Japan has taken to compression hosiery, or 'flight socks', in a big way and it is not just frequent fliers who are snapping them up. 

Domestic demand for such socks and stockings is reckoned to have already reached JPY10bn (US$88.3m) in line with worldwide sales which have been raising seadily since the mid-90s. That was when the benefits of anti-thrombosis, so called economy class syndrome, socks became more widely acknowleged.

The latest boost in sales came from a change in marketing, with Pip-Fujimoto promoting its stockings as an outdoor fashion item. Previously such socks used to be seen as home or in flightwear. The firm's domestic market share is now 50%. Other makers have been quick to follow while also emphasing the sock's support and shaping ability.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.