The Best Running Compression Shorts Reviewed
A detailed breakdown and analysis of the best running compression shorts currently available on the market today–for novices and pros alike. See our list before you buy a pair.
Compression shorts have been around for years, but they have recently gained steam among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Studies have shown that compression gear has a positive affect on blood flow, heart rate, oxygen distribution, and aerobic threshold. Since compression shorts are designed to reduce muscle vibration during physical activity, they can also contribute to faster recovery as well as reduce soreness after a hard workout.
A good pair of running compression shorts offers support, comfort, improves the mobility of oxygen to your muscles, keeps your legs warm, and protects your skin. Another bonus is that compression shorts are often designed to wick away sweat, so you can focus less on how uncomfortable you feel and more on the activity you love.
An ill-fitting pair can hang too loosely on your legs or cinch up around your waist, causing friction. If your compression shorts are too small, your movements will feel restricted within a few strides.
- Sugoi Piston 200 Tri Pocket
- 9 inch inseam
- ASICS Low Cut Shorts
- Flat Seam Stitching
- Nike Pro Combat Core
- Flat seams
10 Best Running Compression Shorts
1. Under Armour HeatGear Sonic
- Strong composition, double reinforced seams
- Moisture-wicking material
- Good price-to-value ratio
- 4-way stretch fabrication keeps shape
- Comes in multiple primary colors
- A bit constrictive for some
2. Nike Pro 3"
- Flat seams, no irritation
- Comes with many color options
- Extremely lightweight and quick drying
- Strong elastic in the waist
- A high cut does not flatter everyone
- Constructed for consistent yet subtle pressure
- Extra hamstring support
- Bacteria and sun resistant material
- Thoughtfully designed
- Smart drawstring closure
- Slightly expensive
4. Nike Pro 5
- Dri-FIT fabric for moisture control
- Flexible waistband for custom fit
- Flat seams ensure comfort
- Some colors are too transparent to wear without a second layer
5. Clinch Gear
- Double Flat Lock stitching prevents chafing
- Moisture-wicking technology
- Thick, quality material
- Rubber lining prevents ride-up
The grips that prevent the shorts from riding are uncomfortable to some
6. Tommie Copper Recovery Expedite
These shorts also utilize CopperZnergy fabric to prevent your shorts from acquiring any permanent odors.
- Aids with soreness, muscle recovery, and fatigue
- CopperZnergy fabric to shield odors.
7. CW-X Men's Endurance Pro Shorts
- Exo-web provides muscle support; quadriceps and hamstrings stabilization
- Thick, comfortable fabric
- Moisture-wicking and breathable
- The seam, located in the center of the shorts, can cause chafing after a longer run
8. Adidas Men's Training Techfit Base Short Tights
- Climalite fabric designed for moisture control
- Ergonomic waistband for increased comfort.
Some customers noted that the material is thinner than other brands
9. Skins A200
- Quality moisture-wicking fabric
- Ergonomically designed for a snug fit
- 50 + UV protection
- Engineered gradient compression for maximized comfort
- Difficult to size properly
- Price runs a bit high
10. Champion Powerflex
- Champion Vapor technology evaporates sweat quickly
- Highly affordable
- Anti-chafing seams
- High quality elastic waist
- A bit tight in the waist
- May not last as long as higher priced brands
If you decide to forego compression gear altogether, you forfeit the benefits described above and according to Livestrong these further benefits: potential for improved circulation, core temperature regulation, reduced fatigue, protection against thrombosis, muscle control and retention of energy. So as you can see the benefits are numerous. If this is a part of gear you’ve skipped over maybe it’s worth a second thought.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of The Best Running Compression Shorts
Every runner consider compression garments for the proven benefits. Everyone is different, but ignoring your base layer can in many cases be ignoring a foundational element of your gear. Particularly if you are someone who runs frequently in cold weather or has struggled with injuries, a nice pair of compression shorts can be a godsend and the difference between a pulled hamstring or happy legs.. We hope our list has been useful, but let us know if we’ve forgotten anything. Have a pair of shorts you swear by? Add them in the comments!
During the last year we have seen a great development on compression wear. From leg and arms sleeves, to socks, to shorts and tops, they all claim the technology used can enhance your performance while running, practicing any sport, or just having a long day standing.
Let’s start with some basics about how your body does when you exercise.
Whenever you move, your heart pumps blood that contains oxygen to all our body to be used, among other nutrients, to produce energy that makes your body to function. That goes from simply day-to-day breathing to intense exercise, what changes is the heart rate, the more you move, the more blood flows and the more energy you use. As the oxygen and nutrients in blood get used, sub products of the chemical reactions that make your muscles work are generated, one of those products is lactic acid. The velocity of those processes increase along the quantity of exercise you perform.
Getting rid of lactic acid and keep your blood oxygenated is very crucial for runners and their physical performance. Accumulation of lactic acid leads to cramps and muscular pain, and lack of oxygen in your legs blood decreases the performance of the muscles.
