Since the creation of sports, athletes have continuously looked for ways to help improve their game whether it be through training, new gear, or anything else, they all seek out a competitive advantage.
Aside from seeking out the best shoes, runners have experimented with lightweight materials to wear, and products that reduce soreness after a run.
One such product that provides both of these desired aspects is compression shorts. They are common across and running and various other sports.
Early on, experts debated whether compression shorts did anything to help. But over time, conventional wisdom has begun to back their use.
Currently, it’s thought that wearing compression shorts during a run or workout can have multiple benefits. This includes reduced muscle fatigue, increased circulation, and a lower risk of muscle soreness.
The benefits of wearing compression shorts will be discussed further in the following sections. Throughout this guide, we will present to you the best compression shorts available on the market, and we will conclude with some FAQs to clear up any potential confusion.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
2XU MCS Run Compression Shorts
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Under Armour HeatGear Armour Long
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CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator Joint Support Compression Short
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1. CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator Joint Support Compression Short
One of the best things about the progression of compression short technology is that their design now caters to easing certain areas that hurt. With their Stabilyx Ventilator Joint Support Compression Shorts, CW-X intended to support the joints of athletes who experience joint pain during runs and workouts.
Made with a multi-directional EXO-stretch fabric, the material of the compression shorts easily wraps and forms to your legs. The shorts have mesh panels in strategic spots that allow for extra breathability.
Their patented EXO-WEB support panel is used to map out and find your joints, providing extra stability and support in these given areas. The primary function of these compression shorts is to assist your hip joints.
The compression experienced will help to improve blood circulation, reducing muscle fatigue and soreness. While increasing your muscle support and stability, wearing these shorts after a run can also help to shorten your recovery time.
A reinforced elastic waist provides an adjustable fit. To reduce chafing, flat seams were added during design and construction.
- Joint and hip support for longer-lasting performance
- Increased blood circulation and shortens recovery time
- Sizing may be off or inconsistent
2. 2XU MCS Run Compression Shorts
Fully aware of the impact that running can have on one’s legs, 2XU set out to make the perfect pair of compression shorts. They wanted a something that works to reduce post-run soreness. They claim that their MC Run Compression Shorts have been designed with an awareness of the impact running has.All the features work to reduce this impact.
All around your quads are Muscle Containment Stamping, which works to support and stabilize the muscle during the run. With 70D PWX Flex Compression in the front panels, and 105D PWX Flex Compression in the back panels, you can rest assured that your quads are receiving as much help as possible.
To reduce chafing, flatlock seams were implemented. Just like normal flat seams, flatlock seams give the compression shorts an extra edge of comfort, fighting against skin irritation.
The multi-directional stretch of the compression shorts ensure that your muscles are being covered and supported as much as possible. As breathable as they are, you’ll still sweat.But the moisture-wicking yarn material used to construct the shorts will help to keep you dry and cool.
Promising improved performance and less muscle fatigue, these compression shorts from 2XU could be a great asset to have.
- Moisture wicking yarn helps to keep you dried off during run
- Muscle stamping technology around quad / thigh muscles helps to improve blood flow and reduce soreness
- Tight pockets only allow for smaller objects
- Seams can begin to unravel after a bit of use
3. Zensah The Recovery Short
If you find yourself more interested in the recovery aspect of compression short advantages, try The Recovery Short by Zensah. These compression shorts are useful for multiple sports in addition to running. They’re a perfect pick for multiple occasions and activities.
Featuring 3D compression technology, The Recovery Short works to target your quads and thighs. The added stability and support to these working muscles will help to keep them going for longer, and reduce your recovery time.
These compression shorts focus most of their support in the upper leg area, giving you essentially unrestricted lower leg mobility for your runs and workouts.
The compression technology these shorts are constructed with are designed to keep your legs warm, in order to keep them loose and promote blood flow. Keeping them warmer allows for more oxygen flow as well, which helps to reduce soreness after a workout.
With moisture wicking material used for the shorts, your legs will often be free of perspiration, and kept dry, which can help to reduce irritation or chafing. To further enhance the comfort and reduce irritation, they were made with a seamless design. This ultimately prevents the likelihood of chafing.
These shorts are unisex, making them an easy pick for any who are interested. Make sure to check out the size guide to pick the size that’s right for you!
