How to Choose and Use Compression Socks for Flying

If you’ve been reading up on compression socks and decided that you need to get a pair for your next long-haul flight, you may be tempted to buy the first pair you see and whack them on when you get on the plane.

But, to get the most benefits out of your socks, you need to choose the right pair to suit you and your current level of health as well as learn about when is the right time to put them on. 

Choosing the Right Flight Socks

When buying flight socks you need to choose the right size and compression grade to suit you.


Flight socks come in different sizes and you can find the appropriate pair by measuring around your ankle and calf and comparing to the size guide provided. If you get socks that are too big then they won’t have the same effect. You can learn more about how to measure yourself correctly here.

Compression Grade

All flight socks have a compression grade that is measured in mmHg (millimetres of mercury). What level you need can vary depending on your health situation.

  • Most fit and healthy people can choose 15-20 mmHg socks for short flights.
  • If you are pregnant, on a long-haul flight or have achy legs then you’ll want to go for 15-20 mmHg.
  • For those at risk of DVT or who have vein problems will need 20-30 mmHg.
  • Socks with 30-50 mmHg are suited for those with certain diseases or extreme risk of DVT and clotting. Your doctor may recommend these. 

How to Use Them Correctly

When you put on and take off your socks is important to ensuring that you get the most benefit out of them.

When to Put Them On

Putting your flight socks on after the plane takes off is not going to be of much help. You need to make sure that you put them on before you get on your flight since any bit of altitude can make your legs and feet start to swell.

The absolute best time to put on your compression socks is after you wake up in the morning when your legs are at the least swollen point they can be. Even if you don’t have a flight until later on, you can safely wear your socks throughout the day under your jeans or pants without anyone knowing.

man's bare feet

When to Take Them Off

It can take some time for your system to adapt to being back at a lower altitude, so there’s no need to rush to get them off as soon as the plane lands. You can wait a few hours until after you have arrived at your destination and your body has regulated itself.

Find the right pair of flight socks for your needs

Check out our range of flight socks where you can find more information on the size and compression options available. If you not sure about which option is right for you, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 894 769.

Please note: The information provided here is for general information only and is not intended to act as medical advice. We advise anyone interested in this subject to seek qualified, professional advice.

About Heather Gatland

Chief Sock Checker at TXG Socks

After finding that compression socks sped up the healing of an injury, Heather wanted to help others do the same, so founded TXG Compression Socks in Australasia in 2013. With her 6 years of ‘hands-on’ experience working with medical professionals, extensive business experience and Chartered Accountant qualification, Heather knows all the ins and outs of the compression socks market. Heather’s goal of helping baby boomers, like herself, has finally come true. Heather loves researching and sharing her findings on the TXG blog as well as enjoys supporting her customers to get back to feeling happy, energised and active.

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