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Best compression socks for running: soothe tired muscles with our top picks

Ease tired legs and speed up post-run muscle recovery with our pick of the best compression socks, as recommended by Mumsnet's running community. 

By Poppy O'Neill | Last updated Feb 2, 2022

Best compression socks

Mumsnet has a thriving running community, and the power of compression socks is a frequent topic of discussion. Not just for long-haul flights, pregnancy and post-surgery, compression socks have the ability to boost running performance as well as speed up muscle recovery. 

By lowering blood pressure, compression socks allow the heart to pump blood more effectively around the body, stopping it from pooling in the legs. By supporting your body while you work out, they lead to less fatigue and soreness in your muscles after your run. 

Lots of brands are getting in on the compression socks for running market, so we hot-footed it to the Mumsnet Talk forums to find out which ones are worth adding to your running wardrobe. 

Here are the best compression socks to buy for running.

1. Best overall compression socks: 2XU Womens Race Compression Sock 

2XU compression socks

Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon

"I have a pair of boring black 2XU knee-length ones for if my lower extremities show sight of crankiness" - recommended by Mumsnet user, AuntieStella

"The crazily long ultra marathoners in my running club both swear by compression gear and the makes I see them in are 2XU and UnderArmour" - more from AuntieStella

Our favourite running socks are from specialist compression garment company, 2XU. Their women's socks fit well, take great care of your muscles and come in a great range of colours, from plain black to two-tone pink. Mumsnetters really rate the brand's socks, tights and calf sleeves for speeding up recovery time, plus they’re comfortable and chafe-free on skin. 

Key specs

  • Material: Polyester
  • Size range: XS-L

2. Best budget compression socks: Karrimor Women's Compression Running Socks

Karrimor compression socks

Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

"So far I’ve been wearing Kairrmor compression socks with the most success" - recommended by Mumsnet user, JennyOnTheBlocks

As with most hi-tech and specialist clothing, compression socks don’t come cheap. These ones from Karrimor are the best of the budget options. At under £15, they’re anatomically shaped to fit women’s calves and offer graduated compression. They feel comfortable when running and support your muscles to recover faster. They’re one size fits all, which can often be an issue if you’re at the smaller or larger end of the size range, which is UK shoe size 4-8. 

Key specs

  • Material: Tactel and nylon mix
  • Size range: One size (4-8)

3. Best knee-high compression socks: Gococo Wool Compression Socks

Gococo compression socks

Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon

"In sock-related activity I am wearing my turquoise Gococo calf compression beauties" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Mitchy1nge

The Gococo brand is beloved among Mumsnetters for its brightly-coloured socks that feature muscle pain reducing qualities. This seamless pair is super comfortable, plus the socks are made using high-performance merino wool, so they’ll keep you warm in winter, cool in summer, sweat and blister-free all year round. 

Key specs

  • Material: Merino, polyamide and elastane
  • Size range: Kids shoe size 9.5 - adult 12

4. Best compression socks for recovery: Skins Compression Tights

Skins compression tights

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

"A pair of SKINS compression tights will keep your legs warm and help with the running/recovery after long runs - I've been missing mine all summer as its been too hot to wear them. They are expensive but worth it" - recommened by Mumsnet user, londonmummy1966

For a little more support and coverage, many Mumsnetters opt for compression tights and leggings. Supporting your muscles from ankle to bum, these ones from Skins feature graduated compression to keep blood flowing evenly as you run and recover. They’re stretchy, with comfy seams and they come with a little pocket for your keys. 

Key specs

  • Material: Polyester
  • Size range: XS-L

5. Best thin compression socks: Bauerfeind Run Ultralight Compression Socks

Bauerfeind compression socks

Price: £43 | Buy now from Amazon

Made from an ultra-light and breathable polyamide and elastane blend, these running socks from Bauerfeind have targeted compression tailored to the different parts of your feet, supporting your muscles and the arch of your foot. They reduce pressure and impact on the most sensitive parts of your feet, and offer stability to the muscles and tendons. 

