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Review: Do Travel Socks Really Help Leg Fatigue?

March 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM | by | ()

About two years ago when traveling to Mexico, this contributor met a man in a long line at customs. When I mentioned I was a travel writer, he began telling me about a new business he was entering: Compression socks.

Compression socks, right. Sounds riveting. What's next? You're going to tell me how much fun it is to be an accountant? He laughed as if he'd heard it before. He looked down at my feet, and told me, all kidding aside, that he thought they’d be good for me with all the travel I do. He said he’d send me a pair once the company was up and running. We went our separate ways, but a few months later, I got a box in the mail.

According to the literature on the box, Dr. Segal’s True Graduated Compression Socks are said to increase circulation and reduce swelling and leg fatigue. A little bit of research shows that the general benefit of compression socks is all science at this point (regardless of the brand), but I was skeptical that they would make much of a notable impact for a young guy like me. Like a good little journalist, I gave them a shot on my next cross-country flight to find out.

I'm not a doctor and I don't have any statistics regarding my blood flow that day, but consider me convinced that they do indeed make a difference in comparison to traditional ankle socks, mostly in how fresh my feet felt when I got off the plane. They took some getting used to - they really do huge your calves - yet it's a gentle squeeze, one that begins to bring a feeling of comfort and security as you break them in.

If you’re someone whose legs or feet fall asleep when you sit for an extended period of time, or you find that your legs are always tired after long flights, compression socks can help you. Aside from reducing leg fatigue, they are also a solid step towards preventing deep vein thrombosis that is a risk on long flights to Europe, Asia, or Australia. The one thing I will advise is that because of the nature of the product and its purpose (compression), the socks can be difficult to get on, especially the first few times and if they shrink at all in the dryer. Make sure you hang them to dry after washing.

If you'd like to give them a try, you can buy them online here for $35. I’ve also worn them hiking at altitude in the Rockies, and felt like I had a little extra in my step. The socks come designed specifically for travel, or, in the case you have other hobbies, for golf, hockey, running, and even maternity!

[Photo: Dr. Segal's]

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