Best Compression Shorts Reviewed & Rated

Compression gear has become one of the major fitness trends over the last ten years. Fans of compression gear are adamant that it helps keep muscles in place and improves blood flow during workouts and competitions. This, in turn, increases the wearer’s performance and improves the effectiveness of workouts or the outcome of games. It’s possible to find nearly any clothing made of compression fabric, from shirts, to independent arm sheaths, to socks. The most common type of compression gear, however, are compression shorts. Though they are often confused for bike shorts, compression shorts are their own separate category with specific properties and uses.

Featured Recommendations

Adidas Sport Performance Climalite
  • Adidas Sport Performance Climalite
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Non-Chafing Stitching
  • 2 or 4 Pack
  • Price: See Here
Tesla Baselayer
  • Tesla Baselayer
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Releases Heat
  • Price: See Here
Homma Heathered
  • Homma Heathered
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wide Waist Band
  • Moisture-Control Fabric
  • Price: See Here

Most companies who produce compression wear rate their clothing on a gradient. This gradient tends to differ from company to company, however, and can be hard for first-time buyers to pin down. The list below was compiled with the new buyer in mind. It has brought together the best compression shorts on the market today. They may differ in leg length, waist band width, and detailing such as pockets but they all come highly recommended by the people who have tried them. These shorts are ideal for anyone easing into the world of compression wear whether they are in the market for a workout boost or a leg up on their competitors.

 

10 Best Compression Shorts

 

1. Adidas Performance Climalite

If there is one fitness gear company whose logo is almost universally recognized, it is Adidas. Their products have been seen everywhere from haute couture runways to schools across the globe. Adidas is a name that has come to mean quality, longevity, and value. Their Sport Performance shorts are another product in a long line of high-quality offerings. Though they don't come cheap, they are packed with value.
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Non-Chafing Stitching
Adidas knows sports which means that the people who design for Adidas know exactly how much of an impact chafing can have whether it's during a game or a workout. Their compression shorts were designed to avoid this through the use of non-chafing stitching along the seams. Wearers will stay more comfortable for longer periods of time, letting them focus on their workouts and not their agitated skin.

2 or 4 Pack
These shorts don't come cheap but there is a silver lining in the fact that these shorts are not sold as single pairs. They are available in two or four packs which quickly decreases the sting of their price. This also means that wearers can alternate pairs, making them last longer and ensuring there is always one clean pair on hand.

Cost and Value
Adidas products tend to come with a high price tag and that is no less applicable to these compression shorts. The price tag comes with a quality guaranteed by the Adidas name, however, and the assurance that you are most certainly getting what you paid for. Once the additional features are taken into account, these shorts are easily the best option for anyone seriously looking at compression gear.
Pros
  • Non-Chafing Stitching
  • 2 or 4 Pack
  • Can Be Everyday Wear
Cons
  • Intended as Underclothes

2. Tesla Compression Shorts

When one tries to imagine a company that would sell compression gear, a tech company is not the first kind that springs to mind. In the case of Tesla, however, that is precisely who jumped into the market. Their products feature the iconic Tesla logo and they seem to put the same quality into their sportswear that they put into their technological innovations.
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Moisture Wicking
Tesla has long been known as a giant in the technology world so it is no surprise that they would incorporate as many value-infusing technologies into their sportswear as they can. Their compression shorts are moisture wicking to reduce chafing and discomfort for the wearer. This means that the wearer can stay active for longer, getting more bang for their buck and more impact for the time they invest.

Releases Heat
Not only do the Tesla compression shorts try to keep their wearer dry but cool as well. They are constructed from a temperature-control material that draws heat away from the wearer's skin and releases it more effectively than many other fabrics could. This allows the wearer to stay cooler longer and avoid overheating while they're working out.

