how to measure for compression socks

How To Measure For Compression Socks? [Step-By-Step Guide]

After reading and understanding all about compression socks, the next step is to find the right pair of compression socks. But this is confusing, and without the proper knowledge about the sizes and compression level, you cannot find the right one for yourself.

Then comes the process of measuring the size of compression socks, which can be a bit tough. Because you will find different brands, sizes, and other factors that can affect the measurements. So, to clear all the confusion and ensure a proper and correct measurement process, we’ve written this read for you.

You will find several subheadings in this article that will help you understand the sizing of compression socks. We’ll start from the compression level as it will decide which the correct pair is and which size is the right one for you.

Lastly, we will also cover detailed compression measuring guides, why it is vital to measure, and some common complications you can face during the process.

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What Does Compression Levels Mean?

compression levels

One of the most complicated part of buying the right compression socks is to know the compression levels. Compression socks and stockings have a wide range of numbers stating how much-advanced compression the fabric contains.

The standard compression levels for compression socks are 15 to 20 mmHg (over the counter), 20 to 30 mmHg (medical class 1), 30 to 40 mmHg (medical class 2), and 40 to 50 mmHg (medical class 3). You might come across other compression levels during the process, but these are standardized and the most common ones.

So, which is the right one for you? Keep scrolling down to find out.

  • 8 to 15 mmHg

Offers extremely light compression. It is more suitable for minor or occasional swelling. It can also help if you spend most of your time on your feet.

  • 15 to 20 mmHg

It also offers light compression and well-suited for minor and occasional swelling. This is the most recommended range to reduce swelling and to prevent blood clots while traveling. This compression level is often recommended during pregnancy as it helps to prevent edema.

  • 20 to 30 mmHg

If you frequently experience swelling on your legs or feet at the end of the day, this is the perfect range for you. It is effective for severe aching and tired legs. Doctors also recommend this range to treat moderate edema from pregnancy, varicose veins, and other disorders.

  • 30 to 40 mmHg

If you are suffering from severe swelling or your feet suffer extreme swelling at the end of the day or the compression range of 20-30 mmHg is not working for you, it’s time to move on to 30-40 mmHg range. This compression range is effective against severe varicose veins and swelling.

  • 40 to 50 mmHg

It is the firmest compression level. And we will advise you to use this compression under your doctor’s supervision.

How Tight Should Compression Socks Be?

These socks have different compression levels that are shown in Millimeters of mercury (mmHg).


Compression socks should fit tightly, neither too tight nor too loose. However, if you feel any of the following, try a light compression level:


  • You feel pain in your legs, feet, or ankles.
  • You think that your skin is getting pinched from the socks.
  • You feel the coldness in your legs or feet.
  • You notice that your skin is getting discolored.
As a general rule, if your compression socks and stockings are painfully tight, then choose a different size or compression level.


How to Measure for Compression Socks & Stockings?

Getting the perfect size for compression socks or stockings can be a bit tricky – but don’t worry, we’ll show you how to measure for compression socks!

Before we move on to the steps, remember that every brand of compression socks has its own unique sizing chart. For instance, a medium-size in one brand might not be a medium in another brand. So, it’s vital to correctly measure and check the size chart for the product you need. This will ensure that you will get a pair that fits correctly.

Measuring the compression socks – Step by Step Process

If you suffer severe swelling during the day, take the measurements early in the morning.

  • Step 1:

At every circumferential point (the thigh, ankle, or calf), mark the leg using a non-toxic marker.

  • Step 2:

Measure the leg’s length from the surface to the marked point, and note it down.

  • Step 3:

Then, look out for the thinnest point of your ankle, and measure the circumference and write it down as “ankle measurement.”

  • Step 4:

Now, go ahead and look out for the largest part of your calf and take a measurement. Pen it down as “calf measurement.” You will have to measure your calf’s base, middle, or peak area to conclude the largest part in some cases.

  • Step 5:

Take off your shoes and measure the leg’s length from the surface to the bending part of your knee. It’s essential to measure the leg’s length appropriately because compression socks can be unproductive or painful when they are too long or too short. Pen the leg’s stature as the “thigh length measurement.”

  • Step 6:

If you are looking for thigh-high compression stockings, measure the length of your thigh and the circumference of your leg. Now follow all the procedures mentioned above in steps one to four. After completing all the steps, measure the thigh’s circumference from the broadest part of your thigh. Write it down as a “thigh circumference.”

  • Step 7:

Proceed to measure the leg’s length from the surface to the top of your thigh. Note this measurement and compare these dimensions with any applicable sizing chart to conclude your compression gear’s right size.

Now that you know how vital it is to identify the proper measurements to get the perfect compression socks or stockings, let’s check out some general sizing tips that will surely help you in the process.

Other Measuring Tips

  • We will advise you that always take measurements against bare skin.
  • If you suffer from extreme swelling, we will advise you to take measurements early in the morning.
  • Pull the measurement tape tight without constriction to get the most accurate readings.
  • Always take length measurements from the ground to the up.
  • When taking the measurements, keep your foot flat on the ground and right for accurate readings.
  • Ankle measurement is the most vital measurement for medical class compression socks. So, be careful when taking measures for the same.
  • If you are not sure of the size, take measurements from the ankle.

When to consult your doctor?

When selecting a compression level for your socks or stockings, we will advise you to consult your doctor and seek their recommendations. Generally, it is seen that a lighter compression level is more suitable for most people as compared to the stronger level of compression. Still, it mainly depends on your overall condition and your needs.

We will also advise you to change your compression socks and stockings after every five or six months to maintain their proper size, shape, and compression level. Similarly, if you feel that your compression socks and stockings are getting loose, it’s time to think about replacing them with a new pair.


Thanks for your time, and if you have more questions regarding the levels of compression for socks and stockings, feel free to contact us at any time!

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