Best Compression Socks For Nurses: Everything You Need To Know

It is incredible how much of an impact the best compression socks for nurses can have.

Nurses spend hours at a time on their feet which makes them vulnerable to leg fatigue, heaviness, and exhaustion. Nursing compression socks are able to combat this by dramatically increasing the circulation of blood through the legs.

In this guide, we outline why nursing compression socks are so helpful, and also review the different compression socks for nurses available.

How Do Nursing Compression Socks Work?

Compression socks cause an increase in blood circulation in and around the legs. The most common type are graduated compression socks, which promote the flow of blood upwards towards the heart. They do this by being tightest around the ankle and having decreasing compression strength up the leg. This effectively squeezes the blood towards the heart. By squeezing the blood out of the legs, fresh blood full of oxygen and other nutrients is encouraged to flow into the legs. In this way, compression socks effectively assist in the pumping of blood in and out of the feet and legs.

Why Do Nurses Wear Compression Socks?

The increased blood circulation that compression socks cause can help nurses in a variety of ways. Being a profession which demands a huge amount of time spent on the feet, nurses are commonly affected by tired and fatigued legs. Further, nurses are more susceptible to swelling and the pooling of blood in the lower legs and feet. The increased time spent on the feet also increases the likelihood of nurses developing varicose or spider veins.

By wearing compression socks, nurses are able to reduce the likelihood of these conditions occurring and are more likely to have fresh, rejuvenated feeling legs. By wearing compression socks through the day and also after work, nurses can dramatically increase the circulation of blood through the legs.

Best Compression Socks For Nurses

Other Medical Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks

Compression socks are not only useful for nurses but have a variety of medical applications. They are commonly used as a preventative measure against, and a means of treating DVT which is a condition that largely stems from immobilization. Compression socks can go a long way to preventing DVT from occurring by boosting the circulation of blood.

Another common medical application of wearing compression socks is during recovery after surgery. Lengthy periods of inactivity following surgery result in decreases in blood circulation. Again, wearing compression socks is an effective way to counter this decrease in blood circulation.

Other common applications of compression socks include for lymphedema and vein ulcers.

Different Types of Nursing Compression Socks

There is a variety of different types of compression socks. Also known as nurse compression stockings, support socks, and pressure socks, they come in a variety of length and compression strengths. The main type of compression socks is graduated compression socks, with the other common type being TED compression stockings.

The most common lengths of nursing compression stockings are knee length and thigh length. However, it is also possible to purchase ankle length and full-length pantyhose compression stockings. Generally, a length is chosen based on the appropriate area of the legs that need compression.

For example, compression stockings used post surgery will generally be full-length pantyhose which provide compression to a greater area. Knee length compression socks are the most popular and have a broad range of applications. For example, they are commonly used against the pooling of blood and swelling of the feet and ankles.

Compression socks and stockings come in a variety of compression strengths. Compression strength uses the units mmHg (millimeter of mercury) and for graduated compression socks is always represented as a range. For example, socks with strength 8-15 mmHg will have a compression strength of 15 mmHg around the ankle and 8 mmHg at the top of the sock. Compression strength will vary from 8-15 mmHg to as much as 30-40 mmHg.

How To Choose The Best Compression Socks for Nurses

When purchasing compression socks for nursing, there are a few factors to consider:

  • They should be graduated compression socks, as these provide the best promotion of blood circulation around the feet and legs.
  • As for length, the most appropriate for nurses is typically knee length. However, the ​length will depend on the specific circumstances. For example, if you need compression socks to prevent leg fatigue and common conditions such as foot swelling and varicose veins, knee length will be the most appropriate. However, if you require more extensive compression due to lower than normal blood circulation, or have varicose or spider veins developing above the knee, full-length compression hose will be more appropriate.
  • For the compression strength, there is evidence to show that there is little benefit when wearing compression of less than 15mmHg. The most common and popular compression strengths for nurses are 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg. If you have never worn compression socks before, you may want to consider transitioning into higher compression strength by first becoming used to wearing lesser compression. Compression socks can feel uncomfortable at first and so wearing 8-15 mmHg for a couple of weeks may be preferable.
  • If you are looking for cheap nursing compression socks, there are many brands selling inexpensive options. A good option are compression socks by Fytto.
  • There is a misconception that compression socks and stockings are all plain and ugly. This was once the case, but there are now many brands selling cute nursing compression socks. You will love those by VIM and VIGR.
  • If you are looking for black compression socks for nurses, a good brand to go with is Fytto.

Nursing Compression Socks Brands To Look Out For

There are a few brands of compression socks for nurses that are well known in the industry. Jobst and Sockwell are all very popular and have many types of compression socks available on Amazon. Nurse Mates compression socks are another option, especially if you are looking for bright and colorful compression socks.

Nursing Compression Socks Reviews

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • 25% spandex & 75% nylon

These 15-20 mmHg Women's Comfy Compression Socks are among the best nursing compression socks, especially if you were looking for black compression socks. Available in other colors, including nude, and coming in different sizes, they are also very inexpensive.

