Until a few years ago, every time I arrived in a new city after a long flight, I found myself with feet so swollen, they threatened to spill out of the sandals I was wearing. Many of these trips were for work, which meant I needed to hit the ground running after I landed, something that is very hard to do with swollen feet.
In fact, it was during a work trip to Lake Garda in Italy that I realized I needed a solution. I’d just got off a seven hour flight from Dubai to Venice, having barely so much as shut my eyes, hoping that I’d get to recover with at least a 30-minute nap at the hotel we’d be checking into.
Instead, I found myself on a four-hour walking tour of Verona, following around an impeccably dressed guide who, with her olive green dress and tan-colored sandals, looked like she’d stepped out of the pages of a Zara lookbook. Every time we stopped for a brief history lesson about the city’s medieval architecture or the legend of Romeo and Juliet, I found myself staring at my feet. Red and swollen, they spilled out of my patterned mules from both sides, the shoes now cutting into the skin on my feet. “I can’t be the only one with this problem- there has to be a solution,” I thought to myself as I struggled to keep up for the rest of the day.
Compression Socks To The Rescue
After a bit of online research, I learned that compression socks could help frequent travelers with the same problem, and were meant to be worn on flights or even long road trips. It seemed like a simple enough solution to a problem I had endured for years, so I decided to try them.
There were plenty of options online, but it was the SB Sox Compression Socks that really caught my eye with their bright colors, cute patterns, and a variety of designs to choose from, including both colorful patterns and basic colors such as black and gray. I decided to give myself an early Christmas present, and ordered two pairs.
They Actually Fit Well
The SB Sox Compression Socks end just below the knee, and fit perfectly around my calves, offering great compression without ever feeling too tight or restrictive. It helps that SB Sox offers a range of not just shoe sizes, but also four calf sizes to choose from, depending on your calf circumference.
The socks are designed with a no-slip cuff, so they stayed up even after hours of wearing them on a flight, or while doing physical activity like hiking. In fact, even after six months of use, my compression socks retained the snug fit they had when they were brand new, and showed no signs of drooping down my legs.
Comfortable Graduated Compression
What makes the SB Sox Compression Socks especially comfortable to wear for long periods of time is that they offer graduated compression, meaning they’re tightest around the ankles, and get looser up towards the calves. They’re also available in a range of compression levels, so you can choose according to your specific needs. I went with the 20-30 mmHg option (millimetre of mercury, a unit of pressure), and found that it was exactly what I needed, though you can also opt for 15-20 mmHg for a lighter touch.
Comfortable Over Long Durations
When I wore them on a flight for the first time, I expected to feel some discomfort- either from the compression, the fabric itself, or from that icky humid feeling my feet can sometimes get when in the same pair of socks over a long travel day. I expected that I’d want to remove them towards the end of my ten-hour journey, and change into the fresh pair of socks that I had in my carry-on, before getting off the flight.
To my surprise, at no point before I finally put my bags down in my hotel room at my destination, did I feel the need to change my socks. Even then, after 15 hours of travel, my compression socks were just as comfortable, dry, and completely odor-free. Not only is the material high-quality, lightweight, and breathable, it’s also completely moisture-wicking- exactly what you need from a pair of travel socks, compression or not.
Swollen Feet No More
When I arrived at my destination in my compression socks, I was pleased to see that for the first time, my feet didn’t feel too snug in my shoes. There was enough room in the front of them to be able to wiggle my toes. They weren’t swollen at all. When I took off the socks, I was relieved to find that there was no redness either.
As usual, on the flight, I had forgotten to get up and stretch my legs, yet the compression socks had increased the blood circulation in my legs and decreased the build-up of lactic acid in my feet and calves, successfully preventing swelling. I didn’t have any muscle fatigue, and it was great to feel like I didn’t need to put my feet up for a while.
Toe and Heel Cushioning
The SB Sox Compression Socks have been designed with reinforced toe support which meant that even after hours of wearing the socks with my bulky hiking shoes, I didn’t end up with blisters. The heel is cushioned as well, providing better overall support to my feet.
Ever since I got my first two pairs of SB Sox Compression Socks, I’ve added more pairs to my collection. Now, these are the only socks I wear on a long flight or road trip. It feels like a tight, comforting hug around my feet and legs, and it’s reassuring to know that my feet will always feel energetic, not exhausted, when I arrive at my destination.