If you’re a nurse and don’t have a drawer full of compression socks, we’re here to tell you that you’re guilty of foot abuse. That’s right you’re being unnecessarily cruel to your poor, overworked, and suffering feet.  In the off chance that no one has clued in into the secret weapon of nurses and people who spend their workdays on their feet, just know that compression socks can completely change your life (or at least the life of your feet). We curated the best compression socks for nurses before it gets too late. 

From days of cavemen, Egyptian priests, and Roman soldiers on long marches, humans have understood the health benefits of gentle compression on your lower extremities. And for nurses who spend 14 – 16 hours (or longer) on their feet a day, compression socks are a must-have addition to your work uniform.

We’re going to give you the top 15 best-rated compression socks and show you where to buy them. We’ve got all the types from top-rated and athletic styles to medical-grade thigh-lengths and compression socks big calves – there’s even a couple of compression sleeves on our list.

And if you’ve got questions, just skip past the product reviews and we’ll answer all the most frequently asked questions about compression socks and why every nurse should own a pair or three.

Short On Time? Here’s A Quick List Of The Top 5 Compression Socks

  • CHARMKING (Best Overall Seller)
  • Physix Gear (Best Athletic)
  • FuelMeFoot (Best With Copper Weave, Best For Foot Odor)
  • TechWare (Best Overall Ankle-Length, Best For Foot Problems)
  • NuVein (Best Thigh-Length Medical Grade)

 

The Top 15 Best Rated Compression Socks For Nurses

All of these top-selling brands of compression socks get consistently high reviews from nurses, chefs, athletes, and all kinds of professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet. We’ve separated them by brand and included links to different styles by sock length (ankle, knee, thigh).

 

CHARMKING (Best Overall)

With the highest customer reviews, a great price, tons of color and pattern combos and perfect medium strength for all-around use, CHARMKING gradient compression socks take first place. They hit that “sweet spot” for compression coming in at 15 – 20 mmHg.

While their knee-highs are the most popular, CHARMKING also offers ankle-length compression socks and thigh-high medical-grade versions.

  • Knee-length
  • Daily wear
  • Color combos
  • Comfortable material
  • 15 – 20 mmHg

Pros: lots of color/design choices, comfortable, good price

Cons: may not be best for sweaty feet

 

Comrad (Best Premium Quality)

For premium quality and style – plus great compression – COMRAD gradient compression socks make the grade. They take that sweet spot of 15 – 25 mmHg and include anti-odor, anti-static design with superior ventilation. A wide no-slip cuff keeps them up as they provide you with all-day comfort. So stylish, you can wear these with anything anywhere.

  • Premium, stylish design
  • 15 – 25 mmHg
  • Superior ventilation
  • Anti-odor, anti-static

Pros: premium quality, anti-odor, anti-static, wide no-slip cuffs

Cons: may need a stretch to put on

 

ACTINPUT (Best Price)

Fun designs plus an unbeatable price? At them to the cart. The ACTINPUT gradient compression socks offer you that 15 – 20 mmHg sweet spot of pressure, moisture-wicking material and a just right fit – all in an 8-pack. That’s right you get 8-pairs. Plus, they’ve got several great patterns that you can choose from.

  • 8-pack
  • Knee-length
  • 85% nylon, 10% Polyester, and 5% Elastane
  • Moisture-wicking
  • 15 – 20 mmHg

Pros: price, good material, moisture-wicking

Cons: may wear quickly with heavy use

 

Physix Gear (Best Athletic Compression Sock)

If you want your gradient compression sock to be a top performer, try the Physix Gear Sport models. Made for runners and athletes, these give you hi-tech performance with 20 – 30 mmHg of pressure and stitch-less design. Soft, durable material and wide no-slip cuffs round out the sporty design.

Also comes in ankle-length compression socks.

  • Stitch-less design
  • 20 – 30 mmHg
  • Wide slip-less cuffs
  • Made for sports

Pros: sport performance, non-slip cuffs, well-made

Cons: may be tight for some

 

HLTPRO (Interesting Patterns & Prints)

HLTPRO gradient compression socks are also high on the list for their great reviews. What gives them that extra something is their interesting choices of pattern and designs. They’ve got everything from nurse-type heartbeat prints and bright striped patterns to holiday themes and skulls.

