Best Compression Shorts Review

The compression shorts market had become big business in recent years. With promises that trading in your old pair of shorts for the latest spandex offering will make you better, faster, stronger it’s hardly surprising.

So, what’s the reality?

Are compression shorts worth the investment - and what do they actually do?

Which ones are best and how can you tell?

In this article we bring you the 10 best compression shorts on the current market - and we’ll answer all your compression short questions along the way.

Top 10 Compression Shorts in a Glance

Best Compression Shorts for Men

Men's HeatGear Compression Shorts

Under Armor Heat Gear Compression shorts provide you with an ultra tight second skin fit. They are made of 56% nylon, 40% polyester and 4% elastane. This pair of shorts feature a stretch mesh gusset and inseam panels which deliver strategic insulation. This makes these shorts very breathable and airy. As well as wicking away moisture, these shorts are very fast drying.

The four way stretch construction of these compression shorts makes them extremely flexible, which means that they are great for a wide range of sporting and gym applications. The HeatGear Armor fabric technology used to make these compression shorts provides you with a soft, lightweight construction that delivers total support without sacrificing comfort and flexibility. These shorts are available in a full range of sizes from 26-27 inch waist to 54-56 inch waist. They have been treated with an anti-odor technology which prevents the growth of odor producing microbes. They also feature a wider than usual 2 inch elastic waistband and a six inch inseam.

These compression shorts are designed to be worn as an undergarment. The crotch is a mesh material which can be see through. 


  • Stretch mesh gusset
  • Very breathable and airy
  • 4-way stretch construction
  • Anti odor technology


  • No cup pocket
Quick dry Compression Shorts

Niksa compression shorts are constructed from 85 percent polyester and 15 percent spandex. They provide a tight yet comfortable soft second skin fit. The seams have been ergonomically designed to provide a smooth, comfortable feel. This compression short is breathable and soft, while providing you with a superior level of flexibility. The wide waistband features covered elastic to provide the most comfortable fit.

The polyester fabric is ideal for outdoor applications, being waterproof and UV absorbing. You will find that these compression shorts are tight in the thigh but loose in the groin, which is just what you want. The material feels extremely good against the skin. 

There is no logo or other advertising on this product, which many people appreciate. However, the most appealing aspect of this product is its great price point. It is way cheaper than the big brand products, yet does not sacrifice the quality one little bit! Overall, Niksa compression shorts are a well made, supportive and comfortable brand of compression shorts that you can get for a great price. We very nearly rated them number one, but the Under Armor shorts had a couple of extra features that just nudged it out (4 way stretch construction and inclusion of nylon).


  • Aluminum alloy construction
  • Range of resistance levels
  • Suitable for advanced training
  • Very stable and durable
  • Allows for HIIT training


  • Expensive
  • No provision for upper body training
Compression Shorts`

The Compressionz brand of men’s compression shorts are made from 85 percent nylon and 15 percent spandex to provide you with a very good balance between form and fit.

The fabric is anti odor, anti odor and anti bacterial, giving you a high level of protection while ensuring that your wearer comfort is maximized. There is also a moisture wicking treatment that has been applied to these compression shorts in order to wick away sweat and moisture. The advanced level of breathability of those shorts made them ideal for prolonged activities, such as marathon triathlon and long distance training and events.

The thickness of these shorts provide you with protection from irritation. They are weather resistant, designed to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. The four way stretch technology used in the construction of these compression shorts especially targets your quad and hamstring muscles to prevent unpleasant cramping and pain.

These shorts use 20-30 mmHG compression technology to promote blood circulation and muscle recovery. They will retain their shape and fit though multiple washes, while the elastic waistband and flatlock seams prevent chafing.


  • 4 way stretch technology
  • 85% nylon, 15% spandex
  • Moisture wicking
  • Very breathable
  • Odor resistant


  • Waistband may twist after washing
Long Compression Shorts

The long compression shorts from Under Armor provide you with full coverage of the quads way down to the knee. They are made from 70% polyester and 21% elastane. These shorts will give you the maximum level of stability when doing quad dominant exercises such as squats. They are also ideal for wearing under your board shorts when surfing.

The four way stretch construction allows you to move freely in every direction while still getting a high level of compression and control. The tough, lightweight, Heatgear fabric provides maximum support without sacrifice on comfort.

These compression shorts do a very good job of providing a breathability thanks to the strategically placed ventilation. It also features advanced moisture wicking properties to get rid of sweat build up, which is a leading cause of chafing. 

These shorts will provide you with at least an extra two inches of length over conventional compression shorts. That means that you will not only get more support but a greater compressive ability to fast track oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. On the down side, there is no facility for placing a protective cup into the compression shorts, so they may be of limited value when it comes to replacing your jockstrap. 


