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.

Will Compression Help with Running?

As runners, we have all experienced those pesky shin splints or calf cramps at one point or another. LEGEND compression socks and compression sleeves were designed with runners in mind to help alleviate them and other common leg ailments. Another key benefit of graduated compression includes an increase in power output and endurance. Will these bad boys alone shave huge chunks of time off your marathon? Not on their own. But they will help your legs stay strong so you can keep performing at your best. The compression stabilizes the lower leg muscles, which decreases cramping and impact to the bones, and it improves blood circulation to keep you running longer and keep your legs in top health.

In a nutshell, will compression help with running? Yes. Will your legs thank you in the long run? Definitely.

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.

Compression Socks for Pregnancy

How can compression help during pregnancy? While pregnant, women can experience a number of side effects such as swollen legs, achy/tired legs, varicose veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis and other venous insufficiencies. Most of these are due to an increase in blood volume at full-term and the expanding uterus putting pressure on blood vessels in the pelvic area. Clinical studies have shown positive effects with compression socks for pregnancy, however graduated compression stockings are the most effective therapy to use during pregnancy and postpartum for these leg conditions. It battles the restricted blood flow to help alleviate the swollen, tired legs and feet, and aids in reducing the incidence of varicose veins, DVT and mild edema. It is also highly recommended for women to wear them post pregnancy until symptoms have subsided.

Compression Socks for Traveling

How can compression socks help during travel? While you are sitting on a plane or in a car for long hours, blood can pool in your feet and ankles due to gravity, causing swelling and potential blood clots. Wearing compression socks for traveling (such as LEGEND support socks) can help prevent that. Graduated compression also aids in the prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, which are both possible ailments after a lot of flight time. The graduated compression technology puts pressure on your veins, which quickens the pace of the blood flow to your muscles and back to your heart. This keeps your blood oxygenated, circulating properly, and decreases the risk of clotting or pooling.

Wearing LEGEND support socks during your flights or long car rides will make your legs feel rejuvenated when you are finally able to stand up and stretch those muscles. They won’t feel stiff, tired, or achy thanks to LEGEND’s high quality compression technology.

Compression for Shin Splints: Can It Help?

In a quick answer, yes! In a more detailed answer, let me explain how LEGEND compression works with your body and why it helps your shin splints, calf cramps, and other foot/ankle/leg ailments.

First off, those who suffer from shin splints and calf cramps are typically runners. LEGEND compression running socks and compression sleeves have the graduated compression technology that allows your feet and legs to have proper circulation and blood flow. When your muscles get the right amount of oxygen and blood, your feet and legs feel less tired and sore during and after your workouts or runs. Compression applies pressure to your veins, which pushes blood to your muscles at a faster pace and ultimately prevents the fatigue.

Another benefit from compression socks and sleeves is that they stabilize your muscles as you exercise, which decreases vibration and impact to your legs while you’re running, thus helping to prevent shin splints and joint soreness.

While compression helps alleviate minor aches and pains, all injuries should be accessed by a doctor to get to the bottom of what is causing them. Wearing LEGEND compression can make your feet and legs feel better while exercising and ultimately helps reduce fatigue.

Compression Socks and Sleeves

The question of “socks vs sleeves” has been ongoing for a long time in the fitness community. Most of the time, it simply comes down to personal preference.

Wearing calf sleeves allows someone to benefit from the compression technology, and lets them wear their go-to pair of socks (even if they aren’t LEGEND compression socks). Another benefit of wearing the sleeves is you are able to wear them with a pair of open toe sandals! They are easy to slip on if you are running out the door and don’t want to lace up your running shoes.

If you travel a lot or have long periods of inactivity, compression socks are going to be more ideal for you. The socks keep blood from pooling in your feet and ankles and prevent blood clots if you’re flying or sitting for long time periods. LEGEND compression socks have the graduated compression technology needed to grasp these benefits.

On another note, there have been reviews saying that compression sleeves are more triathlon friendly. They are much easier to peel off and keep you moving as you switch from swimming to cycling. Trying to pull socks on to a wet leg can be difficult and time consuming (however, LEGEND compression socks have been designed to be easier to get on and off). Triatheletes have also been known to wear compression sleeves under their tri-suits so they don’t have to worry about any interference while they race.

When it comes to recovery, compression socks and sleeves can both be used. Socks are typically more popular because they encompass from your toes all the way up your calf. If you use sleeves for recovery, make sure the compression isn’t too tight around your ankle. LEGEND and its “right not tight” campaign strive to get the right amount of compression for each individual, rather than just having tight compression that may not do what it’s supposed to for you. Whether you choose LEGEND compression socks or sleeves, we can guarantee they will be right for you.

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.