The Top 7 Best Recovery Tights Reviewed and Tested
Put the squeeze on your legs and reap the rewards of compression. Reviews and information about the top 7 best recovery tights for running right here!
One of the nice things about rapidly evolving sport technology is that gear and practices previously reserved for elite athletes is become more accessible to the lay athlete (or runner). This holds true in a lot of different scenarios and applies to recovery tights as well. In the past recovery tights may have well been something worn only by olympians or pro athletes about to catch a chartered flight. But now they are less expensive and produced for a wider demographic of athlete.
Below we’ve compiled some of the best brands, styles, and cuts for your perusal. For a detailed rundown of the top seven best recovery tights read on!
Brooks Infiniti III
Best for: Running/recovery
Material: Fabric breakdown is 88% polyester, 12% spandex
Sun protection: No
Reflectivity: Yes, on the calf and thigh area
- Mesh strips behind the knee, anatomic seams and strategic zipper placement = maximum comfort
- Bonded reflective markings, easy to be seen at night
- Flat waistband, pocket is designed to be splash-proof in the back
- Mesh around the hips to allow breathing, zippered heels
- We really haven't found any negatives
Best for: Running
Material: 90% Polyester and 10% Spandex
Sun protection: Yes
Reflectivity: Yes, strips around the calf
- Fabric is very soft and flexible adding a touch of warmth or exerted muscles
- Zippered heel allows for you to cinch things down or open it up and let the air flow
- Runner specific pockets for small items such as gels or car keys
- A wide elasticized waist with drawcord gives a personalized fit, and flatlock seams insure against chafing
- Gusseted cuffs zip open to ease dressing with your shoes on; zippers designed to prevent bouncing while you move
- Reflective enhanced logo makes sure you’re seen in dim lighting
- They are a bit long for some
Sugoi Piston 200
Best for: Running or recovery
Material: Consists of 72% Nylon, 28% Spandex
Sun protection: None
Reflectivity: None, a consideration if you do most of your running in the dark
- Carefully graduated compression tech for optimum leg support and fit
- Simple, classic design with a no nonsense cut
- Flat seams reduce or completely eliminate any potential for chafing
- Top notch precision with a laser fitted hem
- Sugoi patented comfort fit elastic waistband
- A bit too much compression for some
Sub Sports DUAL Compression
Best for: Base layer/recovery
Material: Made from 82% Nylon and 18% Elastine
Sun protection: None
Reflectivity: Yes, decals around waistband and right leg
- High-wicking fabric ensures your skin stays as dry as possible
- Targeted compression makes sure all of the major muscle groups are getting some love
- Snug compression fit improves blood flow and makes sure plenty of oxygen is circulating
- Designed to reduce recovery time and support sore/fatigued muscles
- Some didn't like the the waistband
Best for: General fitness/recovery
Material: Nylon/Lycra spandex blend
Sun protection: UPF 50
Reflectivity: Yes, both legs
- Designed for greater blood flow and aim to assist with warmup and recovery performance.
- Reflective logos scattered throughout — be seen at night
- Flatlock seams reduce chafing
- High-filament yarns deal with moisture and dry quickly
- UPF 50+ sun protection plus Antibacterial treated material
- Graduated compression specifically supports the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings calves, and gluteus muscles.
- Sizing runs a bit small
Best for: Running/recovery
Sun protection: Company is based in Australia, so yes the sun is considered. UPF 50+
- Engineered gradient compression contours these tights to your leg muscles
- Sizing system is based on a unique Body Mass Index (BMI)/anthropometrical algorithm, due to this enjoy the full benefit of gradient compression
- SKINS are meant to reduce muscle vibration, minimizing strain muscles are subject to during activity.
- Improved circulation increases oxygen delivery to the muscles
- Athletic cut waistband with firm elastic grip
- Reflectivity built into the design of the tights,
- Don't stay in place while running, for some body types
Best for: Recovery
Material: Highly calibrated blend of 80% Nylon 20% Lycra
Sun protection: Yes
Reflectivity: Reflective logos
- Made from next generation PWX POWER fabric for elevated performance
- Front and rear reflective logos for running in the dark
- Help your muscles bounce back quicker — greater pressure and recovery benefits, keeps blood moving and helps with the removal of blood lactates
- Assists in the “flushing” of your muscles
- Can be worn comfortably and discreetly under your regular clothes
- Comfortable enough to sleep in — for 24 hour maximum recovery aid take your tights to bed with you
- Some had issues with the fit of the waist
So there you have some of our top reviewed and tested recovery tights. How competitive you are will likely play a big role in what is right for you. Top of the line Skins make sense for a hard line triathlete looking to up their training regime, but less sense for a weekend jogger simply wanting their legs to perk up a bit quicker post run. In the second case a midrange pair of Brooks are probably a better fit. If your curiosity isn’t satisfied read on for a few FAQ on recovery tights.
Frequently asked questions
Question: Will these tights really help?
We addressed this question somewhat above, but the short answer is maybe. They do seem to help in some cases but in others show little effect. Manufactures such as CEP, Skins and 2XU all have scientific support cited on their websites. Take a look by clicking on the name of the brand. Conversely, compression tights are not without criticism. Our common sense tells us that while these tights are not a magic cure for anything, they do offer a bit of an edge, and trying never hurt anyone.
Question: Are compression tights just for professional athletes?
Absolutely not. Amateur athletes who want to take care of their bodies should pursue every means of this possible. There is no should when it comes to wearing recovery tights.
Question:Can you become dependant on compression tights?
This is more a question relating to training than recovery, but to our knowledge there are no studies showing that using compression tights leads to some form of a dependency.
Question: How long do compression tights last until they need to be replaced?
This of course is product and usage dependant. But generally speaking most are guaranteed for a year, and with moderate use should be expected to last far beyond that. sweat and dirt can affect their longevity negatively so be sure to wash them after every use.
Question: Can the compression damage my body?
If sized properly compression it is almost impossible for compression alone to cause damage to a healthy body. If however you feel that your tights are causing some type of issue discuss it with a health care professional.
Question: How do I wash my compression tights?
Check the tags first often there are instructions there. If not a good rule of thumb is to machine wash cold or warm, tumble dry low heat or let air dry. If you’re paranoid avoid the dryer altogether.
Compression gear has been popular for quite a while now, and this trend shows no sign of letting up. There’s been a fair bit of research into the effectiveness of compression garments, and overall there doesn’t seem to be a consensus. One recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that:
Wearing compressive garments (such as tights) during recovery is likely to be worthwhile, and very unlikely to be harmful for well-trained rugby union players (the subjects of the study).
While this conclusion is hardly comprehensive, it does indicate some value in recovery tights — which only makes sense given their widespread use. This test was a bit unique in that it compared placebo tights with compression ones. While these results are nothing to hang your hat on they do perhaps make a case for giving them a try.
And this is precisely where we come down on the issue. There is certainly no harm in trying recovery tights to see if they make a difference for you. We are firm believers in the power of the placebo effect as well, if you believe something is helping you, then it is.