Best Running Compression Socks

If you enjoy running, but find the occasional soreness in both your feet and legs difficult, you probably need to consider potential solutions. Sometimes runners get sidelined by this type of pain, and to avoid this problem, you can purchase an affordable, good pair of compression socks. For those of you that run often, you’ll certainly discover that compression socks offer the type of support to your legs and feet need to help absorb shock and prevent injury.

Compression socks typically pull up over the knee, giving both your feet and lower legs ample extra support. Compression socks are also excellent for protecting you against potential problems like plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Some socks also help increase blood circulation in your legs while you run. Depending on what you need out of a great pair of compression socks to ease injuries while you run, several great choices for this type of product are already available.

MudGear OCR
  • MudGear OCR
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Designed for off-road racing
  • Price: See Here
Zensah Tech+
  • Zensah Tech+
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Effective support throughout
  • Price: See Here
Physix Gear Sport
  • Physix Gear Sport
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • breathable and supportive
  • Price: See Here

8 Best Running Compression Socks

 

MudGear OCR

Specifically designed around obstacle course racing, MudGear's OCR is about as badass as a compression sock can get. There are actually a lot to these. These graduated compression socks will give you the benefits of even pressure being applied to the lower leg, resulting in increased blood flow. But, they are also durable enough to be worn through hell and back.
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As mentioned above, they do provide graduated compression, so you'll have even pressure being applied to the shins and calves, helping with needed support and even shorter recovery time.

The durable backing is an extra layer which provides added protection from rope burn, slipping, and most other hazards that you might encounter during and OCR type event.

As these are designed for racing, they are constructed of an extremely breathable material. The best part is the fact that they drain water quickly. When paired with the right shoe, this feature could make a ton of difference on the course.
Pros

The consistent pressure throughout provides increased circualtion

Protective backing protects from stuff like rope burn

Specifically designed to be used for obstacle course racing

Overwhelmingly positive feedback for users

Cons

Breathable, but much thicker than most others

Zensah POP Tech+

This great option from Zensah was impressive. Yes an impressive pair of socks. The graduated pressure compression combined with the received lower leg support that these provided offer greater circulation, allowing less needed recovery time after long runs. It seems to be true with compression socks,that you get what you pay for.
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The graduated compression gives even pressure and support to the calf and shin. These are also designed with their Ultra Zone Ribbing, which adds even more support under the arch and heel.

Constructed with durability in mind, these will maintain integrity over time, to ensure the appropriate level of compression is had for many miles.

Though there are some models that will leave your feet super sweaty, there doesn't seem to be that particular problem with Zensah's socks. They are made of a moisture wicking material that works well for colder weather, yet allows adequate airflow.

These aren't the cheapest pair on our list, but the benefits here simply outweigh the cost to the point where the are totally worth it.
Pros

Durable, supportive design

Improves circulation, due to the offered graduated compression

Less chance of irritation thanks to the seamless toe construction

Cons

Although breathable, they are quite warm

Physix Gear Sport

Physix Gear Sport’s Stamina Compression Socks come perfectly designed for not only runners, but also individuals who spent hours every day on their feet. They not only help runners by preventing future injury, but they also help to ease any current soreness or suffering with a healthy amount of compression.
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Health Benefits
These socks help to protect the wearer’s legs and feet from a wide variety of injuries and fatigue, including foot and leg pain, shin splints, varicose veins, and Plantar Fasciitis. Physix’s Stamina Compression Socks can also prevent blood clots, which is an excellent benefit for those recovering from surgery. The compression offered by these socks is graduated, which helps to bring up the runner’s blood circulation, a key to both running better and recovering faster from injury.
Comfort
Physix Gear Sport’s Stamina Compression Socks bring runners two helpful comfort benefits. First, some compression socks are known to slip down when running, wrecking their potential to protect the runner’s legs and feet. Physix’ socks won’t slip down, and remain pulled up throughout any run, helping to compress the legs and feet throughout the entire workout.
Physix Gear Sport’s Stamina Compression Socks also come with a moisture wicking material. This material helps the socks to breathe even while runners sweat, allowing for more soreness relief.
Pros
  • Provide compression to help runners with a wide variety of leg and feet problems.
  • Won’t slip down leg, offering increased protection.
  • Breathable material
Cons
  • Can fit tightly over large calves, creating discomfort.
  • Difficult for those with short legs to wear.
  • Bulky stitching at toe

Danish Endurance

Danish Endurance
We got our hands on some socks from Danish Endurance. These did an excellent job. The pressure is evenly dispersed, which you can feel, as there where no spots that seemed to be tighter or more uncomfortable than other areas under the socks. Not that they are uncomfortable. Put plainly, they work exactly how they are intended.
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The fit is tight, but not so much that they are uncomfortable, as long as you get the right size. The compression is evenly distributed, which means they are designed well.

