What are Compression Stockings?

Tuesday, 6 October 2015  |  Admin

Class 1? Class 2? Afnor? RAL? Just what are these compression stocking things, anyway?

At first, second and even third glance it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between compression stockings and any regular pair of deniers. Most brands would take your confusion as a compliment! There was a time when compression stockings were a world away from the stylish designs we can offer you today. Originally thick, unflattering and uncomfortable, compression stockings haven’t completely lost their association with elderly, sick or unhealthy wearers, but they’ve certainly gained a touch of glamour thanks to the vision of world-class brands.

See Our Full Range of Compression Stockings

From sheer elegance to contemporary opaque, stylish lace tops to perfect patterns, neutral nudes or a pop of pink, making your legs feel great can now make you feel ultra fashionable. Oh and don't worry about not being able to wear your new peep-toes while enjoying some compression therapy, because our open-toe styles have you sorted!

Comprehending Compression

We could bore you by saying that by implementing a compression garment a user might reduce the diameter of distended veins, but we prefer to simply tell you the important stuff -  compression stockings basically do two things:

  1. Squeeze your leg
  2. Keep your blood flow at a healthy rate

This squeezing helps regulate your circulation, boosting healing times for those recovering from surgery or skin ulcers, helping legs feel less tired and making sure periods of inactivity like flying or sitting at a desk all day doesn’t have any ill effect of your limbs. In other words, compression stockings help keep legs looking and feeling great.

Classy Compression 

All our stockings come with a different class of compression, the lowest class is perfect for any wearer of any age, even perfectly healthy legs can benefit from compression, ask any athlete who uses them to help their legs recover from a rigorous run! The higher the class, the tighter the ‘squeeze’ and the highest classes should only be used on the advice of your doctor. 

It might be a little tricky to understand classes at first, but they are all measured in mmHg or Millimetres of Mercury, the higher the number, the higher the compression. The easier way to understand this is with Classes which are listed most commonly as RAL and Afnor. Take a look at our handy table to see how these two systems work:

  Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4
RAL 18 - 21 mmHg 23 - 32 mmHg 33 - 46 mmHg >49 mmHg
Afnor 10 - 15 mmHg 15 - 20 mmHg 20 - 36 mmHg -

Have Stockings, Will Travel

A compression garment you probably already know about, is the Travel Sock for travelling by plane. DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis caused by long-haul flights in compact coach class (know as Economy Class Syndrome) has gained several headlines in recent years after proving fatal on more than one occasion. A simple compression sock, just as comfortable, soft and stylish as any regular sock, can help ensure blood is kept pumping around the legs and helps spare you from any in-flight horror.

But don’t think you need a direct health threat to enjoy the benefits of compression. Nurses, desk workers, teachers, postmen, chefs, photographers, bar staff, if your legs stand or sit all day, a bit of compression can work wonders. Select some socks, try some tights or sample our stockings, we’ve got every colour, style and class you’d want for a simple way of making legs feel fantastic.

Ditch your standard stockings and get something that enhances your health as well as your wardrobe, head over to our online store and give some compression a go!

Need help? Call us on: 020 7501 1109