Finding your correct compression socks for women in plus size is an absolute must, if you want to ensure comfort and effectiveness. Know what to look for before you buy.
This article evaluates the best compression socks for women and provides tips when considering compression socks in plus sizes including how to take measurements for size.
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Tips Before You Buy Compression Socks for Women in Plus Size
The biggest mistake you can make when looking for plus size compression socks for women is to buy a pair of socks simply because it has a label which says “plus size”.
This is because not all “plus size” labels are the same. You should check for features like compression level and type, size and width, material, reinforced toe and heel, and ease of putting on the socks.
While all these are important, always first check for the style and color. There is no need buying yourself a pair of socks in a style or color you do not fancy! Check a previous article – Compression Leg Socks – How to Select and Buy.
All compression socks (including compression socks for women) come in at least four levels of pressure, measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The appropriate compression level for you will depend on your specific needs and the recommendation of your healthcare provider.
Common compression levels include mild (8-15 mmHg), moderate (15-20 mmHg), and firm (20-30 mmHg).
Plus-size individuals may require higher compression levels to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.
Wide Calf Considerations – A Must in the Choice of Best Compression Socks for Women in Plus Sizes
Plus-size women often have larger calves, so ensure that you look for compression socks for women with wide calf options. These socks are designed with extra room in the calf area to ensure a proper fit without cutting into the skin or causing discomfort.
The Best Compression Socks for Women – Plus Sizes
It is generally difficult to find compression socks for plus sized women as separate designs. The socks are usually sold as unisex, for both women and men.
Search results will generally pull up plus size compression socks, or wide calf compression socks for women, plus size compression socks for women with extra wide calf.
Five popular brands for the best compression socks for plus sized women are listed below, but read the detailed information provided in this post to help with selection:
Proper Size – How to Take Measurements
Accurate sizing is important for the effectiveness and comfort of any compression socks, including compression socks for women.
Manufacturers usually provide sizing charts that take into account calf circumference, ankle circumference, and leg length. Measure your legs as instructed to find the right size for your needs.
Measure the Calf Circumference
Move up to the widest part of the calf, typically about 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) below the knee. Wrap the measuring tape around the calf and record the measurement.
Common mistake: Pulling the measuring tape too tightly or not keeping it level, which can lead to inaccurate measurements.
Measure the Length of the Leg
To determine the length of the leg, measure from the floor (while seated with feet flat on the ground) to just below the knee crease, where you want the top of the compression sock to reach. Record the measurement.
Common mistake: Measuring too high or too low on the leg, resulting in an uncomfortable fit.
Note any Specific Needs
If you have specific medical conditions or requirements, these may affect the fit or compression level of the socks. You may need different levels of compression on different parts of the leg as recommended by a healthcare professional..
Consult the Manufacturer’s Size Chart
Different compression sock brands may have slightly different sizing charts. Use the recorded measurements to select the appropriate size based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Try on the Socks
Once you have purchased the compression socks based on the measurements, try them on to ensure they fit comfortably and provide the desired compression.
Other Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Measuring over thick clothing, as this can result in inaccurate measurements.
- Measuring too tightly, which can lead to discomfort and inadequate blood flow.
- Not consulting the manufacturer’s size chart or using outdated measurements you took a while back.
- Assuming that one-size-fits-all compression socks will work for everyone.
By following these steps and avoiding common mistakes, you will find the best compression socks for women for plus-size individuals that provide the required support and comfort based on specific needs and preferences.
Graduated Compression or Non Graduated Compression Socks
Ensure that the compression socks have graduated pressure, with the highest pressure at the ankle and gradually decreasing as it moves up the leg.
Graduated compression socks for women and non-graduated compression socks serve different purposes and offer distinct advantages.
Graduated compression is generally preferred for most individuals due to its specific benefits, especially when it comes to medical and therapeutic applications.
Here are the advantages of graduated compression over non-graduated compression in the choice of compression socks:
Improved Blood Circulation: Graduated compression socks are designed to be tighter at the ankle and gradually loosen as they move up the leg.
