From comfort and durability to odor and moisture control, there are many factors hikers and trail runners must consider when picking out the perfect socks for their adventures. This post explores one of those components in-depth: compression. In addition to covering the pros and cons of compression therapy, we’ll compare compression socks vs hiking socks and discuss why you should consider wearing compression socks for hiking.
Part 1: What You Need to Know About Compression
What Are Compression Socks and How Do They Work?
Compression socks, sleeves, and other garments are designed to apply gentle pressure on specific parts of the feet, ankles, and legs. This pressure supports veins in the lower leg as they work to push blood against gravity back to the heart. By stimulating blood flow, the socks improve circulation and reduce swelling.
Many compression socks include an mmHg (millimeters of mercury) rating indicating how much pressure they apply to the body. The different levels are:
- Very light compression: less than 15 mmHg
- Light compression: 15 – 20 mmHg
- Medium compression: 20 – 30 mmHg
- High compression: more than 30 mmHg
The lowest level of compression is suitable for everyday use to help with circulation, fatigue, and mild swelling. Light to medium compression is best for specific situations, such as travel or exercise. Most people should avoid socks with high levels of compression unless they are recommended by a doctor to treat particular medical conditions.
Benefits of Compression Socks
There are many anecdotal benefits of compression socks as well as advantages supported by scientific research. Wearing compression socks has been shown to improve blood flow, provide faster delivery of oxygen to muscles, and lower a person’s chances of developing circulation problems and blood clots. When worn after exercise, compression socks can reduce muscle soreness, minimize soft tissue damage, and speed up recovery.
Athletes who wear compression socks during intense workouts also report less muscle soreness afterward. Some fans say the socks improve performance and endurance while also reducing fatigue, although this has yet to be confirmed by researchers.
Using compression socks for hiking offers the above benefits and more. The socks guard hikers against blisters by preventing unwanted bunching and slippage, provide extra support, and reduce swelling of the feet.
Disadvantages of Compression Socks
Compression socks are generally safe to wear for most people and have no known negative impacts on recovery or performance. The most commonly reported downsides are discomfort and skin irritation, which often stem from poor fit and cheap materials. Some people find the tight feeling to be restrictive, even on socks with lighter compression.
Since many compression socks hit just below the knee, hikers may find these to be too hot and confining in certain weather conditions or climates. As long as your compression socks are not uncomfortable and you do not have arterial disease, then the garments should be completely safe to wear with minimal to no side effects.
Compression garments were initially prescribed for bed-ridden patients, those who had recent surgery, and people with diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, swelling, and varicose veins.
Today, compression socks serve people in a wide variety of settings and are popular among runners, weight lifters, and other athletes. Travelers, people with circulation problems or related medical issues, pregnant women, and anyone who sits or stands for a long time without moving around may also find compression socks useful.
Compression Socks vs Hiking Socks
Like hiking socks, compression socks come in different shapes and sizes and are available in a variety of lengths. Compression socks range from ankle-length to thigh-high, and most commonly go to just below the knee. Most of them, especially taller socks, have graduated compression, where more pressure is applied around the ankle and less as you move up the leg. This gradient helps direct blood flow back up towards the heart.
Many compression socks do not include any compression in the foot area. If you’re looking for extra arch support, you’ll want to read the product description carefully to make sure it has light foot compression.
Hiking socks do not typically offer much compression, but more products are becoming available as hikers learn about their benefits. If you do choose to wear compression socks for hiking, they should offer a snug fit without feeling overly tight.
Regular hikers should avoid choosing a sock with high compression since these are designed to treat specific medical conditions rather than for everyday use. Instead, hikers should opt for socks with enough compression to prevent slipping, rubbing, and bunching, which are common culprits for blisters. Socks that offer light to medium pressure can also help with sore feet and fatigue on extended hikes and backpacking trips.
Should You Use Compression Socks for Hiking?
Many hikers like the extra support compression socks offer for long days on the trail. If you often get sore legs and achy or swollen feet after hiking, or if you need additional support, compression socks could be an excellent addition to your next hiking trip packing list.
Part 2: Silverlight Hiking Socks
As we discussed in a previous blog post, choosing the right hiking socks can mark the difference between an incredible hiking or backpacking trip and an unpleasant one. If you’re looking for compression socks for hiking, we believe Silverlight socks are the best option on the market.
Our goal is to provide customers with quality socks that perform better than anything they’ve tried before. Silverlight socks are the only dual-layer compression hiking socks available with silver-infused yarns and offer many benefits compared to other hiking and trail running socks.
Below, you can learn more about what makes our socks stand out from all the others.
