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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best compression arch supports

Do you struggle with foot pain due to fallen arches or plantar fasciitis? One way to minimize pain and discomfort is by wearing compression arch supports.

If you’re wondering how a snug little sock or band could help you with these issues, it comes down to a matter of circulation. Small, controlled amounts of compression are enough to boost blood flow throughout your foot. This often results in decreased swelling, inflammation, and soreness.

With that said, it’s important to wear compression arch supports that fit well. Most designs are available in multiple sizes to account for differences in foot widths. As far as fit goes, “comfortably snug” is ideal. Compression arch supports that are too tight may result in poor circulation, not to mention discomfort.

Curious about compression arch support? To help you learn more, we assembled this buying guide to help you find the best support for your feet.

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If you intend to wear compression arch supports during exercise, invest in a few pairs so you can rotate them between washes.

Key considerations

Who benefits from compression arch support?

The most common condition for which individuals seek relief via compression arch support is plantar fasciitis. This condition occurs when there is inflammation in the tissue that lines the bottom of the foot, called the plantar fascia, resulting in heel pain. Compression arch supports help relieve inflammation by boosting circulation through the foot.

Individuals with flat feet (pes planus) have what is commonly referred to as fallen arches. Rather than the arch having a normal curvature, it appears somewhat flattened and closer to the ground. As a result, this causes overpronation of the foot, in which the entire foot and ankle position changes. While compression arch support doesn’t correct overpronation, it is effective at relieving the pressure localized to the arch due to this condition.

It’s also common for individuals who experience other foot pain issues to use compression arch support, such as sports-related soreness. With that said, it’s recommended to talk to your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing before proceeding with compression arch support.

Popular styles of compression arch support

There are three main styles of compression arch support, each with pros and cons. Here’s how they stack up against one another.

Band wraps: Band wraps are single pieces of flexible material that wrap around the arch. They’re by far the most discreet, and many people find them easy to wear with socks and shoes. Unfortunately, they only provide compression to a limited area, so they might not be ideal if you have certain types of foot issues.

Adjustable band wraps: Adjustable band wraps are equipped with Velcro to provide customizable compression. Many styles come with a few inserts offering different levels of support. One of the pitfalls of these styles is that they are fairly bulky and don’t always fit into shoes.

Toeless socks: Like band wraps, toeless socks are thin enough to wear with socks and shoes. They offer compression and support to the majority of the foot and through the ankle. Despite these attributes, many wearers say these styles make them sweat quite a bit.

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Did You Know?
Some compression arch supports are textured with nonslip silicone or rubber dots on the inside to prevent slippage from sweat or activity.
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Features

Material

Compression arch supports are made with stretchy material blends that include polyester, nylon, rayon, spandex, Lycra, and sometimes neoprene. Of these blends, polyester and neoprene tend to be the least breathable, though there are some exceptions.

Given their unique material blends, compression arch supports require special care and cleaning. Read manufacturer instructions carefully before washing them. Some must be hand washed and air dried. Others are machine washable and dryer safe.

Size

More than half of compression arch supports are available in multiple sizes. Some of these are available in men’s and women’s sizing; others are unisex. Each manufacturer uses a different sizing chart, so you will want to measure your foot to find the right size.

Compression arch supports that only come in one size aren’t exactly one-size-fits-all items. Rather, they fit only some people well, namely those without major foot issues or conditions. Individuals with wide or swollen feet are often unable to fit in them.

Color

There isn’t too much of a color selection for compression arch supports, as most are only available in black, nude, or gray. However, some manufacturers have expanded their assortment of colors to accommodate individuals who prefer a touch of style. You can find compression arch supports in neon or pastel colors such as pinks, blues, greens, and purples.

Consider ordering all three types of compression arch supports (band, adjustable band, and toeless socks) to find which style is most comfortable. Even if you end up returning them, it’s helpful to compare them at the same time to determine the best option.

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Compression arch support prices

Inexpensive: Budget-friendly compression arch supports cost $12 and below. These mostly include band and toeless sock styles, which offer moderate support and relief.

Mid-range: These compression arch supports cost between $15 and $25. Many in this range are manufactured by popular sports or orthopedic brands. Their construction is superior to their lesser-priced counterparts.

Expensive: Premium compression arch supports cost closer to $40. They’re incredibly well-made and durable to withstand daily or athletic wear, and the fit quality tends to be quite good.

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Did You Know?
If you think the compression arch supports you’re wearing are too tight, they are. It’s best to stop wearing them right away to avoid circulation issues or even soft tissue damage.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Check for latex if you have an allergy. Some compression arch supports have latex in their blends. If you’re allergic to latex, contact the manufacturer to determine whether it’s part of the construction.
  • Track changes to your feet and ankles. It’s important to monitor your feet and ankles when using compression arch supports. If you notice a new area of discomfort, it’s a sure sign they’re not working. Instead, try a different pair — or better, call your doctor.
  • Stretch your feet. Compression arch supports can be worn all day and even at night. When you remove them, stretch your feet and wiggle your toes to promote circulation.
  • Invest in more than one style. If you need to wear compression arch supports with more than one type of footwear, invest in more than one style. Thin band supports are ideal when you’re wearing flats or pumps, while bulker styles tend to fit better in athletic shoes and some boots.
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Compression arch supports won’t last forever. Once you notice they’ve become loose or the fibers have begun pilling or shredding, it’s time to get a replacement pair.

FAQ

Q. Are compression arch supports better than orthopedic insoles with arch support?

A. It’s not necessarily a case that one is “better” than the other. Compression arch supports provide relief through compression and a moderate amount of support. Orthopedic insoles, on the other hand, provide relief through contoured support. While there is considerable overlap in the issues they both aim to alleviate, they’re not exactly interchangeable. That said, it’s rarely recommended to wear compression arch supports and orthopedic insoles simultaneously because their designs may offset one another’s benefits.

Q. Why are some compression arch support bands or toeless socks ribbed?

A. These compression arch supports are textured to allow the material more flexibility. Ribbing also enhances durability; this detail is often added in areas of high stress or tension. Notably, some people with sensitive skin find ribbing somewhat irritating. If this is the case, stick to smooth compression arch supports.

Q. Is there more than one level of support and compression available for compression arch supports?

A. There is; however, not every manufacturer produces more than one level of support. Only select brands, namely reputable companies that produce a wide variety of orthopedic devices and accessories, offer styles in more than one compression or support level. For that reason, many consumers end up trying more than one type of compression arch support, since it’s somewhat challenging to compare styles in this respect.

Q. Can I use a toeless sock style of compression arch support in lieu of an ankle brace?

A. It’s unlikely. At best, these compression arch supports offer a modest amount of compressive support. Given their flexible design, though, they won’t actually maintain your ankle’s position due to lack of rigidity. All things considered, a compression arch support won’t minimize your chances of rolling an ankle like an ankle brace will.

 

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