After 11 hours of research evaluating 45 products, we picked DrSkin Cool Dry Compression Tights as our top choice.
Compression pants won't make you a better runner, enable you to lift more weights, or increase your endurance, but they do have some pretty sweet benefits.
So what are they, then?
Compression garments (including pants, socks, shirts, and shorts) are intended to improve circulation during periods of sustained physical activity.
They can reduce rashes and chafing, reduce muscle stiffness, and improve post-workout recovery time. Overall, they're an enhancement to your workout plan.
Here's what we mean:
Whether you're a runner, an athlete, a yoga practitioner, or a weightlifter, compression garments can reduce post-workout stiffness and soreness. Overall, they will be a useful and beneficial addition to your workout wardrobe.
What's the bottom line?
Below, we've listed the top compression pants for men who run, lift, play sports, and train. Each pair is useful for a different purpose, but they're all the BEST at what they do.
Super lightweight fabric, great blend of synthetics, flexible design, quick-drying, suitable for cold weather use, durable, quality customer service and return policy, silk-like feel on your skin, and no chafing or rubbing.
Sizes run long (for shorter people), and the material is fairly sheer.
These pants are built for an active lifestyle, blending 15% spandex into the polyester fabric to give it just the right amount of elasticity for a free range of movement. The fabric is moisture-wicking and quick-drying, and it will do wonders to keep you cool and dry as you move. Whether you wear them alone or as a base layer, you’ll find they’re a great enhancement to your training regimen.
The design is simple, with consistent compression applied across the entire lower body and flat seams that will reduce chafing. The silk-like feel of the fabric makes it ideal for use when running, even marathons, as you won’t be rubbed raw as you move. They’re a bit thinner than you’d expect and may not be suitable to use on their own (best when worn beneath shorts or pants), but in cold weather, they make one heck of a base layer to keep you warm.
$25 is a bit of a higher price to pay for a base layer that amounts to tight tights, but when you realize how warm they keep you in winter and how light they are, you’ll fall in love with them.
Train for your marathon with these cool comfort compression pants by Nike. You can use these in the winter to stay warm during outdoor workouts, or for everyday use in the gym!
Reviewers say that due to the fit and stitching, you’ll probably want to wear a pair of shorts over these.
Move as you please in these super stretchy compression pants. The dry-fit technology will keep you dry and comfortable in even the most intense workouts. The pants feel very light and airy, enabling you to run as fast as you’d like without feeling restricted.
These are the perfect compression pants to wear under shorts during cold winter workouts. Your legs will be able to breathe without getting too cold.
Nike typically runs small, so before purchasing, consider ordering a size up. The pants are made from 90% polyester and 10% spandex and provide support. The design itself is tight, but the compression isn’t super strong. The inner leg stitching offers ventilation for those high-heat workouts.
The pants are machine wash friendly making them easy to keep clean.
These are Nike Compression pants – they’re made from quality material and owned by a reputable brand. We’d say they are definitely worth the investment – they should last you a long time.
Reduce chafing, improve circulation and lactic acid removal, well-priced, comfortable, protects from UV rays, good mobility, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, breathable, anti-odor technology, and snug fit for maximum comfort.
Some reviewrs complaint about the lightweight compression and too-tight waist.
If you want a good pair of running tights, give these bad boys from Under Armour a try. They offer lightweight compression (a bit too light for some runners) to enhance circulation and endurance without limiting mobility.
The pants are made with 84% Polyester and 16% Elastene, which offers 4-way stretch for good flexibility. The HeatGear fabric offers great breathability and ventilation, keeping you nice and cool while you run. Thanks to the moisture-wicking material, you won't have to worry about being soaked in sweat. Best of all, the material is odor-resistant!
The fabric is UPF 30+, meaning it offers protection against the UVB rays in sunlight. You can protect the skin of your legs thanks to these pants!
The compression pants are intended to be worn as a base layer beneath a pair of running or sports shorts. They're lightweight and comfortable, with a material that will be nice and soft on your skin. The fit is snug for those who want a proper pair of tights to reduce chafing and rubbing while running. Some users complain that the waistband is a bit too tight, so they end up buying a size larger (which leads to a looser fit).
Starting at $20, these are a pretty reasonably-priced pair of compression pants. Best of all, they're designed with runners in mind, offering comfort, UV protection, and excellent ventilation!
Your workouts are about to get a whole lot easier with the 2XU Men’s Elite Compression tights. These pants provide targeted compression to your quads and calves, helping to reduce muscle fatigue. Your workouts will feel breezier and your legs will feel less achy!
A little pricey.
With these tights, your legs are going to feel less fatigued after workouts. With targeted muscle support, you can take your workouts to the next level. The tights move with you, allowing you more flexibility in your workout routine.
You’ll notice increased stability in your workouts thanks to the muscle support and graduated compression.
These fitted tights allow your legs to move while applying compression to your quads and calves. These pants are lightweight and flexible and have moisture-wicking technology.
The design is tight in all the right places, without restricting the ability to move. The tights are 80% Nylon, 20% Elastane, and are machine wash friendly – making for easy care.
These are quality workout tights set at a great value. You’ll probably want to buy a few pairs.
