While at the Martian Marathon Expo, a lot of people would look at the compression socks we had lying out and ask, “Are these really going to fit me?”
People were unsure if the socks would actually fit them when they saw the sock. First off, remember, compression socks are not sized like your typical sock. Most socks are sized off of your shoe size – this is not always true for compression socks.
In order to ensure the most ideal fit, some compression socks are sized by the width of your calf. When measuring your calf, be sure to do so at the widest part.
To get a better idea of this process, let's look at CEP's sizing information. For women, if your calf circumference comes out to 9.5-12.25 inches, you're a size two. 12.5-15 is a size three, and 15.25-17.5 is a size four. On the men's side, 12.5-15 inches is size three; 15.25-17.5 inches is size four; and 17.75-20 inches is size five. Remember, not all sizing for compression socks are the same, we're just using CEP for an example.
Now that you have your sizing all set and the socks in your hand, it's time to put them on. You do not put on compression socks just like any other sock you slip on – you have to be a bit more gentle with it, since there is a risk of tearing.
To put them on, first make sure you're sitting down. Next, reach your hand into the sock all the way down to the heel cup. You'll then want to pinch the heel cup and pull the sock inside out. Now use your thumbs to pull open the sock and slide your foot in all the way to the end of the toe. While transferring your weight, then pull the heel cup over your heel. You'll have to transfer your weight again and grab the material by your toes and begin pulling up. Congratulations, the sock is on!
It may seem like a tedious process but you can get both socks on properly within 20-25 seconds with ease. So if you want to wear them during a triathlon, do not worry, it will not hold you up too much during the swim to bike transition period.
If reading the process of putting on compression socks confused you, which is understandable, there are plenty of visual instructions out there for you to watch as well. Take this one from the good people over at CEP. Not only do they show you how to put them on, but they demonstrate how to do it from the swim to bike transition.