Socks are one of those purchases that tend to be really good or really bad.
Bad socks will lose their structure quickly, slip off your feet when walking for prolonged periods, and generally do a poor job at wicking moisture away from your feet.
A good sock, however, is one that will provide a nice bit of cushion, stay put when worn (whether for casual or athletic performance), and soak up any sweat so your feet won’t develop blisters or a nasty smell.
After test driving the highly-touted Comrad socks, I am happy to report that these socks fall into the
good great sock category.
In this review, we are going to look at two of their most popular offerings:
Beyond just simply looking at the construction quality of the sock and providing you the relevant feedback, we will also go over how they performed in an athletic setting.
Stick around – this review is going to be good!
A Few Notes for this Review
Before we dive into the details, here are a few key points you should know about:
- This isn’t a paid post – we don’t accept direct payments for reviews. The folks at Comrad are not reviewing this post prior to publication.
- As stated at the start of this article, this post may contain affiliate links.
- We are an independently owned publication.
- This review will cover Comrad’s ankle and knee-high compression socks.
About Comrad Socks
When researching any company for our reviews, we like to dive deep into the company’s history and what makes them unique from any other brand in their respective category.
When researching Comrad, there were a few notable points that we wanted to share about them:
1. Per their detailed FAQs section on the Comrad site – these socks are made in China.
Specifically, they are made “2 hours west of Shanghai”.
On their site, Comrad speaks heavily to the working conditions at the factory and the several initiatives and workplace certifications in place to ensure a good working environment.
Furthermore, they also state that they’re working hard to reduce the environmental impact of the textiles they make. One key detail that they share is that 80% of the dye used in their textiles is recycled for multiple uses.
While this may not seem like a big deal, when you look at research papers such as this one, you can see just how much of an impact clothing dye has on the environment.
So it was good to see that Comrad is committed to this cause.
3. Unlike other compression socks that can seem a bit drab, Comrad is focused on striking the balance between both style and performance. This allows you to comfortably wear their socks whether it is just around the house, going for your daily run, or under a pair of dress pants.
Unboxing Comrad Socks
When reviewing compression socks, it’s important to note that this is a sock and not the latest iPhone. Therefore, the unboxing of Comrad socks was unsurprisingly plain.
When ordering Comrad socks, you can expect to get a padded envelope which will look like this:
The no-frills packing will include the packing slip, stickers, a quicker three step help guide to putting on compression socks, and of course, the socks themselves:
The front label on the socks are pretty standard:
When flipping them around, you get a highlight of some of the key features and benefits of the socks themselves:
As you can see, for the ankle compression socks they are focused on providing a thin texture, a breathable mesh, and an odor-neutralizing fabric that relies on silver ions.
When looking at their knee-high compression socks, their front label is equally as plain:
Along with some standard sizing information on the back label:
Key Features Found in the Comrad Socks
Before we try on the socks, here are a few key features about both the ankle and knee-high compression socks that you should know:
Ankle Compression Socks
- Offer 360-degree uniform arch compression
- Made from synthetic materials (92% nylon and 8% spandex)
- Designed for both active and everyday wear
- Treated with SmartSilver in order to reduce odor buildup
- Provides support to the plantar fascia (the fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot)
Knee High Compression Socks
- Graduated compression (15-25 mmHg)
- Designed to improve both circulation and blood flow
- Helps to reduce varicose veins and DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
- Made from synthetic materials (91% nylon and 9% spandex)
- Can be worn in a variety of scenarios including travel, casual, and athletic use
Trying on Comrad Socks
For those following along at home, here are a few key details when looking at the pictures below:
- My shoe size is 10.5 (9.5 UK / 44 EUR)
- The arch on my foot is really shallow and nearly flat
- I am 5′ 8″ tall (177cm)
Hopefully, these measurements will give you a better idea of how these socks will fit for you should you decide to order them.
Trying on the Comrad Ankle Compression Socks
When sliding these on, they were a bit tight and required moderate effort to pull up:
However, once pulled up, they rested just above the ankle:
Here are a few more views of the socks to give you a better idea of how they both look and fit:
In this view (above), I really liked the craftsmanship going on. As you can see, there are several different cuts of fabric particularly in the ankle and heel area.
When looking at the toe area, the socks did a decent job of fitting around the big toe to the pinkie toe.
Compression was felt around all of my toes.
As far as height, these are not no-show socks. As you can see below, when worn with running shoes, the sock line extends up to the ankle:
Now one particular detail that caught my attention when looking at these socks was the airy mesh that lined the top:
This subtle design choice of fabric should allow for better breathability of the fabric which should result in less sweat buildup while also working to reduce foul odors.
