Which compression socks to wear in the summer? The most breathable fabrics and more!

Some of us don’t have the option to go sock-less when the weather heats up. We HAVE to wear compression socks or stockings all year long. So, what are the best options for staying cool and comfortable in compression socks during the summer months? We think fabric choice is the most important decision in selecting summer compression socks and stockings. Here’s what we suggest if you’re looking for breathable socks and stockings for summer:

1. Cotton is a natural fiber that’s ideal for hot Allegro Italian Cotton Socksmonths. It lets air in and quickly wicks away any moisture on your skin. It’s also perfect for anyone who has sensitive skin. A few cotton options to explore:

  • Sigvaris Sea Island Cotton socks for Men and Women are available in 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg. These Sigvaris socks are great for spring and summer because they are made with a soft and breathable cotton fabric.
  • Allegro Premium Italian Cotton Socks are made of luxurious Italian cotton – imported just for your summer sock needs! Also available in 20-30 mmHg and with an open toe (for your flip flops!)
  • For more stylish cotton options, check out these Vim & Vigr compression socks in camo, argyle, polka dots in a variety of colors in 15-20 mmHg. You can also rock these Vim & Vigr polka dot socks in 20-30 mmHg.

2. Microfiber is another great summer fabric for Therafirm Ease Compression Stockingssocks. It’s soft, stretchy and breathable. It also wicks away moisture from the skin to keep you cool and comfortable. Some people will choose microfiber over cotton because it’s a thinner fabric, which can be better for dress shoes.

  • The Allegro Microfiber collection includes socks, thigh highs, and pantyhose to meet all your compression needs at an affordable price! Choose from 8-15, 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg compression levels. Made from a soft, comfortable fabric.
  • Sigvaris Midtown Microfiber for Men is a collection of men’s knee high socks in 15-20, 20-30 and 30-40 mmHg. These latex-free socks are super stretchy and durable. Looking for stripes? Try Sigvaris Shades for men and women, available in 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg in a variety of striped patterns and heather colors.
  • Sigvaris Soft Opaque for Women is a line of stylish compression wear that comes in a wide variety of colors. It features an advanced moisture management system that keeps legs cool and dry.
  • The EASE Microfiber Collection by Therafirm comes in knee highs, thigh highs and pantyhose in a variety of colors and compression levels. EASE by Therafirm is available in microfiber, opaque and sheer fabrics with a closed or open toe style.

Juzo Silver Knee Highs3. Silver and Copper infused fabrics are another great addition to your summer wardrobe. Silver and copper will eliminate any dangers of stinky, sweaty summer feet because it kills the bacteria around your feet. Additionally, the fibers in these socks have thermodynamic properties so you will stay cooler in the summer.

  • Juzo Silver Socks are the best of the best. Socks are available in anklets, crew length, knee highs, and thigh highs. Compression options range from zero to 30-40 mmHg.
  • Solidea Silver Wave Products are all infused with bacteria-killing silver! Check out the knee highs, anklets and calf sleeves. They’re also very stylish and contain a unique 3D micro massage fabric which is great for relieving fatigue and stimulating lymph flow. Solidea offers micro-massage compression garments as well as sheer stockings.
  • Allegro Athletic Copper Support Socks has copper, (which kills 99.9% of bacteria), embedded in the foot bed. This soft, ribbed sock is made with a heavily padded foot and features a fitted toe to prevent blisters and irritation. This durable sock is affordable and is great for summer runs!

Allegro Sheer Compression Stockings4. Sheer stockings are great for summer! We offer a wide variety of sheer, open toe stockings for those of you who want stockings that are less visible for summertime. Customer favorites for warm, humid climates are:

  • Mediven Sheer and Soft: Available in 4 different compression levels and a wide variety of sizing, both male and female customers love this line of breathable sheers. A customer in Georgia said, “Living in the south, the summer is very hot and humid but I don’t like to go without hose to work. Compression hose are often uncomfortable hot on a humid day but these are terrific. I can’t say enough about the comfort.”
  • Allegro Essential Sheers: Available in 3 compression levels, with many open toe and wide calf options, these stockings are a great affordable option for summer-time wear. Even our customers in Santa Fe are raving about them, “With it being summer, I wanted something I could still wear sandals with. These open-toe stockings are the answer!  And they are sheer…I have had several people comment that they couldn’t even notice I was wearing them.”