Their compression socks hit the higher end for compression coming in at 20 – 30 mmHg. Their fabric is made from 80% nylon, 20% spandex for a firm but gentle comfortable wear.

Also offer copper ankle compression socks.

  • Knee-length
  • 80% nylon, 20% spandex
  • Interesting patterns & prints
  • 20 – 30 mmHg

Pros: tons of colors/patterns, price, comfort

Cons: may shrink after washing

 

Double Couple (Physician-designed, Good For Sweaty Feet)

Double Couple gradient compression socks make the list for their innovative, ergonomic design created by physicians. While they don’t have as many colors or patterns, the features more than makeup for it. They use a high production standard, improved ventilation, and moisture wicking – great for sweaty feet.

  • Knee-length
  • Airflow design
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Physician-designed
  • 20 – 30 mmHg

Pros: moisture-wicking, ergonomic, comfortable

Cons: can fit tight for some people

 

Crucial Compression (Most Breathable)

No, Crucial Compression gradient compression socks don’t have all the flashy patterns, colors, and designs. But they’ve got two things going for them that gets them on this list: breathability and large sizes. They’re the most breathable compression sock that gets you 20 – 30 mmHg of compression, double stitching, and moisture-wicking material. Plus, if they don’t fit, you can take advantage of their “Perfect Fit” Guarantee.

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Double stitching
  • Knee-length
  • 20 – 30 mmHg

Pros: price, moisture-wicking, double stitching

Cons: not the best for hot weather

 

Bitly (Best Sleeve For Plantar Fasciitis)

The Bitly ankle-length compression sleeve is the best for plantar fasciitis. This ankle sleeve compresses your ankle and arch, providing arch support, blood flow, and pain relief. They’re very easy to wear and made from an odor-free, moisture-wicking fabric. Not only great for plantar fasciitis but also helps with bone spurs, Achilles tendon problems, inflammation, and foot pain.

  • Foot sleeve
  • All sizes
  • Endorsed by Tiki Barber

Pros: great for all foot conditions, light sleeve

Cons: have to wear with a sock, so maybe warm

 

TechWare (Best Overall Ankle-Length, Best For Foot Problems)

TechWare definitely takes the lead in the ankle-length category for a number of reasons. Their therapy-grade compression of 20 – 30 mmHg provides strong relief from plantar fasciitis, tendon pain, heel pain, and superb arch support. With the Diamond Alignment System, you’ll be sure to put them on correctly each time so you get the maximum amount of targeted relief.

Also offers an ankle compression sleeve.

  • Ankle-length
  • Diamond Alignment System
  • Heel cushioning
  • 20 – 30 mmHg

Pros: good for a variety of foot problems, medical-grade compression

Cons: may not be machine washable

 

FuelMeFoot (Best Copper Compression Sock, Best For Odor)

While the science on copper-infused compression socks can only agree that the anti-microbial properties of copper are great for foot odor, these are still a great compression sock. If you want that copper infusion in your compression sock, this offering from FuelMeFoot store has the best reviews.

  • Copper-infused fabric
  • Knee-length
  • Moisture-wicking
  • 15 – 20 mmHg

Pros: copper-infused fabric fights foot odor, moisture-wicking

Cons: may fit small

 

Nurse Mates (Best Big-Name Brand)

You may be familiar with Nurse Mates shoes, but they also make great compression socks with nurse-type designs in the 20 – 30 mmHg compression range. Good quality, no annoying stitching in the wrong places, and just the right compression will make sure your feet are still going after a 12-hour shift.

  • Knee-length
  • Nurse designs
  • Premium quality
  • 20 – 30 mmHg

Pros: quality, nurse designs, medical-grade compression

Cons: may fit small for some

 

NuVein (Best Medical-Grade Thigh-Length)

If you’re looking for the top medical-grade thigh-length compression hose, NuVein is at the top of the list. Offering 20 – 30 mmHg of gradient compression, toe-less design, silicone grip top to prevent rolling or slipping and constructed from hospital-grade materials.

Also offers knee-length compression socks.

