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    Know the Difference: Diabetic Socks vs Compression Socks

    Know the Difference: Diabetic Socks vs Compression Socks

    Discover what is the difference between diabetic socks and compression socks.

    August 5,2023   |    3 Mins Read


    Taking care of our feet is crucial, especially for individuals with specific health conditions. Two types of socks that serve distinct purposes in foot care are diabetic socks and compression socks. While they may share some similarities, it's important to understand their differences and when to use each type.

    In this article, we will explore the features, target conditions, and benefits of both diabetic socks and compression socks, helping you make an informed decision about which sock type is right for you

    What are Diabetic Socks?

    Diabetic socks are a type of specially designed socks that are intended to be worn by individuals with diabetes. These socks are created with specific features to address the unique foot care needs of people with diabetes.

    The primary purpose of diabetic socks is to promote foot health and reduce the risk of complications that can arise due to diabetes-related foot conditions. One of the common complications of diabetes is neuropathy, which can lead to a loss of sensation in the feet. This means that a person with diabetes may not feel pain or discomfort from foot injuries or blisters, leading to delayed treatment and potential infections.

    Overall, the key features of diabetic socks include:

    • Soft and non-irritating materials
    • Seamless construction
    • Moisture-wicking properties
    • Non-elastic binding
    • Padded soles

    What are Compression Socks?

    Compression socks are a type of specialized socks that are designed to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in the legs and feet. They are made of elastic materials and apply gentle pressure to the lower extremities, with the highest pressure exerted around the ankle and gradually decreasing as they go up the calf or thigh.

    The primary purpose of compression socks is to assist in the proper circulation of blood from the legs back to the heart. The pressure applied by these socks helps to squeeze the veins and muscles in the lower legs, aiding in the upward flow of blood. By improving circulation, compression socks can prevent blood from pooling in the legs and reduce the risk of developing blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Compression socks are also often recommended for individuals who have certain medical conditions or situations that can affect blood flow.

    Compression socks have several key features, including:

    • Elastic materials that provide compression
    • Graduated pressure levels
    • Moisture-wicking fabrics
    • Variety of sizes and lengths to fit different body types
    • Seamless construction

    Are Diabetics Socks the Same Thing as Compression Socks?

    Although there may be some overlap in features, diabetic socks, and compression socks are not the same thing. Here's a quick summary of the main differences between diabetic socks and compression socks:


    Diabetic socks are primarily designed to address the specific foot care needs of individuals with diabetes. They focus on preventing foot injuries, keeping the feet dry, and enhancing blood circulation. On the other hand, compression socks are designed to improve circulation in the legs and feet, reduce swelling, and prevent blood pooling. They are often used by people with conditions like varicose veins, and edema, or those who spend prolonged periods sitting or standing.

    Pressure gradient

    Diabetic socks do not typically have a graduated pressure gradient. They provide gentle cushioning and support, but the pressure is not concentrated on specific areas. Compression socks, on the other hand, are designed with a graduated pressure profile. They exert the most pressure around the ankle and gradually decrease the pressure as they move up the leg, promoting blood flow.

    Compression levels

    Compression socks come in various compression levels, ranging from mild to moderate, firm, and higher medical-grade compression. These different levels of pressure cater to specific needs, such as managing certain medical conditions. Diabetic socks, however, do not typically have standardized compression levels. While they may provide mild compression, their primary focus is on foot protection and moisture management.

    Design and features

    Diabetic socks are specifically designed to minimize friction, reduce the risk of a foot injury, and enhance comfort for individuals with diabetes. They often have seamless construction, soft and non-irritating materials, moisture-wicking properties, and breathable fabrics. Compression socks, apart from their pressure gradient, may have similar features but also include specific design elements to optimize compression, such as reinforced heel and toe areas.

    Targeted user groups

    Diabetic socks are primarily intended for individuals with diabetes who need specialized foot care. Compression socks, on the other hand, are used by a broader range of individuals who require improved circulation or want to prevent swelling, regardless of whether they have diabetes or not.

    Who Should Wear Diabetic Socks?

    Diabetic socks are recommended for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing foot complications. They are particularly beneficial for individuals with peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) or poor circulation. People who have diabetes should wear diabetic socks daily to prevent blisters, calluses, and ulcers, especially if they have any open wounds or sores on their feet.

