Shop Sigvaris        4-17-23

Beyond Shoe Size:
Why All the Measurements?

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When looking at medical compression socks or stockings for the first time,, many people notice they come in more sizes than small, medium, and large. This means choosing your correct size requires a little more preparation.

How do you determine what size you need?  Are you a Small Short, Medium Short, or Large Long? What does that even mean?

Don't worry. We're here to help.

available sizes chart showing various size options

"Can't I just use my shoe size?"

While shopping for new shoes and even new non-compressoin socks, a standard shoe size will do.

But when you’re shopping for medical grade compression socks and stockings, you need more information. 

This is due to the purpose the garments serve.

Sigvaris compression socks and stockings are designed to provide graduated compression. This means they are tightest at the ankle and gradually decrease in compression level as they move up your leg.

Therefore, measurements of the ankle, calf, and calf length are required for knee high compression socks, along with thigh circumference for thigh highs, and waist measurements for pantyhose.

The science behind graduated compression determines that this is the best way to regulate blood flow and prevent fluid from building up in the feet and legs.

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woman trying on shoes

"What happens if I wear the wrong size?"

Medical-grade compression socks and stockings work best when precisely fit. If you wear the wrong size, you may only experience some discomfort. However, there are possibly more severe consequences you should know.

woman using Sigvaris Doff N' Donner to apply compression stocking

Compression stockings are meant to fit snugly. So much so, that people often need assistance or a device like this to help get them on properly. Getting a size that’s too small could result in your circulation being cut off, usually at the top of the sock where the band is. This could be painful and possibly a little dangerous.

To avoid these negative effects, 

some people make the mistake of ordering a size bigger than what they need. 

The risk they run is not getting the full therapeutic benefits of the graduated compression they need. Always strive for the correct size. If there is any question at all -- maybe you're right on the line between two sizes -- call us or chat with us. That's what we're here for!

How to take your measurements:

Here are the measurements you'll need to get a perfect fit.


1. Ankle Circumference

2. Calf circumference

3. Calf length


4. Thigh circumference (at widest part)

5. Leg length


6. Hip circumference (at widest part)

Check out our full guide to measurements HERE.

Here are some of the best practices for getting accurate measurements:

To get the most therapeutic benefit from your compression socks, you need the best fit. That's why we offer sizes beyond small, medium, and large or shoe-size based options.

The measurements you take above will determine if you're a small short, (small circumference, short length), a large long, (large circumference, long length), or anything in between.

Graphic showing size range overlaying image of petite woman and tall man wearing Sigvaris compression stockings

Essential Opaque

socks and stockings come in the widest range of sizes and styles we offer, from small petite to extra large long plus. If you're knew to compression stockings, or you have a unique body type, this is a great place to start.

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