Trying on the Comrad Knee-High Compression Socks
When compared to the ankle socks covered above, the Comrad Knee High Compression socks took quite a bit of effort to get on:
However, after giving them a good tug, as you can see from the picture below, they will indeed rest right at the knee level:
Here are a few alternate views to give you a better idea on both their fit and style:
For the toes, I really loved the design choice here. The fabric in the toe area wasn’t as compressed as the rest of the sock.
This gave my toes plenty of wiggle room without the fabric feeling overly loose or baggy – kudos to Comrad on this subtle yet really smart design choice.
And here’s a look at these socks with running shoes on:
One particular style detail that caught my attention was the grey reinforced fabric along the heel:
While style is subjective, I found the grey heel peeking above the shoe a bit sloppy and think it would be better to opt for a uniform fabric color along the heel rather than two-tone.
Therefore, you may want to think about this small detail when making your purchase.
Now for the fun part, wearing the Comrad socks and taking them for a test run.
In this section, I will continue to review both the ankle and knee-high compression socks as a casual jogger.
To help you understand how I am evaluating these socks, here are a few key features that I am looking for when going for a run:
- Slippage: When in the middle of a run, I have no time to adjust the socks. Therefore, I expect them to stay put throughout the entire run and shouldn’t bunch up or slip down.
- Breathability: From blisters to heat management, running socks should provide some breathability so you can concentrate on your form rather than whether your toes are becoming drenched in sweat.
- Compression: When running, your feet naturally spread out when you put weight onto your toes. Having a sock that severely restricts this movement can cause discomfort when running for a prolonged period.
- Cushioning: While running shoes have plenty of cushioning, having a sock with reinforced fabric is a nice extra touch.
Running In The Comrad Ankle Compression Socks
To get a good feel for these socks, I went ahead and wore them for my daily run.
According to Strava, I ran the following:
3.63 miles at a moderate pace of 8:39/mi – nothing too crazy here.
In order to look for any slippage of these socks, I went ahead and took a before and after pic.
Here is the before pic:
Here is the after pic:
It’s worth mentioning that while it is somewhat hard to see in the after pic, I was getting a good sweat on as it was about 90 degrees and fairly humid at the time of my run.
As for the performance of the socks during the run, here are a few notes:
- The shoes that I am wearing (Nike Pegasus 37) do tend to get quite hot as the mesh fabric is pretty heavy and not well ventilated. However, the Comrad socks felt very comfortable when it came to heat and sweat management.
- While Nike shoes are known for their airy cushioning throughout the sole, these Comrad socks felt exceptionally comfortable on the bottom of my feet. While not as thick as traditional socks (i.e. multi-packs found in large big-box retailers), the cushioning was noticeable when compared to other athletic socks that I have worn.
- The 360 compression throughout the sock was firm. When focusing on my stride, I noticed that the toes were able to spread out when pressing off. Compression was noticeable throughout the entire length of the sock and I could feel them at all times.
Overall, when it came to wearing these socks for a few miles, I was pretty happy with their performance. Given that it was a hot summer day here in NYC, my feet didn’t feel swampy nor uncomfortable at any point during the run.
Will I wear these socks again when I go running?
They will make the daily rotation and will be one of the first pairs I pick out of my drawer at the start of the week.
Editor’s Note: Since I originally reviewed these socks, I have worn them multiple times on my run (about 5.5mi x 4 times a week) and am still satisfied with their performance.
Running in the Comrad Knee High Compression Socks
In order to try and review both socks under the same conditions, I went ahead and wore the knee-high compression socks on the same day.
However, given that I had already jogged 3.6 miles just an hour earlier with the knee-high compression socks, I could only go for about another mile without pushing myself too terribly hard.
For the sake of transparency, here is a screenshot of the info that was logged to Strava:
1.04 miles and a slightly slower pace at 8:47/mi.
Like the ankle compression socks, I took both before and after pics to compare any slippage of the sock.
Here is the before pic:
And here is the after pic:
Again, no slippage at all on the sock when jogging for a mile.
When it came to the performance of the knee-high compression socks, here are my notes:
- The 15-25 mmHg graduated compression felt great while running. I noticed that the foot had a much lower compression compared to my calves. Throughout the run, the pressure was moderate and noticeable but not distracting.
- If you didn’t catch it previously, the fabric toe area is a bit looser when compared to the rest of the sock. This made for a much more comfortable fit in the toe area while running.
- While everything from the arch up had light to moderate compression, the toe area was roomy which allowed for my toes to wiggle and splay outwards with every step.
- Given that the weather conditions were warm (again around 90 degrees), the socks themselves never felt overly hot or itchy (a common complaint when it comes to compression socks). However, given that it is in the middle of summer, the longer length of these socks did make my legs feel a bit warmer.
- One of the best features of these socks was a slight increase in comfort and perhaps performance. As noted previously, these socks were worn about an hour after I just ran 3.5mi in the ankle-compression socks. When wearing these socks, my feet didn’t feel heavy or uncomfortable.
Overall, these socks felt great while running. The compression attributes allowed for my legs to feel fairly fresh even after running previously.