Cost and Value
Fans of the Tesla brand might expect these shorts to come with a high-ticket price tag but they will be pleasantly surprised. They are some of the most affordable shorts on this list and that's before the added value of the moisture-wicking material is taken into account. They also stay firmly in place which is not something many inexpensive compression gear brands can say.
Pros
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Releases Heat
  • Stay in Place
Cons
  • Very Thin

3. Neleus Three Pack

Neleus' inventory features only one kind of product and that product is high-quality sportswear. Their products receive almost uniformly high ratings from a range of customers and their prices mark them as one of the most affordable companies on this list. From moisture-wicking material to fabric designed with four-way stretch, they don't skimp on the value-adding features when they bring their products to market.
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Moisture Wicking
It is hard to overstate the importance of staying dry when wearing compression gear. The risk of chafing, odor, and discomfort all increase when someone wears compression gear and Neleus is well-aware of this fact. Their compression shorts are constructed using moisture-wicking material that will draw sweat away from the wearer's skin to help keep them comfortable during even the most intense workout.

Fast Drying
Not only are these shorts moisture-wicking but they're fast drying as well. Whether the moisture is caused by the wearer working hard or a thorough washing, these shorts release moisture just as effectively as they soak it up. They will dry faster and more thoroughly than other shorts without this fast-drying system in place which not only means they will be ready to go faster, but they will hold onto less odor-causing bacteria as well

Cost and Value
The price for these shorts might seem a little high at first. But the price does not apply to only one pair. Instead, the price refers to a three pack of high-quality shorts loaded with features to keep the wearer comfortable during intense workouts.
Pros
  • Four-Way Stretch Fabric
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Fast Drying
Cons
  • Ride Up a Little

4. Champion Powerflex

4. Champion Powerflex
Champion is a well-known fitness equipment brand. From shoes to basketballs to sportswear, they have products on the market for nearly every niche fitness group. It would make sense, then, that they offer high-quality compression wear. Their products might come with a slightly heftier price tag due to the power of a name brand, but that name also assures quality assurance for their customers.
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Machine Washable
It is hard to believe, but there is sportswear on the market today that must be hand washed. Few people have time to handwash garments that see as much aggressive use as fitness clothes, but some companies still suggest this more gentle - and more time consuming - method. Champion, however, is not one of those brands. Their sportswear is machine-washable so it can be thrown in with the rest of the laundry and be ready to go the next time it's needed.

Flatlock Seams
Flatlock seams serve a dual purpose when used with compression wear. THeir primary purpose is to decrease the amount of chafing that the wearer has to endure by decreasing the amount of textured fabric that comes into contact with their skin. The second purpose of a flatlock seam is to create a stronger connection between one piece of fabric and another so that the garment will last longer under the strain caused by frequent intense use.

Cost and Value
Champion's compression shorts are sold along with a wide price range with the actual figure depending largely on the person or company selling the shorts. The biggest issue buyers may come up against is the high number of fakes available on the market. So long as buyers ensure they're getting actual Champion products, the shorts are worth the investment.
Pros
  • Machine Washable
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Flatlock Seams
Cons
  • Beware of Fakes

5. Baleaf Running Shorts

5. Baleaf Running Shorts
Baleaf is a company that is built on one objective. That objective is providing quality specialized sportswear for a range of athletes and fitness enthusiasts without emptying the customer's pockets. Their exercise shorts are a prime example of this objective. They are packed with features that take their price from reasonable to jaw-dropping.
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Reflective Elements
Of all the companies on this list, only Baleaf included reflective elements on their shorts. Not all compression shorts are worn as base layers and not everyone exercises under bright lights. The reflective elements on these shorts allow the wearer to use them in dimmer situations with a higher level of safety than non-reflective shorts would provide.

Back Pockets
Of all the "extra" elements that designers can add to clothing, the most under-utilized is the pocket. On the rare occasion that pockets are included on anything but a certain kind of denim pants, they are too small to be of any real use or angled in such a way that getting anything in them - or keeping things from falling out of them - is an issue. Baleaf, however, understands the importance of pockets. These shorts feature back pockets perfectly sized to be of actual use to the wearer, giving them a unique twist of value.

