Types of Compression Stockings

There are three common types of compression stockings: knee highs, thigh highs, and pantyhose. (Not to be confused with compression socks, which are sometimes referenced as compression stockings!) The most common styles of these stockings are classic sheers and opaques with the choice of a natural nude color, navy, or black.

Each type of hosiery is made with LEGEND’s graduated compression technology and fiber technology to create the sheer appearance while keeping its durability, and comes with the choice of 15-20 mmHg (more for everyday wear) or 20-30 mmHg (typically worn for venous insufficiencies). While the original design of compression stockings was for women with circulatory deficiencies or for frequent fliers, they are now also considered “fashionable compression”. Knee highs can be paired with boots, or thigh highs and pantyhose can be worn under skirts and dresses to liven up an outfit. Our compression hosiery is made for all women, including those who are in need of some extra support while also wanting to keep their legs looking as good as they feel!

Other types of compression stockings exist, with various styles and compression levels, but these are the three core types that cover the majority of compression stockings.

The Levels of Compression

Graduated compression comes in different levels of compression. The most common levels are first the 15-20 mmHg therapeutic or moderate compression. The second most common is 20-30 mmHg, also know as medical grade or firm compression. This level of compression will be firmer on your legs to aid in more severe leg conditions than the lighter compression levels. Some of these conditions include swelling feet, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), blood pooling in your legs/feet (during long travel periods or pregnancy) and other arterial and venous insufficiencies.

Medical grade compression comes in various types of products, like our compression socks and our compression hosiery. So no matter what your style, you can still benefit from the medical grade therapy.

The tabs below give reasons as to why each level may be used:

Compression Level Indications

Gentle Compression: For leg fatigue; achy legs and feet; traveling; people on their feet for long hours.

Moderate Compression or Therapeutic Compression: For frequent travelers; tired achy legs; those prone to mild swelling in legs, ankles and feet; during and after pregnancy; spider varicose veins; prolonged sitting or standing. Encourages vascular wellness.

Firm or Medical Grade Compression: For varicose veins; moderate swelling and edema; arterial and venous insufficiencies; reduces pooling of blood in the legs; protection against deep vein thrombosis (DVT); during and after pregnancy; Frequent and long distance travel.

Extra Firm Compression: Chronic venous insufficiency (blood pooling causing swelling/pain) that 
lead to ulcers.

How to Measure for Compression Socks, Sleeves, and Stockings

When choosing the right size for compression socks or stockings, you’ll just need to know your shoe size and circumference of one or two areas on your legs and use this information to correspond with our size chart to select the optimal size for you.

For our compression socks, measure around the widest part of your calf. Along with your shoe size, refer to our size chart to find the right fit for you! Your calf measurement works for our compression sleeves, too.

If you are looking at compression stockings, you first want to decide if you are interested in Knee Highs (KH), Thigh Highs (TH) or Pantyhose (PH) stockings. For KHs, simply measure in inches around the widest part of calf. For THs & PHs, measure around the calf and around the widest part of your thigh – usually just under the buttocks. Use the measurements along with your shoe size and refer to the sizing chart to make your proper product selection.

How To Put On Compression Stockings

The best time of the day to put on your compression stockings is in the morning. Make sure your feet and legs are completely dry! It may help, also, to wear gloves while putting your stockings on for extra grip and a lesser chance of ripping them.

Make sure the stockings are in the right placement with your toes, heel, and ankle prior to stepping in to them. Don’t bunch them like you might with regular stockings. This could stretch the compression material and make them less effective.

The easiest way to start is to turn your stockings inside out. Place your toes in position with the toe of the stocking and guide the material over them. Gently pull the stocking over your foot and heel. Make sure the placement is correct on your heel before you bring the rest of the stocking over your ankle and up your calf (and to your thigh, if you have thigh-highs).

Check where the top band is sitting on your leg. If you have knee-high compression stockings, the band should sit two finger widths below the bend of your knee. For thigh-high compression stockings, they should rest all the way at the top of your thigh.

At the end of the day, taking off your compression hosiery is simple. Flip the top band down so it is inside out, and peel downward toward your foot. This “peeling” action will prevent the material from bunching around your ankle and making it harder to get off. Keep pulling your stocking off your foot. Short, gentle tugs will be more effective and will be less likely to over stretch the compression than constant pulling.

Once your compression stocking is off, it will be inside out and ready to wash! After washing, slide your arm into the stocking, grab the toe, and pull to bring them right side out and ready to wear again.