Bombas Are (Really) the Best Compression Socks for Travel—and They’re 25 Percent off Right Now

You should always wear compression socks when you fly.

Various colors of Bombas compression socks

Bombas compression socks come in many colors.

Courtesy of Bombas

Welcome to AFAR Approved: a deep dive into the travel items that we’re totally obsessed with, never leave behind, and can’t stop telling our friends about. During the Bombas Cyber Monday Sale through November 27, 2023, save 25 percent off everything, including men’s and women’s compression socks. The discount is automatically applied at checkout.

Right before I turned 30, it happened to me the first time. After a cross-country flight to visit my family in San Francisco, I went to slip my shoes back on as we neared landing and realized my feet had swelled so much I could barely fit them inside my sneakers. As I wobbled off the plane, I figured that’s what I deserve for being that person who takes her shoes off on a flight. But it soon dawned on me that this could lead to something that frequent fliers dread: Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

After long periods of sitting still, like on a plane, DVT can occur “when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs,” according to the Mayo Clinic. If one of these blood clots breaks loose and travels through your bloodstream to your lungs, it can cause pulmonary embolism, which can be life threatening.

So for my 30th birthday present to myself (womp, womp), I bought my first pair of compression socks: a cheap, nylon pair off Amazon. They’re meant to help improve circulation and prevent swelling, especially during long hauls (and as long as you don’t forget to get up and move around during a flight), though the struggle to get them on and off was real. They’re almost unbearably tight and hurt after wearing them for just a few hours (the phrase that comes to mind when I wear them is “leg sausage”). Thankfully, along came Bombas—the brand that makes the perfect no-show socks that never, ever slip down—with brand new compression socks in 2019.

The Bombas Everyday Compression Socks are made with super soft cotton with mild compression levels (that’s 15–20 mmHg, if you want to get technical) built in from the toe to just under the knee to keep blood flowing toward your upper leg. After trying out a pair, I found that they outpace other brands in sheer comfort and value.

While waiting to board a flight back to New York from San Francisco, I slipped them on at my gate. Compared to the generic compression socks I usually travel with, I found these much easier to pull on. They definitely felt tighter than regular socks, but I didn’t have to battle with them. Once they were on (they went up to directly below my knee), it felt like my entire calf was being swaddled in a warm hug—or what I imagine those thunder shirts feel like for dogs. Bombas have a special honeycomb knit arch support system, which is really nice for people who have high arches like me. They also come with a seamless toe, a Y-stitched heel, and above-the-heel cushioning that extends to the toe, making them the most comfortable compression socks I’ve ever worn.

I slipped on the socks just before 2 p.m. California time and did not take them off until I got back to my apartment in New York right after 1 a.m. EST. After wearing them for about eight hours, there was definitely an imprint on my calves below the knee where the top—and tightest—part of the sock hit my leg. But for the entire flight, I forgot I was even wearing compression socks. My legs didn’t itch or feel pinched like when I wore generic compression socks. Most importantly, I didn’t experience any swelling or discomfort as I have on long flights without compression socks.

If you’re eager to try them out yourself, you have plenty of options for sizes, compression levels, materials, and colors. The women’s socks are available in three different sizes: The small fits U.S. shoe size 4–7.5, medium covers 8–10.5, and large fits size 11–13. In addition to the cotton socks, Bombas also makes a merino wool version with mild compression levels, plus performance compression socks with a sweat-wicking blend of polyester/nylon/spandex for runners and a firmer 20–30 mmHg level of compression.

In terms of color, there are nearly a dozen options from basic gray to cotton candy pink, so you can either hide them under your pants or make them pop. These are definitely not boring medical socks.

Three pairs of Bombas women’s compression socks in different colors

The Bombas women’s compression socks come in three sizes.

Courtesy of Bombas

Buy now: Women’s Compression Socks, from $28,

The men’s socks are also available in the same two levels of compression as well as three sizes, including U.S. shoe size 6–9 (medium), 9.5–13 (large), and 13.5–16 (extra large). In terms of colors, expect more basic shades of black, white, gray, and navy.

The men’s compression socks come in everything from size 6 to 16.

The men’s compression socks come in everything from size 6 to 16.

Courtesy of Bombas

Buy now: Men’s Compression Socks, from $28,

A single pair of calf-length socks starts at $28 and you can get a three-pack for $84. (For reference, a pair of similarly “stylish” compression socks from other brands like Vim&Vigr, Figs, and Comrad run from $28 to $44 per pair.)

Before you bemoan the lameness of gifting socks, keep in mind that you’ll not only be making your loved ones more comfortable on their next flight, but also helping others since Bombas has a buy one, donate one policy that has contributed more than 100 million items to homeless shelters since it was founded in 2013. So you better believe all of my immediate family members are getting a pair of these socks (and I may just pick up pair or two for myself).

This article originally appeared online in 2019; it was updated on November 27, 2023, to reflect current pricing information.

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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