Flight socks, often referred to as compression stockings or travel socks in places like New Zealand, have become a go-to for many travellers, especially those on long-haul flights. Designed to enhance blood circulation in the legs, reduce swelling, and mitigate the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), they are a boon for many. However, they might not be suitable for everyone. Let's explore who should think twice before donning these socks and why.

Understanding Flight Socks

Flight socks are specialized stockings that exert gentle pressure on the ankles and legs, promoting blood flow from the legs back to the heart. They're particularly beneficial for those confined to tight spaces for extended periods, like during long flights, as they can prevent blood from stagnating in the legs.

Who Should Not Wear Flight Socks?

  1. People with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): PAD is a condition where the arteries that supply blood to the legs become narrow. Wearing compression stockings can further reduce blood flow, aggravating the condition.

  2. Individuals with Skin Infections: If you have open wounds, skin infections, or recent skin grafts on your legs, it's best to avoid flight socks. The compression might irritate the skin and potentially exacerbate the infection.

  3. People with Pulmonary Edema: This condition is marked by fluid accumulation in the lungs. Compression stockings can push more fluid towards the lungs, intensifying the condition.

  4. Severe Peripheral Neuropathy: If you have a significant loss of sensation in your legs, you might not feel if the stockings are too tight, which can lead to complications.

Who Should Wear Flight Socks?

While certain groups should be cautious, many can benefit from wearing flight socks. They are especially beneficial for:

  • People with a history of DVT or varicose veins.
  • Pregnant women, given their heightened risk of blood clots.
  • Those who've recently undergone surgery.
  • Individuals who remain stationary for extended periods.

Why Wear Flight Socks?

The primary motivation to wear flight socks is to prevent DVT, a condition where blood clots form in the deep veins of the legs. DVT can lead to complications like pulmonary embolism, where a blood clot detaches and travels to the lungs. By enhancing circulation, flight socks reduce the risk of these complications.

What Age Should You Wear Flight Socks?

There's no specific age limit for wearing flight socks. However, the risk of DVT increases with age, especially for those over 40. Therefore, older adults, especially those with other risk factors, should consider wearing them during extended flights.

How Long Can You Wear Flight Socks For?

Typically, it's safe to wear flight socks, often termed as flight support socks or flight compression socks, for the entirety of your journey. If you're donning them due to medical reasons, such as using circulation socks for flying or compression hose for flying, it's prudent to consult with a healthcare professional. Some might advise wearing them for a few hours post-landing to ensure optimal blood flow, especially if you're using specialized flight pressure socks or pressure stockings for flying.

Exploring the Terminology: Flight Socks in New Zealand and Beyond

In various parts of the world, including New Zealand, flight socks have garnered several names. They might be known as "travel stockings", "aero socks", "jet leg socks", or "flight support stockings". Other popular terms include flight compression stockings, compression stockings for flying, support hose for flying, flight stockings, and compression socks for travel. Regardless of the terminology, their primary purpose remains consistent: to foster healthy circulation during prolonged periods of immobility, such as during extended flights or travel. For those who frequently travel by airplane, terms like compression socks airplane and support socks for travel might be more familiar.


While flight socks and their many variants, from support socks for travel to compression socks airplane, offer numerous advantages, they aren't a universal solution. It's essential to recognize potential risks and, if you have underlying health conditions, to seek advice from a healthcare professional. For those who can wear them, they can be an invaluable tool for ensuring a comfortable and safe journey.

flight support socks
flight compression socks