This design helps push blood from the extremities back towards the heart, enhancing venous return and overall blood circulation.
It is helpful for individuals with conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), varicose veins, or venous insufficiency.
Reduced Swelling: The graduated pressure exerted by these socks helps reduce fluid buildup in the lower extremities, minimizing edema (swelling) in the ankles and legs.
This can be really helpful for individuals who stand or sit for long periods, such as during travel or work.
Prevention of Blood Clots: Graduated compression socks are often recommended for individuals at risk of blood clots, such as during long flights or post-surgery recovery. The improved circulation and pressure distribution can reduce the risk of clot formation.
Alleviation of Leg Fatigue: Wearing graduated compression socks can reduce the feeling of tired, heavy legs, making them ideal for people who spend extended periods on their feet or have jobs that require standing.
Varicose Vein Management: Graduated compression can help manage the symptoms of varicose veins, such as pain, discomfort, and swelling, by providing consistent pressure and support to the affected areas.
Non-graduated compression socks, on the other hand, provide uniform compression throughout the sock without the gradual decrease in pressure seen in graduated compression socks.
These socks are frequently used for specific purposes, such as sports or exercise recovery, rather than for medical conditions.
Advantages of non-graduated compression include:
Muscle Support: Non-graduated compression socks can provide support to the muscles during physical activities like running or weightlifting. They may help reduce muscle vibration and fatigue, potentially improving performance and recovery.
Faster Recovery: Athletes and active individuals often use non-graduated compression socks post-exercise to aid in muscle recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles and reducing muscle soreness.
Energy and Endurance: Some individuals believe that non-graduated compression socks can enhance endurance during sports activities, although scientific evidence on this aspect is mixed.
The choice between graduated and non-graduated compression socks depends on your specific needs and intended use. Graduated compression is typically recommended for medical conditions and situations requiring enhanced circulation and edema management.
Non-graduated compression, on the other hand, is more common in athletic and performance-related settings, where muscle support and recovery are the primary goals.
Always consult with a healthcare professional or specialist to determine the most appropriate type of compression sock for your individual needs especially if you have a medical condition.
Material and Comfort
The choice of material for compression socks for plus-size women can significantly impact their comfort and effectiveness although the best material will depend on individual preferences and needs.
Many materials are are made from a blend of nylon and spandex, which provides stretch, durability, and comfort. Look for socks with moisture-wicking properties to keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.
Some common options include:
Graduated Compression Fabric
Graduated compression socks are typically made from a blend of synthetic materials such as nylon, spandex, or elastane. These materials provide stretch and elasticity, allowing the socks to provide graduated compression, which is tighter at the ankle and gradually decreases up the leg.
Benefits: Graduated compression helps improve blood circulation by assisting the veins in pushing blood back to the heart. This can reduce swelling, fatigue, and the risk of blood clots in the legs, which is particularly important for plus-size individuals who may be at a higher risk of circulation-related issues.
Compression socks often incorporate moisture-wicking materials like Coolmax or Dri-FIT technology. These fabrics help to wick sweat away from the skin, keeping the feet dry and reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort.
Benefits: Plus-size individuals may experience more perspiration due to increased weight, so moisture-wicking materials can keep the feet dry and comfortable, reducing the risk of skin irritation and odor.
Some compression socks are made with antimicrobial-treated fabrics that help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. This is especially important for those with diabetes or other conditions that affect skin health.
Benefits: Antimicrobial properties can help maintain healthy skin and reduce the risk of infections or complications.
Cotton-blend compression socks can be a good choice for individuals who prefer natural fibers. Cotton can provide breathability and comfort.
Benefits: Cotton-blend socks are comfortable and may be suitable for those with sensitive skin. However, they may not offer the same level of compression as synthetic blends.
Many compression sock manufacturers offer latex-free options for individuals with latex allergies or sensitivities.
Benefits: Latex-free materials prevent skin reactions and discomfort, ensuring a comfortable wearing experience.
