The 11 Best Compression Socks for Nurses of 2022

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Best Compression Socks for Nurses

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

Spending all day on your feet can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience. But for nurses, it’s often part of the job. “Nurses spend most of the day on their feet on hard floors,” Sarah Anderson, N.P., founder of PEAK Integrative Wellness, says. “All the walking and standing puts a lot of pressure and stress on the legs.” And over time, that stress can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling, she says.

One potential way to curb this discomfort? Wearing compression socks. “For jobs that require women and men to be on their feet for long periods of time, compression stockings help promote better blood circulation in the legs,” Dr. Sherry Ross, M.D., OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, says. Compression socks (also called compression stockings) are tall socks that gently squeeze the legs. And according to Dr. Ross, this light pressure promotes blood flow—and it can potentially help you cut down on swelling, inflammation, varicose veins, blood clots, and more.

Compression socks come in many sizes, styles, and compression levels. (Some are tighter than others.) So it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before buying a pair. Your doctor can help you figure out which compression socks to buy, how tightly they should fit, and how long you should wear them.

To help you understand what’s out there, here are the best compression socks you can buy over-the-counter.

Best Men's Overall: FIGS Just Go For It Compression Socks

FIGS Just Go For It Compression Socks

FIGS

Pros
  • Best-in-class brand

  • Light, everyday-friendly compression

  • Soft and stretchy

Cons
  • Specific compression level not disclosed

  • Limited size range

It should come as no surprise that FIGS’ compression socks earned our top spot. The brand specializes in genuinely comfortable healthcare apparel, and its Just Go For It Compression Socks do not disappoint.

The socks are crafted from a stretchy-soft blend of nylon (91 percent) and spandex (9 percent), so you can expect them to feel comfortable and flexible. And since they’re compression socks, they should feel a little bit tight, too. Unfortunately, FIGS doesn’t disclose how much compression you should expect from the socks. But they do call the compression level “light”—meaning the socks are probably suitable for everyday wear.

To cut down on irritation, the socks are designed with minimal seams. (You should only spot seams at the top of and along the toes of each sock.) Since the socks are cushioned with padding along the toes and heels, they should be comfortable enough to wear all day long.

These features count for a lot. But what makes FIGS’ Just Go For It Compression Socks truly special is that they boast a fun design. At the base of each sock, you’ll see the phrase: “Just go for it.” Tucked away where no one can see it, this mantra might act as a note to self—reminding you that you can do it, on your longest, toughest days.

Compression: Light (specifics not disclosed) | Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: One | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best Women's Overall: FIGS 100% Awesome Compression Socks

FIGS 100% Awesome Compression Socks

FIGS

Pros
  • Light, everyday-friendly compression

  • Soft and stretchy

  • Best-in-class brand

Cons
  • Specific compression level not disclosed

  • Limited size range

FIGS is known for its cozy-cute scrubs. But the brand’s 100% Awesome Compression Socks should be just as comfortable. Crafted from a blend of nylon (75 percent) and lycra (25 percent), the socks should feel incredibly stretchy and soft. They should be flexible enough to comfortably move around in, and cozy enough to slip your feet into every single day. Plus, they come cushioned with padding along the toes and heels—a feature that’s much-appreciated when you’re spending all day on your feet.

Of course, FIGS’ 100% Awesome Compression Socks aren’t just standard socks—they’re compression socks. So you should expect them to feel refreshingly tight. That said, FIGS doesn’t disclose how much compression the socks will provide, aside from saying they’ll deliver “light compression.” This is bound to disappoint fans of precision. But if you don’t mind a loose estimate—and if all you’re after is a pair of light compression socks you can wear every day—this info might be all you need.

One final thing worth noting about the socks: They come with a built-in mantra. Along the sole of each sock, you’ll see the phrase, “100% Awesome.” So if you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, take a moment to let your socks remind you how great you really are.

