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The 8 best compression socks for men, according to a podiatrist

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Scientists are working on a cure for jet lag, but there's already an easy solution for another common travel discomfort: A good pair of compression socks can help prevent swollen legs caused by poor blood circulation. “The major benefits of wearing compression socks is reduction of swelling to the lower legs,” Jackie Sutera, DPM, a Board-certified podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab, tells Inverse. “This helps with leg fatigue,” she says, which also affects runners and those who spend a lot of time on their feet. The best compression socks for men provide your preferred amount of pressure without feeling overly tight, and a few specs will help you choose the right pair to suit your needs.

First, you’ll want to consider how much compression you need. “​​Compression stockings pressure ratings come in a range of numbers to indicate how much compression they have,” Dr. Sutera explains. According to Dr. Sutera, a moderate pressure rating of 15-20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is the most common in over-the-counter compression socks (and it’s the one recommended for travel), but options range from mild to extra-firm. For most people, including runners and those without medical conditions, Dr. Sutera says to “start with the lowest level of compression and work your way up,” so you may prefer 8-15 mmHg socks to begin with. She also cautions against socks that cause numbness, tingling, or discomfort. “If this happens, size up — the feeling should be one of having your legs supported, like a ‘hug’, not constricted or tight.”

While you’re shopping, also look for compression socks that have gradient compression. “This applies a controlled amount of pressure at the ankle that gradually decreases up the leg, which pushes blood flow and circulation up the leg and [prevents] swelling at the ankle,” Dr. Sutera explains. All of the socks below feature gradient compression.

You’ll also want to consider fit and length, which ranges from ankle socks to over-the-knee options. There are also socks designed for wider calves and styles with stay-put cuffs or cushioned soles. Plus, many compression socks are made from moisture-wicking fabric blends that are a good choice for athletes.

Finally, Dr. Sutera recommends checking with your doctor if you have very swollen legs, diabetes, or other medical conditions, to discuss safety and possibly a prescription for medical-grade compression socks.

With all that in mind, read on for the best compression socks for men on Amazon.

1. The expert-recommended compression socks

  • Pressure rating: 15-20 mmHg

These moderate compression socks come highly recommended by Dr. Sutera. “A tried and true brand is Jobst. I have used these personally and have been recommending them my whole career,” she shares. The spandex socks have gradient compression and a reinforced heel. You can choose from black and beige.

One positive review: “If I ride in the car a long way or on cement floors then sit in meetings, these socks just help keep the circulation going and my feet from swelling [...] I can't believe how much they help my legs feel great. Wonderful product. Highly recommend them for the great, long lasting quality.”

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large (including petite and full calf sizes)
  • Available colors: 2

2. These merino wool socks with stronger compression

  • Pressure rating: 20-30 mmHg

To help regulate your temperature, these compression socks are made with merino wool and a blend of rayon derived from bamboo, nylon, and spandex for a comfortable, stretchy fit. The over-the-calf socks have four zones of gradient compression and also offer odor and moisture control.

One positive review: “These socks are comfortable and are similar to the cotton blend crew socks I was wearing; they are relatively thick and wick well. They stay up all day, and give excellent support.”

  • Available sizes: Medium — XX-Large
  • Available colors: 6

3. These fan-favorite compression socks with 60,000+ reviews

  • Pressure rating: 20-30 mmHg

Amazon shoppers have awarded these compression socks more than 46,000 perfect five-star ratings. Made from a nylon-spandex blend, the socks are both breathable and moisture-wicking. The knee-high socks have gradient compression and stay-put cuffs to keep them from sliding down. In addition to being available in over a dozen colors, these compression socks are also available in an ankle length style.

One positive review: “I decided to try these compression socks for a flight to New Zealand from Massachusetts. Sure enough, a few hours into the longest leg of the journey, my lower legs were starting to feel very uncomfortable so I put on the knee-high compression socks and immediately felt relief! What a great feeling! The socks will be a permanent part of my travel kit in my carryon!”

  • Available sizes: SmallXX-Large
  • Available colors: 13

4. These ankle-length copper socks with mild compression

  • Pressure rating: 8-15 mmHg

These cotton-spandex ankle socks are also made with copper fibers, which some research suggests may help with odors when sweating. The socks have gradient compression zones and soft sole cushioning to keep you comfortable. They’re also moisture-wicking and have earned more than 1,500 five-star ratings on Amazon.

One positive review: “They fit like a glove and you don’t even know that they are compressing your feet! And I would never have believed it but the copper had made a difference in how my legs feel! They no longer get anywhere near hurting when I overdo it! Strongly recommend!”

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Available colors: 14

5. These compression sleeves with firm foot & ankle support

  • Pressure rating: 20-30 mmHg

The design of these compression sleeves focuses on the ankle and heel, and it’s earned an impressive 6,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers. The stretchy nylon-spandex blend is moisture-wicking and the socks have gradient compression. Choose from packs of one and two in four colors.

One positive review: “These are my holy grail. I could not do my job without a pair of these. They prevent my foot swelling or flattening out too badly over the day. The pressure is the right amount to stop my heels and arches from hurting. The material is thin and allows me to wear other socks over them if I want. They’ve saved me countless doses of ibuprofen. Highly recommend!!”

  • Available sizes: SmallX-Large
  • Available colors: 4

6. These cotton socks with mild compression

  • Pressure rating: 8-15 mmHg

These breathable cotton-polyester compression socks look like a sophisticated dress sock, but they also have gradient, mild compression throughout. They’ve earned more than 1,100 five-star ratings on Amazon and are available in several combinations of neutral shades and prints.

One positive review: “These socks were a perfect fit. They have just the right amount of compression, reasonably easy to put on, but with enough compression to keep my feet and lower legs from swelling.

  • Available sizes: MediumLarge
  • Available colors and styles: 6

7. These compression socks for wide calves

  • Pressure rating: 15-25 mmHg

These wide-calf compression socks are designed to fit larger calves comfortably and offer moderate gradient compression throughout the leg. According to the brand, they’re made from a nylon-spandex fabric, which helps wick moisture away to prevent odor. Choose from a range of solid colors and striped styles.

One positive review: “I have really big calves and have always struggled to get high socks to stay up. Even hockey socks are a pain. These wrap my calves and stay up all day!”

  • Available sizes: Medium — Large
  • Available colors and styles: 10

8. These ankle socks with a heel tab for easy on & off

  • Pressure rating: 15-20 mmHg

These bright ankle compression socks have pull-on heel tabs and a padded heel and arch. The Lycra-nylon blend is moisture-wicking and the socks have gradient compression. Each of the two seamless socks is designed to best fit the right and left foot for greater comfort. Choose from packs of one or three.

One positive review: “These are the best socks for any type of exercise. They stay on your foot and don’t slide down. They are tight around the arch which keeps them fitting your toes and heel as they should.”

  • Available sizes: SmallX-Large
  • Available colors: 6

Expert:

Jackie Sutera, DPM, Board-certified podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab

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