The Basics - How to Choose and Use Compression Socks

Spoiler Alert! Not all compression socks are the same - they don’t even do the same things, so knowing what you're looking for, and what you need, will ensure you choose the right version of compression socks.  

First off, ‘basic’ compression socks are usually heavier and they're simply tight - from the top of the sock to the toe it's just tight.  They are designed to ‘compress’ your muscles to provide stability, either for athletics or for medical support. This type of compression sock absolutely has its place, but they don’t provide the same benefits that ‘graduated’ compression socks provide.

Graduated compression socks are an entirely different ballgame. Graduated compression starts tighter at the ankle and gets 'looser' as you move up the leg – they’re designed to force blood up the leg to prevent pooling and swelling in your lower legs.  Because of the way they’re designed, graduated compression socks, are usually a bit ‘looser’ on the leg (making them more comfortable) while increasing circulation which aids not only in athletic performance, but also aids in recovery efforts from those performances.  

The vast majority of athletic compression socks out there nowadays are graduated, but you should absolutely know the difference before you make a purchase.  

The best part about graduated compression socks is that you can use them however you want!  Treat them like your normal, daily socks to get the most consistent benefits but there are no rules here.  Don't save them for your next run/workout because that's what they're 'for' - enjoy what you've got and wear the 'ish' out of those suckers.  Regardless of where you wear them, you're going to see the benefits of improved circulation.   

At Collective Socks we understand the importance of finding the right compression socks for you. Read on to better understand how to realize the full benefits and select the best compression socks for you. 

What do compression socks do and how do they work?

Before you buy compression socks online, it’s crucial to learn why you should wear compression socks and the benefits of compression socks.  As mentioned above, the core concept for graduated compression socks is simple – they place pressure on the veins in the lower legs, which increases blood flow.  The benefit here is that the ‘artificial’ increase in blood flow means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump blood. 

This improved circulation means that your limbs receive the right nutrients, oxygen, and energy needed to function while reducing swelling and pain. It also means faster recovery from your daily exertions!

Still not sure how to use compression? Keep reading!

Compression Socks are Popular with:

  • Runners, cyclists, triathletes, hikers, and golfers
  • Nurses, hospitality servers, first responders and literally anyone working long shifts either on their feet or seated for prolonged periods of time.
  • Those fighting fatigue and those who travel (via road, train or air).
  • Those suffering from leg cramps and restless legs at night.
    (You can wear compression socks even when you sleep!)
  • Anyone looking to ‘up’ their sock game.  


Popular Compression Socks by Activity

There are many different types of compression socks. Between ankle and knee highs, we’ve got you covered for all your activities, relaxation and recovery! While we love every version of Collective Socks, there are definitely some standout collections that are preferred for certain activities.

Here are our most popular ones, along with popular uses to help guide you!

Knee High Compression Socks

  • Compression Level: 20-25 mmHg
  • Material: Breathable, moisture-wicking blend of nylon and lycra.
  • Popular uses: Endurance running/walking, nurses and medical professionals, traveling, maternity, soccer, football, roller skating.

 Ankle Compression Socks

  • Compression Level: 15-20 mmHg
  • Material: Breathable, moisture-wicking blend of nylon and lycra.
  • Popular uses: Golf, tennis, pickleball
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