Ultimately, the best material for compression socks in plus-sizes for women depends on individual preferences, sensitivities, and specific medical needs. If you are unsure, consult your healthcare professional or specialist.
Also trying on different brands and styles to find the most comfortable and effective option where possible is a good approach.
Seamless Design or Reinforced Toe and Heel
Look for compression socks for women with seamless or flat-seam construction. This minimizes the risk of skin irritation and provides a smoother, more comfortable fit as it prevents rubbing and chafing against the skin, which can be particularly important for plus-size individuals.
However, note that compression socks can wear out quickly in the toe and heel areas. Therefore, choose socks with reinforced toes and heels for added durability, especially if you plan to wear them regularly.
Compression socks for women with reinforced toes and heels tend to be more expensive than their counterparts with a seamless design.
The price difference can be attributed to several factors related to the materials used and the manufacturing process. Here’s why compression socks with reinforced toes and heels are often pricier:
Use of More Durable Materials: Compression socks with reinforced toes and heels are typically made with thicker and more durable materials in these specific areas.
The reinforcement is added to withstand wear and tear, making the socks last longer and is more evident in plus sized compression socks for women.
Specialized Production: The process of reinforcing the toes and heels requires additional manufacturing steps and specialized machinery which adds to the production cost.
Longer Lifespan: Because of the added durability, compression socks for women with reinforced toes and heels tend to have a longer lifespan, which can make them a cost-effective choice in the long run for those who wear compression socks regularly.
Targeted Support: Reinforced areas can provide extra support and protection in high-stress regions of the sock. This added support can be particularly beneficial for individuals who need compression socks for medical or occupational reasons.
Specific Use Cases: Compression socks with reinforced toes and heels are often designed for specific activities or conditions, such as work or sports.
These specialized socks may come with additional features like moisture-wicking properties or cushioning, further contributing to their higher price.
On the other hand, compression socks for women with a seamless design may be more budget-friendly. These socks are often made with a focus on comfort and eliminating potential sources of irritation, making them suitable for everyday wear.
However, they may not be as durable or long-lasting as those with reinforced toes and heels, especially if subjected to heavy use or rigorous activities.
Ultimately, the choice between compression socks with reinforced toes and heels and those with a seamless design depends on your specific needs and budget.
If you require compression socks for medical reasons or for activities that put extra strain on your socks, investing in reinforced options may be worth the higher cost.
However, if you prioritize comfort and intend to wear your compression socks casually, seamless designed compression socks for women may be more cost-effective and suitable.
Style and Color of Plus Size Compression Socks for Women
You will find that the best compression socks for women in plus sizes come in more limited styles and colors. While medical-grade compression socks may have a more clinical appearance, there are also fashionable options available.
Choose a style and color that suits your personal preferences and lifestyle.
Easy to Put On
Look for socks with features like a reinforced heel pocket, toe box, and stretchy fabric that make them easier to don. Some compression socks for women can be challenging to put on, especially if they have high compression levels.
Consult a Healthcare Professional
It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a vascular specialist or a certified fitter, to determine the appropriate compression level and fit for your specific condition and needs.
If you experience any discomfort or adverse effects, consult with a medical professional promptly.
- Poor Circulation Problems in Seniors – The Real Dangers
- The Best Products That Can Help Improve Poor Blood Circulation
- Compression Leg Socks – How to Select and Buy
- Compression Socks For Men or Women – Better than Unisex?
- The Causes of Poor Blood Circulation in Aging Adults
Properly chosen and well-fitted plus sized compression socks for women can significantly improve leg comfort and circulation for women with wide calfs and anyone in need of this type of support.
Before making a purchase, always check for relevant criteria like compression level, type of compression, size , material, reinforcements and ease of putting on the socks.
Compression stockings. Medline Plus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000597.htm Accessed 10/2/23.
A Guide To The Best Compression Socks For Seniors (2023) https://www.forbes.com/health/medical-supplies/what-are-compression-socks/