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The Difference Between Compression Sleeves & Socks For Legs


Here at Comrad Socks, we understand your need to find the right compression product that you can comfortably wear all day long. Let’s say you’ve narrowed down your search to compression sleeves for legs and compression socks. Which do you choose?

Which product you go with depends on your level of activity and the support required for your body type. Let’s talk about what compression is and review the difference between compression sleeves and compression socks to help you choose the right product for you.

What Is Compression?

Compression products help reduce swelling in parts of the body by applying minimal pressure to them. This pressure, in turn, helps distribute blood flow in those body parts, improving circulation. 

Many leg disorders start with blood restriction in the veins. Ensuring that your blood flows safely from your heart to the rest of your body is what treatments like compression therapy are for. By applying pressure to the tissue beneath your skin, compression therapy prevents excess lymphatic fluid from leaking from your capillaries, stopping or preventing swelling.

Compression therapy has been around for thousands of years. Wearing compression sleeves or compression socks can prove beneficial. In fact, some of the benefits compression therapy offers includes the following:

Reduce Blood Clots

If you are on bed rest for an extended period due to surgery or another medical issue, you are at risk of developing blood clots, leading to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Being pregnant, obese, having high cholesterol, and sitting for long periods also puts you at risk for DVT. Doctors recommend compression therapy to prevent the pooling of blood in veins.

Alleviate Leg Ulcers

Leg ulcers are open wounds that are very difficult to heal. People who develop leg ulcers often have vein issues, diabetes, heart disease, or other health issues. Compression helps heal leg ulcers by improving blood flow to the legs. It can also prevent future leg ulcers.

Manage Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large, swollen, and twisted. Many people develop them on their legs. People who use birth control pills, work on their feet for long hours, have a history of blood clots, or are pregnant are at high risk for varicose veins. In some instances, the veins are hereditary. There are many treatments for varicose veins, including surgery. Compression therapy is also recommended to reduce swelling and discomfort associated with these veins.

Reduce Nausea and Dizziness

This one might surprise you. If you are someone who feels faint or nauseous often, your doctor might recommend that you wear compression garments. 

Nausea and fainting are symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, which happens when your blood pressure suddenly drops after you stand up. Compression keeps the blood flowing in your legs, preventing this illness. Compression garments are also said to help with morning sickness in pregnant women.

Compression Sleeves for Legs vs. Compression Socks

Which is more beneficial? This depends on your personal preference. 

If you want the freedom to wear your own choice of socks, then compression sleeves for legs are your best bet. Also, if you engage in athletic activities or use special footwear, compression sleeves are a good option. You can choose between thigh to ankle length and partial length, which hits just below the knee down to your ankle. 

Compression sleeves provide graduated compression, which means the amount of pressure increases along the length of the garment, feeling looser at the top and tighter at the bottom. 

You might choose compression sleeves for your legs if:

  • You engage in high-intensity workouts
  • You experience pain during your workouts
  • You want to prevent shin splints

However, be aware that the ankle opening on compression sleeves can often be too tight and quite confining. This can actually cause blood pooling and foot swelling, two things you are trying to prevent in the first place!

If you want support that covers your feet, go with compression socks. Compression socks are also a better choice if you need compression support for more extended periods. If that’s the case, we here at Comrad Socks has you covered with a broad selection of knee-high graduated compression socks.

Compression socks are ideal for people who stand for long periods or travel long distances. Just like compression sleeves, they offer graduated compression. If you experience swollen feet, compression socks help blood flow upward to alleviate the swelling. 

You might choose compression socks if:

  • You frequently experience swollen ankles and feet 
  • You have plantar fasciitis
  • After exercising, your feet or ankles need pain relief
  • You experience Achilles tendonitis

Compression socks are thicker than regular socks. This helps eliminate the excess moisture, keeping your legs dry and protecting your skin.

The compression garments you find in the pharmacy are not your only option. Online, you will find a variety of sizes to fit your legs. If width is a concern, Comrad offers extra-wide compression socks up to 20 inches. 


Compression sleeves for legs and compression socks both offer support that alleviates pain, improves lymphatic drainage, and reduces swelling. Wearing them can protect your legs from knicks and scratches and keep you warm.

Choosing the right compression therapy product is important. If you are still undecided, try both compression sleeves and compression socks. See how your body responds to each product. You can also consult your healthcare provider to see which product they recommend. 


What is Compression Therapy? | Vein Forum 

What You Should Know About Compression | Cleveland Clinic

What is Venous Thromboembolism? | CDC 

Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins | UofM Health 

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