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Ease leg swelling, foot pain and more with these $12 compression socks

They're perfect for travel!
Split image of blue and black compression socks
Courtesy Stephanie Gravalese; Courtesy Danielle Murphy

As a food writer and content creator, I do a surprising amount of traveling for work. I could be exploring breweries in West Texas one day and touring potato farms in Idaho the next, but no matter where I am, these trips usually involve tight itineraries. So, when I land in a new location, I have to be ready to go.

Over time, I noticed that I was dealing with more and more muscle soreness and fatigue after flying. My legs would feel stiff, as if they were made of lead, and they hurt too much to stretch them out. It was important for me to be alert and present post-flight, and managing this discomfort was becoming an issue.

I mentioned this to my partner, who recommended that I pick up a pair of compression socks. Working as a chef, he's on his feet 10-12 hours every shift, and he shared that wearing them made it easier to stand in the same spot for long periods without getting fatigued.

So, I ordered one of Amazon's top-rated compression socks in preparation for my next trip — and prayed they would speed up my recovery time before embarking on my foodie adventures.

Laite Hebe Medical Compression Socks (Pack of 3)

What are compression socks?

Compression socks are a great tool for those who suffer from swelling or pain after being on their feet or sitting down for long periods of time. According to experts, these are situations that cause fluid to move down your legs and cause painful pressure. Dr. Kellen Scantlebury, physical therapist and founder of Fit Club NY, told Shop TODAY, "The basic science behind [compression gear] is helping improve blood flow and blood circulation."

I opted to try the knee socks from Laite Hebe which come in packs of three and in dozens of colorways. I went with a blue, green, and pink trio because I love bright colors. Besides the impressive shade range, I was immediately impressed with the fabric, which felt very soft and comfortable against my skin. The material has a little bulk to it, but it's also stretchy, which makes it easy to get on my feet without pulling or tugging too hard. I also liked that the top band wasn't too tight around my calves.

I wanted to see if this gentler pair (they have a graduated compression of 15-20 millimeters of mercury — a metric used to calculate the pressure applied when wearing them) would help while I navigated two upcoming flights.

Did these compression socks work?

My journey home started with a 5 a.m. flight out of Wyoming's Jackson Hole airport. Once I boarded, I put on my compression socks followed by my boots, and settled in. Once I found a comfortable position, I managed to get in a short nap before arriving in Denver. As soon as we landed, I only had time to grab my backpack before darting across the airport to my connecting flight. While running, I was surprised to discover that I wasn't experiencing any muscle stiffness. In fact, the usual pang of soreness I would normally get from sitting in one spot for a while was completely missing. I checked my socks once I was settled in my second airplane seat of the day, happy to find them in the same place; they didn't slide down at all.

Hours later, I landed in New York, where my new socks were a welcome layer in the colder Mid-Atlantic temperatures. It was when I got home and started changing out of my travel clothes that I noticed how comfortable my feet felt while wearing my compression garments. In addition, they were less swollen and painful than usual. And in the days after, my travel recovery time went by much faster. I had no swelling or soreness following my trip, and I could return to my everyday routine immediately. My feet even felt comfortable enough that I could wear my regular shoes and sneakers as soon as I got back.

I'm not the only one impressed with what these socks can do. Over 18,000 verified Amazon shoppers have given them a five-star rating, with many raving about how much support they provide as well as how easy they are to slip on and off. Some reviewers are even written by nurses and bartenders, who sing the sock's praises after wearing them during hours-long shifts.

Shop TODAY associate editor Danielle Murphy can also attest to the quality of these compression socks after wearing them on a recent flight to Florida. "I noticed that my feet felt tired and a little swollen after I arrived at my destination." During her return flight, she put on a pair of the Laite Hebe socks and felt a huge difference. "The socks are snug, but they never felt uncomfortable during my two-hour trip. Once I took them off, my feet felt as normal as they did before I left, so they definitely worked!"

Having had such a comfortable flying experience and speedy recovery time, these compression socks have absolutely earned a top spot in my travel wardrobe. I'm excited to add them to my carry-on collection, permanently.

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