Compression stockings can be a somewhat general term used to describe several different styles of compression hosiery. Compression stockings are available in different lengths including knee high stockings, thigh high stockings, and full length pantyhose.
Knee high compression stockings are the most popular. Some customers feel the shorter length is easier to apply and thus prefer the knee high options. It is important to note the calf muscle is key to pumping blood from the leg back up to the trunk of the body, so for a compression stocking to be effective it needs at least cover the calf.
To provide even more options, compression stockings are available in both open toe and closed toe designs. A closed toe is what you're most familiar with, and probably what you think of whenever you think of socks or stockings.
Open toe compression stockings can be beneficial for people who want to wear a sock over the compression stocking, those with arthritic toes, or to allow more air to access the toes (if there is a cut or fungal infection on a toe the increased air may help increase the healing).
Compression stockings can also refer to compression socks. With the word "stockings" most of us imagine a sheer and/or silky fabric (and this is precisely what some compression socks are), but there are also compression socks with the look and feel of cotton athletic or dress socks. Compression socks still utilize rubber or elastic fibers to provide various levels of compression, but some people prefer the look and feel of compression socks to stockings. Black compression dress socks are popular among male customers, in particular.