Compression socks on flights have dramatically increased my physical comfort when I fly.

The Journey to Comfortable Air Travel

I am not sure when it happened, but at some point in my early thirties my body started talking to me. I hope that I am not alone on this point, but I really mean that my body started to have a conversation with my brain. My brain was stubborn. It would not listen to my feet when they had been stuffed barefoot into non-breathable cute plastic shoes on a six-hour flight. My brain did not listen to my feet because my brain could not believe that my feet were honestly in pain. My feet knew that what my brain could not comprehend.

In 2014, I was getting ready to fly out to Paris a few days before Mothers’ Day. It had been almost two years since I had taken a flight that was more than five hours. In 2012, I traveled to Chile and the flight was miserably uncomfortable.

The Paris trip was my first trip that I can remember in which I allowed my brain to take my feet seriously when my feet told my brain that they needed comfort on the flight. I was also cognizant of the fact that I would be traveling with my mother who is thirty years my senior and I wanted to position myself to make comfort traveling recommendations to her.

The Uncomfortable Foot Problem

Feet are important, but they are mostly forgettable to me until I have a foot problem. Blisters on my toes easily bring me to my knees. That one annoying toe mail that snags on every stocking and sock step after step will occupy my mind endlessly until repaired. The swelling and throbbing soreness due to over activity is like a petulant child and seems only to be soothed by resting off of my feet for a while.

Ah, but I was wrong. When I allow my feet to cause me discomfort because they are swelled up like balloons, I have myself to blame. I must have waited too long. The first time that it happened, I had no idea what caused it and when they would return to their normal size – a size that would fit back into my shoes.

These days, I am no longer completely ignorant to the ways in which I can prevent my feet and ankles from swelling. It would be best to avoid sodium prior to hopping on a flight. Compression socks, however, can work wonders (even if I overindulge with salt before or during flights).

The Benefits of Compression Socks

There are quite a few benefits of compression socks that prevent many symptoms from popping up. They promote blood circulation from your feet to your heart. These socks are designed to tightly hug your legs which increases the circulation.

A lot of people associate compression socks with people who have symptomatic vein disorders or varicose veins. Medical professionals have been recommending the use of compression socks, gloves, and sleeves, for a long time to treat symptoms of real medical conditions.

These socks are also associated with athletics. They came into fashion back in the 1970s, but not for a fashionable justification. I think it is a pretty common image to see pro basket ballers and footballers wear high knee compression socks and arm bands. Ballers are not the only athletes to use compression. It carries over to running, hiking, tennis, rowing, and beyond. The premise behind compression in athletics is that the compression supports the muscle tissue resulting in less energy expended in the muscle during periods of exertion.

Therefore, in a very simplified laymen manner, we can say that compression makes us faster, stronger, and go longer!

Compression Socks for Air Travel

Compression socks do not only benefit wearers who have varicose veins or are athletically competitive. They help us travelers overcome the effects of many types of travel from sitting for long periods of time on a plane or in a car to standing for long periods of time on a hike or a long day of walking.

During air travel, we are thousands of feet in the air. At such a high altitude, the pressure will certainly affect your legs. Therefore, the chance of swelling increases drastically. Compression socks allow your muscles to circulate blood more effectively.

What Compression Socks are Right for Me?

The increased popularity of compression (socks, sleeves, as well as other apparel) means that we have an abundance of compression clothing from which to choose. Dr. Scholl’s is not the only choice anymore. There are sleek designs, standard designs, colorful designs, designs for every taste and flavor. Some designs leave us questioning whether they appear to have compression at all, but make no mistake when you done compression apparel, you will feel the difference.

Personally, I have two pairs of thin black knee-high compression socks that I wear on every flight. I have another black pair that have neon colored circles around my legs that I found in a skateboard store. I also wear my Under Armour compression running pants sometimes for the same effect.

What type are right for you?


  1. Those are the cutest compression socks I’ve ever seen! My eyes have been opened to trendy toes now. I’ve been wearing black compression socks for a couple of years now due to me standing on my feet all day on concrete floors. I’d read awhile back that they helped with blood circulation and figured that they could only help. Besides that, I knew they would probably help prevent fatigue in my legs and feet for the same reason. I keep them on at the gym, too. I started laughing when I read what you said about ballers wearing them because my boyfriend always asks me if I’m getting ready to go play some ball with my socks. Thanks for the info! Didn’t even think about wearing them when I fly!

    1. Jennifer,

      I also where mine for just being. They are the most beneficial for being sitting a lot or standing a lot, so end up just wearing them a bunch. My first two paid were just basic high knee in basic black. Now, I have several more pairs in all different designs The best place to get cool ones are at skate shops and hiking apparel stores.

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