Ames Walker Holiday Gift Guide: From Support Socks to Slippers and Everything In Between
Everyone has received Christmas gifts they never used, that ended up sitting around and taking up space on shelves and in closets. When it comes to buying presents for your loved ones, you definitely don’t want to give gifts that meet that fate. If you’re at a loss for ideas, may we suggest gear of all kinds that support a healthy lifestyle?
Compression gear is certainly a practical gift idea, and the products can even be surprisingly fun. If you don’t believe us, you’ve obviously never seen Sockwell’s awesome support socks or Juzo’s colorful printed arm sleeves. To help you find fun practical gear for everyone on your list, we’ve gathered up 14 of our favorite gift ideas this holiday season, from the best support socks to Oprah’s favorite slippers for 2018 (yes, really!).
Compression support socks are consistently one of the most popular items on our site. While they look like regular socks, they offer the benefits of compression even as they blend seamlessly with your outfit. Pretty much all the major brands — Dr. Comfort, Jobst, Juzo, Sigvaris, Medi and of course Ames Walker — have a solid collection of both men’s and women’s compression support socks. Another newer brand we’ve been loving recently is Sockwell, which makes great-looking and awesome-feeling socks in a special blend of Merino wool, rayon made from bamboo, nylon and spandex. Not only do the socks feel amazing on your feet, but they also come in a series of understated but cool designs like dots and chevrons. We definitely wouldn’t be disappointed to unwrap some Sockwells — er, socks on Christmas day!
Performance Athletic Socks
Athletes swear by compression socks and sleeves, and for good reason: These products promote muscle recovery and reduce swelling. Thankfully, there are all sorts of sporty designs you can get for the fitness fanatic or amateur athlete in your life. Jobst is one of the highest-quality and longest-running brands in the business, and the Jobst Sport line is specifically for athletes. Sigvaris — another great brand — has a couple Performance and Traverse socks made for athletes as well. Upsurge is a hot newcomer to the performance support sock game, which makes sweet-looking athletic socks that will blend in at the gym.
Not everyone likes to have compression fabric wrapped around their entire foot. Many people, athletes and otherwise, opt for calf sleeves instead — which provide the benefits of compression therapy while allowing their feet to breathe. Upsurge makes a sporty calf sleeve that comes in black and white, as do OrthoSleeve and Therafirm. The TheraSport line even comes in additional brighter colors, such as green, blue and red. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our very own Ames Walker calf sleeves that come at a very affordable price. And if you need a larger size, Dr. Comfort makes an extra roomy graduated calf sleeve that comes in large and extra-large.
Socks don’t look right with every outfit, and sometimes people want to wear tights instead — or need to wear tights to comply with a work dress code. There are many styles of tights available, from sheer pantyhose to opaque medical-weight hosiery. Brands like Medi (Mediven) offer a huge range of styles — closed toe, open toe and footless — in a variety of colors, many of which look exactly like regular tights. All of Juzo’s products, including tights, are also released in seasonal color collections that rotate twice a year, so you can show off the latest hues in addition to classic pantyhose colors like nude and black. Many expecting mothers also opt for maternity pantyhose because they provide compression and extra support for their tummy as the baby grows, not to mention how they reduce swelling. If you’ve got a mother-to-be on your list, she will definitely appreciate a pair of maternity tights this holiday season.
Sometimes you need the look of tights, but you really, really don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to roll them down every time you go to the bathroom. Enter thigh-high compression stockings, which provide the benefits of compression to almost your entire leg without the extra fabric. Many of them come with a silicon dotted band around the top of each stocking on the inside of the garment to keep the stockings in place and prevent them from sliding during a long workday, while others use a waistband for extra security. Opt for a plain band at the top or lace trim if you’d like a secret design element to class up your stockings.
While gravity does exert a greater effect on the circulation in your lower body, swelling — aka lymphedema — can strike the upper body as well. If someone you know suffers from upper body lymphedema, an arm sleeve can be a great gift idea. Similar to thigh high stockings, these sleeves usually come with a silicone band on the inside to help them stay up. Of course, there are plenty of nude-colored arm sleeves from a variety of brands, but in addition to its usual seasonal colors collection, Juzo also has really unique printed arm sleeves in lots of fun patterns, from watercolor to blue camo to butterflies to fake tattoos to everything in between.
