weightlifting in compression socks

What Level of Compression is Right for Me?

No two pairs of legs are the same. Proof of this can be found in the unique levels of graduated compression you may require from your compression socks and leg-wear. Understanding your own compression needs is the key to achieving the very best results from your compression hosiery. Where to start, you ask? Same place your pressure does: the ankle.

Blood flow in the legs naturally gets much weaker the lower you descend, and caps around the ankle where blood often pools and is ineffectively pumped to the heart. One common symptom is swelling of the feet and/or legs. This is especially true for older people, people with circulatory conditions stemming from poor blood flow, and for runners who challenge their legs on a regular basis. The best way to counter the painful symptoms of poor circulation is to first be aware of the compression level right for you based on your indication. Next, is to purchase and wear pair graduated compression socks or stockings best for you.

Compression Therapy

Compression Therapy can provide important medical benefits including improved blood circulation to your legs. To find out what hosiery compression levels are best suited, you should consult your doctor and/or physical therapist for accurate measurements and recommendations. You can determine the proper size garment to purchase by measuring the size of your ankle and calf (for knee high socks) and additionally your thigh (for thigh highs & pantyhose). Most manufactures of compression hosiery have sizing charts online at there website to guide you. Your symptoms and indications will determine the recommended level of compression. Here are the few rules of thumb:

Levels of Compression

Compression levels are measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and tell you how much graduated compression you need to help prevent and relieve swelling, edema, soreness, shin splints, fatigue, lactic acid buildup, and other localized circulatory conditions.
• 8-15 mmHg indicates Gentle Compression— for tired and achy legs that can be caused by traveling or too many hours standing on your feet.
• 15-20 mmHg indicates Moderate/Therapeutic Compression—which is associated with achiness, mild swelling, and spider varicose veins as a result of frequent traveling, pregnancy, and sitting/standing for too long.
• 20-30 mmHg indicates Firm/Medical Grade Compression—which suggests further elevated venous insufficiency; moderate swelling and edema, varicose veins and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
• 30-40mmHg is the highest compression range, indicating Extra Firm Compression—indicated for chronic insufficiency that can cause ulcers and frequent swelling/pain.

Nobody wants to be at the end of the compression spectrum. The good news is there are plenty of quality compression therapy products available to help you. You should do everything in your power to counter painful symptoms of whatever compression level defines you. Once you determine your particular graduated compression needs, you’ll know the right compression leg-wear to buy.

If you head over to LEGEND Compression Wear™, you’ll find an extensive range of graduated compression socks, stockings, sleeves to meet all your compression therapy and sports activity needs.

8 thoughts on “What Level of Compression is Right for Me?

    • 15-20 mmHg is perfect for long distance running including half & full marathon. Our LEGEND Compression Performance Socks are designed for this purpose and the long distant runner. Our LEGEND Compression Recovery socks are 20 -30 mmHg and perfect for post exercise fatigue after a long run to speed recovery.

  1. Hi there,
    I recovered from a large DVT in my left leg almost 2 years ago. I have a few PTS symptoms- vericose vein development, occasional discomfort, etc. I want to start running again, but am worried about making the symptoms worse. Which compression would be best to delay progression of the symptoms, especially the vericose veins, while running and after running? Thank you!

    • Hello,
      Great question…thank you for asking. I understand your concern and it’s wonderful you want to start running again. I highly recommend our “LEGEND Compression Performance socks” ( available in 9 colors) for when you are actually running….or even when just walking… or around the house for the symptoms you described. These socks are 15-20 mmHg moderate level of compression and are therapeutic for relieving PTS symptoms and helping to prevent DVT. These “Performance Socks” will help improve blood flow in your legs, enhance endurance and have all the features desired by Runners. I’d also recommend our “LEGEND Compression Recovery Socks” for post exercise fatigue. These are 20-30 mmHg firm compression. These are good to wear after running or during travel. These socks are great for faster recovery and very helpful for your situation after exercising. You can find both these products in the drop down menu under the Sports Compression tab at the top of the website. At the bottom of the product page, if you scroll down, you will see a tab for “size chart”. It is important to get the right size based on shoe size and circumference around the widest part of your calf in inches.

      We also have our LEGEND Everyday Wear line that is good for around the house and everyday living.
      If you have any additional questions please feel free to give me a call.
      John Thomas, President
      LEGEND Compression Wear

  2. Hi, i want to start jumping rope for exercise. I am 100 lbs over weight should I get gentle or moderate. Thank you for your time.

    • Good Morning Anna,

      Thanks for your message. The best sock for jump roping and all high impact activities would be the LEGEND® Compression Performance Socks that are 15-20 mmHg Moderate compression level. This will keep your legs fresh and feeling good afterward…and help with any potential swelling.

      If you find after exercise that your legs are sore for long extended periods of time and you have a lot of swelling, then the LEGEND Recovery socks would be a good adjunct. These are 20-30 mmG and considered firm compression. These would help speed recovery by up to 50%. They are for post exercise fatigue and worn after any high impact activity. I would start with the performance socks…and determine if there is a need for the Recovery socks first. Feel free to call me with any additional questions. 336.859.0226.
      Enjoy the jump roping…and the socks:).
      Kind Regards,

      John Thomas
      President, Legend.

  3. It’s great to learn about compression socks. So, if my mom has varicose veins, she’ll want something in between 15 and 30 mmHg, right? We’re trying to help her out, and I’ve heard good things about these.

    • Hello Ridley,
      Yes,a 15-20 mmHg (moderate compression/Therapeutic) sock or Knee High Sheer would help her with varicose veins. If her Varicose veins are above the knee than a pair of pantyhose is also a good option. If you are on our website under “Everyday Wear” tab…you can review items. The LEGEND Simply Sheer Knee High 15-20 mmHg is a good choice. Also the LEGEND Casual Wear Sock (15-20 mmHg) is awesome and would serve her well. If her varicose veins are severe, you can also consider the higher 20-30 mmHg ( firm compression /medical grade) compression level.
      Kind Regards,
      Team LEGEND

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