Do your feet swell when you fly? Are you afraid of deep vein thrombosis?

Along with figuring out what to pack for a long trip, there’s always the decision of what outfit to wear for your flight. Whether you go casual or dressy, consider wearing compression socks, which are becoming more and more popular for travelers on long-haul flights.

Here’s the lowdown on compression socks, why you might want to buy them, and what kind you should buy.

Is It Good to Wear Compression Socks While Flying?

According to the Cochrane Library, “There is high‐quality evidence that airline passengers similar to those in this review can expect a substantial reduction in the incidence of symptomless DVT and low‐quality evidence that leg oedema is reduced if they wear compression stockings.”

So, do you have to wear them? No. If you are at risk because of various factors  for a clot in your leg (history, pregnant etc.), or you are worried about clotting in general, then sure, buy yourself a pair. Some are even FSA Eligible!

Once you decide you want to wear some for your next long-haul flight, you have a few other things to take into consideration. What compression level you need? What style best suits you?

What Are the Best Compression Socks for Flying?

Graduated vs. Uniform Compression Socks

Graduated compression socks are tighter around the ankle, and, according to Ames Walker,  are considered to be more beneficial. Uniform compression socks have the same amount of pressure along the entire sock.


You’ve got some choices when it comes to what style you’d like. 

  • Ankleyour run of the mill sock.
  • Kneefor extra support, but may itch or get hot.
  • Over the Kneefor even more support, if you don’t mind a thigh-high.
  • Sleeveif you either don’t want something on your foot, or you want to wear regular socks.

Compression Level 

Compression socks are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), or pressure, much like blood pressure.

  • Mild – 8-15 mmHg – These will help with some mild swelling.
  • Moderate – 15-20 mmHg – According to Ames Walker, these are the most common weight used for travel.  They will help with swelling, and reduce the risk of clots.
  • Firm – 20-30 mmHg – these are for people who have more severe swelling as well as people at risk for deep vein thrombosis.
  • Extra Firm – 30-40 mmHg – The highest weight you can buy over the counter, for people with DVT, who have recently had surgery, or with extreme swelling of any kind.
  • Prescription - There are instances where you might need prescription compression socks, so if you have a history of clotting, you may want to speak to a medical professional.

When all is said and done, choosing the right compression sock is totally up to what you, and what you’re looking for. It can’t hurt to throw a pair on to aid with lessening the swelling that sometimes comes with long-haul flights. If it can help curb a possible blood clot, even better! Of course, if you are doing it because of a medical condition, it’s best to speak to your doctor about what the best type of sock is for you.

Here are some of our favorites:

Best Compression Socks with Fun Patterns

zebra print orange compression socks, blue and green argyle compression socks

CHARMKING Compression Socks

User Review: “These are amazing. They're lightweight enough to wear in the summer as you would normal socks - but have helped greatly with compression as needed! I wear these for 8-10 hours a day and never ONCE are they uncomfortable! I was a little concerned because they are a little on the "cheaper" side money-wise, but they are better than my $20 single pair I own. These are amazing.!”

Price: $26.99 on Amazon

Star Rating: 4.6

Best Firm Compression Socks:

white with black and grey compression socks, pink compression socks

Blitzu Compression Socks

User Review:I bought these to wear during a six hour long flight. I usually get really bad restless legs when flying and I was hoping these would help. On the flight there I still got restless legs, but only a mild version. Not nearly as bad as I usually experience. The return flight I had no restless legs at all! Success! I was concerned these would be too tight, or itchy, but they were not. They made it all the way up to the bottom of my knees and they did not sag or fall down. I did not have to pull them up or readjust them at all. I got the pink color which was very cute and a little playful considering compression socks are maybe not the most stylish accessory.”

Price: Starting at $9.99 on Amazon

Star Rating: 4.5

Related Article: 9 Ways to Keep From Stinking When You Travel

Best Compression Socks Specifically for Travel:

black wanderlust compression socks, white compression socks with grey foot

Wanderlust Travel Compression Socks

User Review: “I had a good chance to test these, as recently traveling on a long international flight to Europe, I forgot to use the socks going, and I arrived with some swelling of my ankles and feet. Returning I did use them and there was no swelling whatsoever. They were very comfortable, and did not feel "hot", as I sometimes experience with any type of socks. Definitely a good product.”

Price: $19.98 on Amazon

Star Rating: 4.5

Best Compression Sleeve:

green, red and tan doc miller compression socks, blue, green and black compression sleeves

Doc Miller

User Review:I purchased these to use on a trip through SE Asia where I knew I would need some compression from excessive flying and being on my feet, but also needed to be able to be in flip flops due to weather. They compress well and have held up through many washes and wears and were perfect for my original intent.”

Price: $18.70 on Amazon

Star Rating: 4.5

Best Ankle Compression Socks:

White and red ankle compression socks by physix, green and black ankle compression socks

Physix Gear

User Review: “I purchased these to use on a trip through SE Asia where I knew I would need some compression from excessive flying and being on my feet, but also needed to be able to be in flip flops due to weather. They compress well and have held up through many washes and wears and were perfect for my original intent.”

Price: Starting at $9.36 on Amazon

Star Rating: 4.5

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