The best compression tights

Written by karen spaeder
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The best compression tights
The best compression tights are the ones that suit your unique needs. (Paul Viant/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Compression tights are designed to apply graduated pressure to the legs, helping to improve blood circulation in the legs and feet, treat circulatory disorders and enhance athletic performance. Whether for medical, athletic or travel needs, your choice of the best compression tights will depend on how you intend to use them. They're available in a variety of compression grades, styles and colours, ranging from less than £6 to more than £65---so you have many options to suit your needs, tastes and budget.

Medical Use

Compression tights for medical use support healthy blood circulation in the legs, helping to treat cases of poor circulation, varicose veins, oedema and deep vein thrombosis as well as prevent post-surgery blood clots. Likewise, maternity compression tights help to ease the swelling and discomfort that can accompany pregnancy. In some cases, compression socks---which are knee-high rather than waist-high and look like regular dress socks---may be sufficient to promote healthy circulation. Your doctor can help you choose the correct type and grade of compression tights for your needs. If you'll only use the tights temporarily, you may not wish to invest a lot of money in them, but plan to spend more if you'll use them for an extended period.

Athletic Use

Athletic compression tights differ from medical in that they are designed to support not only the cardiovascular system, but also muscular health and athletic performance. The best athletic compression tights keep the skin cool and dry while maintaining muscle heat and elasticity---helping to enhance the athlete's endurance, agility and speed; prevent muscle injury; reduce the chances of chafing on the inner thigh; and easy the athlete's muscle recovery. For athletic use, look for compression tights in a flexible, moisture-wicking fabric, with built-in UV protection if you'll use them outdoors.


Also called flight socks, travel compression garments focus solely on applying enough compression to keep blood circulating through your legs and reduce the risk of developing blood clots during long periods of sitting. If you only need your compression tights for travel, a pair of flight socks will serve the purpose, without costing as much as athletic compression tights. They also can be more comfortable than waist-high tights for use underneath trousers and jeans, which often lend themselves to travel.

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