  • Thigh-length
  • Silicone grip top
  • Hospital-grade materials
  • 20 – 30 mmHg

Pros: hospital-grade materials, silicone grip top prevents slipping, breathable

Cons: can be difficult to get on

 

JOBST (Runner-Up Medical-Grade Thigh-Length)

JOBST gradient compression socks come in a close second with their toe-less, thigh-length offering. These are latex-free, which is great for people bothered by it. They include a silicone grip top, nylon, and spandex weave and 20 – 30 mmHg of medical-grade firmness.

Also offers knee-length compression socks.

  • Latex free
  • Toe-less design
  • Silicone grip

Pros: latex free, comfortable, non-slip design, toe-less

Cons: may fit tight for some

 

HOYISOX (Best For Big Or Wide Calves)

Some of us aren’t standing on little toothpicks and need some extra room around the calves. HOYISOX gradient compression socks offer you just that – plenty of room to fit your meaty gams while still giving you the firm 20 – 30 mmHg pressure you need from a compression sock.

Includes sizes all the way up to 5XL

  • Sizes up to 5XL
  • 20 – 30 mmHg
  • Breathable
  • 3D seamless toe design

Pros: large sizes, seamless toe, breathable

Cons: may be warm for some

 

Zeta Sleeve (Best Compression Sleeve)

If you just want a gradient compression sleeve that runs from the top of your ankle to the top of your calf, the Zeta Sleeve is the best choice. Commonly used by athletes to prevent cramping and fatigue, a pair of sleeves works just as good for nurses. Sizes go all the way up to 3XL.

  • Large sizes
  • 20 – 30 mmHg
  • Comfortable large cuffs

Pros: easy to wear, comfortable, not as hot as socks

Cons: may feel tight

 

What Are Compression Socks?

 

Well, they’re socks that compress? Yes, they compress, or more accurately, apply gentle but firm pressure on your feet, ankles calves even up to your waist, depending on what type of compression socks they are.

They’re actually gradient compression stockings – that is the compression is strongest around the ankles and lessens the higher it goes.

They are made from elastic and strong stretchable fabrics in one of three usual sizes:

  • Knee-high
  • Thigh-high
  • Waist-high or support pantyhose (commonly worn by pregnant women)

The amount of pressure or squeeze they apply to your legs is measure in mmHg, which means millimeter of mercury – the standard unit of pressure that you may recognize from a blood pressure reading.

The three standard strengths of compression socks are:

  • 14 mmHg or less

Lowest level of compression, good for everyday wear to prevent pain and fatigue or for pregnancy

  • 15 – 20 mmHg***

Medium compression, worn for leg swelling, foot pain or for deep vein thrombosis and when taking a long flight – many consider this to be the sweet spot and best for all-around use

  • 21 – 30 mmHg and up

Highest medical-grade compression, used for health problems like edema, blood clots, diabetes, and recovery

Some styles of compression socks, especially the thigh-high, medical-grade ones will have an open toe, so it’s less like a sock and focuses only on compression.

 

What Do Compression Socks Do?

 

Well, we know what compression socks do, but what is it they actually “do”? That gentle, firm gradient pressure on your lower extremities helps increase blood flow up from your feet all the way to your heart.

This increased blood flow has a host of benefits:

  • Increased circulation
  • Reduced swelling
  • Lessened foot fatigue
  • Lowered chance of developing deep vein thrombosis
  • Less foot pain
  • Supports veins
  • Can help with varicose veins

 

 

Why Should You Wear Compression Socks?

 

For those with health problems like edema or diabetes, compression socks are medically prescribed to treat the effects of these conditions, namely poor peripheral blood flow. Also, they are good insulators if you are one always having cold feet, we have curated a list of compression socks for cold feet to help keep you warm.

For the average person, compression socks are a great help if you’re on your feet all day, taking a long flight, or suffer from occasional foot swelling and pain. The increased blood flow will help keep your feet and lower legs healthy, pain-free, and less tired from a long day’s work. 

Though the results are inconclusive, compression socks may also help prevent or slow the progression of varicose veins. At the very least the help with any pain caused by varicose veins. 

 

 

Should Nurses Wear Compression Socks?