Compression: Light (specifics not disclosed) | Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: One | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best Unisex: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks

4.9
Physix Gear Sport Physix Gear Compression Socks

Courtesy of Physix Gear

Pros
  • Comfortable and stretchy

  • Durable

  • Intense compression

Cons
  • Top band may be too tight for some

  • Non-specific sizing

Comfortable, stretchy, and durable, Physix’s Gear Sport Compression Socks tick all the boxes. The socks are crafted from a blend of 70 percent nylon and 30 percent spandex, so you can expect them to feel comfortable enough to wear every day and sturdy enough to hold up to that daily use. Since they promise to deliver intense compression—to the tune of 20 to 30 mmHg—they should feel tighter than some of the lighter options on the market.

The combination of nylon and spandex should provide the stretch needed to flexibly move around during your work days. A snug fit should keep them from pinching, bunching, or sliding down your calves mid-shift. Bonus: The socks come in 13 different colors. So you could snag a set for every day of the week—and then some.

Compression: 20 to 30 mmHg | Sizes: Small–medium, large–XL, 2X | Color Options: 13 | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best Budget: SB SOX Compression Socks

SB SOX Compression Socks

Courtesy of Travel & Leisure

Pros
  • Comfortable and stretchy

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking

  • Intense compression

Cons
  • Fabric blend isn’t disclosed

  • Not available in medium

  • May run small

Looking to score a deal on a great pair of compression socks? SB SOX has you covered. The brand’s budget-friendly Compression Socks are designed to deliver intense compression—20 to 30 mmHg at a time. And they’re outfitted with several features that make them a particularly comfortable pick.

For starters, the socks are designed to feel lightweight and flexible, despite the intense compression they provide. Unfortunately, SB SOX doesn’t clarify what, exactly, the socks are made of. But they do promise that the socks will be breathable and moisture-wicking, so you can expect them to feel cool and comfortable.

The socks also boast reinforced toes and heels, meaning they should lightly cushion your feet every time you take a step. And since they come in a whopping 16 different colorways, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a set that suits your go-to scrubs.

Compression: 20 to 30 mmHg | Sizes: Small, large, XL | Color Options: 16 | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best Bulk Pack: CHARMKING Compression Socks

Pros
  • Budget-friendly eight-pack

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Medium compression

Cons
  • Full fabric blend isn’t disclosed

  • Non-specific sizing

CHARMKING makes it easy to stock up on compression socks. The brand’s Compression Socks set comes with a whopping eight pairs—meaning you’ll have a pair for every day of the week, plus an extra pair for good measure.

The stretchy socks are crafted from 85 percent nylon. (CHARMKING doesn’t disclose what makes up the rest of the blend.) So you can expect them to feel both flexible and durable. With 15 to 20 mmHg of compression, they should feel tighter than some of the light compression socks on the market but less intense than the heavier ones.

The socks come equipped with a tight top cuff, which should keep them securely in place as you handle whatever the workday throws at you. And they’re also reinforced with padding along the toes and heels to cushion your feet and keep you comfortable.

What’s more? The bulk pack is available in 38 different color combinations. So you can go as neutral—or as vibrant—as you want to.

Compression: 15 to 20 mmHg | Sizes: Small–medium, large–XL | Color Options: 38 | Quantity Per Pack: Eight pairs

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: TechWare Pro Ankle Compression Socks

TechWare Pro Ankle Compression Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Ankle-high, instead of calf-high

  • Moisture-wicking

  • Stretchy and durable

Cons
  • Specific compression level not disclosed

  • May tear or develop holes with use

Many compression socks run from knee to ankle. But if you have plantar fasciitis, a condition affecting the sole of your foot, you may not need knee-high compression. A compression crew sock—like TechWare’s Pro Ankle Compression Socks—may be enough to get the job done. After all, why apply compression to your calves when your feet are what need attention?

At first glance, TechWare’s Pro Ankle Compression Socks look like classic crew socks. But they’re designed to deliver refreshing compression from the moment you slip them on. Unfortunately, TechWare doesn’t specify how much compression you can expect, but they do promise that the socks will deliver “strong” compression.

