The 8 Best Compression Socks for Varicose Veins of 2021

Get relief with the right pressure

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First Look

Best Overall: Bluemaple Copper Compression Socks at Amazon at Amazon

These socks offer copper infusion and 360 stretch in addition to their graduated compression, circulating blood up from your legs.

Best Budget: CHARMKING Compression Socks at Amazon at Amazon

Comfortable, budget-friendly, easy to put on, with just the right amount of compression in a breathable high-nylon blend.

Best Stockings: NuVein Medical Compression Stockings at Amazon at Amazon

Designed to stay in place all day with a nylon-spandex blend and a thinner material that makes them easy to wear under clothing.

Best Thigh-High: Mojo Compression Stockings at Amazon at Amazon

Great for those with large varicose veins, these stockings help to prevent overheating with a footless style and high compression.

Best Open-Toed: Truform 20-30 mmHg Compression Stocking at Amazon at Amazon

More focused compression without unnecessary extra coverage for people with milder symptoms.

Best Footless: BLITZU Calf Compression Sleeves at Amazon at Amazon

Offers a non-slip cuff and a unique knitted design that mimics kinesiology tape to help with old injuries.

Best Athletic: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks at Amazon at Amazon

Made with a moisture-wicking fabric and shock absorption and ankle stability to support athletes and people on the move.

Best Cotton: SocksLane Cotton Compression Socks at Amazon at Amazon

Use a unique blend of materials, including cotton, nylon, and spandex, to give the feel of cotton with the stretch of synthetics.

Varicose veins—enlarged bulging veins, bluish in color, that can be seen on the surface of the skin—can happen to anyone. However, some groups of people, like those who are pregnant or have a family history of varicose veins, are more prone to them than others. 

Enter compression socks or stocking: fitted socks that come in varying lengths, usually below the knee or thigh high. While compression socks cannot treat varicose veins that have already formed, they can help with the prevention of new ones, says Bauer Sumpio, MD, a Yale Medicine vein surgeon. This has to do with the underlying cause of the varicose veins—the incompetency or defective valves in the vein, which promotes swelling. 

“The stockings themselves do not treat the varicose veins. Once the veins are enlarged, they're there,” he explains. What the compression stockings do is prevent them from getting worse and prevent the development of any new ones. 

“We commonly prescribe below the knee compression stockings,” says Dr. Sumpio. “These are medical grade stockings because they have to be woven where the specific amount of tension in the leg is, specifically the tension in the stocking at the ankle is much higher than that at the thigh.” The reason for this is to be able to promote a continued flow of the venous blood draining the leg. If the pressure of the stockings were the same, it could impede the flow and cause more swelling in the leg.

“Normally, we will prescribe 10 to 15 millimeters of mercury gradient (mmHg) compression stockings,” he adds. “This means that there's 15 millimeters of mercury pressure at the ankle and 10 at the knee.”

Dr. Sumpio suggests wearing compression stockings during the daytime, usually instructing his patients to put them on first thing in the morning and remove them prior to bedtime. “The reason for this is that when you are laying down in bed the effect of gravity is negated by you being in the supine position,” he says.

Because these stockings will lose some of their spring and elasticity due to the frequent wear, he suggests purchasing two pairs every four to six months and switching them out when needed. 

Due to the fact that compression socks are intricately designed and woven and have to undergo a special manufacturing process to enable the different gradients of pressure that is being transmitted by the stockings, they are much more expensive than your average pair—often costing more than $50 a pair, Dr. Sumpio points out. 

However, you don’t need a prescription to buy compression socks. Here are some of our top compression socks picks that will help prevent varicose veins.

Best Overall: Bluemaple Copper Compression Socks

Bluemaple Compression Socks

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Pack of six socks

  • Made with copper for extra compression

  • Graduated compression to circulate blood flow upward

Cons
  • Patterned varieties may be harder to put on

  • Only two size options

These breathable compression socks by Bluemaple snagged the top spot in this list for being the best of many different worlds, scoring high marks for compression, comfort, variability, and bonus features such as copper infusion and 360 degree stretch. Plus you get six pairs (yes, six!), meaning you can get through your work week and then some when you choose these instead of other similar brands.

There are several color and pattern options to choose from, along with basic small/medium or large/extra large sizing. The socks are knee-high and made with a microfiber blend that’s durable, washable, and moisture-wicking to reduce odors. While we admit that the jury is still out on whether copper fabrics actually provide a significant benefit when it comes to improving circulation and reducing pain, they certainly don’t hurt your chances of getting more relief.

