How do I choose the right compression socks?

Medical Compression Socks Pod Sox Group Shot

Compression socks group shot

A question we are often asked at PODsox  is “with so many options now, how do I choose the right compression socks for me?” Here’s our answer! The short answer is—it depends on why you’re wearing them.

Most people will do best with a moderate compression grade (such as the 15-20 mmHg support offered by PODsox compression socks). This level of compression is high enough to be clinically effective, while not so restrictive that it is uncomfortable, difficult to apply or dangerous. The higher realms of compression—generally considered to be anything above 20 mmHg are best worn with for either athletic use or by a doctors orders.

Wearing too high of compression without knowing your vascular health can actually prevent blood flow to your tissues. Again—most people will be fine with this amount of compression, but its good talk with your doctor before using higher levels of compression. Let’s consider the following scenarios and appropriate use of compression in each situation.

First scenario:

You are traveling. The average traveler will do best wearing 15-mmHg of graded compression. For traveling, we really like PODsox Compression socks classic line. This line of compression socks are light weight, wicking, soft and durable Roll them up in the side pocket of your bag and peel them on just before your flight. Why, you may ask? Because you are at increased risk of getting a blood clot (up to 30% increased risk if you sit by the window!) due to venous stasis. Venous stasis is blood pooling in the legs, not getting pumped back up to your heart. That extra blood pooling in your lower legs is also the cause of the swelling and stiffness you feel by the end of a long flight. Compression socks with 15-20 mmHg support, (such as that provided by PODsox compression socks) are relatively inexpensive, comfortable (not to mention fun!) insurance against the spectrum of issues caused by flying. All the way from the inconvenience of having your legs feel heavy and tired to the serious medical issue of getting a blood clot (also known as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT), PODsox compression socks can help! It is not just a wives tale that an ounce of prevention is better than pound of cure!

Second Scenario:

You are on your feet all day for work. Maybe you’re a nurse or a hair stylist. Maybe you stand at a register or a podium. Any time you are standing for long enough to feel fatigue in your lower body, PODsox compression socks and step in to provide support. For this scenario, you might be happy with either the 15-20 mmHg classic PODsox OR the 20-30 mmHg support of PODsox calf sleeves. Questions to further help you decide between these products: Have you had an ankle injury or ankle surgery? Do you get swelling more specifically in your feet or is it more lower leg fatigue that is plaguing you? Many wearers find that putting the calf sleeves on before standing helps prevent the swelling in the first place. However, this is higher compression. If you have any lymph disruption at the ankle, you would do better in a full sock than in a calf sleeve.

Third Scenario:

You are a runner (or any other athlete that uses their lower body to fatigue—biking, hiking, cross fit to name a few). You had a really intense training session and you know your legs are going to be sore. Unless you have had an ankle injury that would cause lymph/swelling collection in the feet, you would most likely want the calf sleeves. Easier to put on than compression socks, calf sleeves get the compression right where your tired, overtrained muscles need the support. Calf sleeves have the benefit of being able to go from the beach to the trails to under your skinny jeans, all while making your legs feel great.

Fourth Scenario:

You just had surgery. You have been recommended to wear those beautiful white surgical socks for anywhere from 2-6 weeks. Your hospital issued pair is ugly and already has a hole in them. Denver’s best compression socks, PODsox classic stockings were actually purpose made for this! Meeting FDA guidelines for post surgical wear and being an FDA registered medical device make classic PODsox the perfect choice for this situation. No other compression sock we know of can make this claim! AND they are fun. So, we hope that some flying pigs might make you smile on your road to recovery. (We know that laughter is the best medicine…smiling has to be close, right?!)

Fifth Scenario:

You had vascular surgery and your doctor recommends wearing high compression garments. This is the first scenario on this list where we do not recommend Denver’s Best compression socks, at least initially. This is a very specific situation where you need to follow your doctor’s advice. We do meet many people who, for whatever reason (often because the super high compression garments are uncomfortable) have been recommend to wear high compression but do not. To these people I say—best is to follow your doctor’s advice, but wearing Denver’s Best compression socks is definitely a far better solution (comfortable, supportive and cute as well!) than not wearing compression at all and risking having your vein surgery fail.

These are the top five scenarios we generally encounter. For each, PODsox compression socks have a fun and functional application.


Most people, unless they have been recommended otherwise by their doctor, can safely wear the moderate(15-20 mmHg) support of classic and athletic PODsox. Most people can wear the higher compression calf sleeves just fine if they are up and being active. We LOVE the calf sleeves for active, healthy people (especially in the summer with our flip flops!), but this higher compression could potentially cause problems if you have some arterial insufficient and you are sitting for long amounts of time.

We hope this guide helps you choose the pair that is right for you!