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Best compression socks for pregnancy: ease swelling with our top picks

Looking to soothe swollen legs and feet in the later stages of pregnancy? Compression socks can help. We've done the leg work to round up the best pairs to buy. 

By Carol Linfield | Last updated Jan 12, 2022

Lithing Compression Socks

It's less than ideal but it's perfectly normal (and common) for legs and feet to become a little swollen in the final stages of pregnancy. Wearing compression socks can help ease aching limbs, while also reducing the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins. 

They may not be the most glamorous purchase you'll make while pregnant but they can be really effective if you're suffering with swelling and you can buy pairs that are far nicer than the surgical stockings you see on labour wards. 

So how do you ensure that you choose a pair that you’ll be happy wearing during pregnancy and beyond? Well, we’ve done the leg work for you, so you can put those tired feet up and enjoy our guide to the best maternity compression socks on the market.

Here are the best pregnancy compression socks to buy in 2022. 

1. Best overall pregnancy compression socks: Physix Gear Compression Socks (1 pair)

Physix Gear Compression Socks

Price £10 | Buy now from Amazon

"Couldn't manage without them. Just measure yourself correctly before you buy. They’re a life saver" - FraggleRock77 

These socks don't look like typical compression socks. They come in nine funky designs, some with colourful heels and floral features. They have a 20-30 mmHg rating (medical grade compression) and thousands of rave reviews online confirm that they offer an extremely cosy fit, mainly down to the cuff at the top that keeps everything in place. Slipping into a pair of these at the start of the day will feel comfortable and the moisture-wicking fabric will draw sweat away from the body and keep feet dry and fresh. You will have to hand wash these pull ups after use though, but we’re not put off. Comfort is key, right? 

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and spandex
  • Compression rating: 20-30 mmHg

2. Best budget compression socks for pregnancy: Copper Compression Socks (3 pairs)

Copper Compression Socks

Price £5 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a no-frills, budget friendly option to take the load off, these copper compression socks will do nicely. Copper has a great reputation for improving blood circulation around the body and the effectiveness of these socks are made with a copper-infused fabric. The compression rating is 20-30 mmHg and you’ll get three pairs for around a fiver, which is a total steal. If you're sitting for long periods at work or travelling long distances, these are a brilliant choice as they will gently squeeze to support blood flow, all while feeling snug. Visually they aren’t the most attractive pair on our list but if you're in the later stages of pregnancy, you’re not going to care too much.

Key specs

  • Material: Copper and nylon
  • Compression rating: 20-30 mmHg

3. Best everyday compression socks for pregnancy: Cotton Compression Socks for Women (2 pairs)

Cotton Compression Socks for Women

Price £15 | Buy now from Amazon

Cotton equals comfort and these socks are going to make your sore feet happy. They have a lower compression rating (15-20 mmHg) so they're a brilliant choice to wear every day. They offer a decent level of support without feeling too heavy. They can be used for sports and can relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. They come in seven pastel shades and can be thrown into the washing machine with all your other pairs.

Key specs

  • Material: Cotton
  • Compression rating: 15-20 mmHg

4. Best comfy pregnancy compression socks: Calves Kelson Compression Socks (2 pairs)

Calves Pregnancy Compression Socks

Price £13 | Buy now from Amazon

"Pregnancy compression stockings or leggings can definitely be helpful in preventing varicose veins and/or associated swelling. Before you decide to get compression stockings, leggings or pantyhose you should definitely check with your physician to get his recommendations for what type and compression strength would be best in your case" - Lizzy1012 

We’d be totally fooled into thinking these were normal knee-high socks thanks to their stylish design. The hot pink, bright green and electric blue pairs stand out for us – why should supportive socks be boring? They come in two sizes so make sure you measure up before ordering and are recommended for petite women and those with smaller feet. The nylon and elastic material provide flexibility although nylon may not be the best choice for those with more sensitive skin. 

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and elastic
  • Compression rating: 20-30 mmHg

5. Best pregnancy compression socks for style: Litthing Compression (3 Pairs)

Lithing Compression Socks

Price £15 | Buy now from Amazon

These sunny pull-ups remind us that supportive maternity wear doesn't have to be dull. The cute designs (colourful hearts, polka dots) are mood boosters and are a doddle to put on (compression socks are notoriously not). They also come in packs of eight and 14 so you’ll never be without a clean pair. These socks are reinforced around the toe and heel for support and their moisture-wicking material will stop you feeling sticky, come rain or shine. 

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and polyamide
  • Compression rating: 20-25 mmHg

6. Best pregnancy compression socks for exercise: NEWZILL Low Cut Compression Socks (1 pair)

NEWZILL Low Cut Compression Socks

Price £32 | Buy now from Amazon

These low-cut ankle socks are the most expensive pair on our list but they're a sound investment if you're exercising during pregnancy. They fit just over the ankle so won’t make your skin itchy and uncomfortable during a workout. Compression support is not too heavy at 15-20 mmHg and focuses around the arch and heel of your foot to boost circulation and energise those tired legs. 