What we really love about these socks, though, is the graduated compression. Starting with higher levels of compression at the bottom and working up to a milder—but still effective—level towards the upper calf, these socks are designed to circulate your blood up and away from your legs and redirect it back to your heart (just like any good compression sock should!).

Material: 85% Nylon, 15% Polyester | Fit: Knee-high | Sizes Available: S/M and L/XL

Best Budget: CHARMKING Compression Socks

CHARMKING Compression Socks

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Pack of three socks

  • 360 degree stretch

  • Comfortable but firm

Cons
  • Sizing may run small

  • May stretch out too much over time

The compression socks by CHARMKING are a user-favorite, having been positively reviewed by more than 30,000 customers online. You don’t get that kind of fanfare for nothing: these socks are well-loved because they’re comfortable, budget-friendly, easy to put on, and provide just the right amount of compression.

Available in more than two dozen sets of three, you can go with an ultra-conservative nude, white, or black, or opt for a cheerfully eye-catching seasonal pattern. They offer two different sizes, a compression measurement of 15 to 20 mmHg, and are made with a breathable, high-nylon blend. These socks are equally great at being worn all day for vein support or slipped on and off for a workout; either way, they’ll keep you cool, dry, and comfortable. If you wear through all three pairs quickly, we won’t blame you—but their affordable price means you can just go back for more.

Material: 85% Nylon, 15% Polyester | Fit: Knee-high | Sizes Available: S/M and L/XL

Best Stockings: NuVein Medical Compression Stockings

Compression Stockings

Courtesy: Walmart

Pros
  • Footless for maximum comfort

  • 20 to 30 mmHg compression rating

  • Expanded sizing

Cons
  • May be too tight or loose around thighs

  • Delicate; could snag or tear

Be honest: the thought of wearing compression stockings makes you feel like your grandma. We get it, but these aren’t your grandma’s compression stockings (we promise). Even though they’re medical-grade stockings supplying you with 20 to 30 mmHgs of compression, NuVein has added in a few details that make them way easier to wear than the pair your poor Nana was stuck readjusting all day long.

Made from a nylon spandex blend that makes them stretchy but firm, these stockings lie flat and stay in place with secure banding around the thigh. Speaking of your thigh, that’s how high these stockings go—but they’re also open-toed, which we think helps them go on and stay on more easily (after all, it’s often the pressure and tension from your toes that pulls stockings down around your ankles as you move). 

While they’re slightly more delicate than compression socks—think pantyhose consistency—that also makes them easy to wear underneath your clothes for a seamless and comfortable look.

Material: 77% Nylon, 23% Spandex | Fit: Thigh-high, open-toed | Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL, XXL

Best Thigh-High: Mojo Compression Stockings

MOJO Compression Socks

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Full leg coverage

  • Expanded sizing

  • Unisex opaque fabric

Cons
  • May be too longer for shorter users

  • Ankle and thigh bands may be too tight

Thigh-high compression socks may not be everyone’s first choice, but if you have severe varicose veins, Allan W. Tulloch, M.D., vascular surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California says you would benefit from socks that cover as much of your leg as possible. 

“Patients with large varicose veins who just want compression [without aesthetics] would ideally wear thigh-high stockings,” he explains.

If that’s you, you may want to opt for a style of sock that’s thigh-high but also footless; after all, your toes don’t need extra compression, and traditional sock styles can easily cause overheating (or simply be tough to wear with summery shoes!). 

We like Mojo’s compression stockings for serving this exact purpose: they cover your legs but not your feet, offering a compression of 20 to 30 mmHg from your ankles to your upper thighs. They’re made from a blend of three different stretchy fabrics and come in a whopping 11 sizes, making it super simple to find a pair that fits you like a literal glove.

Material: 72% Nylon, 24 % Lycra, 4% Silicone | Fit: Thigh-high, footless | Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL, 2XL - 7XL

Best Open-Toed: Truform 20-30 mmHg Compression Stocking

Truform Compression Socks

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Soft top banding

  • Comprehensive measuring/size guide

  • Reinforced heel

Cons
  • Delicate; could snag or tear

  • Design may make them difficult to put on

If you like the idea of compression stockings but have only milder symptoms, Truform offers a knee-high, open-toed pair that provides strong compression and more focused coverage than traditional full-length stockings. Made with nylon and spandex and a 20 to 30 mmHg compression measurement, these partial stockings are the perfect fit for someone who doesn’t want or need compression for their entire legs.

