Whenever I travel I always get cold feet. Not figuratively - I'm always keen for whatever adventure is in store - but literally my feet feel freezing, especially on the plane. I've always had poor circulation in my hands and feet, so any environment less than even about 65 degrees starts to impact me. This effect is greatly worsened if I'm sitting inactive for long periods of time.
Lately I've turned to stylish and comfortable compression socks to ramp up my circulation and keep my feet feeling cozy. Long-haul flights greater than eight hours, like my recent trip to Tahiti, are a perfect place to wear compression socks.
What Are The Benefits Of Compression Socks While Flying?
In the simplest sense, compression socks keep your blood moving so it does not pool or linger in one place. While I'm focused particularly on the warming impact on my feet, compression socks help improve blood flow in general, which brings nutrients to the right areas, reduces swelling and decreases potential for blood clots that can arise from sitting down for many hours.
In fact, sitting still for a long time can have very adverse effects on your body. Flying seems to worsen the impact on your body, and certain people are more affected than others.
Some people with higher disposition to blood clots, heart disease or high blood pressure could find the right socks help lower their health risk while traveling. As I mentioned before, the longer the stint on the airplane, the bigger benefit you get from compression.
How Do Compression Socks Work?
Travel compression socks are worn high up on the calves, constructed to be tightest around your feet and gradually have less tension as they move up your legs. The effect is to relax flow in arteries and more easily carry oxygen-rich blood to your extremities, and boost flow in veins to return oxygen-poor blood to your heart.
How And How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks?
You want to make sure that you always have the socks pulled up as high as possible and flat against your leg (no rolled edges or creases). The compression itself should help keep the socks in place even while walking around, but just ensure to adjust them as needed to keep them fully pulled up. The best travel compression socks are those that are tight but not uncomfortable. Most are unisex, so you can wear the same pair as a man or woman, just check the sizing.
Personally I put on my ultrasoft travel compression socks when I get dressed for the airport, and wear them until I get to my destination hotel, etc. For people wearing compression socks for the first time, you may wish to get used to them at home before your first trip. Also, if you're starting in a really warm climate, you may prefer to change into them right before your flight to allow your feet a little more breathing room, but the choice is up to you.