The Best Compression Shorts Reviewed
Compression shorts are a part of compression clothing. It is known to improve the circulation; this speeds up the supply of nutrients and needed oxygen to the working muscles. So with all the promises of trading in your old leggings for the latest shorts that will make you better, faster, stronger, and healthier, it’s hardly surprising that the market is booming. But with so many products out there it's hard to know which ones are quality and which ones are crap. There is an extensive range of choices, from high-end brands to cheap rip-offs. In this article, we asses a wide range of shorts on the current market to bring you the top 10 based on the effectiveness of compression, breathability, fit, materials, and value.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Stretch mesh gusset
Very breathable and airy
4-way stretch construction
Anti odor technology
- Under Armour Heat Gear Compression Shorts
- Niksa Compression Shorts
- Compressionz Men’s Compression Shorts
- Under Armor Heat Gear Long Compression Shorts
- Champion Powerflex Compression Shorts
- Neleus Compression Shorts 3 pack
- Defender Cool Dry Compression Baselayer Shorts
- Sport It Compression Shorts
- Tesla Compression Shorts
- Neuleus Full Length Compression Leggings 2 pack
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Under Armour Heat Gear Compression Shorts
Stretch mesh gusset
Very breathable and airy
4-way stretch construction
Anti odor technology
No cup pocket
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. These shorts are designed to be worn as an undergarment. The crotch is a mesh material which can be see through.Read more
This pair of shorts features a stretch mesh gusset and inseam panels which deliver strategic insulation. It 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 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 shorts provide 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.
2. Niksa Compression Shorts
Comfortable to wear
Fabric not quite as stretchy
Niksa compression shorts are constructed from 85 percent polyester and 15 percent spandex. They provide a tight yet comfortable soft second-skin fit.Read more
The seams have been ergonomically designed to provide a smooth, comfortable feel. This short is breathable and soft while giving you 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 shorts are tight in the thigh but loose in the groin, which is just what you want. The material feels excellent 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 excellent price point. It is way cheaper than the big brand products, yet does not sacrifice the quality one little bit!
Overall, Niksa shorts are a well made, supportive and comfortable brand of 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).
3. Compressionz Men’s Compression Shorts
4 way stretch technology
85% nylon, 15% spandex
Waist band twists after washing
The Compressionz brand of men’s compression shorts is made from 85 percent nylon and 15 percent spandex to provide you with a perfect balance between form and fit.Read more
The fabric is anti-odor and antibacterial, giving you a high level of protection while ensuring that your comfort is maximized. There is also a moisture wicking treatment that has been applied to these shorts 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 provides 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 shorts primarily 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 through multiple washes, while the elastic waistband and flatlock seams prevent chafing.
4. Under Armor Heat Gear Long Compression Shorts
4 way stretch fabric
No facility for protective cup
Highly impressive, comfortable to wear, constructed from an excellent weave combination to ensure you get the best level of compression for your needs.Read more
The long shorts from Under Armor provide you with full coverage of the quads, down to the knee. They are made from 79% polyester and 21% elastane. These shorts will give you the maximum level of stability when doing dominant quad 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 shorts do an excellent 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 are one of the best compression shorts for running.
These shorts will provide you with at least an extra two inches of length over conventional shorts. That means that you will not only get more support but a more exceptional compressive ability to fast track oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. On the downside, there is no facility for placing a protective cup into the shorts, so they may be of limited value when it comes to replacing your jockstrap.
5. Champion Powerflex Compression Shorts
84% polyester / 16% spandex
Quick dry Vapor technology
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.Read more
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 right level of ventilation to allow for breathability and airiness. They have a six-inch inseam which has been ergonomically designed to provide maximum wearer comfort.
These shorts will not shrink or lose their shape when washed. They do an excellent job of eliminating thigh rub that leads to chafing. You will find that these shorts are on the market at a very competitive price point, making them a serious contender to compete against the big brands.
6. Neleus Compression Shorts 3 pack
85% polyester / 15% spandex
Fabric is not very thick
The Neleus Compression Shorts are 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.Read more
These shorts provide you with a super deal on the Neleus underwear compression short.
The fabric has strong moisture wicking properties to prevent sweat build up and to chafe. It is rapid to dry and provides you with two-way circulation for enhanced breathability. The groin area is loose fitting to avoid discomfort. It 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 the Neleus 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.
7. Defender Cool Dry Compression Baselayer Shorts
92% polyester / 8% spandex
UPF 30 sun protection
Tight fitting yet flexible
Seam is uncomfortable
The Defender Cool Dry Compression Baselayer shorts are a mixture of 92 percent polyester and 8 percent spandex. That makes them an excellent choice for outdoor training due to polyesters ability to cope with water and UV rays.Read more
The result of the blend of fabrics is a very comfortable and soft fabric that is tight fitting yet flexible. It is an extremely lightweight garment that virtually feels like a second skin.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 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. These shorts can be used in the ocean, making them ideal for triathlon and swim training and competition.
8. Sport It Compression Shorts
Lightweight, elastic fabric
Not suitable for a cup
Sport It Men’s Compression shorts are a 3/4 compression short of providing you with controlled compression right down to your knee. It is the only pair of shorts that we have yet come across that feature pockets.Read more
The pocket on these shorts makes them 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 is open for easy access to your phone.
The high-quality fabric of this 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 shorts are versatile enough that they can be used for both underwear and outerwear. Flatlock seams keep it thin sufficient 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.
