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Support vs. Compression vs. Gradient Compression

The terms support, compression, and gradient or graduated compression are often used interchangeably.  Although they are related, they are very different and come in several different forms.

The term support hose is actually just another way of saying control – like control top pantyhose.  This hosiery smooths out bumps and bulges in the abdominal area for a cosmetically more flattering look, but they don’t provide any compression or support to the legs or feet.

Like support hose, slimming garments or shapewear also smooth out bumps and bulges.  These garments tend to be more along the line of a modern corset to a bodysuit.  The amount of squeeze can range from mild to very firm. Slimming garments or shapewear are just that – they slim and shape the waist by squeezing bulges.

Support garments are different than slimming garments in that they give the wearer gentle shaping, as well as support.  Our Preggers Maternity and Postpartum Support Garments are good examples of these. 

Another type of allover compression is the popular athletic compression, which gives an athlete extra stability and support.  The level of compression is the same throughout each garment and can include any type of garment, such as socks, pants, shirts, or sleeves. 

Gradient or graduated compression is tightest at the ankle and the pressure decreases gradually as it moves up the garment.  Gradient compression helps to promote circulation, energize tired, achy legs and helps to prevent and reduce swelling.  All of Preggers legwear products are examples of graduated compression.  Graduated compression does offer the wearer support, which may be where the confusion lies between support hose and gradient compression.  Just remember that not all support hose have gradient compression, but all gradient compression offers support.


Compression Questions


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