Midweight, good compression, improve oxygenation and blood flow, prevents friction, comfy, stylish, available in many colors, moisture-wicking, good ventilation, flatlock seams, 4-way stretch with good elasticity, UV protection, and affordable.
Some reviewers report issues with quality control and the loose waist band.
If you want a pair of compression leggings for Yoga or Pilates classes, you'll love these. The material (82% Nylon, 18% Elastine) has enough elasticity to promote a good range of movement without sacrificing compression. The material is midweight, comfortable, and a fairly durable option if you lead an active lifestyle.
A number of users reported that the leggings were useful for more active exercise (running, martial arts, etc.), but some insisted that they restricted mobility for rapid movements. Hence, they're ideal for the slower movements of Yoga. Thanks to their moisture-wicking material and good ventilation, they can keep you cool and (somewhat) dry even in a Hot Yoga session.
Don't expect medical-grade pressure from these pants—they're a middleweight pair of leggings that offer reasonable compression to enhance blood flow and oxygenation. Thanks to the flat seams, you can wear them without worrying about rubbing or chafing in the wrong places.
The material offers UV protection for outdoor use. It's not so thick that your legs will feel stifled or sweat excessively, but it's a great base layer to wear when the weather turns chilly.
Starting at $20, this is a very well-priced pair of mens leggings. They're snug, comfortable, and ideal for men engaging in slower-paced activities like Yoga or Pilates.
Comfortable, affordable, lightweight, appropriate for all-season use, blocks UV rays, moisture-wicking, allows for good circulation, never slide down, great fit and performance, won't limit your mobility, and the waistband is snug without beving overly constricting.
Sheer when squatting or bending, and no groin support.
If you want a pair of all-use, all-weather, all-sport compression pants, these DrSkin tights are just what you need. They offer versatility and comfort at an amazing price.
The compression pants are lightweight (though a tad sheer when you bend or squat), and they make the perfect base layer to wear beneath basketball shorts, board shorts, or skiing/snowboarding gear. Their all-weather use means they'll keep you warm in cold environments and offer good ventilation in the heat. Thanks to their moisture-wicking material, they'll prevent excessive sweating no matter how hard you train.
The material is 92% polyester with 8% spandex mixed in, so it offers good elasticity without excessive compression. They are easy to get into, as they have a good amount of stretch. But once they're on, they'll never slip down or slide around. All in all, one of the most comfortable pairs of compression pants you'll ever wear.
The pants don't include groin support, so you'll need to wear underwear beneath (which can make them feel bulky). The elastic waistband keeps the pants snug on your hips, never sliding down no matter how much you move around.
The pants are designed to be worn as a base layer, so they aren't as thick as compression pants intended to wear alone. The sheerness of the material can be a "con" for those who want thicker pants. They're perfect for use under a pair of athletic shorts.
The crotch length is a little long, but the high waistband is perfect for those who want to tuck in an undershirt. For a comfortable, not too tight base layer, order a size larger. For a pair of compression pants, order a size smaller.
Starting at $11, these are among the most affordable compression pants on the market. They offer great value for the price, excellent comfort, and durability. A great choice overall!
Some people have the impression that compression clothes are simply “tighter than normal.” While that may be partly true, there’s a whole lot of technical stuff going on in the realm of compression gear.
Typical workout tights offer flexibility, comfort, and support. And while they may feel skin-tight, that doesn’t automatically mean that they offer *actual* compression benefits.
True compression clothes are more technically advanced than typical workout wear. A legit compression garment will have a graduated level of compression to improve blood circulation and reduce vibrations.
Graduated compression means that the garment will offer more compression further from the heart. In the case of compression pants, maximum compression is offered near the extremities. The level of compression then tapers down as you move towards the torso.
You might be thinking, are compression pants actually worth the investment? We’ve listed the benefits of wearing compression gear below to help you decide.
First, remember that compression pants improve blood circulation and support muscle movement. As a result, the following effects take place:
1. Reduced risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
This benefit is not entirely exercise-related, but it’s definitely still worth knowing. By improving blood circulation, compression gear prevents or reduces swelling in the ankles and feet, which then helps reduce the risk of blood clot formation or DVT.
This effect can be useful is you’re prone to DVT, or if you frequently find yourself in situations that put you at a higher risk of it, such as long-distance flights or road trips.
2. Reduced muscle fatigue during workouts
When you do your workouts (or when you do anything, really), gravity inevitably influences your circulation and encourages blood to pool at your lower extremities. Compression pants and socks help combat this by promoting blood flow back towards the heart.
As a result, oxygen circulation improves. Having an adequate ready supply of oxygenated blood is important in muscle function. When blood oxygenation is compromised, lactic acid begins to build up within your muscles. Lactic acid is responsible for the feeling of muscle fatigue, so controlling its buildup can positively impact your workouts.
3. Lower injury risk
Wearing compression pants can improve the quality of your warm-ups by promoting faster increases in skin and body temperature. With this, the temperature of your muscles also increases, giving them more elasticity and ease of movement.
We all know that with better warm-ups comes a lower risk of injury. Warm, elastic muscles are less likely to tear or become overly-strained.
