Health > Foot Care

Summary. This page offers an ongoing evaluation and review of graduated compression circulatory health socks. Presently we are examining the Dr. Scholl’s brand and the 3M Futuro brand.

Use. Many professions required employees spend extended periods of time on their feet without periodic rest or elevation of the legs. Some jobs require many hours of sitting. For such vocations or for extended air travel, support socks, stockings, or hose (for women) offer many benefits. When combined with toning shoes (like Skechers Shape-Ups), exceptional benefits can be achieved.

Health Benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, graduated compression support socks offer the following benefits:

These help promote circulation and fluid movement. What’s more, compression stockings no longer look like something your grandmother would wear — they’re available in a range of stylish colors and textures. There are even devices, called stocking butlers, to help you put on the stockings. Compression stockings steadily squeeze your legs, helping your veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. They offer a safe, simple and inexpensive way to keep blood from stagnating after general surgery. [source]

Firmness Pressure Measurement. The firmness of graduated compression socks is measured in mmHg, a measurement that is related to atmospheric pressure. Standard atmospheric pressure is equal to 760 millimeters of mercury (abbreviated mmHg). So, 1 mmHg is equal to standard atmospheric pressure (or 1 Torr). Simulating additional pressure allows for better blood flow. Typically the firmness of compression is higher around the feet, and less restrictive around the calf. This helps facilitate better blood flow from the feet up the leg.

Compression Clothing for Fitness Training. Athletes and weight lifters use compression clothing because it is believed to improve strength, recovery, and blood flow. Companies offering compression clothing include: SkinsUnder Armour, Zappos, and Zensah.

Brands. Graduated compression socks are available in over the counter as well as prescription brands. Socks can range in price from about $8 to $80. Prescription-grade socks presumably offer medically accurate and measurable compression in a variety of firmness options to address each person’s unique needs. Medical prescriptions for graduated compression socks will indicate the amount of firmness. However, it could be argued that the $8 socks are just as good as the $80 varieties. Below are a few examples of available brands.

  • 3M Futuro. The 3M brand of graduated compression socks offers trusted quality from a well-known company. Pictured above are the Futuro™ Dress Socks for Men, 71036BLEN, L, Black. These are an over-the-calf length firm compression sock in black, designed to look like a typical formal men’s dress sock. The package here indicates 20-30 mmHg compression. “Firm compression helps relieve discomfort from chronic tired, achy legs, more pronounced varicose veins, and moderate ankle swelling. Massages as you move. Ideal for being on your feet or sitting in one place all day, traveling, or active office work.”
  • Activa. “Activa® Compression Legwear is the most innovative line of compression legwear available. These high quality, professional products are available in a range of styles, colors, and compression levels to fit your lifestyle. You can have medically correct graduated compression socks and hosiery with a professional and fashionable look and feel!”
  • Dr. Scholl’s. Pictured below is the packaging for one of the graduated compression socks by Dr. Scholl’s. “Energize your feet and legs with Dr. Scholl’s® Graduated Compression socks. Our compression socks are carefully designed to: *Move blood flow up the leg to eliminate swelling and leg fatigue *Help eliminate varicose veins *Help improve leg and foot comfort all day long *Mild Compression 10-15mmHg *Class 1 Medical device and APMA approved! 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex”

Click the image below to enlarge.

  • MediPeds Socks. Pictured below are the large MediPeds socks. These fit shoe sizes women 10-13 and men 9-12. They are made in china. Ideal for relief of leg fatigue and swelling. They offer graduated fit, moderate compression, and all-day support. Although a specific medical rating isn’t provided, these seem to be a firm compression sock.

Video. Below is a video review of graduated compression socks by Gregory Johnson.