These passed the test when it cam to all of the normal things we want to work in a sock with a purpose. The stay put during a long run, don't lose their applied compression properties after several runs, and they do not seem to want to fall apart easily.

And one thing that matters for a lot of people is value. The MSRP for these is much more affordable than many other on the list, yet the benefits and quality is top notch.
Pros

They are thin, so that translates to good breathability

Lightweight yet durable

Affordable price point

A small but nice amount of cushioning on the bottom

Cons

The foot portion does not have the same compression as the rest of the sock 

SB SOX

SB SOX
SB SOX Compression Socks come with an impressive design that’s often recommended by both doctors and physical trainers. Their socks provide graduated compression an a reinforced heel and toe area to help aid with shock absorption while also allowing for mobility. Comfort without movement restriction is the primary goal of SB SOX’s Compression Socks.
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Health Benefits

The graduated compression benefits of SB SOX Compression Socks focus on increasing oxygen and blood flow throughout the feet and legs of the runner, decreasing fatigue and providing a performance boost. The added shock absorption benefits of the reinforced toe and heel areas also reduce your chances of experiencing cramps, swelling, shin splints, pulled muscles, blisters, and other common runner’s injuries.

Comfort

SB SOX Compression Socks are made with a form fitting design and extra padding to reinforce the sensitive areas on both the heels and toes. Developed with lightweight nylon and spandex, the socks are breathable and keep feet dry, cutting back on blisters and bacteria. Also, the materials used in the socks help contribute to overall runner mobility while still offering solid support.
Many runners report feeling less restricted in mobility when wearing these socks, which is an added benefit of the SB SOX design, since better support without restriction helps improve a runner’s potential.
Pros
  • Made with mobility in mind.
  • Absorbs moisture and keeps feet dry.
  • Extra padding.
Cons
  • Focus on mobility decreases effectiveness of the sock’s compression.
  • Fabric tends to fray easily.
  • Tends to run small.

Blitzu Compression Socks

Blitzu Compression Socks
Blitzu’s Compression Socks were created with comfort for everybody in mind. While they make a great running sock, they are also developed to help people who have to be on their feet while working most of the day. The innovative design of the socks helps to relieve some common runner’s fatigue problems in both the legs and feet.
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Health Benefits

Blitzu’s socks are designed to bring additional support to the legs and feet, which not only helps to prevent future injuries, but also decreases foot and leg fatigue, cramping, and soreness. The sock helps to bolster all vulnerable areas for runners—including ankles, calves, feet, hells, and arches. Blitzu’s socks also reduce the formation of blood clots in the legs.

Comfort

Blitzu’s Compressions socks offer graduated compression to help prevent a variety of common leg and feet injuries. These socks also utilize what the company calls Blitzu Kinesiology Taping Design, which adds increased support through kinesiology taping in combination with the compression design the sock already offers. Your feet and legs will both perform better and last longer since your fatigue will be reduced.
Pros
  • Design focuses on protecting runner’s vulnerable areas in legs and feet.
  • Use of Blitzu Kinesiology Taping Design
  • Less leg and foot fatigue
Cons
  • Hard to put socks on.
  • Should offer more sizes for better fit and compression.
  • Threading inside socks can catch on toe nails.

Vitalsox Italy

Vitalsox Italy
Vitalsox Italy’s Patented Graduated Compression Socks are made to boost a runner’s blood flow, increasing circulation and oxygen. The design of their socks focuses on reducing both swelling and cramping, helping to increase a runner’s performance.
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Health Benefits

Vitalsox Italy’s Patented Graduated Compression socks boost blood circulation, which helps to increase running potential and also allows runners to experience a faster recovery. The socks are designed to help both the hard core, everyday runner, and the occasional running dabbler. Made with Vitalsox’s fiber, dry stat, these socks control moisture to ward off bacteria and fungus. By staying dry, runners don’t experience as many blisters or athlete’s foot breakouts.