Key specs

  • Material: Lycra and nylon
  • Compression rating: 15-20 mmHg

7. Best pregnancy compression socks for travelling: Dr. Scholl's Women's Travel Knee High Socks with Graduated Compression Casual (1 pair)

Dr. Scholl's Women's Travel Knee High Socks

Price £13 | Buy now from Amazon

These low compression knee-highs may look like an average sock but they're brilliant if you're travelling for any length of time, particularly if you're flying. They feature lighter pressure around the ankle that reduces as the sock travels up the leg for total comfort and minimal irritation. This airy pair will fit UK shoe size 4-10 so they're a realistic option for those with larger feet, as well as those that have tried heavier compression socks before without success. 

Key specs

  • Material: Polyester and elastane
  • Compression rating: 8-15 mmHg

8. Best pregnancy compression stockings: Thigh High Compression Stocking (1 pair)

Thigh High Compression Stocking

Price £22 | Buy now from Amazon

"I started with the ones that stop lower down at the knee and the ones that don't compress your feet. Don't bother as wherever the compression stops the fluid starts to pool. Go full length" - FraggleRock77 

"Go full length" advises one Mumsnetter. Thigh high compression socks are a great option for those that don’t want a stocking sitting over the bump, but want to ease throbbing in the upper thighs and muscle cramps. These medical stockings sport an open toe design to help prevent foot, ankle and leg swelling, and are available in two medical grades (15-20 and 20-30 mmHg). The black and beige colour options even resemble your average pair of winter tights. They’ll be a tight fit at first but don’t give up as this feeling will ease within a few days. Typically, you'll get two days' wear out of a pair, then they'll need a freshen up.   

Key specs

  • Material: Nylon and spandex
  • Compression rating: 15-20, 20-30 mmHg

9. Best sheer pregnancy compression socks: Scholl Sheer Flight Socks (2 pairs)

Scholl Sheer Flight Socks

Price £16 | Buy now from Amazon

"Get sheer compression stockings or socks and wear them every day. This one from Scholl helps me but you may need higher or stronger compression" - Teddybear45

Sheer compression socks score highly for lightweight comfort with Mumsnetters so they're perfect for daily wear. These ones from Scholl have a lower compression rating than most at 14-17mmHg, but are recommended for helping relieve all the aches and pains in your legs that come with pregnancy. They also feature antimicrobial protection so they're designed to stay fresh and odour-free. These are billed as flight socks but they're just as handy to keep in your sock drawer for everyday wear. 

Key specs

  • Material: 93% polymide, 7% elastane
  • Compression rating: 14-17 mmHg

What are compression socks?

Compression socks allow gentle pressure to be applied to your lower legs, enhancing circulation by maintaining blood flow and forcing blood to move around the body. They can be effective at reducing the discomfort and swelling in the legs that can occur during pregnancy - for most women, this means mildly-swollen feet and legs from the second trimester until delivery. However, if you have severe, prolonged swelling that isn’t going away, you should reach out to your doctor for medical advice. 

A variety of materials can be used to make compression socks including Lycra, nylon, cotton, polyester and spandex. You can choose different socks with different thicknesses and compression levels, depending on what you need them for.

What are the benefits of wearing compression socks during pregnancy? 

Compression socks should go on at the beginning of the day before any swelling occurs as they can be tricky to pull up if your legs are already swollen. It's common for pregnant women to experience mild swelling (also called edema) due to the body holding more water than usual. In warm weather or after standing for a long time, excess water tends to gather in the lowest part of the body. It often worsens towards the end of the day and as your pregnancy progresses. Swelling that happens gradually can be uncomfortable, but is not usually harmful. Although a sudden increase in swelling may indicate pre-eclampsia, which should be looked at immediately. By improving circulation and keeping the blood flowing, compression socks will ease the aches caused by swelling. Another common concern in pregnancy is deep vein thrombosis, which can occur when the expanding uterus puts pressure on veins. Compression socks can also help blood clots from developing and minimise the appearance of varicose veins. 

How to buy the best compression socks for pregnancy

There are a few key factors to consider when looking to purchase a pair of compression socks:

Design: Some socks are thigh-high, some rest at the knee or sit at the ankle. Work out which sock fits the brief by establishing why you’re wearing them – is it for a workout, for daily use, or for stints in the car? This will lead you to choose the style that best suits you.

Compression rating: There are three levels of compression: mild (10-15 mmHg), moderate (15-20 mmHg) and firm (30 mmHg) to choose from depending on the relief needed. 20-30 mmHg is most common in pregnancy. 

Size: You should measure the circumference of your calf and ankle. If your measurements fall between sizes, select a smaller size that is closer to your measurements. They should feel snug on the leg but not uncomfortable. 

What are the best compression socks to buy for pregnancy? 

On top of the sock pile are the Physix Gear Compression Socks. They provide medical-grade compression of 20-30 mmHg and are extremely comfortable. Their moisture-wicking technology also keeps feet fresh and they can dry quickly if you don't have a fresh pair lying around. With their functionality, price, variety of designs and glowing reviews, these socks top our list of compression socks.

How we chose our recommendations 

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which maternity compression socks mothers were recommending and had bought. We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which maternity compression socks had been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the top maternity compression socks on the market.

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.