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Compression socks and sleeves - what's the difference?

Compression socks and sleeves - what's the difference?

Compression socks and sleeves can be worn by everybody for several different purposes. Some people use compression garments for medical purposes, such as for treating lymphedema and DVT. Others wear compression for preventative measures such as preventing spider and varicose veins, and for overall health and wellness.

But what’s the difference between wearing compression socks and sleeves? The biggest difference is in the way they look- compression sleeves are footless, while compression socks are a full sock. Generally, it’s a personal preference if you would rather wear socks or sleeves, but each is better suited for different purposes.

 Compression socks are ideal for...

  • Sitting or standing for extended periods
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Travel
  • Muscle recovery

Compression sleeves are ideal for...

  • Athletes
  • Shin splints
  • Intense training and workouts
  • Muscle recovery

Whether you choose socks or sleeves all comes down to your personal needs and preferences. You don’t have to be an athlete to wear compression sleeves- maybe you just want to wear some sandals with your compression garments, so you opt for the footless option. Both compression socks and sleeves will still provide graduated compression throughout your legs.

So now that you’ve narrowed down whether socks or sleeves are right for you, which ones should you get? We made that decision easier on you by compiling a list of our favorite socks and sleeves for you to choose from! Keep reading to learn about our favorite socks and sleeves.

Compression Socks:

Allegro Athletic Support Sock 15-20mmHg

person wearing knee high white compression socks

These five-star rated Allegro socks are just what you need to keep your legs energized! They are extremely soft and durable, plus they have a padded foot for comfort and Coolmax polyester to keep you dry.

Medi Comfort Knee Highs 15-20mmHg

person wearing navy knee high compression socks

Everyone deserves to have luxurious, soft, and comfortable compression socks in their collection. Made with 3D knitting technology and microfiber yarns, your legs and feet will thank you for wearing these!

REJUVA Herringbone Compression Socks 15-20mmHg

bent legs wearing herringbone patterned, navy and gray knee high socks

Compression socks don’t have to look basic and bland! REJUVA has all kinds of compression socks in fun colors and patterns, so you can look and feel good while you’re traveling or recovering. Some REJUVA brand socks are also available in 20-30mmHg.

Jobst Relief Knee Highs 15-20mmHg

person wearing black knee high compression socks

These knee-high compression socks will truly bring some relief to your legs and feet- it’s right there in the name! They have the perfect level of compression to wear for traveling and for treating swelling in your legs and ankles.

Therafirm Core-Spun Support Socks 15-20mmHg

photo of legs from behind wearing white knee high compression socks

If you’re looking for a comfortable, everyday sock that also has compression benefits, look no further than these Therafirm socks! They’re easy to put on, thick to keep you comfortable, and perfect to wear if you sit or stand for long periods of time every day. They also come in solid colors and stripes!  

Compression Sleeves:

Sigvaris 412 Athletic Performance Sleeves 20-30mmHg

side photo of person wearing hot pink compression sleeves and black tennis shoes

These Sigvaris performance sleeves are great for athletes for several reasons! They increase circulation which helps deliver oxygen to your muscles, and oxygenated muscles perform better. Increased circulation also helps remove lactic acid, so recovery won’t be as sore. The sleeves come in classic black and white, as well as three vibrant colors.   

TheraSport Athletic Performance Sleeve 20-30mmHg

picture of a singular blue compression sleeve

You can go the extra mile while wearing these TheraSport performance sleeves. They are stretchy, breathable, and sweat wicking, plus they will help keep you energized during your entire workout!

Solidea Micro Massage Compression Leg Sleeves

bent legs wearing hazelnut color compression sleeves

Check out these Solidea leg sleeves if you’re looking for improved athletic performance and recovery! These sleeves are easy to put on and remove, the top and bottom bands are non-constricting, and they are created with 3D stretch fabric technology.  

CEP Men’s The Run Compression Calf Sleeves 4.0  

CEP Men's The Run Compression Calf Sleeves 4.0

No matter what sport or activity you participate in, these CEP calf sleeves will keep you cool and comfortable! They are made with high-tech yarn and moisture management technology to quickly evaporate sweat, plus the targeted compression helps you achieve optimum performance. They also come in a few different colors so you can pick your favorite one!

CEP Women’s The Run Compression Calf Sleeves 4.0

CEP Women's The Run Compression Calf Sleeves 4.0

The CEP calf sleeves are also available in women’s sizing! They have all the same great benefits of helping you achieve optimum performance and sweat wicking, plus they come in six different, fun colors like hot pink and mint green.


Whatever your needs or preferences are, BrightLife has you covered with all the compression socks and sleeves you need!


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