- 3D compression technology works to reduce expected recovery time
- Seamless design prevents likelihood of chafing
- They feel too thick to some, as per some Amazon customer reviews
- May feel a bit too roomy in the waist area, as per an Amazon customer review
4. Compressport Trail Running Under Control Short
Are your regular, everyday compression shorts just not cutting it for you out on the trail? Made for those who live to hit the trails and don’t mind getting a bit more dirty are the Trail Running Under Control Shorts made by Compressport.
The name ‘Under Control’ implies everything you need to know about these shorts. When it comes to hitting the trail, these shorts have got your back. Whether you find yourself ascending 2,000 feet in a mile and a half, or happen to be traversing over some rough terrain, these compression shorts are made to absorb the shocks of impact that you’ll come across during your run.
Made with superior quality fibers, these shorts hit a trifecta: a comfortable feel, shock absorption, and muscle compression. Useful for activities other than trail running, these shorts are a great all-in-one pick to keep in your arsenal.
In an effort to bring oxygen and relief to targeted working muscles, Compressport uses millimetre-precision compression graduation technology. This works to support the muscles and keep them going after a long and hard run. The oxygen being supplied to the targeted muscles helps to reduce fatigue, and shorten recovery time.
The weaving type used for these compression shorts promotes a balance of circulation of air between the exterior and interior, constantly working to provide the temperature that is right for you. Thanks to this, sudden changes in temperature should be no issue.
They’re more spendy than most, but these compression shorts are well worth the money. Constructed with quality material, these shorts will work to absorb the shock you’ll experience, and reduce the recovery time you would normally expect.
- Absorb the shock experienced making them great for the trail and rough terrain
- Specific weaving promotes a balance of air circulation keeping your legs warm and comfortable in varying conditions
- Reviews claim that they can easily be ripped by branches
- Can be transparent from behind, so you might need running shorts as well
5. 2XU Run Compression Shorts with Pocket
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see that 2XU is appearing here on this list for the second time. With a track record of quality products, they’ve become a trusted brand in the world of running.
The 2XU Run Compression Shorts focus their compression on all areas on the upper legs and thighs, as opposed to just the quad and thigh muscles. These shorts offer support in your glutes, adductors, hamstrings and quads. With added stability all around, the chance of injury is reduced, as is your expected recovery time.
PWX 70D front panels and PWX 105D back panels create a multidirectional compression.The shorts work to fit to your muscles as closely and comfortably as possible.
These shorts are a great pick for multiple uses in addition to running, such as HIIT training, yoga, hiking, aerobics and more. The lightweight, double yarn material provides a comfortable feel. Moisture wicking material keeps your legs dry and free of perspiration.
A back zip pocket is included with these shorts, making it easier to carry small items with you on your runs. The drawstring waistband gives you the ability to give the shorts a fit to your liking. Designed with flatlock seams, the likelihood of chafing and irritation is greatly decreased.
- Zipper back pocket allows you to carry items
- Support and stability in all areas of upper legs, not just thighs
- None found so far!
6. Under Armour HeatGear Armour Long
It’s hard to go wrong with a product from a company that has earned the trust of athletes all over the world. Under Armour has consistently been providing some of the most quality gear to runners and athletes at large.
Under Armour’sHeatGearArmour Long compression shorts are designed to promote a locked in feel, wrapping tightly yet comfortable to your legs. Made with their own HeatGear fabric, these are a lightweight, cost-effective pair of compression shorts that can make a great addition to your collection.
The 4-way stretch construction promotes flexibility and leg mobility. It has an ergonomic design with flat seams that keeps them off of areas prone to irritation and chafing. With stretch mesh and strategically placed panels, your legs will have no problem receiving proper ventilation.
Made with moisture wicking material, these shorts will help to keep your legs dry and free from perspiration. The Anti-Odor Technology present in the shorts will keep them from becoming foul smelling for as long as possible.
At a rather cheap price, it would be hard to go wrong with these compression shorts from a well-respected company.
- Quality material at a cheap price
- Flexible and mobile, yet still offers support around working leg muscles
- Inseams may be shorter than advertised
- Some reviews say not enough compression
7. Nike Pro Compression Shorts
As a trusted company that has made quality products for years on end, Nike goods essentially come with a guarantee of quality. Nike has made products for athletes in multiple sports, stretching from apparel, to gear, to jerseys and much more.
With Nike’s Pro Compression Shorts, you’ll be provided with a smooth, comfortable feel during your run or workout. These compression shorts were designed for multiple purposes, including running, the gym, the trail, or whatever else you desire to get a training session in.