Cost and Value
Baleaf's prices put them firmly on the low end of this list's price range. When the additional features are taken into account, the price seems more than reasonable. Not only do the shorts feature pockets and reflective elements, but they are moisture-wicking as well. Added utility and reduced chafing automatically means a boost to the value of any item on this list and Baleaf does it all.
Pros
  • Reflective Elements
  • Back Pockets
  • Moisture Wicking
Cons
  • May Not Compress Enough

6. Aero Tech Designs

6. Aero Tech Designs
AeroTech Designs does one thing and one thing only: sportswear for cyclists and compression wear enthusiasts. Their products come highly recommended and cover just about every sort of compression wear that a customer might need for any member of the family. Their compression shorts are flush with valuable features and backed with the name of a company known for quality.
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Temperature Control Fabric
Overheating is an uncomfortable feeling no matter what type of exercise someone might be into. This is especially true for cardio workouts like bicycling which is possibly why AeroTech - a company that focuses on cycling and compression wear - was quick to use temperature control material in the construction of their compression shorts. This material draws heat away from the wearer's skin and then releases it, keeping the wearer cooler and drier longer.

Moisture Wicking
Sweating isn't just an uncomfortable inconvenience. It can lead to odor building up in the wearer's exercise clothes and chafing wherever clothing may rub the skin. AeroTech's compression shorts were designed to prevent both of these issues through the use of moisture-wicking fabric that is sure to keep the wearer dry and comfortable throughout their workout.

Cost and Value
AeroTech is one of the more expensive brands on our list, but the price seems tied to a promise of quality and longevity. Their products are packed with features like temperature controlling and moisture-wicking material that dries quickly for more comfort and less odor build up. Some critics observe that the waist of the shorts is too tight, but others have found the tightness instrumental in keeping the shorts and place and receiving the benefits they expected from compression shorts.
Pros
  • Temperature Controlling Fabric
  • Wicks Moisture
  • Dries Quickly
Cons
  • Waist is Tighter Than Legs

7. Under Armour HeatGear

7. Under Armour HeatGear
Under Armour is a company that needs little introduction. They are a fixture among just about every fitness community that has sprung up over the last ten years or so. Their compression wear is often the go-to for many big-name athletes and it is that quality that makes this name brand as iconic as it is. Their HeatGear line is perfect for those just getting into compression wear or those who already have experience and are looking for something a little bit new.
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Built in UPF 30+
No matter how fit you are, there is nothing healthy about exposure to unwanted UV rays. Many fitness enthusiasts are fans of sunblock, but it is easy to miss an application. Under Armour address this issue head-on by including UPF 30 protection directly in the material of the shorts.

Anti-Odor Technology
Unpleasant odors are the unfortunate side effect of an active lifestyle. Anybody who has ever been to a gym, no matter how nice the gym, has a story to tell about the distinct smells they encountered there. Under Armour tries to address this issue through the use of anti-odor technology woven into the very fabric of the shorts themselves. This sort of technology usually kills the bacteria that causes odor before the unpleasant smells can become a problem, leaving the shorts fresher at the end of a workout.

Cost and Value
These shorts come at a range of prices, depending on the seller one goes with. Some of the price is tied up with the fact that these are Under Armour shorts. The same shorts from another seller might not cost as much simply for lack of a brand name. That name, however, is often synonymous with high-quality work that buyers can rely on. It is up to the buyer to determine how much they are willing to pay for Under Armour's brand and quality guarantee.
Pros
  • All-Day Comfort
  • Built-In UPF 30+
  • Anti-Odor Technology
Cons
  • Can Run Pricy

8. Homma Heathered

8. Homma Heathered
Homma is a company dedicated to comfortable athletic wear at affordable prices. Their entire inventory is a variation on this theme. This means that their designers know how to address the concerns that face athletic wear users. Issues that they face and resolve just as they did with their heathered compression shorts.
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Wide Waist Band
A common complaint among those who wear compression shorts or yoga pants is the tendency of the waistband to roll. It can be embarrassing and frustrating, particularly in the middle of a class or a game. Wider wait bands tend to roll less often. The waistband on these shorts is more than an inch in width, providing the wearer with confidence that it will stay where it should.