Additional Options: The compression experts have been creating their own technologies and materials to keep you cool. Check out these additional, moisture-wicking and skin-cooling fabric options:

  • Mediven Comfort for Women: Medi’s patented Climafresh and Clima-Comfort systems allow for high breathability, reliable temperature control and the prevention of odor formation.
  • Therafirm Ease: Made of high stretch, moisture wicking CoolMax fibers to provide all-day dry, comfortable coolness. Available in knee high, thigh high, and pantyhose. This line is also available with open toes and an even thinner sheer fabric.
  • Go for a run or hit the gym in Jobst Active compression socks, available in black and white. Wear 20-30 mmHg to enhance performance or wear 15-20 mmHg to speed up muscle recovery or help relieve fatigue and swelling after your workout. Now available in full-calf sizes!
  • Core-Spun Patterned Compression Socks come in a variety of stylish patterns in 4 compression levels for men and women. These socks are made with an ultra stretchy fabric and CoolMax polyester to make them nice and cool!

What’s your favorite summer sock?

Help – I can’t get these compression socks on!

Struggling to don compression socksIf you’ve watched all the videos on properly putting on your compression socks and you’re still having trouble, this blog is for you. Let’s face it – pulling on compression stockings is a challenge. Before you spend another 30 minutes fighting to get your socks on, try out some of these tips, tricks and tools to help you get your socks on fast and easy.

This video demonstrates three different ways to put your compression stockings on – the heel pocket method, wearing donning gloves, and using a stocking donner:

The heel pocket method is a great way to get on stockings made from a thick fabric or socks that provide a high level of compression (over 20 mmHg). Don sheer or less firm compression socks with donning gloves to protect delicate fabric from snags and runs. Donning gloves are great for anyone with limited hand mobility, arthritis, or have weak hands or fingers to get a better grip on the fabric. These gloves are the easiest, cheapest and most effective tool available to help you put your compression socks on.

Donning Gloves:

The Jobst donning glove is unique because it is actually a cotton mitt with the palm and fingers dipped in a latex solution to grip onto support hose. It is a loose fitting glove which can be easier to put on for people with limited hand mobility. On the downside, there are no ridges or nubs on the latex which limits it’s ability to move stockings up the leg. We have heard from customers that this glove wears out too quickly.

If you are sensitive or allergic to rubber (latex), try the latex free Juzo donning gloves. These gloves work excellent for protecting the fabric, but do not have any nubs to help grip the garment. If you want something that will get a strong hold on the sock, try these:

The Medi glove has textured fingers and palms for additional gripping power to help you get the compression stocking over your foot and heel. Then you can use your palms to slide the hose up your legs rather than pulling. The Sigvaris glove is our highest-rated glove and features very pronounced ridges that makes it easy to don stockings and armsleeves. Here’s what our customer’s have to say about Sigvaris gloves:

“These are the best donning gloves that I and/or my patients have found for compression stockings of all materials and compression amount. I have been working with patients who have Lymphedema and are required to wear high amounts of compression. It’s a struggle to get them on even when you have the strength and mobility, so these gloves are a great aide for everyone. The price is very reasonable compared to other compression stockings manufacturers.”

Stocking Donners:

If you have trouble bending over or crossing your legs, stocking donners do the work for you. Donners come in regular and wide-calf sizes, as well as some for putting on armsleeves and pantyhose. Long story short – there’s a donning device to make anyone’s life easier! Stocking donners require patience and practice, and are most useful for individuals who have trouble bending at the waist. Since there a lot of donners to choose from, we’ll cover our customer’s favorites.

The Jobst and Medi stocking donners make it easy for people who have a hard time bending at the waist. Simply stretch the stocking over the frame and step into the sock until your foot is on the floor. Slowly lift the handles to work the stocking up your leg. Both Jobst and Medi offer donners designed specifically for larger calves. Here’s how it works:

The Doff N’ Donner is an amazing tool! This can be used to get your stockings on and to take them off. This cool device works with open or closed toe knee highs and thigh highs. Watch this video for a better understanding:

Once you master using the Juzo Slippie Gator, you’ll be incredibly happy with it. This tool is especially useful for customers who have a lot of trouble bending over to touch their feet. Using a leg sleeve with handles and a rubber foot pad, you’ll be able to quickly and comfortably pull your stocking on in minutes. Like the Doff ‘n Donner, the Gator can be used to put stockings on and take them off.

A healthcare worker told us, “I bought the Juzo Slippy Gator to try with some of my clients. Most people I work on can’t bend over, much less pull compression socks up. The Gator is a great tool and has moved two of my clients to independently donning their socks.”

Watch this video to learn how to use the Juzo Slippie Gator:

The Easy-Slide for Open-Toe Stockings is only available for open toe socks and stockings, but it is simple to use and makes putting open-toe socks on a breeze. It’s getting rave reviews from customers and therapists alike.

“This device makes placing compression stockings on my patients a breeze. No more pinching, no more struggling to place the stockings on the patient. Saves me quite a bit of time in my busy day.”

This video shows you how the Easy-Slide works:

Going somewhere? The Magnide Easy-Slide for Closed Toe Stockings is washable and easy to transport. This is one of the easiest closed toe stocking donners available. Here’s how it works:

The Juzo Slippie and the Easy-Slides for open and closed toe use slippery and durable “parachute” nylon fabric that you put on your leg and pull the stocking over. Using your new favorite donning gloves, work the stocking up the leg and pull the donning aid out from the top of the stocking or through the open toe. If you wear closed toe stockings, make sure you are using a donning aid designed specifically for closed toe style stockings.

Tips and Tricks:

Once the stocking is in the right position, use the palms of your hands to smooth out any wrinkles. Your stocking is applied correctly if the toe is in the toe box, the heel in the heel box and their are no wrinkles around the ankles or leg. Ideally, your knee-high should end about one inch below the crease in your knee. Never pull the stocking up the calf or thigh by just the top of the garment.

If you have swelling or edema, it is best to don your stockings early in the morning when you get out of bed. Our legs start to swell while we are standing and the compression stockings applied early will keep the swelling down throughout the day.

Other Accessories:

Before you put your compression socks on, apply baby powder, corn starch or Alps Fitting Lotion to help the stocking glide up your leg more easily. As an added bonus, this lotion protects sensitive skin and makes dry, chapped skin feel silky and smooth.

I’ve been wearing compression hose for 5-6 years now and they used to be a major nightmare to put them on! As soon as I tried the ALPS Fitting Lotion everything changed. Now putting on the hose is as easy as putting on a pair of socks–they just slide right on smooth as silk. ALPS has no odor and seems to protect my skin from some of the dryness and irritation that continuous wear of compression stockings have caused me in the past and a little goes a long long way. It’s an awesome product… a definite buy buy buy! Also BrightLife Direct is a great company with which to work. I can’t recommend them highly enough! You can’t go wrong.

Compression Assist Donning Aide is great if you have no problem bending over to reach your feet but still have a lot of trouble pulling the sock up. Spray your legs with the lubricant before putting on your socks or stockings, and see how easily you are able to pull the sock up! Compression Assist is hypoallergenic and it won’t harm the compression sock fabric. Plus, it reduces wrinkles and creases, all while keeping you comfortable. Here’s what our customers are saying:

“I was somewhat leery of ordering “Compression Assist”. I was starting to get accustomed to taking 15 plus minutes to don each sock. I was pleasantly surprised. It now takes just a few minutes and much of that time is smoothing the sock.”

