How do you pick athletic support socks off the internet? It seems like an impossible task, and just reading reviews for one particular brand only helps a little. So I decided to buy 3 different pairs that seemed like they might be the right ones for me, and then provide this comparative review to help others evaluate the differences between some of the many choices you’ll find here on Amazon. I was looking for an athletic sock to wear while golfing, bike riding and hiking. The three pairs I purchased are these: VitalSox Graduated Compression Performance Exercise Socks, ABD Athlete Compression Socks, and Physix Gear Compression Socks for Men & Women. Important issues for me included: Length (long enough to go to the top of my calf just below the knee), Support (a good sense of compression support through the foot, ankle and calf), comfort (ability to wear all day without being overly constrictive at the top band, but also not sagging throughout the day), and fit (I’m 5’10”, 195 lbs., size 9 shoe, with fairly large legs – 17” calf, 10” ankle).
EChoice – This is a comfortable compression sock that comes just below the knee cap and has a nice wide top band and a nice thicker footbed for comfort. The support compression is nice through the foot and up the calf. I purchased size Medium based on the shoe-size chart provided by the seller. Because sizing of compression wear is really based on both calf and foot size, I was concerned that the Medium might be too tight in the calf, but that is not the case.
Nicely made socks, a bit lighter weight than the VitalSox, but still provide plenty of support. Based on their foot size and calf size chart, I purchased the Large size. While I found these comfortable and supportive when I first put them on, they became less comfortable after several hours of wear. This seemed to be caused by the combination of a narrow top band a length that brought the sock just past the widest part of my calf, but a solid two inches below the bottom of my knee cap. I found myself needing to re-arrange the location of the top band to keep from having a sore spot under the band.
Right out of the package, there was a visible difference with this pair of sock. The calf area of the sock is designed to be wider at the top of the sock compared to the ankle region. With my large calves, this seemed like a good feature. Based on their calf size/shoe size chart I went with the L/XL size. These socks have a fairly narrow top band, but because they are long enough (come up to the bottom of the knee cap), and wider at the top, they are very comfortable to wear all day, and provide nice, noticeable support throughout the foot and leg.
Conclusion – There are many factors that will be important to you, and they won’t be exactly the same as my factors. That said, for me, the best of these three socks is the EChoice sock. They are long, supportive and all-day comfortable. A close second place finish goes to VitalSox – They are long, comfortable and have a nice wide top band. They are a bit heavier than the other brands, so might feel a bit too warm on a hot day. Third place goes to ABD athletic because, for me, they are a bit too short and the top band is too restrictive on my calf. All three brands seem to be very well made. I have only worn each pair for one day, and washed them one time. After more wearings and washings I will update with any new thoughts that come out of longer experience.