Moisture Control Fabric
Most people who wear very tight clothing will tell you that chafing is an uncomfortable and hard-to-avoid problem. This is particularly true when the clothing in question is athletic wear. Homma's compression shorts sidestep this issue by using moisture controlling fabric that will wick moisture away from the skin to keep the wearer dry and comfortable.

Cost and Value
Homma's compression shorts are the most affordable on this list but that is not the only reason they were given the label of "best value". These shorts offer security and comfort with four-way stretch fabric, a wide waistband, and moisture controlling fabric. These features are worth a great deal more than Homma is asking, which is what truly earned them their title as "Best Value".
Pros
  • Wide Waist Band
  • Moisture Control Fabric
  • Four-Way Stretch Fabric
Cons
  • May Not Compress Enough

9. Defender Baselayer Shorts

9. Defender Baselayer Shorts
Defender is a bit of an odd duck among the companies on this list because of its diverse inventory. Some companies sacrifice quality when their inventory covers a wide range of markets but that does not seem to be the case for Defender. Most of their products are highly rated and well-reviewed, their compression base layer shorts among them.
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Flatlock Seams
Seams might not sound like a particularly exciting feature, but they are important when gauging the comfort and longevity of compression wear. Defender's flatlock seams are less likely to chafe than most other seam styles, providing comfort even when the shorts are worn for a full day. Flatlock seams also provide a more stable point of connection between pieces of fabric, adding to the longevity of the product.

Temperature Control Fabric
Very few people like the feeling of overheating when they exercise. Defender took this complaint into consideration when designing their compression shorts. Their answer was to use temperature-control material when constructing their shorts. This answer might seem a little space-age for modern sportswear, but it is a tried and true method by which heat is drawn from the body more effectively than it is by most other materials. The heat is then released from the shorts, allowing the wearer to stay cooler longer.

Cost and Value
These compression shorts are among the most affordable on our list. Their moisture-wicking and temperature-control properties are absolute must-haves for athletes and gym enthusiasts whether someone is just starting out or has been in the market for years. Some users take issue with the legs, stating that they are looser than the waist, but that is a small trade-off for high-quality shorts at an affordable price.
Pros
  • Flatlock Seams
  • Temperature Control Fabric
  • Moisture Wicking
Cons
  • Wasit is Tighter Than Legs

10. Yogipace Bike Shorts

10. Yogipace Bike Shorts
A common misconception about compression wear is that one size fits all. This same misconception is true for yoga wear, spandex, and just about any other clothing that is elastic in nature. Some people, even the clothing designers themselves, believe that a garment will fit everyone comfortable just because it stretches. Yogipace knows differently, however. Their clothing comes in petite and tall options as well as a range of options to fit every season. Their shorts are the perfect example of their dedication to quality sportswear for every shape.
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Built-In Pocket
There has been an odd relationship between pockets and fashion designers for several years now. They seem to appear less and less often. And, when they are included, they are too small to be of any real use. It is this odd treatment of the pocket that makes Yogipace's inclusion of one so refreshing. Not only do these shorts feature a pocket, but it is perfectly placed and sized to be of actual use to the wearer.

Built-In UPF 50+
There are very few people in the world today that would argue the importance of protection from harmful UV rays. Most people who workout outside are big fans of sunscreen but it is easy to forget an application, especially in areas under clothing. Yogipace gives their customers an added layer of assurance by building UV protection right into the fabric of their shorts. The protection is rated at UPF 50+ which is perfect for most skin type.