 

Do you have another tool that helps? Let us know in the “Comments” section. And, check out all of our donning aides at BrightLife Direct.

Donning Aids and Videos

We originally posted this blog back in July 2009.  Putting on compression stockings continues to be an issue for many of our customers, so we thought it was time for an update.

Donning (putting on) and doffing (taking off) compression hosiery can be difficult.  Especially for people who have difficulty bending at the waist or with limited hand dexterity.  This is especially true if you must wear a compression level over 20mmHg.

There are a lot of “donning aids” available but some are better than others.   Based on feedback from our customers we recommend the following, in no particular order:

  1. Easy-Slide for Open Toe Stockings
  2. Magnide Easy-Slide for Closed Toe Stockings
  3. Alps Fitting Lotion (open or closed toe)
  4. Compression Assist (open or closed toe)
  5. Mediven 2in1 (open or closed toe)
  6. Juzo Slippie Gator with Pad (open or closed toe)

Except for the fitting lotions (3 & 4 above), these all use a very slippery and durable “parachute” nylon fabric that you place on your leg and then pull the stocking over.  Using rubber donning gloves, you work the stocking up the leg and then pull the donning aid out from the top of the stocking or through the open toe.  If you wear closed toe stockings, it is important to use a donning aid designed to work with closed toe stockings.

We now have instructional donning videos on our website for the Easy-Slides, Mediven 2in1, stocking donners and a donning video using the “heel pocket” method.  You can watch the videos before you make a purchase to determine if the donning aid is right for you.  And you might want to watch again after you receive your purchase to ensure you’re using the device properly.

Do you have any donning or doffing tips?  Let us know!

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+

Compression Shopping Guide

At BrightLife Direct we give you many different ways to find the compression garment that’s right for you.  You can shop by brandstyle or length, men or womenlow price, and perhaps most importantly… compression level.

Before you begin shopping, you need to know what compression level is appropriate for your condition.  If you already wear stockings, hopefully you know your compression.  If this is is your first time, your doctor or therapist should have told you what compression level you need.  If they have not, our compression guide can help, but this is not a substitution for medical advice.  We highly recommend that you talk to your doctor or health care provider before beginning compression therapy above 20mmHg.

Once you’ve determined the proper compression, you need to decide on the style or length of the garment, that is, a knee high, thigh high or waist high (pantyhose).  Remember the stocking has to cover the area of your body where the problem exists.  If you have an aching varicose vein in your thigh, a knee high isn’t going to help.  If you’re traveling and don’t have any existing venous problems, a knee high should do the job.

Now that you know the compression and style, the rest is easy.  Picking the weave or fabric you prefer and deciding if you want an open or closed toe.

The three main fabric choices are sheer, opaque and ribbed.  Sheers look great, but are just a bit more delicate than other fabrics.  Opaques offer the widest range of prices and sizing options.  Ribbed are very durable.  All three fabrics are usually woven from nylon and spandex.  Opaque and ribbed fabrics are available in cotton, wool, and silver blends.

The toe style does not affect the therapeutic benefit of a compression stocking, and is usually a personal preference. Open toes are great in warm weather, with sandals or flip-flops and if you have problems like corns or hammer toes.

Now it’s time to shop.  Let’s say you need a 20-30mmHg compression thigh high, and want a sheer fabric with a closed toe.  Mouse over Compression Level in the left navigation bar.  Move your cursor to 20-30mmHg, then Thigh Highs, then Sheer.  You’ll see a note at the top of the page that closed toe is standard.

Now let’s look for a 15-20mmHg compression knee high in cotton with an open toe.  Mouse over Compression Level, move your cursor to 15-20mmHg, then Knee High, and then Cotton/Wool.  See the note at the top of the page that cotton blends are closed toe only.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, there are many different ways to search our website for the compression garment you need.  If you have a question or need assistance finding what you want, our trained certified fitters are happy to help at 1-877-545-8585.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
Google+