We hope that you love our articles and find them useful and informative! In full transparency, we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post. These funds allow us to keep the site up and continue to write great articles. Click here to learn about our review process and affiliate structure.

Best Compression Leggings and Tights For Women in 2022

 

Having compression leggings can improve your workout by helping to isolate muscular movement and reduce the vibration of soft tissue.

During your cool-down stage, they can also help your muscles quickly vacate waste products such as lactic acid.

In addition to the compression benefits, the fabric will help wick away sweat, keeping you comfortable while you are keeping fit.

Here are the top ten best compression leggings for women. The leader is easily the 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tight, but there are nine other great options that each have their own strengths.

 

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tight

 

  • Graduated compression
  • Excellent durability and flex
  • Flat seams to avoid chafing
Check Price

 

CompressionZ Leggings

 

  • Premium-quality fabric
  • Move freely and comfortably
  • Wide range of sizes
Check Price

 

CW-X Stabilyx Joint Support 3/4 Compression Tight

 

  • Machine washable
  • Double reinforced waistband
  • Reduced post-workout muscle fatigue
Check Price

Best Overall

1. 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights

These fun tights offer just the right mix of comfort and compression to help boost your performance while keeping you feeling good on the road or trail.

What We Like

These tights are created to give you the best in both performance and comfort. They’re made of unique PWX fabric — Power-Weight-Fex — that allows you to move freely and comfortably no matter your activity.

The material combines nylon and elastane and offers enough stretch to allow you to move through a full range of motion.

At the same time, the graduated compression provides some support for the muscles, protecting them from the vibration of shock on every step.

It also helps to improve blood flow to the legs while you’re exercising, so your muscles have access to oxygen and nutrients, which can boost your performance.

You can also wear these during your recovery, as the increased circulation will help your muscles to heal faster.

The fabric also has moisture-wicking properties, so you should stay dry and cool during your activity.

These tights feature a wide, soft waistband. It has no problem staying up while you’re running, but the fabric will not chafe or cause you discomfort either.

Why We Like It

The 2XU Mid-Rise Compression Tights offer excellent compression and a high level of comfort. We also like that they come in unique seasonal prints.

What to Consider

Some users have reported these tights can be a little see-through. If you use them, try to color-coordinate so you can’t see your underwear through the tights!

PROS:

  • Graduated compression increases blood flow and reduces muscle vibration
  • Wide, comfortable waistband doesn’t chafe or fold down as you run
  • Flexible PWX fabric allows you to go through your full range of motion
  • Moisture-wicking abilities keep you dry during activity

CONS:

  • These tights may be a little see-through, so be careful what you wear underneath
 

Top Value

2. CompressionZ Leggings

The Compression leggings are an excellent budget choice. They’re fairly good quality, there’s a size for everyone, and they’re quite comfortable.

What We Like

If you’re looking for a pair of tights that aren’t see-through but are still affordable, we recommend these.

The premium-quality fabric is soft and stretchy, which allows you to move naturally without seeing through it.

A wide waistband holds firm without rolling down and stays comfortable. Some of the options are super-high-waisted, which offer more coverage and protection.

The compressive fit protects against muscle oscillation. The fabric is also sweat-wicking and quick-drying for improved comfort, and features chafe-free stitching throughout.

They come in a wide range of sizes to suit every woman, from extra-small to 6X large.

Why We Like It

These leggings are well-priced if you’re looking for a budget pair of tights that are still of decent quality. We like that they come in multiple sizes, patterns, and with or without pockets.

What to Consider

If you run in a cold weather climate, wearing these tights may not keep you warm enough. They are very thin, and although they’re not see-through, they do let the wind and cold air through to your skin.

PROS:

  • Premium-quality fabric isn’t see-through, so you can run with confidence
  • Soft, stretchy material allows you to move freely and comfortably
  • Available with or without pockets and in multiple waistband styles
  • They come in a wide range of sizes to suit everybody

CONS:

  • These tights are thin and may be cold in cooler weather
 

Best 3/4 Length

3. CW-X Stabilyx Joint Support 3/4 Compression Tight

Three-quarter length tights are great for summer. The CW-X Stabilyx Joint Support ¾ Compression Tights are supportive, comfortable, and easy to wear.

What We Like

A combination of polyester and spandex, these tights will stretch easily enough to get on and off quickly and to let you move through your full range of motion, whatever sport you’re doing.

The fabric is infused with Coolmax technology, which wicks moisture away from the skin and brings it to the surface to evaporate, keeping you cool and dry.

