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You've been walking all day through the streets of Buenos Aires, London, Bangkok, wherever. Heaven forbid you get plantar fasciitis right in the middle of your big vacation because, as we all know, travel typically mandates an abundance of walking.
Not wanting to fall victim to swollen ankles or poor style, we have been scouring the internet for alternatives to frumpy tights and fraying socks. As professed travel enthusiasts, we know all too well how bothersome aching feet can be (particularly when donning those adorable but torturous stilettos), and we needed something to provide our precious lower extremities with the enhanced blood circulation they need to stay pain-free. Enter: compression wear.
Until recently, compression tights were sold mostly at pharmacies and retailers catering to older men and women. The socks and tights might have dowdy ancestry, but the look is becoming increasingly trendy and holds many aesthetic benefits.
Long a medical necessity for those at risk for deep-vein thrombosis or blood clots, compression tights are now beginning to thrive in fashion among stylish women who suffer on uncomfortably cramped airplane seats during long-haul flights. Compression garments are particularly important for flyers as airplanes harbor an excess of environmental factors that can cause clots (DVTs), or lower extremity discomfort.
These tights, tops, and snug-fitting socks, essentially hosiery made from tightly woven materials such as cotton and nylon, minimize the swelling that can result from prolonged inactivity or excess movement. Made with tighter elastic to better hold its shape, compression apparel also delivers graduated pressure, meaning garments are tighter around the ankle than the knee, thus helping improve circulation from the lower leg.
Brian Park, founder of Nabee Socks and a former nurse in Washington D.C., was inspired by the idea of compression wear while he was working in the medical field. During that time, he noticed that most of the doctors and nurses were wearing compression socks underneath their normal socks. They were using them to prevent sore feet and varicose veins caused by the long 12-hour shifts running around the unit, but almost everyone was still disguising them due to their "unappealing look." That's when he recognized the need for fashion-conscious compression style.
According to Park, the primary benefits of graduated compression are the prevention of swelling, fatigue, and soreness in your legs and feet. They also prevent the appearance of spider and varicose veins. As a result, this fashion statement can make a broad impact on women's travel wardrobes.
"Your legs and feet are the furthest point from your heart. It's fighting gravity, and if you're not moving your leg muscles, your heart is getting no help in circulating your blood properly. This is why your feet can get swollen after many hours of sitting on a plane or standing at work. Graduated compression alleviates these problems by placing pressure on the legs to help push blood out of the feet and legs back towards the heart."
We're sold! Check out some of our favorite compression wear brands below.
1. ITEM m6
The new Beauty Tights from ITEM m6 are a true beauty sensation. These German miracle tights are made from unique high-tech yarn, but what makes the yarn so exclusive from the rest is that it contains particles of ceramic crystals literally melted into it that reflect the body's own heat and convert this into infrared radiation, penetrating into deeper layers of the skin to stimulate the breakdown of fat cells. Combined with medi's innovative compression technology, they promise to beautify the appearance of the skin with lasting effects and serve as an effective weapon against dimpling of the skin. These Beauty Tights will even fit your figure perfectly to prevent slipping and pinching. Quality, innovation and design—what more can you ask for?
Available at bloomingdales.com | $98
Designed by wearers for wearers, each pair of RejuvaHealth stockings are knit to deliver the graduated compression you need concealed within the fashion patterns you crave. Say goodbye to dowdy compression stockings and hello to a more stylish support solution.
Available at amazon.com | $29.99
3. Lily Trotters
Lily Trotters offers high-performance compression socks that are a favorite among runners and fitness fanatics. Lily Trotters combine fashion and fitness so women of all ages can reap the benefits of compression without sacrificing their personal sense of style. Strong and durable enough for marathon or travel, this fashion forward company is dedicated to giving back to the local community. Lily Trotters recently donated their socks to all Back on My Feet runners on October 15, at this year's Baltimore Running Festival. Back on My Feet is a national non-profit organization that raises awareness and combats homelessness through the power of running.
Available at amazon.com | $48
It took these guys five years of testing, speaking to experts, designing and redesigning before they launched their first pair of SKINS tights. The research they carry out in the garment development stages allows them to keep pushing the boundaries of technology and compression—leading to the development of dynamic gradient compression, which is featured in their A400 clothing.
Available at amazon.com | $109
5. Nabee Socks
Nabee Socks are thoughtfully engineered to keep your feet jumping with joy from morning 'til night. All of their socks are not only guaranteed to be packed with personality, but are also filled with the magic of graduated compression. Whether after a workout, a long day of work, or any situation that results in sore and swollen lower extremities, each pair of Nabee Socks is dedicated to the war against grumpy feet.
Available at amazon.com | $29.99