  • Knee length
  • 4 way stretch fabric
  • Heatgear technology
  • Breathable


  • No facility for protective cup
's Powerflex Compression Short 4.1 out of 5

Champion Men’s Powerflex Compression shorts are a mid length short made from 84% polyester and 16% spandex. They make use of quick dry Vapor technology which evaporates moisture quickly.

Flatlock seams prevent chafing while the stretch fabric provides a tight, compressive fit, while still allowing sufficient looseness around the groin.

These shorts also feature a good level of ventilation to allow for breathability and airiness. They have a six inseam which has been ergonomically designed to provide maximum wearer comfort.

Champion Men’s Powerflex Compression Shorts will not shrink or loose their shape when washed. They do a wonderful job of eliminating thigh rub that leads to chafing. You will find that these compression shorts are on the market at a very competitive price point, making them a serious contender to compete against the big brands.


  • 84% polyester / 16% spandex
  • Quick dry Vapor technology
  • Flatlock seams
  • Competitively priced


  • May fit a little small
Men's 3 Pack Sport Compression Shorts

The Neleus Men’s 3 Pack Compression shorts provides you with a super deal on the Neleus underwear compression short. Each pair is constructed from 85 percent polyester and 15 percent spandex. The result is a soft, lightweight fabric that is tight fitting to provide the compression control that you need to increase your blood flow. The groin area is loose fitting so as to avoid discomfort.

The fabric has strong moisture wicking properties to prevent sweat build up and chafing. It is very quick to dry and provides you with two way circulation for enhanced breathability. This is a non abrasion fabric material with excellent elasticity and durability. This makes the Neleus a good choice for your gym training, including those Crossfit moves that require a lot of flexible movement.

Four way stretch fabrication makes these shorts even more suitable for your sports applications, including triathlon, marathon and long distance training.

The huge benefit of thee Neleus compression shorts, of course, is the price. This 3-pack special allows you to get triple the value of the majority of the products on the market. That great deal without any appreciable lack in quality, though the level of compression is not as strong as some of our more preferred products. 


  • Great value
  • 85% polyester / 15% spandex
  • Moisture wicking


  • Fabric is not very thick
Men's Baselayer Compression Shorts

The Defender Cool Dry Compression Baselayer shorts are a mixture of 92 percent polyester and 8 percent spandex. That makes them a great choice for outdoor training due to polyesters ability to cope with water and UV rays. The result of the fabric blend is that you get a very comfortable and soft fabric that is tight fitting yet flexible. This is an extremely lightweight garment that virtually feels like a second skin.

The Defender Cool Dry Compression Baselayer shorts are designed to be worn as an undergarment beneath conventional pair of shorts or your playing uniform. It is fitted with technology that will wick sweat and moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and chafe free. UPF 30 sun protection gives you confidence when training under the beating sun. These are longer than conventional compression shorts, coming down to just above the knee. They fit true to size and will not bunch up, even when you are cycling for an extended period of time.These compression shorts can be used in the ocean, making them ideal for triathlon and swim training and competition. 


  • 92% polyester / 8% spandex
  • UPF 30 sun protection
  • Tight fitting yet flexible


  • Seam is a little uncomfortable
Men's Compression Workout Shorts

Sport It Men’s Compression shorts are a 3/4 compression short to provide you with controlled compression right down to your knee. This is the only pair of compression shorts that we have yet come across that feature pockets. This makes then very user friendly, especially when you need somewhere to put your phone while you’re working out. You get a deep side pocket on each side, with the right side pocket being a flip pocket to allow you to store your cards and cash and the left side pocket being open for easy access to your phone.

The high quality fabric of this compression short consists of lightweight, elastic, dri fit and breathable materials. It also has advanced moisture wicking abilities. The result is that you get the right balance between keeping your skin both cool and dry. You still get the right level of heat to promote compression and speed up workout recovery.

These compression short are versatile enough that they can be used for both underwear and outerwear. Flat lock seams keep it thin enough as an outer layer while also preventing chafing and ensuring comfort against the skin. Your purchase comes with a no questions asked 30 day guarantee. They are available in sizes from small to XXL.


  • ¾ length
  • Pockets
  • Lightweight, elastic fabric
  • Moisture wicking


  • Not suitable for a cup
Men's Compression Shorts

The Tesla Men’s Compression short baselayer is an undergarment compression pant that is made from 87 percent polyester and 13 percent spandex. It features great elasticity to allow for complete freedom of movement when moving in and out of the gym.

The non abrasion fabric material is smooth on your skin while preventing chafing and wicking away sweat build up. It features moisture sensing, quick time drying and two way air circulation. These technologies make for an impressively breathable and airy compression short.

Polyester is a very outdoor friendly fabric that provides you with extra UV protection.


