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Anyone who’s experienced intense heel and arch pain, also called plantar fasciitis, knows it can be pretty severe. Luckily, most patients who suffer from the condition have improved symptoms with just a few simple at-home treatment methods. In addition to using special insoles and sporting shoes, including walking shoes and running shoes, designed to help treat plantar fasciitis, wearing compression socks for plantar fasciitis is one of your best lines of defense against pain.
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tough, fibrous band of tissue (otherwise known as fascia) that connects the heel bone to the base of your toes becomes injured or inflamed. The pain usually starts gradually and feels like a bruise that worsens over time. Most people notice the pain right after they get up in the morning or after sitting for awhile. And unfortunately, if you don’t treat plantar fasciitis right away, it can turn into a painful and annoying chronic condition that leads to symptoms in the foot, knees, hips and back.
The benefits of compression socks for plantar fasciitis
Compression socks are an easy way to treat plantar fasciitis pain early on. Since they’re made of a tightly woven fabric that hugs the foot to provide gradual compression, they help boost circulation, which leads to reduced swelling and less pain. The use of compression socks combined with other at-home treatments can get you feeling better in no time.
How to find the best socks for plantar fasciitis
New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member Jackie Sutera says that people with plantar fasciitis should wear light compression socks with some reinforcement in the arch. “Plantar fasciitis socks can be used daily for the duration of your temporary fasciitis flare up, if you find them helpful,” she says. “They can also be your go-to sock if you prefer them, or if you find you’re prone to a more chronic case of plantar fasciitis.”
Another important thing to keep in mind is that compression socks will only work when they fit properly. “Your compression socks shouldn’t feel excessively tight, cause discomfort, numbness, tingling or dig into skin,” Sutera adds. “If this happens, size up — the feeling should be one of having your feet supported, like a hug, not constricted or tight.” And if your compression socks are too big, this defeats their purpose altogether.
The amount of pressure applied from a pair of compression socks is expressed in mmHg, or millimeters of mercury. Most standard compression socks are 15 to 20 mmHg and can be bought over the counter, but there are also medical-grade options with higher compression levels available if you need extra support.
Ahead, we bring you the 10 best compression socks for plantar fasciitis made with comfort, breathability and durability in mind.
Sockwell Women’s Incline Quarter Moderate Compression Socks
This Sockwell style provides moderate compression for those just starting to feel plantar fasciitis pain and has accu-fit technology to target pressure points along the foot. Made from a blend of merino wool and nylon, these socks are also temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking and built with a nice amount of stretch for comfortably hugging various foot types. They’re designed for everyday activities like walking, running, biking, hiking and more.
“What a difference they make compared to generic socks,” wrote one reviewer. “I’ve never felt this way about socks before. My friends are sick of me talking about how great they are, but I just can’t stop. I bought one pair originally but have since bought two more. They keep my feet warm in the January weather but are nice and breathable.”
Iseasoo Copper Compression Socks
These Iseasoo compression socks offer 15 to 20 mmHg of light compression and are the perfect height to provide 360-degree coverage around the foot. Notably, these also contain moisture-wicking materials and are infused with antimicrobial copper ions, which help fight odor-causing bacteria. Users love how these socks stay put without any bunching or rolling. Additionally, they include arch support.
Charmking Compression Socks for Women & Men
Not only will these colorful Charmking socks offer a fun twist to outfits, but they also have targeted compression zones that provide relief to those with plantar fasciitis. The Amazon best-seller is designed to promote blood flow along the arch and into the heel, which is typically where plantar fasciitis pain strikes.
“The material on these 15 to 20 mmHg socks seems sturdy,” said one reviewer. “These are the perfect height for covering my ankles where I have the most swelling, but aren’t so tall that they’re hard to pull on. The swelling in my feet reduced after wearing these for only a few days!”
CompressionZ Plantar Fasciitis Socks
The CompressionZ plantar fasciitis socks are a closely knit sleeve that delivers compression to the ankle, arch and heel. They’re ultimately made for running to stabilize the feet and stimulate blood flow for enhanced energy and less swelling. These ankle sleeves can be worn under pants, in sneakers and even under regular socks. They’re thin and breathable but still super supportive.
SB Sox Plantar Fasciitis Compression Socks
These SB Sox compression socks specifically target the area where plantar fasciitis pain occurs. Their key features include ribbed arch support and a sleeve-like design that can easily be worn with shoes or sandals, plus a breathable, moisture-wicking material to prevent sweaty feet. Keep in mind they do offer a higher level of compression at 20 to 30 mmHg.
“These things have saved my feet and my life,” wrote one reviewer. “I have less pain in my feet and am able to keep up my pace throughout the night. Combine these socks with a foot roller, and you’re set. The fact that they extend down past the ball of the foot is huge.”
Treat My Feet Plantar Fasciitis Socks Foot Sleeve & Compression Socks
These plantar fasciitis socks from Treat My Feet include interlocked stitching for superior foot and ankle compression. You can choose from a variety of sizes to meet your match. Users say this sleeve is great because it stays put and is thin enough to wear under normal socks. The heel area is just as cushioned as the rest of the sock, which includes arch support and heavy compression for greater pain relief. These are especially great for people with flat feet.
Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks Carbon Series
Backed by over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, Vitalsox’s graduated compression socks are handmade in Italy using a quick-dry poly blend that’s super soft. They also include silver ions, which, like copper alternatives, also have antibacterial properties. “Pull these socks up your legs, and you’ll instantly feel compression thanks to the weave of the material,” wrote one reviewer. “It’s wonderful.”
Go2 Running Socks Athletic Low Show Ankle Socks
As the most low-profile option on our list, Go2’s running socks truly only target one area: the arch to the heel. They’re designed for ultimate comfort and provide light compression to combat plantar fasciitis and arch swelling. The pair’s ankle-cut silhouette and moisture-wicking properties make it the perfect choice for a day’s worth of activity, especially in warmer weather. These are also infused with silver dry stat that fights odors along the footbed.
Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks
This taller style from Physix is very popular among athletes, as it offers 20 to 30 mmHg of compression all the way up to the calf. It’s made from a super thin material that won’t bunch up under pants or other socks and is breathable, moisture-wicking and just supportive enough to hug you in all the right places. These are especially supportive along the arch, with several reviewers praising them for providing pain relief in the area. The only drawback is that they can be difficult to put on.
Thirty48 Performance Compression Low-Cut Running Socks
These stylish socks from Thirty48 come in a variety of colors and sizes. But more importantly, they include 15 to 20 mmHg of compression and are ergonomically designed to conform to your foot. The intentional compressive pockets fit tight around the nerves and muscles to induce faster circulation and reduce inflammation. These are made from a nylon/Lycra blend, making them stretchy, comfortable and moisture-wicking, and are completely seamless for maximum comfort and blister prevention. You’ll also find added padding along the heel for extra relief.