4. Improved recovery and reduced post-workout muscle soreness
Muscle vibrations during workouts impact the severity of post-exercise fatigue. That said, compression pants help minimize muscle vibration by providing extra support. This reduces fatigue after exercise, as well as lessen delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Wearing compression gear after your workout can help your muscles recover faster, as well. By improving blood circulation to the muscles during the recovery period, compression pants can boost the supply of oxygen that’s available to these muscles, thereby accelerating the rebuilding and recovery process.
5. Improved stability and movement during exercise
Compression clothing will give you a better sense of movement. This leads to improved stability and execution, as well as a reduction in bad posture or form. What’s more, compression gear may also help exercise performance because fatigue reduction leads to better endurance.
6. They help keep you warm.
This benefit may be less science-y than the aforementioned points, but it’s a great bonus, nonetheless. Compression pants will help keep your body warm even when you’re working out in a cold environment. Win!
When shopping for compression tights, know that they’re not supposed to feel like typical workout pants. Compression pants should feel tighter than plain leggings, especially near the calves and ankles where compression pressure is the greatest.
You should expect to encounter a bit of a challenge when putting compression pants on for the first time. A good quality pair will remain tight even after many washes, but you should be able to put it on a bit more easily with time.
That said, if you feel the urge to size up when trying on compression pants for the first time, think twice. It’s highly possible that you’re simply not used to the super snug fit of compression tights and are looking for a more “familiar” feeling. Know that getting a pair that isn’t tight enough can undermine the benefits of compression.
You’ll get the most benefit from donning compression gear if you engage in running, biking, and other high-intensity activities. The more high-impact your workout is, the more you need compression.
These days, however, more and more people are using compression pants and shirts even for low-impact activities. Some athletes even wear compression clothing during rest days to help speed up muscle recovery.
If you can afford to buy multiple pieces of compression gear for both your high-impact and low/mid-impact workouts, that’s great! But if you’re on a budget, it’s best to reserve what you have for running, plyometrics, spinning, and other workouts that are associated with muscle fatigue and vibration.
In one of the sections above, we’ve already discussed how compression pants should fit, i.e., they should be tight enough to actually offer compression, as compression pants are supposed to be appreciably tighter than normal workout pants. However, you also want to make sure that whatever pair you pick will not be restricting your blood flow.
When picking out a size, it’s important to consult the specific size chart of the brand you’re shopping from. Different brands of compression gear may use different measurements, and we know that picking the right size can be tricky.
Although some brands would suggest that you pick based on your height and weight, other brands will ask you to choose based on an entirely different set of criteria. But no matter what, the bottom line is to do your due diligence when shopping. There’s a fat chance that blindly picking out your usual size would lead to failed results.
Typically, compression pants are made of polyester and elastane (also known as Lycra or Spandex) in different proportions. We usually encounter blends that are 75-90% polyester and 10-25% elastane.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the proportion of elastane in the fabric, the stretchier it is.
When shopping for compression pants, you might also want to consider the thickness of the material being used. Some pants feature light fabrics that obviously prioritize ventilation. Others, meanwhile, could be more focused on retaining warmth through thicker material.
Lastly, always make sure to check the quality of the pair you’re eyeing. Don’t forget to check if the seams are stitched well. Reading user reviews will help a lot in this aspect.
Compression pants come in different lengths. The two most common, however, are full-length and ¾-length styles.
As the name suggests, full-length compression pants come down all the way to your ankles. They’re a great pick if you want something that will keep you nice and warm all throughout your legs.
Compression pants of this length come down to the shins or calves. They’re suitable if you don’t really care about having added warmth at the ankles. Plus, these are less likely to bunch up at the shoes. Shorter people also go for ¾ pants if full-length pairs are too long for them.
Compression pants with added sun protection aren’t as common, but it might interest you to know that they do, in fact, exist.
If you frequently exercise under the sun, an SPF-fitted pair of compression tights could be useful. These pants are engineered to prevent the sun’s harmful rays from penetrating your skin.
If you’re planning to use compression tights for running in high-traffic places, you might want to consider getting a pair with enhanced visibility.
Whether they feature reflective prints or bright fabrics, high-visibility compression pants will ensure that you’re easily seen by motorists. This will help mitigate the risks that come with running along busy roads and poorly-lit paths.
Not all compression pants are the same. The continually growing demand for compression pants has pushed athletic wear companies to further pursue R&D, leading to the development of special compression garments that are made for specific sports.
Some compression pants are created specifically with running in mind, while some are designed for other disciplines like cycling and weight training. Compression pants that are designed to be worn during recovery periods exist, too.
Of course, versatile pants that may be used for all sorts of activities are also available if you’re the type who likes to mix up your workouts.
A top-quality pair of compression pants will last you years of regular use provided that you take good care of it. At the end of this buying guide, you’ll see a section containing care and maintenance tips if you’re interested.
As a rule of thumb, it’s time to replace your compression pants when they’re visibly worn down (think runs, holes, and seams that are threatening to burst). Another indicator is fit and feel. If your compression tights have lost their—well—compression level and tightness, it may be time to move on to a new pair.