Comfort

The design of Vitalxox Italy’s compression socks, made with spandex and sports-specific knitting concepts, helps to create a feeling of comfort and a superb fit for runners of all levels. These socks include a padding on the ball of the foot and on top of the foot to help aid in shock absorption. This increased padding plus the compression provided by the socks presents an effective combination to reduce running-related injuries, like shin splints, cramps, and pulled muscles.
Pros
  • Excellent moisture control
  • Effective boost in blood circulation
  • Extra padding helps decrease injury potential
Cons
  • Sizes run small, making it difficult to guess what size runners should buy.
  • Can fit too tight on large calves.
  • Can be difficult to put the socks on

Compression Z

Compression Z
Compression Z’s Compression Socks are made to be worn anytime of the day to help decrease potential foot problems for runners, or people that struggle with foot and lower leg injuries. Compression Z states their socks offer plenty of support and shock absorption with their compression design, while still focusing on comfort and mobility. These socks state they offer strong compression benefits without restricting movement, an obvious benefit for runners.
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Health Benefits

The extra stability provided by Compression Z’s Compression Socks not only help to increase oxygen and blood flow in the feet and legs, but also help to prevent common runner injuries. The added support of Compression Z’s Compression Socks reduces heel pain symptoms, swelling, Achilles tendon problems, and plantar fasciitis.

Comfort

Compression Z’s Compression Socks are made to be breathable for added comfort, preventing problems like blisters, foot odor, and fungus. These socks are also developed with an anti-itch material that’s insulated, helping to keep your muscles warm while also providing them with support. The socks are made to stay in place and not slip down, preventing the skin from becoming irritated.

Less skin irritation and increased mobility is, of course, excellent news for runners with sensitive skin. Since Compression Z’s Compression Socks are less restrictive, runners can certainly benefit from having a full range of motion.
Pros
  • Focus on increased mobility
  • Less skin irritation
  • Anti-itch material
Cons
  • Sizes run small.
  • Toes tend to wear out quickly.
  • Focus on mobility decreases compression capability

Criteria used for the evaluation

 

People buy compression socks for a multitude of reasons, including leg aches, cramps, and swelling. Runners that suffer from these issues typically find that compressions socks help reduce these problems. Some runners find that compression socks help them perform better, train harder, and run farther. They can assist runners with a variety of benefits, but there are a few things you should consider when deciding on what pair of socks to buy.

Health Benefits

The health of a runner, and especially of your running legs, is often one reason this type of footwear is used. In fact, compression socks have been found to be so beneficial, many doctors prescribe compression socks to many different types of people, including those that need to sit or stay on their feet for long periods of time and need increased oxygen flow to their legs to prevent other potential problems.

Compression socks do help solve and prevent a wide variety of foot and leg problems. Probably the most common type of foot problem many people suffer from with poor blood circulation is swelling. Most people that have experienced swelling and worn compression socks to help reduce this problem report that compression socks to assist them with their problem.

Other individuals that suffer from foot pain because they have jobs that require them to be on their feet all day also feel that wearing compression socks helps to decrease their foot issues.

Many runners find that they experience fewer leg and feet problems, and feel less fatigue when they wear compression socks. So, compression socks not only add an extra degree of comfort, but also an extra degree of protection and performance.

While most compression socks help to reduce a wide variety of foot and leg problems, you want to consider both what you are using the socks for, and what injuries you are more prone to experiencing. Different brands and styles are made to benefit different types of people with specific problems, while other socks provide more of a multitude of protection. So to obtain the best benefit from compression socks, understand both why you feel you need them, and how you want them to help you.

Running

For runners considering a purchase of compression socks, most find that this type of footwear helps to increase blood flow, making your legs run faster for longer periods of time. The benefit of increased blood flow generally means better performance and faster race times when running.

The graduated compression offered by compression socks also helps to reduce muscle vibration and shock absorption, helping active legs and muscles to recover more quickly. Most runners that wear compression socks say they feel their socks help them recover faster, and they are ready to run again far faster than when they do not use their socks.