These shorts are constructed with a lightweight, durable fabric that has moisture wicking material in order to keep your legs dry and free from perspiration. Made from 90% polyester and 10% spandex, these shorts have no problem stretching around and forming to your legs muscles, providing a compression that helps to support and stabilize working leg muscles.
For added ventilation support, the compression shorts feature a mesh gusset, which enhances breathability. Nike’s patented Dri-FIT technology helps to keep your legs at a good temperature, promoting air circulation in and out of the shorts.
To deter any possible chafing or irritation, there is a 6-inch inseam that is smooth and almost non-noticeable.This seam works to provide you with the utmost coverage under whatever clothes you’re wearing.
- Lightweight material, almost non-noticeable during a run
- Dri-fit technology works to keep your legs at a good temperature
- Reports of waistband unraveling after a few washes
8. Champion Power Flex Solid Compression Shorts
Champion is a brand that is in line with the likes of Nike and Under Armour in terms of reputation. With Champion’s Power Flex Solid Compression Shorts, you can receive cost-effective pair of quality compression shorts that will assist you on runs and workouts.
These compression shorts are constructed with two materials, polyester and spandex. These are common materials used to construct compression shorts because of the comfort and stretch they provide.
Firmly conforming to your leg muscles while providing as much flexibility as possible, these shorts do not make you trade range of motion for comfort.
Champion’s own Vapor technology keeps your legs dry from perspiration by wicking off moisture. The multidirectional Power Flex stretch material wraps around your leg muscles with a sense of ease and comfort.
These shorts have strategically placed ventilation areas that allow for airflow, keeping your legs cool during a hot workout. The airflow is provided to the gusset and legs.
These compression shorts are set at a competitive price, and could be used for multiple occasions and activities. For an all-in-one type of compression short, this cost-effective pair from Champion can serve you well for a long time.
- Ventilation areas allow for increased airflow to keep legs cool
- Lightweight stretch material easily forms to leg muscles
- None found so far!
9. Craft Essential Short Running Tight
Not the most popular brand, Craft is still known to deliver quality and long lasting products. With an eye for careful craftsmanship and quality, every pair of compression shorts will make you feel as if they were made just for you.
Instead of polyester and spandex, these compression shorts are made with polyester and elastane, going against the normal standard of compression short construction. The elastane, Craft believes, provides the customer with a more comfortable and satisfying feel during a run.
The ergonomic fit and design is meant to allow for the most freedom of movement possible. Having range of mobility during a run or workout is essential to keeping you focused, and Craft does their best with this pair of compression shorts to provide you with an experience that feels as if the shorts aren’t even there.
These compression shorts have mesh panels on the back and sides to allow for greater airflow and moisture movement. The waistband itself is made of mesh material as well to provide further comfort and airflow.
As a nice feature, Craft has added a zippered back pocket, which allows you to carry small items with you on your run. At a competitive price, the Essential Short Running Tights from Craft are begging for you to give them a try.
- Has a reflective print on it for added visibility at night
- Design focused on providing freedom of movement
- Legs fit a bit narrow compared to waist
- Belt feels too thick to some
Why Wear Compression Shorts?
Wearing compression shorts during a run or workout provides the user with plenty of fact-based benefits. They can help to promote oxygen and blood flow, reduce muscle fatigue, decrease recovery time, enhance muscle stability, absorb shock, and more.
How Tight Should Compression Shorts Be?
Compression shorts should fit to your leg with a snug and comfortable feel, without feeling like they’re restricting movement or blood flow.
If any discomfort is experienced, it would be recommended to go up a size. They are meant to support your muscles, not restrict the oxygen and blood flow in them.
Should I Wear Loose Shorts Over Compression Shorts?
There are some compression shorts that are thick and dark enough to not have to wear loose shorts over. These thick and dark ones do not leave you exposed. There are other versions that are a bit more thin, so wearing loose shorts over them may be recommended for your comfort.
Ultimately, it is what you are comfortable with, and comes down to when you believe it is necessary to wear shorts over them.
How To Wash Compression Shorts?
Instead of using the normal wash setting that you would for your regular set of laundry, use a gentle mode setting, and be sure to not to use any softeners.
The use of softeners will reduce the compression shorts fibers ability to wick moisture away. Placing them in a mesh bag during the wash can also help to protect them, and reduce the impact on the fibers.