To save lives, nurses have to endure standing on their feet all day. And when they get home after a long shift, leg and feet pain can keep them from recharging for the next day. For these reasons, many nurses have turned to compression socks to help lessen the fatigue they feel. But what brands deliver the best compression socks for nurses? We tested five different brands to discover the top pair.
Should Nurses Wear Compression Socks?
That would depend on the nurse’s preferences. Many prefer them because of the benefits they bring. While they’re busy saving lives, one challenge for nurses is being on their feet for hours on end.
Compression socks can help reduce leg fatigue—that feeling of heaviness when you’ve walked around all day. It can also aid in lessening swelling because it aids in circulation, pulling blood flow upward. Further, it helps with symptoms of spider and varicose veins by reducing the buildup of blood in your legs and feet. Lastly, it aids in muscle recovery.
Even as they rest at home, nurses need to care for their legs. The best compression socks for nurses can improve blood flow, relieve soreness, and promote overall muscle recovery.
What Level of Compression Socks Do Nurses Need?
Experts recommend that nurses stick to either the 8–15 millimeters of mercury (mmHg; mild) or the 15–20 mmHg (medium) level.
There are five different grades of compression. For nurses without severe symptoms or any medical conditions that need treatment, it’s best to stick to the lower grading. Higher compression levels require a prescription from a doctor and are better for those with medical cases.
Each level of compression has its benefits. The best compression socks for nurses are either mild or medium. The former can help ease nurses’ fatigue and swelling. They also lessen the ache they feel at the end of their shift.
Nurses may begin with medium-grade socks without having to try mild ones first. This compression level helps prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition where a blood clot forms in a vein deep in your body. Nurses and other individuals who spend most of their days standing or sitting are at risk of developing this problem.
Is It Okay to Wear Compression Socks All Day?
Yes, it is safe to wear compression socks for the entirety of the day. It’s also okay to wear it for longer shifts. For nurses on 24-hour duty, experts recommend to keep it on the whole time to avoid swelling and fatigue. The best compression socks for nurses are comfortable to wear for extended hours.
However, if you experience discomfort or pain, there may be an issue with the compression socks. You may be wearing it incorrectly, or there is another underlying problem. Check on your legs now and again for signs of irritation as well. If these problems occur, consult with health care professionals.
How Do I Know What Compression Socks Size to Buy?
When you plan on purchasing compression socks, be sure to measure your legs beforehand. Doing so will help you find the size that you should buy. For knee-high socks, there are three things to measure:
- Ankle circumference
- Calf circumference
- Calf length
For thigh-highs, the measuring guide is similar but with a few changes:
- Ankle circumference
- Calf circumference
- Thigh circumference
- Thigh length
Additionally, take note of your shoe size. Record all these measurements to find the best compression socks for nurses.
Using these measurements, you can check reference charts of different brands. Each company may have its sizing specifications, so be sure to check those before purchasing.
Also, keep in mind that sizes will differ between men and women and the country/region. Sizing guides for compression socks also use shoe size. Recall that these measurements are different in the US and the UK, so check which the company follows.
Here are some other helpful tips:
- Measure in the morning when there is minimum swelling in your legs.
- Be precise with your measurements. Estimating may not get you the best fit.
- Use a string if you don’t have a flexible tape measure. You can later check it against a ruler or yardstick.
Finding the right size is crucial as it ensures you’ll wear the best compression socks for nurses safely. A poor fit can lead to them slipping down or being too tight. These issues can result in damage to the skin and further discomfort or pain.
The Best Compression Socks for Nurses
Now, let’s move to the exciting part!
We looked at five different brands and styles to look for the best compression socks for nurses. For this article, we considered several factors, including overall performance, comfort, durability, ease when washing, size and design variety, and value. We’ll give you a summary of the advantages and disadvantages before elaborating on our opinions. Here are our top picks for the best compression socks for nurses:
1. Sockwell Circulator Graduated Compression Socks
|It’s useful in reducing swelling and foot pain.|
|You can choose from many colors. There are bright and neon choices, and there are muted shades too.|
|It is made with merino wool and bamboo rayon, both natural fibers. It’s suitable for those who want to avoid synthetic materials.|
|The size appears to differ per color. Some were visibly smaller than others.|
|They may not fit those with thicker ankles or calves.|
|It’s somewhat pricey, given its performance.|
These socks from Sockwell get the job done—that is, if they fit you. When we saw them online, the bright colors immediately drew us in. When our socks came, we noticed they weren’t all the same size. That doesn’t make for the best compression socks for nurses. The white ones are smaller compared to the blue pair we ordered. Thankfully, we got to fit in some of them, and we could try them out.