“Below-the-knee stockings are good for [milder] symptoms,” says Dr. Tulloch, “so calf-high stockings are a good first place to start.”

These stockings are available in a handful of neutral colors, making them easy to size and slip on under your clothes unnoticed—especially with their open-toed design. They also feature a reinforced heel and seven different sizes, along with a comprehensive sizing and measuring guide, so you can get a perfect fit and rest assured it’ll last you for a long time.

Material: 80% Nylon, 20% Spandex | Fit: Knee-high, open-toed | Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL

Best Footless: BLITZU Calf Compression Sleeves

BLITZU Compression Calf Sleeve

Courtesy: BLITZU

Pros
  • Minimal coverage for athletics

  • Built-in UV protection

  • Focused calf and shin support

Cons
  • Breathable knit fabric advertised, but no specific info

  • Stitching may not be durable over time

If you do a lot of walking, cycling, or jogging, or suffer from stiff, sore calf muscles (which can be caused by everything from overuse to injury to poor choice of shoes!), then these footless calf sleeves by BLITZU are a minimalist way to get some much-needed support for your lower legs.

With 20 to 30 mmHg of compression, these socks slide on and relieve muscle cramps, shin splints, swelling, and—of course—varicose veins, improving your circulation with a few nifty extra features. The knitted fabric is comfortable on the inside and outside of your legs, the non-slip cuff ensures the sleeves will stay in place once they’re put on, and their unique design mimics the benefits of kinesiology tape, which is especially beneficial to people struggling with old injuries or trying to maintain an active lifestyle.

Material: knit blend, unspecified | Fit: Knee-high, footless | Sizes Available: S/M, L/XL, XXL

Best Athletic: Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks

Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Moisture-wicking

  • Durable and easy-to-wash

  • Comfortable for all-day wear

Cons
  • Non-elastic top band may be too tight for some users

  • Some users report size discrepancies

You can exercise in most of the compression socks on this list, but if you’re shopping for a pair to wear only when you’re exercising, you’ll have some unique concerns in mind—namely comfort, moisture-wicking capabilities, and focused compression. Thankfully, you can find all three of those things in these compression socks by Physix Gear, which have been designed with athletes in mind. 

The socks are made with a moisture-wicking fabric blend that dries out quickly, so whether you’re sweating or just getting dirty, you won’t end up with blisters from damp socks. The stitches and seams of the socks are crafted not to dig into skin or irritate people who stay on the move all day, and a combination of shock absorption and ankle stability ensures you’ll have a comfortable workout every time. Plus, you get 20 to 30 mmHg of compression, but primarily in the target areas of your heels and calves (not your toes, where you don’t really need it).

Material: 70% Nylon, 30% Spandex | Fit: Knee-high | Sizes Available: S/M, L/XL, XXL

Best Cotton: SocksLane Cotton Compression Socks

SocksLane Compression Socks

Courtesy: Amazon

Pros
  • Higher-than-average cotton percentage

  • Moderate 15 to 20 mmHg compression

  • Simple unisex design

Cons
  • Some users dislike inner fabric

  • May be too long for shorter users

The majority of compression socks are made with synthetic fiber blends that bounce back after being stretched out, but that means people who are sensitive to synthetic fibers or who simply don’t like the feel of them on their skin can have a hard time finding a pair that’s comfortable for them.

What we love about the compression socks by SocksLane is that they’ve found a way to blend soft, cozy combed cotton with lower amounts nylon, elastex, and spandex, basically giving you the comfort of cotton with the stretchability of synthetic. Keep in mind that this means your compression level will be a bit lower, but the amount offered here (15 to 20 mmHg) is still perfectly suitable to someone with milder varicose veins or an asymptomatic-but-unsightly case. 

These cotton compression socks are available in four different sizes, include extra wide, feature a thick stay-in-place band, and are easier than higher-compression socks to put on, making them a great choice for older people who need mild compression or sensitive skin folks who only require occasional use.

Material: 65% Combed Cotton, 15% Stretch Nylon, 10% Elastex, 10% Spandex | Fit: Knee-high | Sizes Available: S/M, L/XL, XXL, X-Wide

Final Verdict

For a nylon/polyester sock that’s infused with copper for an extra boost of compression, Bluemaple’s Copper Compression Socks (view at Amazon) come in a variety of colors and patterns (and offer graduated compression from 10 mmHg up to 30 mmHg). The compression socks by CHARMKING (view at Amazon) are a well-reviewed fan favorite and make an excellent budget pick, but for anyone wanting more cotton than synthetic fibers in a compression sock, SocksLane (view at Amazon) offers a pair with 65 percent cotton.