Another benefit for runners is the fact they are aware wearing compression socks should help them increase performance. This factor generally boosts self-confidence and makes them perform better than without the socks.

When buying these types of socks, runners need to consider the type of compression they need from the socks to get the best benefits from them. The best compression for each runner has much to do with size and fit, so it’s important to make sure you buy a brand that is going to fit your feet and legs correctly. Thus, the sizing offered by the brand becomes an important part of selecting the best types of compression socks for a runner.

Get Comfortable with Style

Style and look are important to a lot of people as far as wearing clothes are concerned. With compression socks, different styles not only mean different looks, but different types of protection. We’ve provided a list below of the different styles of compression socks, and what they can offer you.

  • Knee-Highs. Knee-high compression socks are pulled up to just under your knee. They are probably not ideal for athletes and runners, since they don’t do much for the knees and only offer extra support to your feet and lower legs. Some athletes do decide to wear them when the weather is very hot, but if you need protection for your knees when running, you probably want higher compression socks. These types of socks can also itch right under the knee, leaving marks.
  • Thigh-Highs. These are the compressions socks of choice used by most athletes and runners. These socks can be pulled up very high, over your thighs, and help compress the muscles in your whole leg. Some thigh-high compression socks can slide down while you move, so try to find socks with silicone tops, or that hold up better. Compression socks that stay up offer you far better protection, and will annoy you far less as you go about your running routine.
  • Footless compression socks. Footless compression socks don’t cover your entire foot like a regular sock, and go down to the ankle. While they are ideal for everyday wear when the weather gets hot, they don’t offer any foot padding or protection, and so most runners do not use them.
  • Hose and Stockings. These compression items are offered as one piece that protects both legs. They actually protect all leg muscles and even provide support to groin muscles. However, while their coverage is great, they can be hot and bulky to wear, and not as comfortable as normal compression socks. Their lack of comfort can make them difficult for runners to use.
  • Sleeves are like short half compression socks, and go from the ankle to below the knee. They are comfortable to wear and many athletes do use them, but they do not provide full support on the foot or knee areas, so some runners may want to think twice about purchasing them.
  • While these are often sold as sports items, they don’t typically come at medical grade levels like standard compression socks. They do work well for extra support, but runners can probably find better protection elsewhere.
Materials

Most of the materials compression socks are made of, although they do tend to vary, perform many of the same functions. However, it’s important to pay attention to materials in case you are allergic to them, or in case your skin seems to be experiencing sensitivity in response to the material. Most compression socks are made up of spandex, lycra, or rubber, or a combination, so the final choice is up to you.

Compression Types

Depending on what you need your compression socks for, you’ll want to opt for a style and compression type that will work best for you. For instance, if you need decent compression at work and already wear tights or pantyhose, using compression pantyhose to replace your regular pantyhose might be a better option for you. However, most runners will want a compression sock that offers graduated compression.

Graduated compression is so beneficial to runners because it provides pressure on the legs from the socks, which helps to not only increase blood flow and oxygen throughout the legs and feet for better performance, but also aids with support and shock absorption. Most graduated compression uses the ankle area as the highest compression point, and then loosens up as the sock goes upward towards the thigh. Most runners find that the use of graduated compression not only aids blood flow, but helps to ward off common types of running pain and injuries.

For runners who need an oxygen boost to keep their energy going, the increased blood circulation helps prevent blood clots, soreness, and swelling. Many types of pain and discomfort for runners are aided by the use of graduated compression socks.

One excellent benefit offered by graduated compression socks is the wide range of selections and styles offered to both men and women. Graduated compression socks can be purchased in a wide variety of compression strengths to accommodate the needs of any runner.

 

FAQ

 

Q: How do I ensure my compression socks fit correctly?

A: If you are buying compression socks for the first time, figuring out the proper size can present some confusion. Companies that make compression socks do provide sizing charts for their socks, with some directions on how to determine the appropriate fit. However, sizing with compression socks can still vary widely from company to company. Some companies try to base sock sizing on your shoe size, while others expect you to measure parts of your leg.

If you’re worried that measuring your compression sock size yourself could present you with problems, or you just aren’t comfortable doing it, you can approach different routes to discover your compression sock size. Most doctors and pharmacies can assist you with your measurement if you make an appointment and want to get an accurate sizing. On occasion, doctor’s offices and pharmacies have a certified fitter available to measure your sock size, and if they don’t have one on staff, you can get a referral on request.

