19 Best Compression Shorts

19 Best Compression Shorts

Looking to buy some compression shorts, but struggling to decide which pair is best for you? Don't panic, as we're here to give you an insight into the existing marketplace, and arm you with everything you need to know to make the right purchase. 

In this list, we’ll be breaking down a variety of the top-of-the-line men’s and women’s running compression shorts from cheap to expensive, short to long, and everything in-between.

Within this article we will cover the following topics:

But before we start, have you ever wanted to work in the fitness industry? OriGym’s award-winning personal training diploma will help you kick start your career, with the help of an incredible team who are on hand to guide you seven days a week.

Sound interesting? Be sure to download our FREE comprehensive prospectus today and explore everything we offer, and how it could be right for you.

What Are Compression Shorts?

Compression shorts are a tight and stretchy type of underwear designed to be worn underneath a pair of exercise shorts. They are typically made from a mixture of materials such as polyester, spandex, and nylon, and serve as a kind of second skin to the runner wearing them.

Typically, these shorts come in a wide variety of colours and styles, we have tried to capture the scope of this marketplace in our list of the best compression shorts below. You should easily find a pair of compression shorts that match your current wardrobe as well as the purpose you need them for. 

What Do Compression Shorts Do? 

Put simply, the purpose of compression shorts is to tightly squeeze the muscles together to keep them stable and supported whilst simultaneously helping to accelerate blood flow. This means that you’re getting more bang for your buck in terms of your body’s oxygen usage. 

Not only will this help in boosting your overall performance, but studies have shown that the best compression shorts will vastly improve your recovery, so you have a quicker and less painful road to recovery.

Now without further ado, let’s get into the biggest must-have men's and women’s compression shorts of 2021.

The Best Compression Shorts for Men 

#1 -  XBODY Spandex Compression Shorts

Price: £25.00

The XBODY Spandex Compression boxers have all the basics needed for a strong product. Assembled with nylon and microfiber, they come in at just above the knee and are perfect for capturing the quads, glutes and hamstrings. 

Featuring inner cotton lining to maintain comfort during particularly strenuous runs and even absorb sweat, the XBODY Spandex Compression Shorts are truly some of the best compression shorts on the market today. 

When shopping for compression shorts, men of all body types deserve a pair that fit them comfortably. XBODY provides this through a size range from medium to 6XL, so no matter if you’re a lean sprinter or just a beginner, there’s a size here for you. Plus, with a stretch range of two inches, you can get a lot of longevity out of this set of compression shorts.

In addition to this, if you’re looking for cheap compression shorts then you should seriously consider this pair. They are some of the cheapest available on our list, striking that sweet balance between a low price and a high performance! 

By offering cheap and reliable shipping all across the UK, these men’s compression shorts are truly a must-have for any fitness fanatic. However, if you’re looking for a regular pair of exercise shorts we strongly recommend checking out OriGym’s list of the best gym shorts for men.

#2 -  Nasty Lifestyle Parallax Shorts

Price: £51.00

As a part of Nasty Lifestyle’s ‘Vita Power’ range, this set of black compression shorts for men will provide maximised compression power, thanks to a specially engineered panelling seam. 

Coming in at £51.00, the Nasty Lifestyle Parallax Shorts are among the most expensive compression shorts that men can expect to see within this section of our list. The price is warranted by the extremely breathable fabric equipped with high levels of UV protection, meaning you’re fully protected from sun rays during your run. You can protect yourself further from damaging UV rays by selecting a pair of the best running sunglasses.

Additionally, these men’s compression shorts come with a slick silver logo design upon the thigh for those with a fashionable running set in mind. 

Men’s compression underwear is often overlooked when it comes to assembling your perfect running gear, but when an option like the Nasty Lifestyle Parallax comes along you simply can’t help but invest in the product. 

#3 -  Under Armour HeatGear Compression Shorts

Price: £26.00

Under Armour specialise in compression shorts for men and women alike, so any product from this brand is always a solid choice. However, the Under Armour HeatGear Compression Shorts provide perhaps the most beneficial properties.  

With a decent range of colours to choose from, this compression underwear is available in blue, grey, white and black, offering more visual versatility than many other brands on the market. 

In terms of practicality, this set of compression underwear also has a small and compact pocket embedded into the right side, perfect for storing a phone or other valuables whilst you’re exercising. 

The shorts are fitted with a breathable mesh fabric in the groin and inner thigh area, so when wearing the Under Armour HeatGear compression shorts, men will find themselves feeling fresh throughout their entire workout. This fabric also benefits the body through increased flexibility and smoother motions when running or squatting.

Speaking of which, are you squatting correctly? If you’re ever unsure, check out our guide on How to Do a Box Squat

When purchasing this pair of compression underwear from Under Armour, you’ll be pleased to know that delivery is free when your order is over £50.00. This is the perfect opportunity for runners to invest in new gear for their workouts. 

Whether it be socks and boxers, or even more fittingly a compression top to match your new long compression shorts, Under Amour has everything you need to successfully start your running wardrobe.

#4 - Nike Flex Stride Compression Shorts

Price: £39.95

Interestingly, this set of compression shorts for men began as a plastic bottle and is composed of at least 75% recycled polyester fabric. As a part of Nike’s ‘move to zero’ campaign (a company-wide effort to reduce pollution), you can guarantee that the Nike Flex Stride Compression Shorts were made with the environment at heart.

A major difference between these shots and the rest of the compression underwear that features on this list is that this pair comes sewn within a pre-existing pair of Nike shorts. In effect, when shopping for compression shorts men will receive two sets of fashionable training gear in one package when selecting the Nike Flex Stride Compression Shorts. 

With over 40 reviews on the Nike website, this pair of two-in-one compression running shorts are rated at an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you’re someone who values customer satisfaction, this should please you. We’d encourage our readers to always read personalised reviews before purchasing a product, regardless of whether said product is compression underwear or another piece of gear.

The Nike Flex Stride men’s compression running shorts are extremely lightweight. When exercising, you will feel lighter on your feet ready to break into a cross country run or glide across a sprinting track. 

More of Nike’s products can be found on OriGym's list of the 19 best cycling jackets for men and women.

If you are looking for a pair of men’s compression running shorts we’d strongly recommend choosing a pair of Nike Flex Stride shorts, as they are a high-quality purchase that will benefit both your performance and the environment. 

#5 - MyProtein Essentials Base Layer Compression Shorts

Price: £20.00

MyProtein’s Essentials base layer compression running shorts are fitted with sweat-wicking technology, meaning that they will absorb sweat and make your workout all the more comfortable. 

When shopping for compression shorts, men of all body types deserve the support they provide. MyProtein provides a wide range of shorts ranging from XXS to XXXL, allowing men of all sizes to feel the fitted protection.

Some argue that the biggest strength MyProtein’s compression shorts proviwde is their price tag; at a modest £20, this set of compression underwear is perfect for those of you who are on a tight budget. What's more, MyProtein regularly runs flash sales offering up a potential 50% discount on certain products.

Men should take advantage of MyProtein’s excellent prices, and also purchase food and workout supplements to further benefit your exercise practice.

If you’re a fan of protein shakes, you should check out our article on whether protein shakes should be consumed with cows milk, water or another substitute.

Featuring an elasticated waistband, sets of compression underwear like My Protein’s Essentials base layer compression shorts are designed with comfort in mind above all else. The elastic fabric will effortlessly fit to your body, and while it will be tight, it will ultimately give in to your physique as to not constrict you too much.

A solid pick for a beginner’s pair of compression shorts, men who are seeking to develop their running skills should look no further.

#6 - Boohoo Active 2-in-1 Shorts

Price: £18.00

As another 2-in-1 addition to this list, these cheap compression shorts from the Boohoo activewear range come in at half the price of designer brands. Their biggest strength is easily the simplicity of purchasing and returning the shorts with a click of a button.

