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The Benefits of Wide-Calf Compression Socks

A good pair of wide-calf compression socks can go a long way. They’re warm. They’re stylish. And they offer a slew of medical advantages.

To be clear, our custom-blended merino wool yarns provide warmth while you’re in a cooler environment and also keep you cool in a warmer environment.

The way it works is that the fiber of merino wool has a natural crimp. When it is cold outside, the fiber’s natural crimps trap air and keep you insulated for a long period of time. Merino wool can also help you stay cool because the fibers absorb moisture, removing sweat and allowing it to evaporate away from the skin. Because merino wool is naturally porous, moisture vapor gets in-between the fiber’s plates—so your feet don’t feel cold, wet, or sweaty after a long day.

Then there’s the compression component. By gently squeezing your legs, compression socks apply a stronger pressure around your feet and ankles and slowly decrease in pressure as the socks move up your legs. This encourages blood flow from your legs to your heart. In other words, they’re a great way to reduce swelling and limit discomfort in your feet and legs.

Who should wear compression socks?

There’s a misconception out in the world that only aging adults with mobility or circulatory issues should wear wide-calf compression socks. But the reality? It turns out they’re beneficial for just about anyone: the young, the active, the office worker, the stay-at-home blogger, the frequent flier—seriously, almost anyone

But there are a few exceptions.

Suppose you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease, ischemia, diabetes, or congestive heart failure. In that case, high compression levels could make the condition worse. For these reasons, we recommend speaking with your doctor before making wide-calf compression socks for women and men a part of your regular routine. And check out our Relaxed Fit/Diabetic-Friendly collection—these non-compression socks are the perfect way to pamper your sensitive feet.

What does mmHg mean for compression socks?

Mercury was used in the first accurate pressure gauges invented over 300 years ago and is still used as the standard unit of measurement for pressure—primarily in the medical field. So when we talk about mmHg (millimeters of mercury), we’re talking about the various levels of compression.

When measured in compression socks for wide calves, each level has its own benefits and applications:

Moderate Graduated Compression 15-20mmHg: Micro tears in the tissue can lead to soreness after exercise and cause swelling. Compression at this level can boost tissue repair and help prevent or relieve moderately tired and aching legs while reducing minor swelling in the feet, ankles, and calves. These are also the best wide-calf socks for women and men who experience minor discomfort from sitting or standing all day at work.

Firm Graduated Compression20-30mmHg: This medical-grade compression is perfect for minimizing mild to moderate varicose veins. Pregnant women may also benefit from using this compression level to reduce discomfort, putting them on first thing in the morning to alleviate heaviness, swelling, and aching in their legs.

Should compression socks be tight on calves?

The answer here is specific to each individual and their personal needs. Typically, though, men's and women's wide-calf socks should feel snug—like they’re giving you a warm hug—but not so tight they cause pain and discomfort.

Compression preference varies from person to person, so we recommend trying graduated compression socks for your first pair, as they are designed to fit tightest at the ankle and looser around the calf. This gives your calves more room to breathe without missing out on any of the compression benefits.

Browse our full wide-calf collection!


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