Doctors can prescribe a compression sock to fit you perfectly with a compression grade they recommend for you and a correct size so you get the perfect sock for your needs. However, even if you can’t afford a prescription level sock from your doctor, you can still obtain your correct measurements through a doctor or a pharmacy to help you make a purchase on a more standard compression sock, or to get a recommendation on the type, size, and style of compression sock you should purchase off the market. These options all guarantee the best fit and sock type for your needs.

If you find that your compression socks cause you pain, pinch, or feel too tight, make sure you are wearing them correctly to ensure they aren’t so tight they are cutting off blood flow. While compression socks do require a tighter fit, they should not be cutting off your circulation. If they do, you should double check your measurement or size of sick.

Q: Can I buy compression socks that not only feel good, but also look good?

A: Like a lot of clothing that provides comfort and medical benefits, compression socks initially do not present the most stylish pictures of dress in people’s imaginations. Even though modern-day compression socks have come a long way in style, many people still remember how unattractive compression socks used to appear in previous generations. However, nowadays, compression socks offer not only the benefits of comfort, but also the benefits of style.

Technology has come a long way over the past twenty years or so, and it has improved not only the benefits and comfort of compression socks, but also the overall styles and materials. Most compression socks come made with advanced materials to help aid the legs and feet, and many of them also present appearances that make them look just like regular socks or stockings, with a wide range of colors, styles, and selections.

Since compression socks now come in a wide variety of colors and designs, and are made up of materials that aid in both comfort and protection for the feet and legs, compression socks are far more stylish and attractive today than they used to be. You’ll discover, if this is your first time shopping for compression socks, that buying compression socks is very similar to buying regular socks, stockings, or pantyhose. In fact, there are so many compression socks to select from, you should be able to find something that offers you both the comfort and style you want.

Q: Do I need to worry about getting my compression socks on and off?

A: If you are new to compression socks, you may worry about their tight fit, or about getting them on and off. Because of what compression socks are designed to do, which is put pressure on the legs to boost oxygen, they should fit snugly, but not too tightly. Because their benefits require a snug fit, they won’t always be simple to get on or remove, so do not assume your socks are too tight if you have some problems getting them on and off as easily as normal socks.

There are products out there that can help you to more easily to get your compression socks on and off, especially if you suffer from any hand or arm problems. Many of these products also help you better wear your compression socks, since they help get them on correctly and therefore provide you with the maximum benefits. Also, being able to get the socks on and on both correctly and efficiently helps inspire people that really do need to wear compression socks to use them as often as they need to use them, promoting more regular wear. Typically, you want to put your compression socks on in the morning and remove them either when you are done with your physical activity, or at night if you prefer to use them each day and wear them all day long.

Q: Does it take time to get used to compression socks?

A: One thing to prepare yourself for is the tight fit of compression socks if you’ve never worn them before. They might feel a bit odd at first since they fit more tightly than regular socks, so it may take some time for you to get used to. There are a couple of things you can do to help you adjust to your compression socks, so that in time, their tighter fit won’t bother you. You don’t want to give up wearing your compression socks, after all, if you really need them simply because you aren’t used to the way they are supposed to fit.

Some people find it helpful to start out wearing socks that come with lower compression levels. After some time, you can increase to a higher compression level, and get to the compression point you should use by building up both your experience wearing the socks and your compression levels.

If you’d rather just jump into wearing your socks at the prescribed compression level, then you can do this as well. However, some people decide to wear their socks just for a few hours each day, and then slowly build up to longer wear. Starting out with a smaller time increment of wear and building yourself up is another great way to get used to your compression socks.

 

Final Thoughts

For the benefits compression socks bring to runners, they can be bought at an affordable price and are a wise investment. Not only will runners receive a performance boost and less fatigue because of the extra oxygen boost and blood circulation provided by compression socks, but runners are also able to help avoid a wide variety of common injuries. Compression socks also aid runners with faster recoveries after each run, allowing you to enjoy the hobby you love more frequently. With the wide variety of materials and styles they come in, you can find compression socks that both help you achieve your full running potential, and fit stylishly.