Socks are one of those “never go wrong” gifts — for dads, anyway. The ideal combination of practicality and affordability means that a few pairs might already be in your shopping cart ahead of Father’s Day this year.
This is your sign to consider compression socks as a more thoughtful twist to this gifting classic, thanks to their numerous therapeutic benefits.
A number of podiatrists and medical health professionals recently explained for us the ways in which gentle to firm compression can be essential to foot, leg and vascular health, as well as overall comfort.
For one thing, compression socks and stockings help improve blood flow through the veins and reduce swelling, said Dr. Michael Mazer, a podiatrist and associate of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons. This is particularly beneficial because, as Mazer previously pointed out, we tend to develop various health conditions that can contribute to leg swelling as we age.
He said that this increase in circulation can result in less lower extremity discomfort and prevent muscle fatigue, especially for individuals that are on their feet often.
“Compression socks are useful for lowering the risk of deep vein thrombosis as they mimic the contraction function of the calf muscles, even when you are not walking,” said Dr. Michael Go, an associate professor in the division of vascular diseases and surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in a previous HuffPost interview about how essential they can be on long flights.
When shopping for compression socks, you may see the term mmHg being referenced. This stands for millimeters of mercury, and is a unit of measure for pressure. Most socks will be in the 15-20 mmHg range, while medical-grade compression levels start off at 30 mmHg.
Add any of the following compression socks to your gift list. Our roundup include pairs at different compression levels, lengths, sizes and fabrics.
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Three pairs of copper-infused compression knee-highs
Infused with copper fibers said to offer added circulation benefits, these knee-high socks are made with a moisture-wicking fabric, have a reinforced sole and are finished with a no-slip cuff so they stay in place. The sole is stitched with arch support with the intention of easing plantar fasciitis discomfort.
Merino wool firm compression socks
The blend of fine merino wool fibers and bamboo-derived rayon make these knee-high socks naturally temperature-regulating, quick-drying and odor-fighting.They offer firm graduated compression and cushioned soles for added arch support.
Three pairs of cushioned compression socks
These athletic ankle socks offer full and targeted compression around the arch and toes and are stitched with air-flow channels to help wick away moisture and allow feet to breathe. The terry cloth soles provide cushioning and shock absorption, according to the brand.
A pair of knee-high socks with medical-level compression
The recipients of over 52,000 five-star Amazon ratings, these knee-high socks are made with an athletic knit fabric and have targeted compressive support on the heel, foot and calf to avoid squeezing the joints. Their compression level is 20-30 mmHg, and you can get them in three different sizes.
A five-pack of copper-infused low-level compression socks
Made using a breathable mesh fabric and infused with copper fibers said to promote blood circulation, these above-the-ankle socks provide 8-15 mmHg compression targeted around the arch. They also have strategically placed cushioning on the toe, around the ankle cuff and on the heel for added comfort.
A pair of everyday mid-level compression socks
Stitched from an extra-durable cotton yarn, the Bombas everyday compression socks offer a mid-level 15-20 mmHg level of pressure and are made to be worn up to the knee. They also use a honeycomb-design support system around the arch and have added cushioning where your dad needs it most. If you want to give him an even tighter fit, the brand offers socks at higher levels of compression
that are available in three sizes and multiple colors.
Lightweight ankle compression socks
These ultra-thin, everyday ankle socks from Conrad have a targeted compressive band of support around the foot as well as extra heel and toe padding. The nylon-spandex fabric features a proprietary antimicrobial treatment to kill odor-causing bacteria.
Ankle compression socks with arch support
Ultra-thin and sleeve-like, these just-above-the-ankle socks promise a strong, graduated compression and are made with a moisture-wicking fabric.
Two pairs of progressive pressure socks with ankle support
These low-cut socks are intended for everyday activities and use a circular progressive pressure design to provide the perfect amount of support targeted around the ankle, with varying levels of pressure through the rest of the sock. They have a 15-20 mmHg level of compression and are made with a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric.