Best Compression Shorts

6 Best Compression Shorts Reviewed

Compression shorts could transform your workout: they help you feel supported and “locked into” place, as well as provide moisture management and comfort so that you can focus on working out. 

Compression shorts can be worn as undergarments or outer garments for the braver people among us, and they’ve even been proven to have scientific benefits for your workout. 

Some compression garments have the ability to compress your muscles, keeping them supported and contained, which improves circulation by squeezing blood back toward the heart.

Wearing compression shorts can help recruit muscles adequately and give you more synchronized movement.

One 2019 study also found that wearing compression leggings actually helped muscles recover more quickly after intense eccentric power or resistance exercise, while a study carried out in 2016 found that runners who wore compression clothing may also benefit from improvements in endurance performance, as well as reductions in muscle pain, damage, and inflammation.

In this article, you’ll find our picks for the best compression shorts, along with a handy Buyer’s Guide, and a FAQ section to answer all your burning questions…

Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Armour 2.0 6-inch Compression Shorts

Under Armour’s HeatGear® Armour range is the brand’s original performance baselayer, and their compression shorts do not disappoint. These shorts have an ultra-tight, second-skin fit for superior coverage without weighing you down.

The mix of polyester and elastane provides stretch for full range of movement while also wicking away moisture, and there are also strategic mesh panels for added ventilation. 

4-way stretch means you can easily move in any direction, while the updated ergonomic design keeps seams off high abrasion areas to reduce chafing and friction, and also provides increased durability.

The updated gusset design provides ultimate support and comfort, while the wide, exposed elastic waistband features UA’s classic wordmark detail. 


  • “Second skin” feel 
  • Lightweight feel 
  • Moisture-wicking and strategic mesh panels 
  • Updated gusset 
  • Seam-free in high abrasion areas 


  • They’re a little expensive compared to other options 

Champion Men’s 6 Inch Compression Short

These Champion compression shorts are perfect for training, Crossfit and running, and are made from a polyester and spandex mix to allow for a full range of movement and a high compression feel.

Champion’s ‘Vapor’ technology and moisture management quickly wicks sweat away from the skin and evaporates moisture fast. 

The flatlock seams protect against chafing and ensure maximum comfort, while the targeted micro-mesh ventilation zones add cooling airflow at the side of your legs. These shorts feature a four-way stretch that moves with your every movement and helps support muscles.


  • Vapor technology and moisture management 
  • Flatlock seams reduce chafing 
  • Micro-mesh ventilation panels 
  • Supports muscles and maximizes range of motion 


  • Run slightly small for some people – check size chart first 

CompressionZ Men’s Compression Shorts Performance Series

These all-season compression shorts from CompressionZ make a great base layer in both warm or cool weather,  providing breathable compression to the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

Made from a mix of 85% nylon and 15% spandex, these compression shorts provide maximum flexibility and multi-directional stretch while also wicking away sweat to keep you dry. 

These shorts fit like a second-skin to deliver firm compression to upper legs to keep muscles properly supported and compressed while running or performing dynamic movements, and CompressionZ also claim that their shorts can boost blood flow to quads, hamstrings, and glutes to help you recover faster, as well as reduce muscle cramping so you can get more from your workout.


  • Nylon/spandex fabric is anti-itch, anti-odor, and sweat-wicking
  • Provides breathable compression in all seasons 
  • Potentially boosts blood flow
  • Could help you recover quicker 
  • Flatlock stitching for reduced abrasion and increased durability 


  • Some people found that they experience chafing when using these for long-distance runs! 

Nike men’s Training Shorts

Nike Pro’s Dri-Fit polyester fabric helps you feel locked in and wicks away moisture to keep you cool while you train. The compressive fit claims to provide muscle support, while the darted pouch at the gusset provides increased comfort and support. 

The thick elastic waistband features Nike Pro’s trademark jacquard and it’s been recently updated to sit slightly higher on the waist, is thicker for more support, and is vented for breathability.

The jock tag at the center-back waist is heat sealed to eliminate interior seams and reduce the risk of chafing. These compression shorts provide the ultimate fit and feel, leaving you feeling supported and comfortable during your workouts. 


  • Dri-fit fabric to wick moisture and keep you cool 
  • Darted pouch for increased comfort and support 
  • Redesigned waistband 
  • Jock-tag at center-back of waist for reduced chafing 


  • These come with a high price tag compared to some of the more affordable brands available 

Runhit Compression Shorts for Men

These compression shorts from Runhit are great value for money as you get three pairs for the cost of one pair from a premium brand. They also claim to increase blood flow and provide support for the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. 

The secure elastic waistband sits flat against the waist for ultimate support and comfort, while the 4-way stretch of the polyester-spandex mix fabric provides full range of movement. The material wicks moisture to keep you cool in the summer, and locks in warmth in the winter. 

The design features a four-needle, six-line stitch which provides increased durability and prevents chafing, and the lightweight, super soft fabric is quick-drying for ultimate comfort during intense workouts.


  • Great budget option 
  • Potentially increase blood flow 
  • Moisture-wicking fabric 
  • Flatlock seams for reduced chafing 


  • Some reviewers said they prefer a more intense compression feel 

ZENGVEE Men’s 3 Pack Compression Shorts with Pockets

These are another great budget option, and provide great bang for your buck as these compression shorts come in a 3-pack.

These shorts are made with 85% polyester and 15% spandex which provides four-way stretch and wicks sweat away to keep you dry while you work out.

The non-abrasion fabric also claims to be highly durable and resistant to tearing to withstand even the most high-intensity workouts. 

These shorts also have the advantage of offering exterior pockets which are perfect for holding essentials such as your phone or card while you’re at the gym.

The flat seams prevent chafing and irritation, while the elastic stretch supports muscles and claims to reduce lactic acid accumulation. 


  • 3-pack – great bang for your buck 
  • Wicks sweat and keeps you dry 
  • Exterior pockets for cell and valuables 
  • Flatlock seams 


  • Some people felt the waistband could be tighter

Compression and Performance: is the hype real? 

A lot of the hype around compression wear stems from the claims that it can help boost your performance – from increasing blood flow to reducing the risk of muscle injury. 

There’s no clear evidence that compression clothing can decrease injury risk, however, a 2016 study found that the garments could improve endurance—extending the time to exhaustion in runners by increasing muscle economy.

Besides, compression has always been a big part of treating injuries – it even comes into R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

For this reason, some athletes swear by wearing compression clothing after training or play, and some compression lines even claim to promote muscle tissue repair, such as Under Armour’s Charged Compression collection. 

While the impact of compression clothing on injury recovery is not backed up by scientific evidence, what we do know is that such garments can help clear lactic acid from muscles, which can ease soreness.

It can also help with muscle recruitment, which can be useful when recovering from injury. 

Buyer’s Guide 

In this section, we’ll be taking you through the key features to look out for when shopping for compression shorts. 

Compression shorts grades 

Not all compression shorts are created equal! There are different grades that offer different levels of compression. 


Medical-grade compression garments are usually recommended to diabetics and people with vascular disorders, and usually have a compression range from 30 to 40 mmHg.

Avoid these for activewear, as the focus is on compression rather than durability, and they may have negative effects on your performance rather than positive ones.


High-grade compression shorts offer firm compression (20 to 30 mmHg) and are manufactured with athletic use in mind. They’re designed to be durable and moisture-wicking and usually feature less stitching to reduce friction.

These are intended for professional athletes, regular resistance trainees, and distance runners.


Those who are active but not performing hours of exercise a day may benefit from medium compression garments (15 to 20 mmHg), which offer flexibility and range of movement and are mainly used by strength trainees, HIITers, and CrossFitters.

These are usually more affordable but still offer moisture-wicking material and comfort. 

Support shorts 

Support shorts have a much lower level of compression (8 to 15 mmHg) and are more underwear than outerwear. These garments are soft and comfortable and keep your junk secure as you move.

While they’ll offer decent durability, these aren’t usually designed with athletic use in mind. 


While compression shorts are meant to offer compression and support, you also don’t want to feel restricted. They should offer a full range of motion and four-way stretch. 

Most compression garments are made from Lycra, Spandex, polyester, and other synthetic materials, and these offer good elasticity and are also fairly durable. 

The thickness of the material will depend on their intended use, so undergarments will be thinner, while outerwear will be thicker.

Moisture management 

By ‘moisture management’ we mean how well the material wicks away sweat so that you feel dry while you work out. Most brands have their own version of moisture-wicking technology, such as Champion’s Vapor or Nike’s Dri-Fit.

Moisture-wicking fabrics pull sweat away from your body to prevent salt crystals from forming on your skin, but you also want to ensure the fabric is quick-drying, especially if it’s being worn as outerwear, as this will allow the moisture to dry quickly and will avoid any excessive friction with your skin.

Some compression shorts will also feature strategic mesh panels for improved airflow and heat reduction. 

Stitching and seams 

The seams on compression shorts – and in fact, any activewear – are important, as if they’re not properly designed they can cause irritation. Look for compression shorts with ‘flatlock’ seams, as these lay flat on the skin and reduce the risk of chafing.

They’re also known to improve the durability of the garment and are more resistant to the range of motion used during workouts. 


Sizing is crucial when it comes to getting the most out of compression shorts. Compression shorts are obviously supposed to feel tighter than your average pair of shorts, as they’re designed to fit and feel like a ‘second skin.’

However, if the shorts are too tight, they’re going to feel restrictive and pressurizing, and could even cause discomfort and numbness. 

For this reason, check the size guide of the manufacturer before you buy. If you’re buying online, read through the reviews and see what others have to say about the sizing.

If you’re less focused on the muscular benefits of compression shorts and are simply looking for a base layer, you may even want to get a size larger than usual for a looser and more comfortable fit. 


There are loads of sports brands to choose from on the market. As well as the leading sports brands like Nike and Under Armour, you’ll also find lesser-known online retailers who offer excellent bang for your buck.

Expensive brands don’t automatically equal better compression shorts, however, most of the time these brands will use better quality materials and offer a higher grade of compression. 

It really depends on your budget and what you’re looking to get out of the shorts. If your focus is on muscle compression and aiding muscle recruitment and recovery, it’s worth investing in a quality pair of compression shorts – particularly if you train a lot. 

If you’re only training a couple of times a week and you’re looking for a basic product that will get the job done, check out some of the cheaper brands on our list that usually sell compression shorts in packs of three for a fraction of the price.

Just bear in mind that they’re likely to compromise on performance, quality, and durability. 

What to look for in compression shorts

  • Fit and feel: compression shorts should fit like a ‘second skin’ and offer flexible yet high performing compression for your muscles 
  • Moisture-wicking materials: Quick-drying, moisture-wicking materials are essential for compression shorts intended for activewear. These help draw away excess sweat and keep you feeling drier for longer.
  • Breathable fabric: Ventilation or mesh panels allow your skin to breathe and provide better ventilation. 
  • Pockets: Hidden or zipped pockets can be useful for outdoor exercise when you want to take your phone or card.
  • Stretch: Look for fabrics with multi-directional stretch so that your movements are not restricted. 
  • Comfort: Flatlock seams ensure that the compression shorts won’t cause chafing. 
  • Antibacterial: Antibacterial materials may help reduce odor from sweat.
  • Sun protection: If you’re wearing compression shorts as outerwear, and you’re training outside, a fabric that offers ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) will help keep your skin protected.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the benefits of compression shorts? 

Compression shorts have many benefits. For one, they keep you feeling “locked-in” and supported, so you can focus on what really matters: your workout. 

A 2016 study found that compression clothing may slightly enhance running performance and help reduce inflammation, muscle pain, and damage to muscles, which is likely to be down to the improved running economy and muscle temperature. 

In 2019, a study also found that the shorts helped reduce groin pain in male football players compared with regular sports clothing. 

Are compression shorts bad for you? 

It’s essential to wear compression shorts that are the right size for you, as otherwise, the tightness of the shorts can cause discomfort, numbness, and reduced airflow.

Due to this, they may not be suitable for people with broken or damaged skin, older adults, or people with malnutrition. 

For the most part compression clothing is safe, but if you have a health condition and you’re unsure if compression shorts are safe for you to wear, it’s best to check with a healthcare professional.

Do you wear anything under compression shorts?

Usually, no. Compression shorts are a substitute for underwear and are usually worn as a base layer underneath your regular shorts.

For maximum performance of compression shorts, you should avoid wearing anything underneath them, so you can reap the benefits of the “second skin” feel. 

Do compression shorts prevent chafing? 

Compression shorts are often used to prevent chafing when running, cycling, and performing other activities, particularly if worn underneath regular shorts.

Compression shorts are typically made of stretchy, soft, moisture-wicking materials that act as a barrier between your skin and the friction which can cause chafing and irritation.

The best compression shorts will have flatlock seams in high-abrasion places to reduce the risk of rubbing, and those specially designed for cycling may have integrated padding for extra protection.