  • 87% polyester / 13% spandex
  • Great elasticity
  • Non abrasive
  • Moisture wicking


  • Sizing is not accurate
Sport Running tights

Neleus Men’s 2-Pack compression tights are a full length tight to provide you with compression from the bottom of your ankles to
the hips. They are made from 85 percent polyester and 15 percent spandex proving a smooth, natural feel against the skin.

The compressive fit provides locked in support to keep your form on point while you are squatting, deadlifting or doing other lower body focused work in the gym. This is a also a great garment to wear as an undergarment when you are training for or even competing in triathlons or marathons. It is suitable for all seasons and all weather sports. 

The Neleus compression tights can be worn either as an undergarment or and outer garment. They are extremely well priced. The trade off is that the fabric is rather thin so you do not get the same level of protection as some of the more expensive brands. However, they do provide a very good fit, being not too loose and not too tight, especially in the groin area. 


  • 85% polyester / 15% spandex
  • Full length tights
  • Can be worn as under or outer garment
  • Well priced


  • Fabric is not very thick

Leading Compression Short Brands

HeatGear Sonic Compression Shorts

Under Armor is an American company based in Baltimore, Maryland
and offices all over the world. The company has been around since 1996, but got its big break in 1999 when Marvel contracted them to supply garments for two big feature films. This led to the comonat becoming the official supplier for the XFL football league.

Under Armor have established themselves as a forerunner in the performance apparel market, specifically in regard to compression garments.

Men’s Compression Short Leggings

Mava Sports grew from humble beginnings out of a garage with sales exclusively on Amazon. They began with workout gloves and have grown to become a serious contender in the compression garment market.

Mava Sprts have developed a reputation for their durability, reliability and post sales service for various type of fitness products and apparels.

Men's Sport Brief Underwear

Neleus is a relatively new sports garment company, being founded in 2008.

They specialize in sublimation print technology to produce quick-dry fabric sports material. Their production factory is based in Asia.

Men's 3 Pack Compression Short

As one of the largest sporting brands on the planet, Adidas needs no introduction. It was founded in 1949 in Germany, where it still has its world headquarters.

It is the second largest sportswear company in the world, after Nike. Adidas have gone boots in to the compression garment market, establishing themselves as a market leader.

Types of Compression Shorts

  • Medical-grade compression Shorts: Medical grade compression shorts are different from conventional brands in that they provide you with graduated compression. This means that the level of compression changes throughout the garment. Medical grade compression shorts are designed to help alleviate specific medical conditions.
  • High Grade Compression Shorts: High grade compression shorts are those that have the highest grade of compression. Compression levels of 20 mmHG or above are considered to be high grade. The higher the compression, the tighter the fit will be and the greater the benefits in terms of increased blood circulation. However, some people may find such compression shorts uncomfortably tight.
  • Mid-grade compression: Mid grade compression shorts are those that have a medium grade of compression. Compression levels of between 10 and 20mm HG are considered to be mid grade.
  • Padded Compression Shorts: Padded compression shorts are conventional compression pants that have added padding in strategic areas. The most common areas to be reinforced are the tailbone, the hips and the thighs.
  • Support Shorts: Support shorts are compression garments that are specifically designed to help alleviate excessive hip abduction and low muscle tone.
  • Underwear Compression Shorts: Compression underwear is intended to be worn underneath a pair of loose fitting shorts. They fit snugly and are usually made of spandex. You should also expect your undergarments to possess moisture wicking properties. Compression undergarments will eliminate the need for jockstraps. In fact, jockstraps have become increasingly uncommon in favor of compression underwear. Many brands of compression underwear feature a sewn in pocket that is able to take a protective cup.

    Compression short undergarments are also commonly worn by women who wear skirts during sports performance.
  • Outerwear Compression Shorts: Compression outerwear is designed to be worn as a stand alone garment, with nothing on top of them. As a result, they are more stylishly designed than underwear. They will also be thicker and feature stronger seams. Outerwear compression shorts come on various lengths from mid thigh all the way down to the knee.

What to look for in a Compression Short?


  • Polyester: While not the most durable of materials for compression shorts, polyester is a good choice if you are going to be training outdoors. It is water resistant and it is more resistant to UV radiation than any other material that is used for compression short construction. With this material you do not have to worry about the material fading in the sun or the fibers breaking down.
  • Nylon: Nylon is quite a common material in compression short construction. It usually has a blend ratio of 2 to 1 with lycra, with which it is usually paired. After neoprene, nylon is the most durable fiber used in compression short construction. It is also the most water resistant natural fiber that you will come across. And, because it is a smooth fiber, nylon will not cause irritation to those who have a skin condition.
  • Lycra: Lycra is also known as spandex. You will find it, to a lesser or greater degree, in virtually every pair of compression shorts on the market. The greater the lycra content, the better. Its great benefit is that it provides a great deal of flexibility while still retaining its shape. It is, therefore, the spandex which allows for the form hugging fit of compression shorts. It allows them to perform without any restriction of movement.
  • Neoprene: Of all of the materials in this list, neoprene is the least breathable. Neoprene is resistant to water and sunlight so wil nor deteriorate from extended outdoor use. It is also thermal and heat resistant. While being thick it is also lightweight, which makes it a popular choice for protective sports gear. Neoprene is technically a rubber, and is far more durable than most other compression short construction materials. It is not as breathable as other materials, however.