Compression and Support in All the Right Places
Whereas most top-of-the-line hiking socks do not include any compression, Silverlight socks have light, breathable compression in the mid-foot to support the arch. This feature is especially useful for people with plantar fasciitis and prevents slippage better than other socks on the market – even when wet. The form-fitting design provides support in all the right places, and the padded heel and toe areas continue to offer soft cushioning even after many miles. Crew socks also come with light compression on the upper part of the sock, to prevent any movement of the socks inside your hiking boots.
Silver is a powerful weapon against bacteria. Our socks use Silverlight® Silver Yarn Technology to prevent odor-causing bacteria from growing around your feet.
Other companies that use silver in their socks apply a silver coating or spray silver ions on the surface of the fabric. This coating washes out easily and loses its effectiveness over time.
Silverlight socks, on the other hand, use yarns with a 99.99% pure silver layer. The silver ions never wash out since they are woven throughout the entire fabric, which helps hikers remain stink-free even after thousands of miles on the trail.
Hikers – particularly ultralight backpackers and thru-hikers – often wear socks several days in a row before washing them. Our innovative technology means you can wear Silverlight socks longer than other brands, allowing you to pack lighter on multi-day hikes.
Preventing blisters is a crucial skill that hikers and backpackers often learn the hard way. Blisters and hotspots typically result from cheap socks and ill-fitting hiking boots. Choosing the right trail running shoes or hiking boots is an essential part of the equation, but a pair of quality socks is the best defense.
One of the reasons we created Silverlight socks was to offer superior protection against blisters. The entire sock was developed to combat all the leading causes of this annoying problem. Thanks to their moisture-wicking, fast-drying, and bacteria-fighting properties, Silverlight socks prevent blisters better than any other socks on the market.
With many brands, dual-layer is often associated with heavy, thick socks, making them unsuitable to wear in warmer conditions. The dual-layer construction of Silverlight socks, however, strikes the perfect balance between comfort and thickness. Thanks to our 2-in-1 design, Silverlight socks are thin enough to offer exceptional moisture-wicking properties without compromising compression and support.
This construction makes our product incredibly versatile – although our socks were designed for hiking and running, many of our customers say they’ve ditched their other socks completely. Whether you’re heading out for a long trail run or just running some errands, Silverlight socks will provide you with all-day comfort.
Customers love the silky-smooth comfort of Silverlight socks. The toe box’s seamless stitching reduces irritation and rubbing in sensitive spots and helps prevent blisters from forming. Whether dry or wet, customers tell us our socks are more comfortable than other high-quality hiking socks.
Many hikers say that their biggest problem on the trail is moist feet. The merino wool used in our socks is known for its moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, and antibacterial properties to keep you as dry and blister-proof as possible. You’ll also get a soft, static-free feel for the utmost comfort.
Unique Blend of Merino Wool, Nylon, and Spandex
On its own, wool is not as durable as synthetic materials. That’s why Silverlight socks use a blend of merino wool, nylon, and spandex for ultimate durability, moisture control, comfort, and support.
The Australian merino wool layer on the inside contributes to the socks’ temperature regulating and moisture-wicking properties. The spandex and nylon on the outside offer anti-friction compression and help our socks dry faster than the competition.
Grippy Outer Layer
The grippy outer layer of our socks is made from a blend of nylon and spandex that offers light compression while also decreasing unnecessary movement inside the shoe. This unique design helps limit blisters and hot spots while also maintaining comfort on every adventure.
Durable and Abrasion Resistant
Our lab-tested socks offer first-rate performance in strength, durability, and abrasion resistance. Even after hundreds of miles and numerous washes, the expertly blended merino wool fibers will retain their shape and remain hole-free.
We are committed to ensuring each of our customers is satisfied with their purchase. All Silverlight socks come with a lifetime money-back guarantee. While we are sure you’ll love these socks, you can return the product for any reason at any time. If you ever run into any problems with your Silverlight socks, you can send them back – we’ll get you a new pair, no questions asked. Based on feedback and endorsements from our customers and experienced hikers, we are fully confident our socks will outperform the competition on the trail.
Free Worldwide Shipping
In contrast to many other brands, Silverlight includes free worldwide shipping on all our products. Whether it’s your first pair of Silverlight socks or your fourteenth, you can expect free shipping across the globe.
As a consumer, you have a lot of power to shape the world by choosing which brands to buy from. For many brands, sustainability is unfortunately not a priority. At Silverlight, we’re continually seeking to improve the sustainability and performance of our products, while also minimizing our environmental impact. In partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects, we plant one tree for every pair of Silverlight socks sold.
We constantly seek to inspire others to get excited about hiking. We want all of our customers to venture out and enjoy nature without worrying that their gear will negatively impact their adventures. Silverlight socks provide superior comfort, quality, and versatility compared to other compression socks for hiking.
While socks are only one element of the journey, the right hiking sock can make a massive difference on a multi-day hike. From durability and support to odor elimination and blister prevention, Silverlight has everything you should expect from high-quality compression socks for hiking, backpacking, and trail running.