How compression gear works
Specialized sports clothing companies claim that compression gear can benefit the performance of your body. The more efficient clearance of lactic acid, the enhancement of aerobic threshold, and the increase VO2 max are the three factors that might make you think on buying your new compression running gear soon.
In other words, compression clothing can help you to increase the maximum volume of oxygen that you can use while running (VO2 max), enhancing you body to create more energy from that oxygen, delaying you body to use other resources that makes you to accumulate lactic acid in your muscles faster than it can be cleared away (aerobic threshold).
The way that graduated compression can help you is when it increases the speed of the blood flowing through your body, constricting just enough the walls of your veins and arteries. It means that your blood gets pressurized, making it flow faster from and to your heart, carrying nutrients and oxygen back to your muscles, not allowing lactic acid to accumulate, and increasing the recovery time of your muscles.
After all, compression shorts are no more than shorts that are manufactured to have a series of strategically angled elastics to produce anatomically correct compression.
A bit more science
Studies conducted have reported that runners who wear compression gear, can experience a reduction of nearly 26 percent in their VO2max.
The studies have not been that conclusive about the roles of compression gear on directly improve your lactate clearance.
While different brands will claim that using compression shorts will allow you to run harder longer, science does not totally back that up. There are definitely great advantages from wearing compression shorts, like a faster and more complete recovery but do not think that those are magical shorts that will make you run faster and longer, that ability is a combination of technology (such as compression shorts) and a your personal training.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Compression Shorts
You have to have in mind this two steps to come down with the perfect fitting for your compression shorts:
- Measure your waist, hips and inseam. For your hips, measure around the narrowest part of your body (where your body bends to the side); for your hips measure the fullest part of your hips; and for your inseam measure from the top of your inner leg along the inside seam of your leg.
- Find your size. Each brand has its own size chart, ask for it from the staff is looking for you at the shop, or go in their websites and look for it. There are no good universal-size compression shorts. As they provide very specific support for your muscles, you should wear the perfect custom compression short.
Specific compression levels are required for specific groups of muscles as well as the type of exercise you plan to do while using them. Compression shorts are not just trying to squeeze you in a tighter par of short, they have different gradient compression elements that can provide the right amount of surface pressure to enhance circulation to your muscles.
To get the best compression shorts for you, make sure to get personal advice from the brand you are looking for to buy. Compression shorts can only benefit you in a great way if you get the right ones for you and your specific training/run.
You can get compression shorts in a wide variety of colors and shapes that can make you feel amazing, not only for their technology, but also for the way they look on you. Different brands have multiple colors and different styles. One thing you need to have in mind is that compression shorts are sold base in your sex, there are no unisex sizes.
Q: Do compression shorts can help me if I get swollen and/or sore after I run?
A: Compression technology on shorts can limit the swelling of your legs during and after your run. As mentioned before, that technology allows your body to recover faster from your short and long runs. Compression shorts will help your muscles recover faster from their activity.
Q: I am overweight, can I use compression shorts for my runs?
A: Everyone can use compression shorts for their run. However, you need to get the right size of shorts if you want them to help you with your run. Different brands can go up to extra large sizes. It is worth it to go to the store and ask for assistance if you are overweight.
Q: I am starting to run, will compression shorts make me improve my performance?
A: Compression shorts will only improve your run if you have the right pair. To know that you need to learn how to run and your specific needs when you run. This kind of shorts can get very expensive, so we suggest to know more your unique style of running, your specific needs and then you can start looking for your pair of compression shorts.
Q: Can I wear the same pair of compression shorts during different seasons?
A: We suggest to not do it. Some compression shorts like the Sugoi 9-Inch Piston 200 Tri Pocket, are designed for cold weather, while some like the ASICS Women’s Low Cut Shorts are recommended to wear during warm weather. To get the best compression shorts for you, make sure to get personal advice from the brand you are looking for to buy.
Q: How do I wear compression shorts?
A: If you’re trying to get into a pair of compression shorts, we suggest you scrunch them up from the waist down to the knee or tight. Then gradually pull each leg up. Compression can make those simple steps a bit harder than usual. Do one leg at the time, we recommend. Try them for a while before your first run with them, that way you get use to them. If it feels uncomfortable after your first run, it would be possible you chose the wrong size. They are meant to feel like a second skin.
We hope you found this guide helpful and provided you with all the information you need to see if compression shorts are right for you! Thanks for reading!
Here are some of the sources we used while conducting our research:
We utilize many different resources while trying to provide the best information to our readers. Some are clinical sources, some are brand specs provided by manufacturers, and some sources are even other sites which may specialize in particular information which is relative to our subject.
- How to Recover from a Tough Workout, Online fitness publication, ,
- Aerobic energy cost and sensation responses during submaximal running exercise--positive effects of wearing compression tights., Government research publication, May 27, 2006 ,
- Effects of compression stockings during exercise and recovery on blood lactate kinetics., Government research publication, May 30, 2010 ,
- Physiological effects of wearing graduated compression stockings during running, Research publication, May 31, 2010 ,