9. Tesla Compression Shorts
87% polyester / 13% spandex
Dont fit true to size
The Tesla Men’s Compression short base layer is an undergarment compression pant that is made from 87 percent polyester and 13 percent spandex. It features excellent elasticity to allow for complete freedom of movement when moving in and out of the gym.Read more
The non-abrasion fabric material is smooth on your skin while preventing chafing and wicking away sweat build up.The polyester is a very outdoor friendly fabric that provides you with extra UV protection. It features moisture sensing, quick time drying, and two-way air circulation. These technologies make for an impressively breathable and airy compression short.
10. Neuleus Full Length Compression Leggings 2 pack
85% polyester / 15% spandex
Full length tights
Can be worn as under or outer garment
Fabric not very thick
You get two pairs for a moderate price, this means you can rotate wearing these to ensure comfort. Excellent combination of weaved materials to promote breathability and compressive comfort.Read more
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.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When wearing these shorts, it is essential for air to be able to freely flow through the material to allow your skin to breathe and let sweat evaporate. So we factored in the moisture wicking and sweat removal properties of the shorts along with the overall breathability of the fabric.
The ideal range for compression level is between 20-30 mmHg. We looked at each products compression level, and if they featured graduated compression when determining a score in this category. Graduated compression means that the level changes in different parts of the garment, which is believed to increase the effectiveness of the compression.
Comfort is important for these shorts. While they should be tight, they shouldn't be overly restricted and uncomfortable. The most obvious problem when it comes to comfort is the tightness in the groin area. It doesn’t matter how effective your compression shorts 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 stop wearing them. So we looked at the overall fit of the shorts along with their comfort level with attention to the groin.
Materials play a huge role in determining the effectiveness and quality of these shorts. Some materials are meant for different applications as well. Polyester isn't the most durable, but its a great material for shorts if you're going to be wearing them outdoors or in water. To determine the rating of compression shorts materials, we considered the type of materials, the thickness, the stretchability, seam quality, and fabric treatments.
When it comes to the these shorts market, the price of the product doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the product. A higher price tag doesn't always mean the product is superior. So to determine the value score for a pair of compression shorts, we considered their price point in relation to the quality of the product. If a product is built to last but moderately priced, it is considered to be of more value than a pair of more expensive shorts that are not well made.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Look closely at which materials are used for making the product; you are looking for materials which are tried and tested and known to create comfortable compression.
Carry out some research on the product which interests you, does it have a combination of materials weaved together to ensure breathability will be working together with compression qualities. Getting the correct amount of compression for your needs is very important, too much compression will result in discomfort, too little compression will mean the required compression need is not met. Consider brand products because there are many lower grade products which are mass manufactured, and though they look good, they do not perform to standards.
Shop around, ask questions, try on the shorts to see how they feel.
Comfort is going to be a priority which is equal to the compression performance.
It is a mistake to buy a pair of shorts solely on how stylish they look. Look closely at design features to ensure that the shorts have been designed to distribute compression where it is most needed. Check out the materials used, look closely at the weave pattern to ensure that the product consists of a weave of materials which are known to be good for compression. If you are buying from a store, do some pre-research and ask questions. If you are buying online, check out a few reputable online buying guides.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are the best fabrics for compression shorts?
These are the most common and best-performing fabrics for shorts.
Polyester: While not the most durable of materials for shorts, polyester is the right 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 short compression 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 short construction. It usually has a blend ratio of 2 to 1 with lycra, with which it is generally 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 irritate 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 shorts on the market. The higher 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 shorts. It will enable 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 will 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.
q: What are the benefits of compression shorts?
These shorts manufacturers claim that wearing them will boost blood circulation, decrease post-workout soreness, increase endurance, and even prevent injury.
Wearing shorts while you are working out may help to keep your form on point, especially when you are doing more ‘technical’ exercises such as squats. It may be more due to a psychosomatic effect than anything else - many people feel more in control when they are wearing shorts.
These 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 Icahn 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, these 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 shorts is that it will reduce chafing around the groin and upper inner thigh areas. It 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 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. It allows the body to cool down more efficiently after the workout, leading to faster recovery time.
q: How do compression shorts work?
These 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 - explicitly helping the hamstrings to control the movement of the leg at the end of the swing through. It results in more extension and flexion torque.
These shorts limit the level of oscillation of the muscles of the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It limits extraneous muscles motion, making your actions more efficient. It makes you a better athlete by reducing the amount of energy that you are expanding. A 2006 study that was published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that hip flexion angle was cut during a 60-meter sprint for athletes who were wearing these shorts. In the same study, it was seen that muscle oscillation was decreased during vertical jumps.
q: Are compression shorts easy to care for?
It's always best to read the label for the best care instructions for each product. In most cases, compressions shorts can generally be washed like any other garment, but with some special care. It's always best to wash compressions shorts on a gentle cycle and wash them inside out. Hand washing is also a great option. Avoid using harsh detergents, fabric softeners, or dryer sheets as they may break down the treatments of shorts fabrics that are applied for wicking and water resistance efficiency. Hanging compressions shorts out to dry is the best option, as they will dry quickly. The high heat of dryers will slowly wear on the fabric, but if you must use a dryer, choose a low or no heat cycle.
q: What is the best compression level for compression shorts?
The compression level is an essential factor to review when buying these shorts. Compression levels between 20-30 mmHg are considered the best for recreational and athletic uses.
Medical grade shorts are different from conventional brands in that they provide you with graduated compression. It means that the level of compression changes throughout the garment. Medical grade shorts are designed to help alleviate specific medical conditions.
High-grade 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 higher the benefits in terms of increased blood circulation. However, some people may find such compression shorts uncomfortably tight.
Mid-grade shorts are those that have an average grade of compression. Compression levels of between 10 and 20mm HG are considered to be middle grade.