It Came in the Mail

(Courtesy Travelsox)
  Enlarge Photo    
Sunday, February 24, 2008

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Unisex compression socks said to help stimulate blood flow and help reduce swelling, particularly on cramped flights.

AIMED AT: People with poor circulation, including pregnant women, and anyone seeking the comfort of improved circulation.

HOW MUCH: At $29.95 a pair they seem pricey, but not when compared with drugstore support hose that aren't nearly as attractive or comfortable.

BUT DO THEY WORK? It's kind of weird to get excited about socks; a friend and I still laugh about the woman we heard at a country club years ago praising and showing off her anklets. But at the risk of attracting scornful mirth, I like TravelSox. Knee-high, they more or less cuddle your feet and legs, providing support without feeling tight.

Compression stockings are often recommended by doctors to improve blood flow for people with circulation problems. Most look like extra-extra-thick nylons. TravelSox feel more like athletic socks, but look like dress socks and come in various colors and patterns. They're made of Coolmax, a patented fabric of dacron polyester fibers supposedly woven in such a way as to make air circulate and wick away moisture.

While I have no known circulation problem, when I tested TravelSox on a recent long-haul flight, my feet didn't swell as usual and my legs didn't feel as cramped or tired.

-- Cindy Loose

TravelSox are available at Travel Smith, National Geographic online, Hammacher Schlemmer stores and, or by calling 866-387-6762.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company