On the plus side, they are quite comfortable. We were also interested because of its “homegrown wool” content. As someone with sweaty feet, I recommend it as it quickly absorbs sweat and moisture. When I take these socks off at the end of my shift, they’re not as smelly or moist as regular pairs.
If it does end up fitting you well, it’s one of the best compression socks for nurses.
2. Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks
|The fabric is breathable, even in warm temperatures.|
|The socks fit well even for those with wider calves and ankles.|
|They feel incredibly comfortable even after several hours.|
|Its fit is good and snug.|
|They’re not very durable if you’re not careful. Frequent washing may lead to holes in the socks.|
Don’t let the name fool you: these socks aren’t solely for sports and physical activities. They can be the best compression socks for nurses.
We were impressed with the performance of the pair we tested out. We first noticed that the fabric is cool on the skin, even when it was incredibly hot that day. It’s breathable too, reducing sweating in the sole of the feet. We observed a significant reduction in the discomfort we would typically feel after a 24-hour shift. They also don’t slip down throughout the day, so you won’t have to keep readjusting the tops while you’re working.
However, one problem you have to look out for is its durability. It seems thick when you stretch it out, but it can wear out after several rounds of washing. We noticed a few areas that were thinning out and prone to holes. Our advice is to hand-wash these socks to lengthen their lifespan. Also, opt for gentle detergents to avoid wearing out the fabric.
Despite this issue, we unanimously decided it had to be part of our list of best compression socks for nurses.
3. SB Sox Compression Socks
|Comfortable compression for most of its length|
|The seams are not noticeable or irritating.|
|The socks are useful in easing discomfort and aches.|
|They’re around the mid-range price point.|
|The length may be too long for some individuals.|
|The top band may be too tight for those with wider legs.|
|They can shrink in the wash if you’re not careful.|
Looking at more affordable pairs, we tried out a few pairs from SB Sox. Our immediate observation was that it could be a bit long for some individuals. Some people naturally have longer legs than others, and this brand will suit them well. Overall, they’re comfortable as the seams don’t stick out. They lay flat on the skin and effectively reduce the discomfort we feel after a long shift.
We did notice that it can get quite tight on the top band. We don’t recommend this for those who have wider legs, mostly right under the knee. Also, we warn you not to put them in the dryer. Hand-wash and air-dry them as they may shrink from the heat.
Nevertheless, it’s good value for the price you get. It’s still one of the best compression socks for nurses.
4. A-Swift Compression Socks
- The price is affordable and can be a smart choice for someone who hasn’t tried compression socks before.
- They have a wide variety of bright colors.
- The pair is comfortable, and the compression isn’t too tight.
- The socks were smaller than what we expected.
- The compression may not be tight enough for some.
- It may have threads sticking out after some washes.
Going even lower with prices, the A-Swift Compression Socks are the most affordable on the list. If I hadn’t tried compression socks before and wanted to check out the experience, I’d try these out. They’re comfortably snug, but they might not be the best choice for those who wish for tighter compression. After a couple of washes, I noticed some threads poking out. These can become uncomfortable if you don’t snip them away.
As for the sizing, they run smaller than we expected. Luckily, I have smaller feet, and it’s not as big of a problem. However, if you have long legs or large feet, you might not want to purchase these for work.
Another thing I enjoyed was the range of bright colors. Even if they aren’t the best compression socks for nurses, I’m keeping the pair I bought because of the design. It makes my day a little brighter when my feet look happy as well.
5. Sockslane Cotton Compression
|Because of the material, they absorb moisture and sweat.|
|They’re comfortable if they fit correctly.|
|They have reinforcement in the heel and sole areas.|
|It can get too tight at the top.|
|It may not be suitable for wider legs.|
If you’re looking for something with a closer texture to regular pairs, these cotton compression socks from Socklane are a smart choice. I found them comfortable, and, because of the cotton content, they absorb moisture and sweat. I don’t feel the need to wipe down my feet in the middle of the day from sweating too much. There’s also extra reinforcement in the sole for extra comfort.
The downside is that they can get tight at the top. If you have wider legs, you might have to look for a different style or brand.
Overall, they don’t do too poorly as one of the best compression socks for nurses.
And Our Top Pick for the Best Compression Socks for Nurses Is . . .
Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks.
Out of all the pairs we tried for this experiment, Physix Gear takes the lead. It’s our choice for the best compression socks for nurses because of its overall performance. At the end of my 24-hour shift, I felt the least amount of discomfort when I wore this pair. It fits well, and I don’t worry about adjusting them throughout my shift. I can focus on my job, knowing they’ll hold up all day.
It’s an excellent value for what I spent on it. The only thing I have to look out for is to wash it gently. It’s a small price to pay for the quality I get from this pair.