Crafted from a blend of durable nylon (80 percent) and stretchy spandex (20 percent), the socks should feel comfortable and flexible. And according to TechWare, they should wick moisture, too. Score them in one of seven different colorways, or snag enough pairs to get you through the week.

Compression: Not listed | Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL | Color Options: Seven | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best Size Range: Mojo Compression Socks

Mojo Compression Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Inclusive size range

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking

  • Intense compression

Cons
  • May run small

  • May tear or develop holes with use

Searching for a set of size-inclusive compression socks? Look no further—Mojo’s Compression Socks run from small to 7X. And since the socks are also available in five different colors, Mojo makes it easy to find a pair that works for you.

The socks are made of a 75 percent nylon blend, so they should feel sturdy and stretchy. Mojo doesn’t disclose what makes up the rest of the blend, but they do note that the socks are latex-free—which is great to know if you’re navigating an allergy.

Since the socks are designed to deliver 20 to 30 mmHg of compression, you should expect them to fall on the more intense side of the spectrum. But despite this, the socks promise to feel lightweight and breathable, too. What’s more? They're designed to wick moisture every time you wear them. And that feature will count for a lot on your busiest, most active days.

Compression: 20–30 mmHg | Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, 6X, 7X | Color Options: Four | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best Open-Toe: TOFLY Compression Stockings

TOFLY Compression Stockings

Amazon

Pros
  • Open-toe design

  • Available in two compression levels

  • Inclusive size range

Cons
  • May run small

  • May run long

  • May bunch

If you’ve ever lamented that your compression socks are perfect—except for the way they squeeze your toes—TOFLY has a pair you should consider. Like classic compression socks, TOFLY’s Compression Stockings will grip your leg from knee to foot. But unlike classic compression socks, they’ll leave your toes out in the open. This open-toe design will give your toes room to comfortably and flexibly move around while giving your calves and feet that compression you’re looking for.

Crafted from a blend of 77 percent nylon and 23 percent spandex, you can expect a stretchy-sturdy feel that’ll hold up to everyday wear. And you can expect a fair amount of breathability, too. Plus, the socks are designed to stay snugly in place while you wear them. They’re also designed to wick moisture whenever you work up a sweat.

Thanks to their open-toe design, the socks should feel more flexible than most. But they’re still decidedly compressive. (In fact, the socks are available in 15 to 20 mmHg and 20 to 30 mmHg variations, so you can customize your compression level based on your preferences.) Oh, and if you ever find yourself craving a pair of closed-toe compression socks, TOFLY has you covered. These socks are available in both closed-toe and open-toe variations.

Compression: 15 to 20 mmHg, 20 to 30 mmHg | Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL, 2X, 3X | Color Options: Three | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Best for Cold Weather: Bombas Merino Wool Compression Sock 3-Pack

Bombas Merino Wool Compression Sock 3-Pack

Bombas

Pros
  • Crafted from a cozy merino wool blend

  • Soft and warm

  • Medium compression

Cons
  • Exclusively available in three-packs

  • Expensive

Compression socks tend to be lightweight and durable. But if you’re craving a little extra warmth, Bombas is prepared to deliver it. The brand’s Merino Wool Compression Socks are crafted from a cozy merino wool blend. So in addition to feeling soft and comfortable, the socks should keep you pretty warm, too.

To make its Merino Wool Compression Socks, Bombas blends soft merino wool with more classic compression sock materials, like polyester and spandex. Though Bombas doesn’t specify the precise breakdown of its fabric blend, you can reasonably expect the socks to feel soft, stretchy, and comfortable. And since the socks are designed to deliver 15 to 20 mmHg, they make a great middle-ground pick. (They should neither feel too light, nor too intense.)

Currently, the socks are exclusively sold in three-packs. So if you want one pair, you’ll inevitably end up snagging a few.

