No one is the same. We all have different tastes, like other things, and no two bodies are alike. When it comes to compression garments, one type may not fit everyone. What works for you depends on your body, your activity, and the support your body needs could mean that a compression sleeve works better for you than a compression sock and vice versa.
Should you choose compression socks or leg sleeves? Which is right for you?
While these two products appear similar and deliver compression, they're not the same. Below, we'll explain the difference between compression sleeves and socks and describe factors to keep in mind to help choose between them.
What's the Difference Between Compression Socks and Leg Sleeves?
A compression sock covers the entire foot as well as some portion of the leg. Compression socks are available in different lengths, such as the ankle, knee-high, or in some cases, crew (or mid-calf.)
A compression sleeve reaches from the ankle to the bottom of the knee but does not cover the foot. Compression sleeves cover the entire calves.
Socks and sleeves are available in various colors and patterns to suit the user's needs or personality. Compression leg sleeves are not the same as compression arm sleeves, however, as they are for different body parts.
How To Choose Between Socks or Sleeves
If you've decided or have been recommended by a health provider to use compression for your lower body, you've no doubt narrowed it down between compression socks or leg sleeves. But which one to pick? Everyone's needs and goals for using compression are a little different, so there is no single answer as to what compression form, socks, or sleeves is perfect for you. But there are some factors to consider that may help sway you toward one or the other.
1. What You Do
The socks or sleeves choice may be up to what activity you'll be doing when you wear them. For example, an athlete may choose the options for compression sleeves as suitable as sleeves to leave the foot free.
A compression sleeve for a runner might be the right choice because they are customizable, letting the runner tailor the foot part with another product that works for them. Additionally, for athletes with large feet but small calves, a sleeve is the ideal solution for getting the compression they need without the pain of having the foot part be too small.
For other athletes, the choice to wear compression socks might be made because of the extra support a compression sock gives to the foot and the ankle.
If you aren't an athlete, considering compression for exercise, or have a medical condition, a compression sock is the better choice. Compression socks benefit those with more sedentary lives as they boost circulation, are a tool used to fight varicose veins fighting deep vein thrombosis, and are immensely helpful to many other conditions.
2. What Your Symptoms Are
Where are you experiencing the symptoms, you're trying to treat? If, for example, you've had issues in the past or are currently experiencing shin splints as your main problem, then a set of compression sleeves might be ideal.
However, suppose your symptoms are from swelling legs and feet. In that case, you'll want to consider getting compression socks instead to get the full benefits of compression, which include reduced swelling, better blood flow, and fighting fluid buildup.
3. What You Like
Wearing the wrong socks for a strenuous activity could lead to chafing, rashes, blisters, or open sores. Therefore athletes, especially those who run long distances, insist on wearing a specific type of sock over another.
If you've already picked out a favorite sock to go long-distance running and it works for you, there's no need to go through the painful process of adjusting to new socks with compression sleeves. You can wear the pair of socks that works perfectly for you while still benefiting from the gentle pressure of a compression sleeve.
If you're not a long-distance runner or an athlete, you probably don't mind what socks you wear—so compression socks should be fine.
4. What Your Medical Provider Recommends
If your doctor or health care provider says you should be wearing compression socks, then it is best to follow that advice when choosing between sleeves or socks. It's imperative to make sure you choose the right level of compression that your doctor advises you to get.
It's also always safe to check in with your doctor before wearing any compression garment, especially if you already have other health issues.
5. What Style do You Prefer?
After reading everything above and you do not have to write out one or the other, you may be open to choose whichever you prefer. If you find that you love the sportier look of a compression sleeve and enjoy the idea of wearing familiar socks, then feel free to choose sleeves.
Conversely, if you want a wide array of funny, bright, or unique patterns and colors, you'll note that compression socks have even more variety. Compression socks also have the benefit of matching with an extensive range of outfits or uniforms and give you the most options for picking designs that reflect your personality.
Calf compression sleeves work well if:
• Your workout routines are high-intensity, multiple times a week
• Your activity consists of quick and fast movements and needs support
• You notice aches and pains in your calves or shins after a workout
• You suffer from shin splints
• You already have a favorite pair of socks to workout, walk or run in and don't want to change them
Compression socks work well if:
• You have issues that make your feet, ankles, and legs swell
• You live a more sedentary life
• You are planning to travel and have a long international flight
• You have varicose veins
• You suffer from a medical condition where your doctor has expressly advised compression socks
• Your feet ache at the end of a long day standing on them
Hopefully, now that you know all the factors of compressions socks and sleeves, you've narrowed down what's right for you. Ready to pick your compression socks or sleeves? We're ready to help! Make sure to browse our extensive selection of the best compression online today.