Level of Compression

Look for the compression level of the shorts. Graduated compression means that the level changes in different parts of the garment, which is believed to increase the effectiveness of the compression. Compression levels og between 20-30 mmHG are the best.

Moisture Wicking

You should look for a pair of compression shorts that have inbuilt moisture wicking and sweat removal properties.


The most obvious problem when it comes to comfort is the tightness in the groin area. It doesn’t matter how effective your compression shots are if you are going to be distracted by tightness in this area - it will distract from your performance and negate any potential benefits. Furthermore, you will probably simply stop wearing them. So, look for a pair of compression shorts that alleviate the compression in the cup area.

How Compression Shorts Work?

Compression shorts are a sub-category of compression wear, which is a type of clothing that is woven with spandex type fibers. As a result the clothing is very tight on your skin. This is designed to keep your muscles tight or compressed while you are exercising. This compression is said to actually improve blood circulation, which speeds up the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the working muscle.

Compression shorts are similar to medical grade garments in that they deliver therapeutic compression that does not restrict your range of movement. As a result of their tightness they are usually 10-15 percent smaller than conventional shorts. They provide a degree of elasticity in the spandex which has been shown to help sprinters to improve their control and action - specifically helping the hamstrings to control the movement of the leg at the end of the swing through. This results in more extension and flexion torque.

Compression shorts limit the level of oscillation of the muscles of the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. This limits extraneous muscles motion, making your actions more efficient. This makes you a better athlete by reducing the amount of energy that you are expending. A 2006 study that was published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that hip flexion angle was reduced during a 60 meter sprint for athletes who were wearing compression shorts. In the same study, it was seen that muscle oscillation was decreased during vertical jumps. 

Benefits of Compression Shorts

Compression shorts manufacturers claim that they have the following benefits:

  • Boost blood circulation
  • Decrease post workout soreness
  • Increase endurance
  • Prevent injury
benefits compression shorts

There is little in the way of scientific evidence to back up these claims. A 2016 study did show that wearing compression shorts improved the endurance of long distance runners.

Compression is something that has been advocated for a long time as part of a post exercise recovery regimen (remember the R.I.C.E acronym - ‘C’ stands for compression). Compression in a worked area will definitely increase the blood flow. This brings more muscle replenishing nutrients and oxygen to the worked area. It also helps to release lactic acid from the muscle to offset delayed onset muscle soreness. This effect is best achieved if you wear your compression shorts not only during but also after your workout.

Wearing compression shorts while you are working may help to keep your form on point, especially when you are doing more ‘technical’ exercises such as squats. This may be more due to psychosomatic effect than anything else - many people feel more in control when they are wearing the shorts.

Compression shorts appear to be especially beneficial for people who are recovering from injury. According to Dr. Girardo Miranda-Comas, a sports medicine physician and assistant professor of the Ichan School of Medicine, ‘For me it makes sense to use during exercise if you're looking for better muscle recruitment. For instance, if you had a hamstring injury and during recovery you want to use it while training.’

Beyond the sports / fitness application, compression shorts have also been seen to be beneficial in helping to prevent deep vein thrombosis, which results from a blood clot forming within a vein.

An immediate benefit of wearing compression shorts is that it will reduce chafing around the groin and upper inner thigh areas. This is a common problem with bodybuilders who have large thighs, especially when they are walking on the treadmill. Many bikers, joggers and marathon runners also have to contend with inner thigh chafing.

Many compression shorts feature moisture wicking properties that can help to control your temperature while working out. They will keep your body dry while absorbing sweat and moisture. This allows the body to cool down more efficiently after the workout, leading to faster recovery time. 


The compression short market provides you with a wide range of choice, from high end brand to cheap and nasty rip off. As we’ve identified, however, you don’t have to rely solely on the big name brands to find a quality product at a good price.

The top brand that we have identified are Under Armor Heat Gear Compression Shorts which provide you with stretch mesh gusset, 4-way stretch construction and anti odor technology. Our silver medalist is the Niksa Compression Short, which is moisture wicking, has a loose groin fit and comes in at a great price point. Rounding out our top 3 is the Compressionz Men’s Compression Short, with its 4 way stretch technology moisture wicking and anti odor technology. 

Top 3 Compression Shorts

Under Armor Heat Gear Compression Shorts

Our #1. Recommendation

Under Armor Heat Gear Compression Shorts

jim roose

My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.