Cost and Value
These shorts fall somewhere along the midline of this list's price spectrum. With built-in SPF protection and discreet pockets large enough for actual use, the cost is more than justified. The worst that can be said about them is that sometimes the legs roll up and even that seems to be an uncommon complaint.
Pros
  • Built-In Pocket
  • Elastic Waistband with Drawcord
  • Built-In UPF 50+
Cons
  • Legs Sometimes Roll

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Compression Shorts

Fabric Qualities

  • Moisture-Wicking

The most common feature buyers will find when shopping for compression shorts is the inclusion of moisture-wicking material. This feature allows the wearer to say drier longer. It also helps prevent an array of issue from odor to chafing, all of which distract competitors and gym-goers alike. Moisture-wicking material also helps to keep wearers cool as it draws warm fluid away from the skin similar to the way temperature-control material works.

  • Temperature-Control

Temperature-control material is similar but not identical to a moisture-wicking material. Unlike moisture-wicking material, however, the temperature-control material does not deal with moisture on the wearer’s skin but draws away heat instead. It then releases the heat more effectively than the wearer’s skin or another material could, keeping the wearer cooler longer.

  • Four-Way Stretch

All compression gear is elastic in nature. It is what allows the garments to compress. Garments with four-way stretch, however, have a little bit more wiggle room. This often leads to a more comfortable fit that allows the wearer to focus on their workout or the game instead of on whether or not their shorts fit properly.

  • Odor Control

Chafing and discomfort are not the only side effects of sweating while working out. The most common – and outwardly noticeable – side effect is the odor that accompanies sweat. A few companies on this list tackle the issue of odor head-on by employing odor control technologies. These often work by absorbing and destroying the bacteria that cause odor before they can build up and become noticeable to the wearer or people around them.

  • UV Protection

UV protection is no small matter, particularly for those who spend a good deal of their time outdoors working out. No matter how healthy a person might be, they still have to be wary of excess exposure to harmful UV rays. Several of the companies listed above address this issue through the use of material that has UV protection built right in. The level of protection may vary, but even the most minimal of protection is better than none at all.

Specialty Construction

  • Flatlock Seams

Flatlock seams serve two purposes. Their main purpose is to help avoid chafing due to their low profile. Most wearers don’t even notice where the seams are until they stop to take a good look at the product in question. The second purpose is to secure the garment’s seams with a closure that will stand up to the kind of strain and abuse compression wear is often put under.

  • Anti-Chafing Seams

Anti-chafing seams are often similar to flatlock seams but they are not identical. Anti-chafing seams may come in several varieties but their sole purpose is to ensure that they do not cause agitation whenever they come in contact with the wearer’s skin.

  • Pockets

Several of the shorts on this list features a design element that is highly coveted and woefully underused: the pocket. Not only do the shorts feature pockets but the pockets are large enough to be functional and placed in such a way that items should stay inside with little effort.

  • Multipacks

Multipacks are not common among companies who sell compression gear. When they can be found, however, they add an amazing level of value to the purchase. It is for this reason that shorts with multipacks were so highly considered when writing this list.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Are compression shorts and bike shorts the same thing?
A: No, compression shorts and bike shorts are different. They may be made of the same material and compress the same, but bike shorts have additional padding and are often intended to be worn solo while compression shorts can be worn solo or beneath other clothing.

Q: How can moisture-wicking material reduce odor?
A: Odor is caused by bacteria from sweat and other fluids building up in the weave of a cloth. Moisture-wicking fabrics lock these fluids away so that they do not agitate the skin but they also absorb cleaning fluids, later on, leading to a deeper clean that removes much of the risk of odor.

Q: Can I wear compression shorts under other clothes?
A: Most of the shorts on this list were designed to be worn either as a base layer or on their own.

Q: Can I wear compression shorts all day?
A: This is really a matter of personal comfort. Some find the shorts too restricting and warm for constant wear, but others enjoy the snug fit and freedom to work out at any time.

Q: What are the benefits of compression shorts?
A: Fans of compression wear believe that the garments keep muscles in places and force blood to pump faster through the muscles which improve their performance as well as the intensity of their workouts.

Q: Do compression shorts really work?
A: The jury is honestly still out on this one. Fans of compression gear assure people that it works and there are few studies to contradict them. A few studies have indicated that compression wear may have more impact on recovery from a workout rather than the workout itself, but more research needs to be done.

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compression_garment