Compression Stockings beginners shopping guide

Compression Stockings Beginners Shopping Guide

Compression Stockings beginners shopping guide - DVT Stockings and Varicose Veins Stockings


Where to buy compression stockings for varicose veins

This article is a comprehensive guide on buying Compression Stockings. The first step is to determine your exact need.   Once you determine your need, you can determine a suitable stocking for you.  You may refer the FLOW CHART below for guidelines on step-by-step decision process.  

compression stockings beginners shopping guide flow chart

The author of this article is experienced in selling various brands of compression stockings for more than 25 years and would like to share his experience in answering various FAQ from customers. The following topics are covered in this article. 

  • What is the purpose of Compression Stockings? Treatment  or Prevention?
  • How to choose the style?  Above Knee or Below Knee?  Open Toe or Closed Toe?
  • What compression class?  Class 1 or Class 2 or Class 3?
  • Which colour? White or black or beige?
  • How do I know what size compression stockings to buy?  Small or Medium or Large?
  • How to determine my correct size from the sizing chart?
  • Finally - the most important - which material of Stockings to choose? Synthetic or Cotton?

Purpose of Compression Stockings - Treatment or Prevention?

The compression stockings may be prescribed for both prevention as well as treatment.


You may be prescribed Compression Stockings with mild compression pressure for preventing DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) or for preventing re-occurrence.   Deep Vein Thrombosis often has no signs or symptoms, yet it becomes life-threatening within seconds.  The only practical approach to deal with DVT is to prevent it.  If you are looking for Varicose Vein Stockings, Jump to Treatment . Who may get DVT?
  • Hospitalized patients either during hospital stay or after discharge upto 6 weeks with prolonged inactivity may be at high risk of getting DVT.
  • Elderly people especially more than 60 years are at high risk
  • Obese people may get it
  • Long air travel in economy class or long travel by car in cramped position without break (DVT is also called Economy Class Syndrome)
  • If you have previous history of DVT you are almost certain to get it.
  • Simply put.. if you keep standing for long you may get it.. if you keep sitting for long you may get it.. if you keep lying down for long you may get it..

Usually TED Stockings (TED is a brand name and its expansion as Thrombo Embolic Deterrent) or Anti-embolism stockings are prescribed for DVT Prophylaxis.  The word prophylaxis means treatment for prevention.  It has a very mild compression of around 18 mmHg pressure only.  Anti-embolism stockings are usually white in colour made of nylon only, with open inspection toe available in both knee length and thigh length.  ONTEX INSTEAD is the only brand that is available in Beige colour and also cotton material.  Thigh Length stockings must be preferred wherever possible.... meaning.... you may choose knee length, only if any surgery or wound in thigh region and only if you cannot wear thigh length stockings..   For effective prophylaxis only thigh length is always preferred. However, if you plan for a long air travel, you may choose to buy Travel Socks or TED Stockings Knee Length. Anti-embolism stockings are meant to be used continuously all 24 hours - even while sleeping.  That's why, it is always advisable to order atleast 2 pairs of anti-embolism stockings because when one is under laundry, other can be still used.   Warning:  High Compression Stockings such as compression class 1 to class 4 should not be worn during night and must be removed before going to bed.


Treatment :

You may be prescribed Compression Stockings for treating some of the Chronic Venous diseases such as Varicose Veins, edema, chronic venous insufficiency and others.  The compression class may range from Class 1 to Class 3.  Usually Class 2 is very popular and fast moving.  Class 3 will be prescribed very rarely and only when it is absolutely warranted.  The following are compression pressures and indications for various compression classes. Class I (18-21 mmHg, Moderate Compression): Help relieve moderate ankle and leg swelling (including during pregnancy), moderate varicosities, post-sclerotherapy applications. Class II (23-32 mmHg, High Compression): For chronic venous insufficiency, pronounced oedema, artrophie blanche, dermatosclerosis and after resolution of severe ulcers. Class III (34-46 mmHg, Very High Compression): For pronounced lymph edema, Elephantiasis. Usually beige colour with open toe is very popular and fast moving in high compression medical stockings.  Regarding Above Knee or Below Knee, you may decide yourself based on the swelling or varicosities.  Obviously, if you have varicosities extending upto thigh, you should use Above Knee style only.


Sizing :

As you know always, hosiery is available broadly in various sizes such as Small, Medium, Large.  


sizing chart

Material & Manufacturing :

Compression Stockings are made of various materials such as
  • Synthetic materials
  • Cotton

Synthetic materials are made in a factory...  not obtained from natural resources... such as Nylon, Spandex, Lycra etc...  Whereas, Cotton is a natural product grown in trees.  Let's see pros and cons of various materials now.

Synthetic Material Pros:  For getting compression, elasticity is a must.  This elasticity is available only in synthetic material.

Synthetic Material Cons:  Does not absorb perspiration, itching as the day progresses, odour etc...

Cotton Pros:  Natural product, absorbs perspiration, skin friendly, no itching, less odour. 


  • Perfect for cold weather
  • Perfect for warm weather... how both...?
  • Cotton becomes Cool in the summer & warm in the winter... 

Cotton Cons:  No elasticity....  no compression at all...!  Without compression how can we make compression stockings at all...??

That's why Cotton Blended Compression Stockings are preferred, where you get the best of both worlds.  You get the Compression of Synthetic Material at the same time, Comfort of Cotton material.  And... that is Ontex...