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Why are graduated socks measured in “Denier”?

Stockings and "deniers" (DEN)

The "deniers" are the unit of measurement that indicates the weight, in grams, of 9000 meters of the yarn used to make the sock.
So what does it mean when you hear that a stocking or pantyhose has 40 DEN? It means that 9000 meters of yarn in those tights have a mass of ("weigh") 40 grams.
To calculate the "denier" of a wire, take any length of this wire, measure its length (in meters) and mass (in grams) and then apply the formula: mass divided by length multiplied by 9000.
On the contrary, to know how long the thread used to make a single sock is, it is sufficient to divide 9000 by its weight (in grams) and multiply it by the DEN. From here you can easily understand how even to make a "normal" pantyhose it takes several hundred meters.
The "denari" - whose abbreviation is "DEN" - are traditionally used to indicate the degree of compression exerted by an elastic stocking.
Given that a greater weight usually corresponds to a greater thickness of the yarn (or a greater amount of elastic material present), a high degree of denier is associated with greater compression, and the sock is less glazed and therefore more opaque.
On the packaging of stockings and pantyhose, the word DEN preceded by a number therefore (indirectly) expresses the different elasticity, i.e. the different level of compression that the stocking or pantyhose exerts on the leg. 40 DEN stockings or tights will therefore have a lighter compression than 70 DEN or 140 DEN ones.

The “Decitex”

An alternative very similar to money is the Decitex (dtex), that is the weight (in grams) of 10 Km of yarn. 

The "millimeters of mercury" (mm / Hg)

The "millimeters of mercury" (mm / Hg)
The most correct and scientific way to indicate the compression of a sock is that of "millimeters of mercury" (mm / Hg).
This unit of measurement - which in the textile sector is more widespread than the "pascal" (Pa) - uniquely indicates the pressure, exactly as it happens for blood or atmospheric pressure, regardless of the sheen and "weight" of the yarn.
In our country there is no reference standard for the conversion of DEN / mmHg. For this reason, different compression values ​​may correspond to the same DEN value.
In the case of the measurement in mm / Hg, the reference value is the one that indicates the “compression at the ankle”. This value is very important, especially in the case of graduated compression stockings, because in this case the pressure exerted by the yarn varies depending on where it is measured. The point where the compression is maximum is precisely that of the ankle. Coming up the leg, the compression gradually decreases.

The compression classes RAL-GZ 387/1

The compression classes RAL-GZ 387/1
A useful reference for understanding the DEN / mmHg conversion, and in particular the subdivision of compression stockings into "classes", can be given by the German standard RAL-GZ 387/1, which provides:
Compression class: I.
Compression intensity: Low
Ankle compression in mmHg: 18 to 21
Compression in kPa: 2.4 to 2.8
Compression class: II
Compression intensity: Moderate
Ankle compression in mmHg: 23 to 32
Compression in kPa: 3.1 to 4.3
Compression class: III
Compression intensity: High
Ankle compression in mmHg: 34 to 46
Compression in kPa: 4.5 to 6.1
Compression class: IV
Compression intensity: Very High
Ankle compression in mmHg: 49 and above
Compression in kPa: 6.5 and above
Where 1 kPa equals 7.5 mmHg.

Sanyleg private label graduated compression stockings

The range of elastic stockings made in private label by Sanyleg includes a series of products able to satisfy every need for graduated compression, from the lightest one for relaxing or "preventive" stockings, to the strongest one for care and the prevention of diseases such as deep vein thrombosis, lymphedema and ulcers.
Antiembolism Line 18-20 mm/Hg
Antiembolism Line
Therapeutic Line (Class II Elastic Stockings)
23-32 mm/Hg
Sheer Preventive Line 10-14 mm / Hg (corresponds to 70 den: medium compression), 15-21 mm / Hg (corresponds to 140 den: strong compression), 25-27 mm / Hg (corresponds to 280 den: extra strong compression)
Antiulcer line mm/Hg 40
Cotton Preventive Line 6-10mm / Hg (light compression), 14-16mm / Hg (medium compression), 15-21mm / Hg (strong compression), 25-27mm / Hg (extra strong compression)
Sensitive Feet Line without graduated compression