Smooth, flat seams and a double-reinforced waistband improve the tights’ durability and give them a boost to comfort.

The pattern is more than just aesthetics. It uses EXO-WEB technology to provide compression and support, specifically in the knee area, so you can run confidently and without pain in your joints.

Why We Like It

Their ¾ length makes them ideal for warm-weather running. They offer enough compression to boost circulation and have thoughtful technology incorporated.

What to Consider

While the tights themselves have some stretch, the foot holes at the bottom are not stretchy. Ladies with large calves or quads may find it difficult to get the leggings over them, which can be frustrating and cut into the legs at the cuff.

PROS:

  • Blended fabric infused with Coolmax technology
  • EXO-WEB provides light support and compression where needed
  • Double reinforced waistband for durability
  • Smooth seams reduce chafing and keep you comfortable

CONS:

  • Ladies with larger or muscular legs may have a hard time getting into the
 

Top for Long Runs

4. CW-X Endurance Generator Compression Tight

The strong support in these tights makes them a great choice for long runs where you need prolonged, robust support for your muscles.

What We Like

Made of a polyester/spandex blend, these leggings are stretchy enough to be comfortable, but they also provide excellent stability and support features.

Looking closely at the tights, you can see multiple panels making up the leggings; these are called EXO-WEB panels, and they’re designed to provide targeted support to the muscles.

Panels in the abdominal area and the side provide light support for the abs and the lower back. But the more noticeable panels are the ones that run down the quads and around the knees.

These provide the same benefits as KT tape. They stabilize the joints during running so that they’re less affected by the vibrations from every foot strike. This can make a huge difference over long runs when your muscles begin to fatigue.

Although there are compressive panels throughout, the material still stretches enough for you to move comfortably.

You’ll also find that the fabric has UPF 50+ protection, and there’s a small pocket in the waistband of these tights.

Why We Like It

The CW-X Endurance Generator Compression Tights are heavy-duty and provide more than enough compression and support for long-distance runs.

What to Consider

The waistband of these tights is thin and not stretchy. Instead of elastic, it features a drawstring, which is handy for getting a tight fit but not as comfortable as wide, stretchy waistbands.

PROS:

  • Drawstring closure allows you to get a comfortable fit around the waist
  • Multiple EXO-WEB panels provide optimal support throughout the tights
  • UV protection keeps you safe from harsh rays while outdoors
  • The waistband pocket can hold a key or small item

CONS:

  • The non-stretch waistband can be uncomfortable
 

Best for Joint Pain

5. CW-X Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tight

These are the full-length version of our top ¾ leggings, and they’re excellent for stabilizing the joints and reducing pain.

What We Like

Made from a blend of spandex and polyester, these tights are compressive enough to provide light support throughout.

They’re also stretchy enough to allow you to move easily when running and wearing them casually.

Coolmax technology in the fabric wicks away moisture and maximizes breathability, allowing you to stay as cool and dry as possible.

EXO-WEB technology runs throughout these leggings. These are compressive panels that offer support around the knees and hips, delivering extra stability and allowing you to run with confidence.

There are also built-in panels meant to provide extra support to the abdominals and the lower back. These thicker panels also mean the tights are opaque, which is a welcome touch.

A thin but reinforced waistband with a drawstring allows you to get a good fit around your waist, so the tights will never fall or roll down.

Why We Like It

The EXO-WEB technology in these leggings is specifically designed to provide a high level of support around the knees and hips. The compression also provides support to the muscles.

What to Consider

The sizing of these leggings can be difficult to get right. You may find that the waist isn’t high, and the leggings stop above the ankles if you’re very tall. But if you’re short, getting the EXO-WEB in the right place to stabilize the knee can be difficult.

PROS:

  • EXO-WEB technology provides excellent support for the hip and knee joints
  • Exo-Stretch fabric delivers light compression across the surface of the tights
  • High level of breathability thanks to the Coolmax technology
  • Opaque design means you can wear them anywhere with confidence

CONS:

  • The sizing can be tricky
 

Top Nike

6. Nike Dri-FIT One

If you’re all kitted out in Nike gear and want your tights to follow suit, we recommend the Nike Dri-FIT One leggings.

What We Like

These tights are sleek and opaque, with seamless sides and a contoured waistband with a slight V-dip at the back for a more flattering fit.

The built-in Dri-FIT technology is designed to get rid of excess moisture, keeping you dry and well-ventilated.

With two hidden pockets in the waistband and a more spacious one on the back, you’ll have plenty of space for essentials and nutrition on the go.