This in no way means they are sacrificing for quality. Providing 15-20 mmHg compression, they are very suitable for nurses. With a design which allows for extra toe space and providing extra thickness in the foot area, they are very comfortable and supportive -  perfect for nurses who spend all day on their feet.

The customer feedback is very positive, with nurses and other customers alike enjoying their superior comfort and effectiveness. As far as the best compression socks for nurses go, these are a top contender and come highly recommended.

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • 32% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 31% bamboo rayon, & 5% spandex

Just like the chevron Sockwell compression socks variety above, these circulator graduated compression socks by Sockwell are massively popular. They come in a broad range of colourful combinations and two different sizes.

Made to the same specifications as the above chevron graduated compression socks, they deliver excellent compression while at the same time being super comfortable.

Nurses love these compression socks due to the mix of light compression, good fit, and high comfort. An often commented on benefit, is that they do not roll down during the day and stay snug.

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • 88% nylon & 12% spandex

These stylish compression socks for nurses by VIM and VIGR are another great option. They come in a variety of funky designs, allowing you to benefit from compression while at the same time looking fantastic. They come in 4 different sizes to suit almost any size leg.

Made from a combination of nylon and spandex, they are the perfect combination of comfort and durable. They retain their fit and stay snuggly in place throughout the day. At 15-20 mmHg compression, they provide all the benefits of increased blood circulation throughout the foot, ankle, and leg.

The customer feedback is full of raving comments. What people especially love is how well they fit and the fact that they never fall down. The customers love how cute and colourful they are, and that they can benefit from excellent compression while at the same time wearing stylish socks.

  • 12-20 mmHg compression
  • Made in Italy

Vitalsox are known for their high-performance compression socks. While marketed mainly for athletes, these are also among the best nursing compression socks because of their high quality and comfort. They are made in Italy and use high-quality fabrics and technology. Available in a variety of bright colours and coming in four sizes, it will be easy to find the perfect pair for you.

Providing 12-20 mmHg compression, they help to increase your blood circulation while at the same time not feeling too tight. Made with drystat technology, they are resistant to the growth of bacteria and fungus, ensuring minimal odor after a long day on your feet.

While these compression socks are slightly more expensive than the other options, the feedback from customers is that they are worth the investment. Nurses have left comments showing their appreciation for how well the compression helps their legs feel fresh. Overall with such high quality and effective compression, these are among the best compression socks for nurses.

  • 20-30 mmHg compression

Another favourite of the nursing compression socks on offer, these 20-30 mmHg graduated compression socks provide slightly more compression for those who need it. The anti-bacterial, anti-odour and anti-static fabric will mean minimal sweating and odor after a long day on your feet. They come in 4 different sizes and a selection of different colours and styles.

The customer reviews indicate that these compression socks for nursing work. There are many hugely positive comments appreciating how well they work. There are a few negative comments about the consistency of the socks though these are by far in the minority. If you are looking for a pair of strong compression socks, these are a safe bet.

  • Primarily designed for athletics

These compression socks by 2XU are marketed as performance running socks. However, they can also be used as nursing compression socks. They come in a host of different colors and a selection of 5 different sizes.

They provide strong graduated compression, providing a large increase in blood circulation. If you have never used compression socks before, these will feel very tight and may require transitioning into them. If you often have exhausted and heavy feeling legs after standing all day, these compression socks will help you recover. Made for high performance, their materials are of the highest quality.

The customer feedback of these compression socks is very high. Many have benefited from decreased muscle fatigue and fresher feeling legs. However, there are some comments indicating that the compression strength may be too much, especially if you are not used to wearing compression socks.

  • 15-20 mmHg compression
  • 32% Merino wool, 32% nylon, 31% bamboo rayon, & 5% spandex

If you are looking for cute and colourful compression socks for nursing, these Sockwell graduated compression socks are a top pick. Coming in a variety of fun colour combinations, they provide the benefits of 15-20 mmHg compression while at the same time looking great. They come in two different sizes with the vast majority of customers finding the fit to be as expected.

There is a lot to like about the best nursing compression socks. Made from a combination of Merino wool, stretch nylon, bamboo rayon, and spandex, they provide excellent comfort and fit. The spandex ensures that the socks stay snug all throughout the day, while the bamboo rayon allows for excellent breathability insuring minimal sweating and odor. The cushioning at the sole of the foot ensures greater comfort for nurses who need to stand all day.

These Sockwell compression socks are hugely popular and it is not difficult to see why. The customer reviews are full of raving feedback, especially by nurses who have greatly benefited from wearing them.

Over To You

We hope this guide to nursing compression socks has been helpful. As a nurse, there is much to be gained from wearing compression socks. Put an end to having those heavy and exhausted feet and legs at the end of every day. If you have any comments or questions about the best compression socks for nurses, please leave a comment below.