 

Absolutely! Ask anyone who spends long hours standing or walking at work how tired, sore, and swollen their feet get after 12 – 14 hours.

That’s a typical shift for a nurse and part of the job. And if your feet get swollen or sore – it can really impact your job performance.

Even if you don’t have foot problems, you can help prevent them before they start by wearing compression socks at work. And you’ll keep your feet from feeling tired and achy.

 

 

What Type Of Compression Sock Should I buy?

 

In deciding what type of compression socks to buy, you just need to ask yourself what you’re using them for.

  • If you’re just trying to reduce swelling, pain, and fatigue because you’re on your feet all day, you can probably go with the lightest strength (14 mmHg or less) in a knee-high length. Maybe even up to medium depending on how snugly they fit.
  • If you’re dealing with minor foot and leg issues like plantar fasciitis, varicose veins or minor edema, you’ll go with a medium (15 – 20 mmHg) to provide a bit more compression in a knee-high or thigh-high length.
  • If you have health issues like the ones listed above, you’ll probably have a doctor-prescribed set of strong compression socks (21 – 30 mmHg) in knee-high or thigh-high lengths.
  • Also, take into consideration where the problem areas are. If you only have foot or ankle problems, knee-highs are perfect. For knee or upper leg pain, you’ll need a thigh-high pair.

 

How To Wear Compression Socks

 

There’s really not much to wearing compression socks correctly. You just need to know a couple of things:

  • They should fit snugly but not painfully tight
  • You should smooth them out and avoid bunching
  • Don’t roll or fold the tops
  • Make sure to check the materials if you’re allergic to any type of fabric

TIP: Stretch them out a bit before you try to put them on, especially around the opening.

 

When Should You Wear Compression Socks?

 

If you’re healthy and not dealing with foot or lower limb issues, you should wear compression socks anytime you’re going to be on your feet for extended periods or putting your feet through stress.

For many, this is during work, but also athletes, pregnant women, and those on a long-distance flight benefit from wearing compression socks. If you have health issues, you’re going to be wearing compression socks daily or as recommended by your doctor. Doctors have even said that it is beneficial to even wear compression socks while sleeping to help improve blood flow overnight.

 

Can I Sleep In Compression Socks?

 

Absolutely, as we just stated above. It’s perfectly OK to sleep in compression socks, even beneficial. Plus, it pampers your legs and feet by helping soothe sore, aching muscles while you snooze.

Are There Risks To Wearing Compression Socks?

 

For people without any health problems, wearing compression socks regularly poses minor risks, like:

  • Irritated skin
  • Broken skin
  • Discomfort (especially around seams)

For those with health risks like venous ulcers from diabetes, extra care should be taken to ensure you’re wearing the compression socks correctly and you should check your feet and lower extremities daily for any changes or broken skin.

 

What Kind Of Compression Socks Do Doctors Recommend?

 

Again, if you don’t have any health problems and are just trying to keep your feet from feeling tired and sore after a long workday, light or medium pressure is fine.

If a doctor has prescribed that you wear compression socks for a condition, more than likely they’ll be medium or high compression. The staff at the medical supply store where you buy them will measure your feet and legs at their least swollen (usually in the morning) and give you a pair that meet your needs and measurements.

 

What’s The Best Compression Socks For Nurses?

 

It’s all up to you! If you’re just looking for relief from fatigue and aching feet to keep you going on those long shifts, light to medium pressure is great. However, many nurses say the sweet spot is the spot of 15 – 20 mmHg. Many of the compression socks you will see online are in the 20 – 30 mmHg range.

And while you’re at it, why don’t you add a little flair? Today you can get great compression socks in a variety of patterns, prints, and colors – you don’t have to go with a boring old flesh tone, white or black. Why not red argyle or pink and purple hearts? Worried about the hot weather ahead, we thought of it too and listed compression socks you can wear in the summer to ensure that rain or shine you have trusty compression socks with you. 

If you aren’t already poking around on Amazon and about to place an order – you should be. Any nurse who spends a lot of time on their feet should own a drawerful of compression socks. 

Even if you don’t have foot pain or problems, compression socks will help keep your legs and feet healthy and feeling happy.

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