Grab a pair (or two) of compression socks. Your legs will thank you.

There's nothing quite like the thrill of a great hike. Not only are you at one with nature, but you are able to unplug and take in spectacular views. As people are flocking to the trails, many have found gizmos, gadgets, and tools that make hiking easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

Your feet and legs do the lion's share of the work as you hike. Consider treating your feet and legs well with a good pair of hiking compression socks.

What are compression socks?

Just as the name suggests, compression socks are tight-fitting socks that compress the feet and legs. These socks are longer, extending above the calf to almost the knee. Compression socks are typically tighter around the foot and gradually become more flexible up the calf.

How do compression socks benefit a hiker?

  • Blister reduction: Unlike a basic sock, compression socks are tighter and less likely to slip around the skin. The lack of sock-to-skin friction reduces your chances of developing a blister while on a hike.
  • Stability: Due to the tightness of the socks, tired muscles and wobbly tendons can feel steadier. There's nothing quite like a boost of support for your legs as you work them on the trail.
  • Pain relief: Many people find compression socks help ease the pain from cramps or shin splints. The pressure from the socks can help massage irritated muscles.
  • Blood flow: Compression socks help force blood from your lower legs back up to your heart. The veins in your legs work to return blood to your heart. While hiking, these veins are working harder and against gravity to return the blood to your heart, rather than collecting in your feet and lower legs. 
  • Recovery: The tightly woven fabric squeezes tired muscles. As the socks improve blood flow, tissues are able to recover more quickly. And your body more easily rids itself of lactic acid. 

When you're headed on a hike, be sure to try a pair of compression socks. If you're really wanting to see the difference compression socks make, try a hike with just one compression sock. You might look a little goofy for one hike, but you'll be able to notice—literally side-by-side—the benefits of compression socks for your legs.

Have you tried compression socks for hiking? Share your experience in the comments.