    Who Should Wear Compression Socks?

    Compression socks are suitable for a wider range of conditions. They are recommended for individuals with venous insufficiency, varicose veins, lymphedema, or those who experience leg swelling during long periods of sitting or standing. Compression socks can also be beneficial for athletes or individuals recovering from surgery to improve circulation and reduce muscle fatigue. Additionally, people who travel frequently or have a sedentary lifestyle may find compression socks helpful in preventing blood clots and maintaining healthy blood flow in the legs.

    Are Compression Socks Suitable for Diabetic Patients?

    Diabetic patients may have specific foot complications, such as peripheral neuropathy or open wounds, which require the use of diabetic socks designed to minimize friction and reduce the risk of injury. Compression socks, which apply pressure to the legs and feet, may not be suitable for everyone with diabetes as they could potentially restrict blood flow and impede the healing process.

    Therefore, it is crucial for diabetic patients to consult their healthcare providers, such as a doctor or a podiatrist, to determine if compression socks are appropriate for their individual condition.

    How to Choose the Right Diabetic Socks or Compression Socks

    When choosing the right diabetic socks or compression socks, there are several factors to consider to ensure they meet your individual requirements. Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision:

    • Seek medical advice: It is essential to consult your healthcare providers, such as a doctor or a podiatrist, before selecting diabetic socks or compression socks. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific medical condition, foot health needs, and any potential contraindications.
    • Consider your condition: Assess your specific foot health needs. If you have diabetes, diabetic socks may be more suitable as they are designed to prevent injuries, provide cushioning, and promote moisture management. For conditions like varicose veins or swelling, compression socks can be beneficial for improving circulation. Understanding your condition will help you choose the socks that address your unique requirements.
    • Look for proper fit: Proper fitting is crucial for both diabetic socks and compression socks. They should be neither too tight nor too loose. Ensure the socks provide a comfortable and snug fit without constricting blood flow or causing discomfort. Follow the sizing guidelines provided by the manufacturer to find the appropriate size for your feet and legs.
    • Consider material and features: Pay attention to the materials used in the socks. Diabetic socks are often made from soft, non-irritating fabrics with moisture-wicking properties. Compression socks may have a blend of elastic materials like nylon or spandex. Look for features like seamless construction, cushioning, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties based on your preferences and specific foot health needs.
    • Personal preferences: Consider your personal preferences in terms of sock length, color, and style. Diabetic socks come in various lengths, including ankle, crew, or knee-high, while compression socks are available in different lengths and styles as well. Choose the length and style that suits your comfort and preference.

    Caring for Diabetic Socks and Compression Socks

    To prolong the lifespan of your diabetic socks or compression socks and ensure their optimal performance, it is important to follow proper care and maintenance techniques. Here are some tips for caring for your socks:

    1. Wash socks using a mild detergent in cool or lukewarm water
    2. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach
    3. Air-dry socks instead of using a dryer to prevent damage
    4. Store socks in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight
    5. Replace socks every 3-6 months or as soon as signs of wear and tear start to appear.

    By following these guidelines, you can make sure your diabetic socks or compression socks are properly cared for and remain in good condition.

    Final Thoughts

    While both diabetic socks and compression socks serve unique purposes, they cater to different foot health needs. Understanding their distinctions and wearing the appropriate socks can help individuals effectively manage foot complications associated with diabetes or other conditions.

    If you are looking for a pair of compression socks that provide superior comfort and support, Koprez® Compression Socks are the ideal choice. Our socks feature an improved blend of elastic materials and seamless construction for maximum comfort, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties. Try Koprez® compression socks today and experience the difference! Shop now at Koprez.com.


    • Cronkleton, E. (2022, August 16). How do diabetic socks and compression socks differ? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diabetic-socks-vs-compression-socks
    • Woolley, E. (2022, October 14). What Are Diabetic Socks? Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-diabetic-socks-1087728


    Claire Evans worked as the content marketing manager at Koprez. Claire combined a background of writing and editing, marketing, and patient education to best serve consumers, fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and anyone who relies on the Koprez brand for helpful information.

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