One of the best things about these leggings is that they come in various sizes. But within those sizes, you can also choose from tall or short to make sure that you always get the perfect size for your body.

Why We Like It

These tights don’t just have the brand name; they’re premium quality and have three pockets, which is a bonus!

We also like that these leggings are made from 50 percent recycled polyester fibers that are created from plastic bottles.

What to Consider

If you’re looking for compression, these tights don’t have a lot of it. They’re skin-tight but don’t offer the same compressive benefits as some of the others on this list.

PROS:

  • Seamless sides and contoured waistband for extra comfort
  • Dri-FIT technology wicks moisture and keeps you cool
  • Two hidden pockets in the waistband plus one large pocket at the back
  • They come in various sizes, plus tall and short versions

CONS:

  • These tights don’t have as much compression as the others
 

Best Cold Weather Tights

7. CEP Cold Weather Tights

As you can tell by the name, these tights are created specifically for the cold weather. They’re robust but still allow you to move easily.

What We Like

The CEP Cold Weather Tights are made to brave the cold. With water-resistant and wind-proof fabric “leg shields”, you’re protected against the elements.

They’re long enough to prevent accidental gaps between your waistband and shirt, or your ankle cuffs and socks—provided you’re wearing the right shirt and socks!

To add to the warmth, a plush, soft lining keeps you well-insulated in the cold. It’s comfortable enough to warm you up without restricting your range of motion.

TIGHTFIT technology in the pants adds some compression to boost circulation and help keep your muscles warm and loose in cold weather.

Why We Like It

These tights will change your mind if you struggle to get outdoors for a run in the cold. They’re plush, comfortable, and very warm, but that doesn’t compromise their stretchiness and compression properties.

What to Consider

These leggings are amazing for winter weather, but if you underestimate the warmth outdoors and wear these when it isn’t so cold, or if the weather changes during your run, it’s easy to overheat as they aren’t very breathable.

PROS:

  • The soft, plush lining keeps the cold out and the warmth in
  • Wind-resistant and water-repellent, offering excellent protection
  • Full-length coverage ensures no gaps between shirts and socks
  • TIGHTFIT compression technology boosts performance

CONS:

  • They may be too warm if the weather isn’t as cold as you were expecting
 

Top With Pockets

8. Under Armour HeatGear Armour No-Slip Waistband Capris

If you carry your phone with you when you run, we recommend this pair of leggings. It has a phone-sized pocket that you can trust.

What We Like

The Under Armour HeatGear No-Slip Waistband Capris are made by a great athletic brand, so you can trust in their quality.

HeatGear fabric keeps you cool in warm weather, wicking sweat, and increasing ventilation. The fabric moves with you for increased comfort, even in your widest range of motion.

As the name suggests, the waistband is non-slip and comfortable. It’s fairly high up, but the band is wide, soft, and shouldn’t chafe.

The hip pocket can fit a large phone. Alternatively, if you want to take an energy gel or even a protein bar with you, it can fit easily.

Why We Like It

Sometimes, carrying a phone can be difficult. But the phone-sized pocket on these tights makes it easy to keep your device with you, use headphones, and still run comfortably and safely.

What to Consider

We wish there were more pockets in these leggings. The one pocket they do have is also quite high up on the waist, which some ladies may find inconvenient or annoyingly positioned.

PROS:

  • Lightweight HeatGear fabric for cooling and comfort
  • 4-way stretch construction makes it easy to move freely
  • No-slip waistband keeps everything where it should be
  • Large pocket safely holds a phone while you’re running

CONS:

  • The pocket is quite high up, and some people may find it uncomfortable
 

Top Recovery Tights

9. CEP Recovery Pro Compression Tights

Wearing gear that can help improve your recovery time is as important as wearing performance-enhancing apparel. The CEP Recovery Pro Compression Tights are designed to boost recovery and speed up healing.

What We Like

Made from a blend of polyamide and spandex, these leggings offer skin-tight support while allowing you the freedom to move within your range of motion without any restriction.

Graduated medical-grade compression—20 to 30 mmHg—helps to support the muscles. Although you won’t wear these while running, the compression stimulates blood flow, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the area to speed up healing.

The legs of these tights extend down over the foot and end just before the toes. This provides the best possible coverage for the healing compression.

They’re also equipped with HeiQ Smart Temp, which helps to regulate your body temperature while wearing them and stops you from overheating.

Why We Like It

The CEP Recovery Pro Compression Tights provide excellent, full-coverage compression to stimulate faster recovery. They’re an invaluable addition to any athlete’s recovery arsenal.