Compression: 15 to 20 mmHg | Sizes: Small, medium, large | Color Options: One | Quantity Per Pack: Three pairs

Best Zip-Up: Bropite Zipper Compression Socks

Bropite Zipper Compression Socks

Amazon

Pros
  • Built-in zipper makes them easy to put on

  • Open-toe design

  • Medium compression

Cons
  • Zipper may irritate skin

  • Zipper may unzip after long periods

Sliding on a pair of compression socks isn’t always easy. But Bropite’s Zipper Compression Socks may make it a little easier. Each sock comes equipped with a zipper, which should cover the length of your calf. Unzip the socks to conveniently slide them on. Then, zip them back up to fasten them in place. This design detail may sound incredibly obvious, but it’s not the kind of thing you’ll find on most compression socks.

Aside from the built-in zipper, Bropite’s Zipper Compression Socks are pretty classic. They’re crafted from a blend of 75 percent nylon and 25 percent spandex, so they should feel both sturdy and stretchy. And they’re designed to deliver 15 to 20 mmHg of compression at a time. This makes the socks not particularly lightweight, but not particularly intense either—making them a great middle-ground pick for anyone craving some classic compression.

One potential downside, though? The zipper that makes the socks comfortable to slip on may also make them uncomfortable to wear. The back of the zipper may irritate your skin, especially if you move around a lot while wearing the socks. This downside may be enough for some to forgo the socks. But if you have trouble slipping into a more traditional pair of compression socks, the tradeoff may be worth it.

Compression: 15 to 20 mmHg | Sizes: Small–medium, large–XL, 2X | Color Options: Three | Quantity Per Pack: One to two pairs

Best for Pregnancy: Dr. Segal’s Pregnancy Socks

Dr. Segal’s Pregnancy Socks

Dr. Segal's

Pros
  • Crafted from a soft cotton blend

  • Flat seams and extra-wide band

  • Soft terry cloth footbed

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Only available in one color

Soft, lightweight, and machine-wash-friendly, Dr. Segal’s Solid Cotton Energy Socks are a perfect pick for everyday wear. Crafted from a cozy blend of cotton (45 percent), nylon (38 percent), and lycra (17 percent), the socks should feel softer than most. But they should still boast the signature stretch you’d expect from a pair of compression socks. And since they’re designed to deliver 15 to 20 mmHg of compression, they should feel solidly tight but not terribly intense.

In addition to boasting a cozier-than-average fabric blend, the socks are also outfitted with a range of comfy features. The stretchy band at the top of each sock was designed to be extra-wide, so it’s less likely to dig into your skin. And the footbed of each sock is lined with soft terry cloth, a fabric that should cushion your feet every time you slip on the socks. The socks are also designed exclusively with flat seams, which should cut down on irritation. Some particularly wide toe boxes should give your feet plenty of room to move around.

Combined, all these features make for a pretty excellent set of socks. And since they’re rendered in a versatile gray color, you shouldn’t have any trouble pairing them with your go-to work clothes.

Compression: 15 to 20 mmHg | Sizes: Small, medium, large, XL | Color Options: One | Quantity Per Pack: One pair

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for great compression socks, it’s hard to go wrong with a pair from FIGS. The brand is known for creating medical apparel that’s cute, comfortable, and high-quality. And its socks are no exception. Stretchy, soft, and durable, the brand’s Just Go For It Compression Socks (view at FIGS) and 100% Awesome Compression Socks (view at FIGS) should both make easy additions to your day-to-day routine. And both boast designs that are fun enough to put a smile on your face—but subtle enough to wear at work.

Physix’s Gear Sport Compression Socks (view at Amazon) are another great option. The socks should feel durable, comfortable, and stretchy. And since they promise to deliver 20 to 30 mmHg of pressure, they’re great for those looking for more intense compression.

How We Selected the Best Compression Socks for Nurses

When deciding which compression socks to feature in this article, we focused on a few things. First, we wanted to highlight the diverse range of pairs available. That meant featuring socks with different silhouettes, compression levels, material break-downs, and details—and it also meant featuring socks at different price points.

Then, we focused on giving you options. We favored socks that came in many sizes, prints, and colors to increase the likelihood that you’d find a pair that worked for you. Finally, we prioritized socks that were well-reviewed by those who’d tried them and included features favored by the various experts we interviewed. If there was ever a toss-up between two great pairs of compression socks, we went with the pair that had received more rave reviews.

