Style Meets Comfort with Xpandasox

Xpandasox® are a lower-extremity lymphie’s dream come true, perfect for adding pops of color to an otherwise boring and dull compression garment.

Lymphedema requires a lot of adjustments to your everyday life, but one of the biggest adjustments, it seems, is finding clothes that comfortably fit. It’s not just about physical comfort, either: clothing or footwear that is too tight can affect your health by restricting an already compromised lymph flow and aggravating your swelling.

This, of course, sets some limitations on personal fashion. Simple things like picking out a shirt or buying shoes become an exhausting and overwhelming process when you have to consider factors such as tightness, give, and whether or not your compression garment will be accommodated. It often comes down to making a choice between comfort and style; you can have one or the other, and never the twain shall meet.

Enter Xpandasox®. These stretchy and stylish socks are specially designed for people with wide calves: in lieu of the usual restrictive binding found on socks, these feature a sewn-in Xpandapanel™, which stretches 24+ inches around the calf and contracts to fit your leg securely, meaning they don’t bind and, miraculously, they don’t fall down.

Due to this sartorial magic, they are a lower-extremity lymphie’s dream come true: here, finally, are socks that can fit over compression garments or bandages without being bulky or sliding down, and whose elastic bands don’t dig into swollen legs and leave indentations at the end of the day. They’re pretty darn cute to boot: available in a variety of basic, fashion, athletic, and unisex styles, Xpandasox® are perfect for adding pops of color to an otherwise boring and dull compression garment.

When their Director of Design and PR contacted me about reviewing their socks on the site, I was super excited. The promise of a sock that fits without cutting into my swollen limb seemed too good to be true, and I was eager to try them for myself.


My Impressions

The company sent me two complimentary pairs and, as soon as they came in the mail, I tore open the packaging and put them on.

What I noticed first was how good they felt. The socks are a blend of acrylic, wool, polyester, and spandex, so they’re lightweight and soft. (They are also available in a cotton blend.) The Xpandapanel™, which is composed of nylon and spandex, has a slippery yet snug feel, and the top band—or rather lack thereof—felt deceptively loose at the top of my calves but stayed in place. I wear a thigh-high compression stocking on my right leg, and the Xpandasox® slid smoothly over it without adding any excess bulk or weight to my leg, and the fit on my non-lymphedema leg was perfect.

Still a little skeptical, I wanted to test out the claim that they don’t slide down. I jogged in place, bringing knees-to-chest in rapid succession for a minute or two. When the socks didn’t slide, I tried a couple exaggerated kicks and jumping jacks… and still no sliding. These socks weren’t going anywhere!

I wore the Xpandasox® over the next couple days and, much to my delight, they were super comfortable all day long. I do a lot of walking, yet the socks stayed put around my calves without slipping or falling, and—most notably—without digging into my skin or restricting my lymph flow. When I took them off at the end of the day, there were no dreaded red indents—a lymphie miracle!

Bonus observation: the smoothness of the Xpandapanel™ made it easier for me to get my shoes and pant legs on. It sounds silly, I know, but this was a huge plus for me! A lot of times I have to forego a sock on my compression-garment-clad foot, as it’s too bulky to fit certain shoes comfortably, but the Xpandasox® are lightweight enough that I could actually fit with both sock and compression garment on. As for the pants: I wear slim-cut, tighter styles, which means getting them on and off around my right ankle can be a fight sometimes. The smooth fabric made it easy for my pants to slide on without the usual struggle, and that alone is enough to have me sold.

My bottom line? Xpandasox® are amazing; I can totally see myself wearing these or their crew-cut styles regularly, specifically because they don’t have that uncomfortable restrictive binding. They’re comfortable and lightweight, which makes them feel as though they’re a nice complement to my compression-clad leg rather than a bulky additional layer, making getting dressed a lot easier, too. The fact that they come in so many styles and colors are great because now I don’t feel as though I have to choose between wearing something I feel confident in or something I feel physically comfortable in—instead, I can have both!

If you have lymphedema in your legs and you’ve been wanting a sock that’s not only comfortable but also fashionable, look no further! These socks are the answer to all your lymphie fashionista prayers. Thank you, Xpandasox®!


Update, 06/24/2016:

A lot of you have asked questions regarding the compression offered by Xpandasox® since this review was first posted: you love the socks, but do they offer any compression?

Well, Xpandasox® heard you! They brought the socks to Manufacturing Solutions Center lab in North Carolina to perform compression testing, and the results are in: one pair of Xpandasox® offers 3 different compression grades, which vary by the calf circumference of the wearer.

This means the compression levels increase as your leg swells throughout the day — there is no other sock on the market that can make these claims. It works a little like this: if you start your day with a calf circumference of around 15 inches, the Xpandasox® are 8-15 mmHg gradient compression; as your day goes by and your leg swells up to, say, 22 inches, the Xpandasox® increases up to 20-30 mmHg moderate gradient compression.

This is really great news for lymphies looking for some added compression on top of their garments, and the best part is that the current styles of Xpandasox® already have this unique feature! Lab-documented and lymphie-approved, these socks are now confirmed to be a perfect combo of fashion and function!