Best compression socks for running 2024 for improved performance and faster recovery

The best compression socks for running can minimise aching and speed up recovery

Best compression socks for running: Outdoors fitness portrait of young attractive and athletic Asian Indonesian woman in compression socks jogging on the beach doing running workout training hard in healthy lifestyle concept
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best compression socks for running could help you recover faster, whether you're an ultra-runner or someone who 'only' dabbles with weekly park runs. Although running compression socks won't make you more quickly, they can help you achieve your fitness goals sooner – but only if you use them correctly. Below are the best compression socks for sports, reviewed and ranked by T3's fitness experts.

Besides helping your lower legs feel more oxygenated during your runs, running compression socks can hold your ankles firmer, reducing the risk of ankle sprains. If you want something less compressing for your feet, we also have a guide to the best running socks and sports socks that provide less or no compression. Complete your running gear by getting the best running shoes (or the best women's running shoes, specifically), the best running headphones and the best running watch.

Matt Kollat T3
Matt Kollat

Looking for extra lower-leg support this winter? Look no further than the running compression socks below. And if you want to spend tons of cash on new running gear, we suggest keeping a keen eye on the Black Friday deals on running compression socks.

Best compression socks for running to buy right now

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How to choose the best compression socks for running and sports

There are a few important things to consider before buying a pair of compression socks. Not least of which is what they actually are and how they work. 

How do compression socks work? Well, in addition to making your lower legs look extra colourful, compression socks make blood flow more efficiently – it's the same reason people wear them during flights to help prevent DVT (or deep vein thrombosis).

Most socks apply gradient pressure, which means less pressure is applied to the leg the higher up you get. However, because different people have different shaped legs and feet, as well as different levels of circulation, you need to look for socks that apply pressure at the right level to the areas that are going to help you. 

The level of compression varies too. If a brand lists the grade of compression (rated in mmHg), it’s a good sign you’re getting real compression rather than something that’s just a bit tighter. Many brands don’t provide this information.

You’ll find a range of different fabrics. Some will combine compression with thermal layering to keep your feet warm. Others use moisture-wicking technology to do the opposite.  So it’s important to think about when and where you’re most likely to use them. 

It’s also worth thinking about thickness and how they’re going to feel in your running shoes. All the compression in the world won’t help you if you’ve got blisters because your shoe-sock combo has eaten up all the wiggle room for your toes.

To get the best fit, measure your calf circumference at its widest. You will need this number (in either centimetres or inches) to find the best fitting compression sock for your legs.


What level of compression socks do you need for running?

[In-depth: what level of compression do you need for running?]

In short, it depends. Most people will not see the benefits of wearing compression socks for running, but compression garments can help with recovery as long as you wear them after the running sessions have concluded. In a study titled 'Compression socks and functional recovery following marathon running: a randomized trial', the researchers came to the following conclusion:

"This shows a significant beneficial effect of compression socks on recovery compared with placebo. The wearing of below-knee compression socks for 48 hours after marathon running has been shown to improve functional recovery as measured by a graduated treadmill test to exhaustion 2 weeks after the event."

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.

With contributions from