What to Consider

Although these tights have excellent recovery properties, they are on the more expensive end of the spectrum. If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly pair of tights, these are not likely to be the right ones for you.

PROS:

  • 20 to 30 mmHg medical-grade graduated compression for enhanced circulation
  • Full-length coverage with open toe for complete compressive coverage
  • HeiQ Smart Temp regulates your body temperature throughout the day
  • Polyamide and spandex combination provides both support and stretch

CONS:

  • They’re expensive in comparison to others
 

Buyer’s Guide – Compression Leggings and Tights

Fit

The tights should be skin-tight but should still feel comfortable. They should not restrict your circulation, so if you feel numbness or tingling while wearing them, you should get a larger size.

Look for flatlock seams if you can, as these will prevent chafing that could aggravate you while you exercise. They also won’t create hotspots that could impact your circulation.

Length

Full-Length

Full-length leggings are great for cooler climates. They usually extend down to the ankle, although some extend over the foot.

⅞-Length/Capri Length

These leggings end between the ankle and the knee. They’re great for warm weather, as your lower leg is open to the elements.

⅞-length is a bit longer and ends closer to the ankle. Capri—also often called ¾-length—end slightly higher, about mid-calf.

Waistline

Mid-Rise

Mid-rise leggings end just below the belly button; they aren’t so low that they sit on the hips, but they’re not high enough to cover the stomach.

High-Rise

This is where the waistband sits at the belly button, or sometimes even above it. It’s often comfortable as it provides a level of support that the mid-rise ones don’t.

Fabric

The fabric you choose is likely to depend on the climate in which you run most often. Heavy, thick fabric is ideal for winter weather. The lightweight fabric is perfect for summer weather.

However, you should also consider how restrictive the material may be to your natural range of motion.

Visibility

Reflectivity is handy if you want to run early in the morning or after dark. A reflective logo or element ensures that you’re more visible to other runners and motorists.

Pockets

Not many women’s tights and leggings have pockets. However, if you want to carry small valuables while you run, try to find a pair with at least one small pocket.

Opacity

Tights are either sheer, see-through, or opaque, not see-through. Even if a pair of tights look opaque when you see it, that can change when they’re on you. Choose a pair that’s opaque in bright light and when outdoors, to avoid potential embarrassment.

Price

We recommend saving up for a high-quality pair of tights if budget is a factor. Well-made, premium-quality compression legging will last longer. They will also provide better compression and have a more positive effect on your performance and recovery.

FAQ

What is compression?

Compression garments can impact your performance significantly, and impact your recovery even more. Compression works by improving blood and lymphatic flow, subsequently increasing the oxygenation of muscular tissue.

I see a lot of things marketed as “compression”?

A lot of clothing is touted as compression when it is essentially just snug-fitting clothing with clever marketing. True compression garments need to be firm enough to not only wrap the muscles, but to hold them firmly in place during exercise.

What is the difference between compression tights and leggings?

Regular tights and leggings are usually worn as a fashion statement, while compression tights are worn either for specific medical reasons or as a performance-enhancer for athletics.

When should you wear compression leggings?

They can be used before a workout, to increase the blood flow and speed up the warm-up. During a workout, they ensure more controlled movement, less vibration of the muscles, and increased endurance. And after a workout, they help increase blood flow and help the body get rid of waste products more quickly.

Are there other benefits to compression garments?

Yes! They can also be engineered to support joints, like you would have taped by a sports trainer or kinesiologist. This can be helpful for people with joint issues who still want to participate in low, medium, or high-impact exercise.

Are compression garments only useful for athletes?

Absolutely not! In fact, people may notice similar benefits even while not being incredibly active. People who may benefit from compression tights, in particular, include people who sit or stand all day for work, like cashiers, fast food workers, chefs, nurses, office workers, or people who perform physical labor like construction workers, tradesmen, and others.

Who can benefit from compression garments?

While they are used in large quantities by top-tier athletes and Olympians, there are benefits for everyday athletes, weekend warriors, and even people who are not as physically active. You can even benefit from compression leggings on long flights, drives, or other periods of sedentary activity. The increased blood flow helps lessen the risks of certain circulatory issues like deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

Can I wear my compression garments while swimming?

Absolutely. You can certainly enjoy the benefits of compression clothing while swimming. Just keep in mind that chlorine (like chlorinated pools) can cause the breakdown of elastane, so it is recommended that after exercise the garments get rinsed off right away in clean, fresh, water.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner
Logo