Key specs

  • Material: Polyamide and elastane
  • Size range: S-XL

6. Best compression socks for sweaty feet: Balega No-Show Compression Socks

Balega compression socks

Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

"I love Balega socks, super comfy and hardwearing" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Inthewainscoting

Balega running socks have a cult following on Mumsnet. Discreet, super comfortable and cushioned in all the right places, these are Balega’s take on the compression running sock. Using a specialist Drynamix fabric which moves with your foot to provide targeted compression, the socks also contain silver ions to keep your feet sweat-free and smelling good. 

Key specs

  • Material: Drynamix and polyamide
  • Size range: S-XL

7. Best compression socks for athletes: Injinji Toe Socks

Injinji toe socks

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

"I love Injinji toe socks. They're not cheap, but they're cosy and completely stop blisters. I'll always choose them for my long steady runs in autumn and winter" - recommended by Mumsnet user, fellrunner85

Another brand that makes compression socks cut to fit women’s calves, Injinji toe socks fit snugly around every contour. The individual toes prevent blisters between the toes, and the high-quality, seamless compression fabric reduces recovery time as well as muscle fatigue. The socks have reflective strips for increased visibility - great for training at night or early in the morning. Plus they’re made from 28% breathable, sweat-wicking Coolmax fabric. 

Key specs

  • Material: Coolmax, nylon and lycra
  • Size range: XS-L

8. Best compression socks for comfort: CEP Reflective Compression Socks

CEP compression socks

Price: £39 | Buy now from Amazon

"I really like… CEP when I want compression" - recommended by Mumsnet user, StrongTeaDropOfMilkNoSugar

Made from breathable, stretchy fabric that hugs your muscles, CEP compression socks are comfortable both during and after your run. The intelligent polyamide and elastane blend feels smooth against feet, wicks away sweat and is gentle on sensitive skin. Cep’s medi compression allows more oxygen to reach muscles while you exercise, meaning you’re more powerful. And less lactic acid builds up too, translating to a shorter recovery time. 

Key specs

  • Material: Polyamide and elastane
  • Size range: S-L

9. Best graduated compression socks: Runderwear Compression Running Socks

Runderwear compression socks

Price: £30 | Buy now from Runderwear

"I’d definitely second the suggestion to try compression socks, they’re not very expensive and made a huge difference to me when I was getting shin splints" - recommended by Mumsnet user, NetHero

Graduated compression works from the foot upwards to stimulate blood flow, and these ones from Runderwear are brilliant for long runs. The added support and stability means you can run for longer, suffer from fewer injuries and experience less pain after exercise. Made from a smooth, breathable Coolplus and cotton blend, they’re comfortable and sweat-resistant. 

Key specs

  • Material: Cotton and Coolplus mix
  • Size range: 4-8.5

10. Best compression socks for Plantar Fasciitis: Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Sock

Feetures compression socks

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

"I’m not sure the socks have cured the plantar fasciitis but they’ve relieved the symptoms. I’ve just been on a two week holiday with a lot of walking involved and I had no pain" - recommended by Mumsnet user, mdh2020

"Now I only ever run with cushioned support socks" - Beerincomechampagnetastes

Plantar Fasciitis causes foot pain, making it difficult for sufferers to exercise. Many find wearing compression socks helps, thanks to the added support the socks offer, enabling them to run without discomfort. These specialist socks from Feetures have targeted compression along the plantar fascia - between the heel bone and toes - making them perfect for those with the condition. The socks don’t scrimp on the other benefits of sports compression socks - they’re made from a moisture-wicking fabric and have cushioning at the toe and achilles tendon to minimise impact while you run. 

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and spandex
  • Size range: S-XL

What are the benefits of wearing compression socks when running?

Compression socks improve blood flow around the body, allowing your muscles to move more efficiently while you run, as well as recover more quickly afterwards. 

Do compression socks work? 

They do! Muscle pain after running is caused by a build up of lactic acid, and compression socks work to avoid this build up. 

What’s the best material for compression socks?

Hi-tech polyamide blends provide effective compression, as well as keeping feet and legs cool and comfortable. 

What are the best compression socks to buy?

We think that the 2XU Womens Compression Socks are the best ones to buy, because they’re effective, comfortable and cut to fit women’s calves. 

How we chose our recommendations 

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which compression socks discerning Mumsnet users had bought for themselves. We compiled a list of the running socks they recommended for being supportive, comfortable and offering value for money.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which running compression socks had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the best compression socks for running we thought would make the best buys.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.