While we’re on the subject of upper body products, we should talk gauntlets as well. Looking a bit like fingerless gloves, these garments cover the palm and wrist and help manage swelling in the hand. You can wear gauntlets on their own or combine them with arm sleeves to get the full benefits of compression therapy from your shoulders to your fingers. The cool Juzo prints are also available in gauntlets — and of course they’re available in regular solid colors. Managing swelling in your hands can be tricky because we use them so much, so any friends or family members who struggle with this will surely appreciate your thoughtfulness.
It’s said that if your compression gear is stretched out and easy to put on, it’s time to replace it. In other words, effective compression garments should be hard to put on — and that’s where donning aids come in handy. These aids take many different forms, including metal racks, latex-free gloves and slippies. For example, Sigvaris has designed the revolutionary Doff n’ Donner system that involves two components: a cone for rolling up the stocking and a sleeve for putting it on. Medi, Jobst and Ames Walker all make metal donning racks that can assist with wrangling those compression garments as well.
Some people who need the benefits of compression therapy — such as those with limited mobility — dislike compression socks, sleeves and other similar products because they are difficult to put on. If donning aids still aren’t cutting it for them, consider introducing them to compression wraps: thick fabric brace-like wraps with interlocking Velcro straps. Because of the design, wraps are easier to take on and off, although you do have to be careful to secure them at the right tension in order to achieve the proper level of compression. Compression wraps are available for pretty much any body part — including calves, thighs, knees, feet, arms, hands — and come in a variety of widths, lengths and sizes so users can customize their level of compression. Compression wraps are usually black or beige.
If you’ve got an athlete or workout fanatic in the family, they probably complain about slight injuries and pulled muscles all the time. Athletic braces can help them bounce back quickly from minor aches and pain and get back to peak performance in no time. You can get braces for basically any body part, from hand to wrist to ankle to knee to calf. There are even rib and back supports available! Medi has an extensive collection of athletic braces and supports, and FLA also offers a good number of braces as well. If someone on your list is still using a ratty old brace they picked up at the pharmacy down the street, upgrade them over the holidays with a nice new athletic support.
Gels and Creams
Many health conditions that can benefit from compression therapy, such as edema, can also lead to dry and cracked skin, especially in the winter months, making a high-quality moisturizer an excellent gift idea. Juzo makes a fitting lotion that makes it easier to don your compression gear as it moisturizes your skin, while Medi makes not one but two products: a day gel to cool and comfort your skin while you wear compression stockings and a night cream that provides the ingredients the skin needs to recuperate and regenerate overnight. Medi also offers a nice kit that includes samples of both the day gel and night cream as well as its care wash, stocking application gloves, and an easy-care wash bag.
Compression gear is an investment, and proper care can help your garments last longer, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often. That’s why many brands — including Ames Walker, Jobst, Juzo, Medi and Sigvaris — make a special hosiery wash to keep your support socks and other compression gear looking as good as new for longer. Buy the hosiery wash on its own or get it as part of a special care kit with other accessories. For example, both Jobst and Juzo offer “wash and wear” kits that include their propriety cleaning solution, donning gloves and a mesh laundry bag to protect your compression garments in the washing machine.
Slippers are a common Christmas gift idea, and it makes sense — December and January are the perfect cold weather months to curl up at home in your pajamas and a warm pair of slippers. Sadly, most house-shoes you pick up at the shoe store are uncomfortable and poor-quality, with flat plastic soles that don’t grip and cushioning that will deflate after only a few wears. This year don’t give your loved ones low-quality slippers that they’ll soon discard. Instead, get them the best slippers of their lives from uber-comfortable brands like Dr. Comfort and Propet.
Leg Elevation Pillow
Did you know that lying down can actually be good for your circulation? If you raise your feet about the level of your heart and properly position your legs, that is. It’s true. And just 15-20 minutes of this a day will encourage blood and other fluids to gently drain back to your core after a whole day of gravity pulling on them, thereby boosting circulation and reducing swelling. Leg rest pillows can help you correctly position your legs for optimal comfort and results, and they come in both memory foam and inflatable versions. You can also pick up a complementary memory foam pillow for the upper body as if there’s someone you’d really like to spoil this Christmas.
We hope that this holiday gift guide is enough to get you started. But if not, our Ames Walker customer service staff is always here to help you find the perfect item for you and your loved ones. Give us a call or send us an email, and we’ll help you find the right gifts for the right people.
Kaki Zell - Vice President of Sales, Marketing, eCommerce at Legs-4-Life LLC
Kaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She’s been working in the medical device industry over 11 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greensboro Science Center.