On a lovely LA afternoon I sat down with Kathy Schader, founder and president of Marvy, a compression legwear company, and chatted about all things compression socks. I’ve always been curious about wearing compression socks. I thought they were great for runs, but I wasn’t really sure when to use them or how. Luckily, Kathy knows her stuff and was happy to walk me through the business of compressing.
Q&A With Kathy Schader on Wearing Compression Socks
So what exactly is a compression sock? Compression is a technically advanced weave that promotes blood flow and circulation in the legs, which has enormous wellness benefits for overall leg health and appearance.
How did you get into the compression sock business?
A few years ago, my sister was pregnant and her doctor recommended wearing compression stockings to combat the spider veins and swelling in her legs. She called me one day after teaching in her lovely nude-color stockings and said, “I wish there were some cute compression socks.” A year later, we saw that compression socks were evolving for athletes with neon colors and really bold patterns. Like so many female entrepreneurs, I was inspired by the success stories of Spanx founder Sarah Blakely, and thought, why not go for it: why not create more wearable styles for everyday — a compression sock that people actually want to wear? A year and a half later, we started Marvy!
How should compression socks be used? Compression socks can be worn pretty much all day, every day, depending on the level of compression. Marvy socks in particular are medium compression, meaning that they are great for daily wear to prevent aches and pains from standing or sitting for long periods, to help prevent spider veins and swelling and to support overall leg health and wellness. Some people notice a gentle massaging sensation, which is a great bonus.
Who do they benefit? Just about everyone can benefit from wearing compression socks. Compression promotes blood flow and circulation. So, athletes wear compression socks to reduce muscle fatigue and aches by moving lactic acid away from muscles. The same science applies for people sitting all day or from standing all day — the compression provides a light massage and helps keep legs from feeling heavy and feet from swelling. Pregnant women can wear them to help prevent swelling, spider and varicose veins, and overall support for heavy-feeling legs. Travelers wear them to help prevent blood-clots and for reducing and preventing swelling on long-haul flights. It’s amazing how different your legs will feel if you slide Marvy on before a cross-country or overseas flight.
What are the biggest misconceptions about wearing compression socks? Most people aren’t aware that the average person — no matter their lifestyle or age — can receive a very important wellness benefit from wearing compression socks and that they are actually preventative. I always say they are like a lipstick that plumps or a foundation that moisturizes. They are working from the inside out, and ideally, looking good at the same time.
I’ve been wearing compression socks since my early 20s, maybe longer, and I can’t tell you how much agony they’ve saved me from a long day running around or a late night out in heels, and probably a few spider veins along the way.
Another misconception is that compression socks are hard to put on. The latest technology creates a true compression sock that is easier to put on than the old heavy ones. Plus, medium compression socks, like Marvy, are not super tight, so putting them on shouldn’t be a struggle.
How should we take care of the compression socks once we purchase them? The best thing to do is be careful with snags — watch for rings and jagged fingernails. Wash cool and lie flat. Most will dry overnight. This will help keep your elastic structure intact and compression true.
When should wear them? All day, everyday. Some people wear them at night, but we don’t recommend it. Socks that felt so good during the day will feel too tight and uncomfortable when your body is at rest. I also recommend slipping them on after a day or evening in heels. It’s immediate relief for swollen feet and ankles.
Anything else we should know about wearing compression socks? Some compression socks go by calf measurements; this is to ensure that your socks are not too tight and give proper compression. At the same time, you don’t want a sock that is too long in the foot, so it’s all really personal preference. If your socks ever feel uncomfortable, legs throb while wearing them or you see red marks from the elastic, your socks are too tight and you may want to go up a size.
I don’t know about y’all, but I was delightfully surprised to hear when you should put on a pair of compression socks. I always assumed you only wore them when running. I love thinking of them as a recovery indulgence. Just another treat I can spoil myself with after a great and challenging workout!
Do you love wearing compression socks? Learn anything new? —Tish