According to a recent British study, “all forms of transport involving a journey of 4+ hours led to an increased risk of blood clots forming in the veins of the legs.” Compression socks for travel are a simple way to prevent swelling in the legs, as well as blood clots and other health complications. The benefits are clear, but which compression socks should you choose?
VIM & VIGR is a Montana based company that saw a market opportunity to introduce stylish, high quality compression socks, and they jumped at it. Since 2013 they have partnered with vascular surgeons and vein clinics to develop compression legwear that is scientifically designed to support your legs all day, every day, no matter your activity.
We tested the Men’s Straight-up Argyle which includes high-grade wool, other socks are primarily nylon or cotton. All VIM & VIGR socks offer either moderate compression (15-20 mmHg) or high compression (20-30 mmHg), most people consider moderate the ideal compression level used for those traveling long distances. Other features include:
- Light cushioned sole
- Graduated compression from ankle to calf
- Contoured leg and heel for a superior fit
- Flexible toe pocket for extra comfort
- Spandex throughout the sock
- Compression level: 15-20 mmHg
- Material: 40% Wool, 45% Nylon, 15% Spandex (200-needle count)
Pros & Cons
Every year there are more and more options for travel compression socks, but VIM & VIGR is still unique in the marketplace for a number of reasons. First, unlike many of their competitors, they do not use uni-sex sizing and they don’t have just a couple of sizes. Socks are gender specific and come in four sizes (small, medium, large, and wide calf) to allow for a much better fit than some brands provide.
The variety of fabric options is also unique, you can choose from nylon, moisture-wick nylon, cotton, or wool. A survey of popular brands shows that a nylon/cotton blend is by far the most common fabric for travel compression socks, check out the Pro Tip below to see why we were excited to see a wool option from VIM & VIGR. The wide variety of patterns is nice for the fashion conscious among us, it is no surprise that this is particularly true in the women’s socks.
While VIM & VIGR offers moderate and firm compression options, those seeking mild compression (8-15 mmHg) will need to look elsewhere. Although, I suspect most good knee socks would offer mild compression. With price points ranging from about $25 to $40, this is certainly a premium product. But I must say, I own high-end socks from companies like Smartwool, Darn Tough, and Icebreaker, and these seem to be every bit as good.
As someone who is new to the world of compression socks, I had the opportunity to experience wearing them for a long day along with the chance to evaluate the workmanship and materials of the VIM & VIGR socks.
While I defer to the medical professionals in regard to the determination that compression socks improve circulation and alleviate aching and swelling and prevent and reduce spider veins, varicose veins, and DVT, I can say that they definitely improve comfort on long travel days. These socks (with their advanced Gradient Pressure™ knitting technology) are extremely well made and very comfortable, I do not think you will be disappointed if you pick up a pair for your next big trip.
Always choose wool socks for travel, here’s why:
- Moisture wicking: wool fibers are both hydrophobic (repels water) and hygroscopic, which is a fancy way of saying that it can absorb or give off moisture. In fact, wool fibers can absorb up to 1/3 of their own weight in moisture before feeling “wet”.
- Low-maintenance: wool is naturally anti-bacterial, the structure and chemical properties of wool create a horrible environment for microorganisms, which also means it is naturally odor-resistant. Because most body odor is actually caused by bacterial waste products, the naturally anti-bacterial products prevent this odor from building in the first place. This may sound gross, but wool socks don’t necessarily need to be washed after each wearing. If they are left to air out, or spot cleaned, they can be worn a few times before being washed.
Some, but not all, of the products reviewed are provided either free or at a discount. All reviews contain our honest views and opinions.