What to Look for in Compression Socks for Varicose Veins

Amount of Compression

Compression socks are measured not only by standard sock sizes but also by the amount of pressure they exert, also known as mmHg. How high of a measurement you need in a pair of compression socks depends on what you’re using them for, says Dr. Tulloch.

“If you have symptomatic varicose veins, you want the pressure to be high enough to collapse the veins and relieve your symptoms,” he explains, noting that this would mean finding socks that have at least 20 to 30 mmHg. 

If you have mild varicose veins or you’re mainly trying to improve the cosmetic appearance of your veins, Dr. Tulloch says you can opt for a lower compression, like 10 to 15 mmHg. Choosing the right mmHg measurement depends on how severe your symptoms are. 

Wearability

Hands-down, the most important thing to look for in compression socks is a pair you will actually wear. 

“They will only work as long as you wear them, and symptoms will return after you take the socks off,” warns Dr. Tulloch. “If you find one you like, use it.”

If you’re stressing about mmHg measurements or how high or low your compression socks will be, those are legitimate concerns—but if the socks you ultimately choose are too hot, itchy, loose, or uncomfortable you won’t wear them (and that defeats the purpose!).


Material

Speaking of socks that are too hot and itchy, it’s important to think about what material you personally prefer. None of the doctors we spoke to had any specific material recommendations—less important than the material your socks are made from is how comfortable that material is for doing whatever it is you’ll be doing with them on.

“Different patients may find that different materials work best for them,” says Dr. Geoffrey Barnes, a vascular cardiologist at the University of Michigan Health Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “I encourage all of my patients to try different types of compression socks to find the ones that are most comfortable and effective for them.” 

Sizing

Depending on the brand you’re buying, your socks may come in only two sizes (small/medium and large/extra-large) or four or more sizes (small, medium, large, extra-large, and so on). In most cases, the manufacturer will list instructions for measuring your legs to make ordering the right size easy for you, but don’t give up if you can’t find a good enough fit.

“The problem is everyone’s legs are different lengths and circumferences,” says Dr. Tulloch, “and OTC socks have a lot of variability.”

If finding a perfect fit proves difficult, Dr. Tulloch suggests talking to your doctor about a prescription for compression socks: “We’ll send you to a pharmacy for leg measurements and give you a compression sock that’s not one-size-fits-all.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do compression socks for varicose veins work?

    If you have varicose veins, you have too much blood pooling in your legs and increasing the pressure in those lower veins, says Dr. Barnes. This pressure causes the veins to bulge out, but compression socks exert the opposite effect.


    “Compression socks help to squeeze the leg,” Dr. Barnes explains, “[encouraging] blood flow from the legs back up towards the heart and reducing the pressure of blood that can pool in the veins of the legs.”


    That said, this little magic trick only works while you’re wearing the socks, i.e. when you’re applying physical pressure to your legs. No socks means no pressure—and that means more varicose veins.

  • How long should you wear compression socks for varicose veins?

    It depends, partly, on how severe your symptoms are. Dr. Tulloch says people with mild varicose veins or who are simply trying to improve their appearance can get away with wearing them as needed; this might be for the part of the day you’re on your feet the most, or when you’re traveling (air travel, especially, can exacerbate symptoms).


    If your varicose veins are more severe, however, you may need to wear compression socks for all your waking hours.


    “For most patients with varicose veins, we recommend wearing compression socks from morning until night on as many days of the week as possible,” suggests Dr. Barnes. 


    Wearing compression socks as often as possible has a few benefits. For one, you’re likely wearing them because you want your legs to feel better, says Dr. Barnes—so the longer you wear them, the more your legs will feel better.


    But they also may help slow the progression of vein disease, explains Dr. Tulloch, who adds that varicose veins can only be treated, not cured: “If you wear them religiously it can slow down the process [of those veins collapsing] and over long periods of time, that will help them from getting worse.”

  • Can you sleep in compression socks for varicose veins?

    Unless your doctor tells you to, it’s probably not necessary—gravity should help do some of the work of your socks when you’re sleeping. 


    “It’s generally recommended to take the socks off at night when you lay in bed,” says Dr. Barnes, recommending that people who need relief at night can try elevating their legs in bed with a pillow to reduce blood pooling in the lower extremities.

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Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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