A strong Dollar, compared to the British Pound and Euro, means now is a great time for Americans to travel to Europe. And every trip to Europe needs a pair or two of compression stockings. Frequent flyer miles are great, but you don’t want to arrive for your dream vacation with sore, swollen legs and feet. The reason your legs and feet get so achy when traveling is that your muscles are not being flexed or used enough, and blood pools in your leg veins. This lack of fresh oxygenated blood can cause soreness and cramping in your legs, and swelling in your ankles and feet. If you’re at higher risk for blood clots, are overweight, or you have notoriously poor circulation, this could lead to more serious problems like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
There are a number of ways to increase circulation when you’re on a long flight. First, and most important is to get up and move! Stand up, shake your legs, and walk the aisles when possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option if the seat-belt light is on. The easiest way to increase circulation is by wearing compression socks or stockings, often called “travel socks.” Travel socks provide graduated compression from your ankles to your knee. This increases circulation naturally, coaxing the blood to flow back to your heart, instead of getting trapped in your legs and feet. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for compression socks to take on your trip:
- Medical-grade compression socks will have a compression rating of 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg, but for traveling, it’s fine to wear socks that have a compression rating of 15-20 mmHg. (This is assuming you don’t suffer from other venous disease.) These ratings simply tell how tightly the compression socks will squeeze your leg (i.e. 15-20 mmHg is a lighter compression than 30-40 mmHg, which will feel much tighter on your legs and be more difficult to put on).
- Find socks that have graduated compression. This means that the compression will be tighter at the ankle, and will gradually become looser as the sock extends up your leg. This will help return blood to your heart.
- Pay attention to the material the socks are knit from. Travelers often prefer natural fibers like cotton, because they’re plush, absorb moisture, and are very comfortable. Polyester, merino wool, and fabrics embedded with copper and silver are great for absorbing excess moisture on the skin, keeping your feet cool, and decreasing foot odor. No one wants stinky feet on a plane!
- Socks don’t have to be labeled as “Travel Socks” to be used on a long trip. You only need to find socks with a stated compression of 15-20 mmHg, and at least knee high. If you prefer thigh-highs or tights, they work just as well in the same compression level.
If you’re looking for the best quality compression socks at a great price, be sure to check out our full selection of Travel Socks. If you think of compression socks as thick, flesh-colored tights your grandmother wears, you will be pleasantly surprised with these. No one will know you’re wearing compression!
Allegro Premium – Italian Cotton Socks are a favorite among flight attendants – so you know they’re good! They are priced at $19.09 per pair, and during the month of January, like all our Allegro stockings, they are part of our Buy-3-Get-1-Free Sale. You can mix and match any Allegro items, so everyone in your travel group can get a pair or two. Compression socks are great for everyday wear while traveling too. They provide all day leg comfort while hiking, on city tours, and country walks.
If you’re someone who likes to roam the plane in only socks during flight – try Top & Derby’s Random Stripe, with 15-20 mmHg compression. These socks have a fun striped design you’ll want to show off and cost $24.09 a pair.
Finally, the Sockwell brand offers a wide variety of natural fiber blend socks that are a customer favorite. We stock the full line, and there are colors and patterns available for every taste. Plus, they’re Sarah Michelle Geller’s travel socks of choice. If Buffy the Vampire Slayer wears them – you can too!
Don’t travel without compression…. And Bon Voyage!