Beyond just running, given that I work at a standing desk all day and that my legs do tend to start to feel heavy every now and again, I noticed that these compression socks provided relief when standing still for prolonged periods.
So whether you plan on wearing them for athletic or casual use, you can expect these compression socks to provide increased comfort and reduced fatigue for your lower legs.
Now that we covered both style and performance, the next area I wanted to briefly touch on was the craftsmanship.
The Comrad socks have a lot of subtle design features that make these great for extended use.
Reinforced Toe & Heel
As you can see from the picture above – the seam found on the toe area lays flat and has very little bulk to it (Comrad states that these are linked seams).
What does this mean for you?
This type of seam provides a bit more comfort when pressed against your toes. This is particularly noticeable when you have your shoes on rather than just simply walking around the house.
As for the heel, while we had some gripes about the two-tone style, the heel is reinforced with fabric and should be able to withstand heavy wear:
Like the toe area, the heel relies on a soft terry-backed fabric.
Graduated and Uniform Compression
In our review, we covered two very different types of compression socks – one that is designed for athletic performance (ankle-compression sock) and one that is designed to increase comfort (knee-high compression sock).
Here’s how the compression differs in each of these socks:
Graduated Compression Socks (Knee-High)
Graduated compression socks are designed to push blood from your feet back up to your body.
Graduated compression socks, such as those found in the knee-high socks we reviewed, are designed for a variety of applications and primarily used to decrease swelling and fatigue in your lower extremities.
Graduated compression socks are often recommended for those who sit or stand for prolonged periods. Specifically, graduated compression socks can help to decrease soreness while also increasing energy levels.
Graduated compression socks come in a variety of compression levels or ranges as measured by millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The socks we reviewed came in a graduated compression of 15-25 mmHg.
Editor’s Note: Any compression socks that apply greater than 40 mmHg must be prescribed by your doctor (source).
Uniform Compression (Ankle Socks)
Uniform compression socks are exactly as they sound – rather than applying a range of pressure throughout the sock (i.e. lighter pressure in the foot and greater pressure in the calves), uniform compression socks apply consistent pressure throughout the entire sock.
While this type of consistent pressure is a great way to reduce swelling and fatigue, it also has several other advantages.
Uniform compression socks, when used for athletic activities, will provide moderate arch support while also preventing any slippage of the sock.
Furthermore, this uniform compression combined with synthetic materials such as nylon is effective at wicking moisture away from the skin.
Not only does this increase comfort while reducing odor, but a moisture wicking sock will also help in reducing the chance that a blister may occur.
While these socks can be worn for periods outside of athletic activity, their thinner design may not provide as much warmth as traditional socks, particularly in the winter months.
Material Composition & Care Instructions
Both the ankle and knee-high compression socks that we reviewed rely on nearly the identical blend of both nylon and spandex (elastane for the international readers).
- Ankle-Compression Socks: 92% Nylon and 8% Spandex
- Knee-High Compression Socks: 91% Nylon and 9% Spandex
Both socks have identical care instructions: machine wash with like colors and either hang dry or tumble cool.
Comrad Socks Return & Exchange Policy
Before making a purchase from any company, it’s important to know their return and exchange policy should you be disappointed in their product and would like a refund.
Comrad offers a pretty standard return and exchange policy. Per their website, they offer 30 days to make a return on the product from the date of purchase (not the ship date).
Exchanges on their products also appear to be pretty easy.
Lastly, if you are buying Comrad socks as a gift for the holidays, the return window is extended to the end of January on the following year.
Editor’s Note: We didn’t personally return or exchange any items to Comrad so we can only reiterate what is stated on their website.
Alternatives to Comrad Socks
While Comrad socks are relatively new to the marketplace, they do have quite a few competitors.
The most notable competitors to Comrad that you should be aware of are the following:
- Bombas: Like Comrad, Bombas offers up a variety of socks that focus on both style and design. Bombas is a bit older of a company (est. 2013) and has a wider product selection when compared to Comrad.
- Sockwell: From diabetic to plantar fasciitis, Sockwell makes a wide lineup of socks for specific purposes. Made in the USA, Sockwell is often recommended by many who are looking for a sock that serves a specific purpose rather than modern styles.
- SB Sox: From compression socks to foot sleeves, SB Sox provides their products at a budget-friendly price point. If you like to keep your expenses low, SB Sox is worth checking out.
Final Thoughts on Comrad Socks
Overall, I thought Comrad put together a quality sock that is both stylish and well-made.
Both the graduated knee-high compression sock and the athletic ankle sock received high marks when it came to both comfort and performance.
If there were any shortcomings on the sock, it was minimal and avoidable (i.e. color choice of the reinforced heel).
Should you be in the market for a new pair of compression socks or high-performance athletic socks, we think you should check out the fine socks made by Comrad.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.