What to Look for in Compression Socks for Nurses

Size

Like all socks, compression socks come in many different sizes. (The compression socks in this roundup range from small to 7X, for example.) According to our experts, compression socks should be tight enough that your legs feel lightly squeezed—but not so tight that your legs feel uncomfortable.

Style

Compression socks are available in many different silhouettes. Most of the time, you’ll see knee-high, closed-toe compression socks. But you may also see socks of different lengths—like thigh-high socks, ankle-high socks, or even full-blown tights. You may also see open-toe variations. Talk to your doctor to determine which sock style is best for you.

Compression Level

Some compression socks are tighter than others. And a sock’s compression level is measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). The higher the mmHg, the more compressive the sock. So you’ll find gentler socks in the 10 to 15 mmHg range and more intense socks in the 20 to 30 mmHg range. (Most compression socks fall somewhere in the middle—around 15 to 20 mmHg.) As always, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to determine which compression level is right for you.

“It’s always best to speak to your doctor for recommendations before using compression socks,” Dr. Ross says. Your doctor can help you understand which compression level is right for you, based on your personal needs, preferences, and daily habits.

Material

Most compression socks are made from stretchy fabrics, like nylon, spandex, and lycra. But some of the time, you’ll see softer materials—like cotton and merino wool—included in the blend. Consider what you want your socks to feel like, and snag a pair that meets your preferences. You may even consider buying different socks for different times of the year. (Breathable cotton socks may be great during the summer, whereas warm merino wool socks may be better during the winter.)

Quantity

Some compression socks come in pairs, while others come in bulk sets. This is important to keep in mind while comparison shopping. Be sure to pay attention to the unit cost (the cost of each pair of socks), in addition to the total cost (the cost of the entire set).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of compression socks for nurses?

    “Compression socks gently squeeze the legs, which increases pressure in the tissue beneath the skin, keeping the blood moving,” Dr. Ross says. And by increasing blood flow, compression socks can potentially reduce swelling, inflammation, varicose veins, blood clots, and general pain and discomfort.

    Carrie Danielsen, L.P.N., Director of Assisted Living Operations for Nightingale Healthcare, agrees. “Compression socks help with blood circulation, they help reduce swelling, and they provide added support for professionals who need to be highly functional on their feet,” she says.

  • How tight should compression socks be?

    Compression socks should be tight enough to gently squeeze your legs. But they shouldn’t be so tight that you feel uncomfortable. “There are a number of signs that indicate that your compression socks are too tight,” Danielsen says. “The straightforward ones include pinched skin, pain, discomfort, discoloration, or numbing.” And if your legs or feet start to tingle, that’s another sign that your socks could be too tight. “It is normal for the socks to leave a ‘mark’ on the skin when you take them off,” Anderson says. “But they shouldn't feel so tight that you feel like your circulation is cut off.”

    It’s also possible for your compression socks to be too loose. “They are too loose if they are really easy to get on, or if they keep falling down when you wear them,” Anderson says.

  • How long should you wear compression socks?

    According to Dr. Ross, you can wear compression socks for hours at a time. “You can wear them as long as you are standing, if they are comfortable and worn correctly,” Dr. Ross says. As always, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to get a personalized recommendation. Your doctor can help you understand when to wear your compression socks, as well as how long to wear them for.

  • Can wearing compression socks be harmful?

    There are some potential downsides to wearing compression socks—especially if you wear them incorrectly. “Compression socks can cause pain and skin irritation,” Dr. Ross says. “And if worn incorrectly, they can cut off circulation, cause chafing and bruising on your legs, and cause irritation, itching, and redness of the skin.” Be sure to talk to your doctor before wearing compression socks. They can help you find a pair that works for you, and they can also help you navigate any pain or discomfort you experience.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Cleveland Clinic. Plantar fasciitis: Causes, symptoms & treatment.

  3. Foot Centre Group. Best socks for plantar fasciitis.