wise.

Also, check out YouTube for how to put them on. You flip them inside out except for the foot part, and it's waaaaay easier than trying to put it on as you would a typical sock.
posted by onecircleaday at 8:01 PM on September 18, 2016

"Ted" brand were the ones I was given in the hospital. They are sheer torture, though apparently they work. If you're just doing this for preference and not a diagnosed medical condition, I strongly recommend you go knee-high only with whatever you get. Knee-high are bad enough, but thigh-high are horrible, painful, uncomfortable in ever way and really you'd be happier promoting circulation by stabbing yourself in the leg than by wearing thigh-high compression stockings.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:16 PM on September 18, 2016

I just buy the pharmacy ones too, I asked a nurse and she said they're fine. Measure your legs and buy the right size, that's the important part.
posted by fshgrl at 10:39 PM on September 18, 2016

I like the Acel ones. The Sockwells are cute but they are medium compression where as the Acel are firm compression. So if a medium compression is fine for you then that's okay.

You want something with graduated (or graded) compression. (Tighter at the bottom than at the top.) I like things with arch support. The acel are breathable and comfortable. Over time they do pill though. Most are marketed towards athletics - you don't need the "medical" marketed ones as long as it's the same compression rating.
(I have POTS and wear compression socks every day. Acel are my fav.)
posted by Crystalinne at 1:32 AM on September 19, 2016

I have the Sockwells and they work well for this. They are considered a medium compression but I don't have a specific medical condition, just wanted to prevent swelling and they worked for me!
posted by barnone at 1:56 AM on September 19, 2016

TruForm here. I've found the cheaper pharmacy ones are as likely as not to bunch up. I've tried Jobst - didn't care for them.
posted by plinth at 2:51 AM on September 19, 2016

Just another person weighing in on Sockwell for airline happiness.
posted by dame at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2016

Sockwell! They have both low and medium compression versions in their signature "cashmerino" blend.
posted by dreaming in stereo at 6:51 PM on September 19, 2016

Sockwell! I wear them to concerts and they have dramatically improved my live music experience.
posted by good lorneing at 9:28 PM on September 19, 2016

Thanks everybody! I ordered a pair of Sockwells from Amazon and wore them to work today--my feet, ankles and legs felt great at the end of the day and I'm confident that they'll help with the swelling on my flight next week. Also--thanks for the YouTube tip--I don't think I would have been able to get them on otherwise!
posted by bookmammal at 6:40 PM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

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