Boohoo offers a next-day delivery option at a £5 price tag, so you can get hold of this compression underwear as soon as possible if needs be. Not to mention, the free returns option is available within 28 days of the purchase, so if you change your mind, the refund process is simple.

Additionally, if you’re on a strict weekly budget and don’t want to purchase these compression shorts at full price right away, you can pay in installments through verified services such as Klarna, Clear Pay and Zip.

Men’s compression shorts like the Boohoo Active 2-in-1 shorts are ideal for squatting and sprinting given their short length. They’ll feel light, and you’ll feel agile whilst maintaining a tight, explosive power from your glutes, quads and hamstrings. 

If you want to further support your hamstrings, take a look at OriGym’s guide on the 13 best hamstring stretches for back pain.

Coming in as the cheapest men's compression shorts on our list, the Boohoo 2-in-1 set provides the user with great value for money given the high-performance level, not to mention the fact that you get a trendy pair of running shorts to wear over the top of the men’s compression underwear for no additional charge.

#7 - Squat Wolf Onyx Compression Shorts

Price: £40.00

Squat Wolf’s Onyx men’s compression underwear features a diamond design weaved into the thigh area, and whilst it looks highly fashionable this isn’t just for fashion purposes. The design also helps the compression shorts stretch in four different ways, benefiting the body  whilst running, squatting, stretching and lunging. 

If you’re after an aesthetically pleasing set of compression underwear, Squat Wolf Onyx Compression Shorts are highly regarded in this area. As one of the best compression shorts available, these are the perfect marriage between practicality and fashionable design. 

Squat Wolf’s long compression shorts are also fitted with a thigh piping feature, which is essentially a tube fitted to their inside. This is used to double down on the stability you’ll feel brought on by a high level of constriction. 

This means that this set of compression underwear will be slightly heavier than the rest of the men’s compression shorts on our list. However, they will be one of the most effective options in terms of the compression factors that will aid in the performance and recovery of your muscles. 

For more fashionable exercise clothing options, take a look at our list of the 15 best men’s running tights

#8 - GymShark Aspect 2-in-1 Shorts

Price: £35.00

The GymShark Aspect 2-in-1 compression Shorts for men are highly fashionable, and will act as a great addition to any athlete's exercise wardrobe. Speaking of great additions, all of the products that feature on OriGym’s list of the 21 best running accessories are sure to put a smile on any athlete's face. 

The perks don’t stop with said shorts being fashionable, as another one to mention is that the GymShark Aspect 2-in-1 shorts also feature zipped pockets. These provide more space, and are less restrictive than smaller pockets that feature on other compression underwear products on the market.  

GymShark also offers free returns up to 90 days after the initial purchase, so if these compression boxers aren’t right for you then you have plenty of time to send them back. 

The GymShark Aspect 2-in-1 Shorts can also be regarded as some of the best compression shorts for students, as GymShark frequently holds large sales that can knock off a large fraction of the buying price. 

They’re practical, fashionable and frequently on sale - what's not to love?

#9 - Under Armour Stretch Woven Shorts

Price: £50.00

The Under Armour Stretch Woven Shorts are another entry from the same company to appear on our list of the best compression shorts, which should tell you how great Under Armour products are. 

Whilst some readers may be shocked at the £50.00 price tag of these compression boxers it is more than warranted, thanks to ultra-breathable fabric technology within the waistband. 

Often compression boxer waistbands offer the tightest and potentially most uncomfortable area of the shorts, however, Under Armour’s Stretch Woven Shorts features perforations all around (small holes to release sweat and let air in), so you’ll constantly feel cool and relieved.

These compression shorts also feature unique anti-odor technology that prevents long-lasting undesirable smells, so they won’t necessarily need to spend half their lifespan in your washing machine. 

What's more, these compression running shorts are also water-resistant, which will be beneficial to all you trail runners and those who exercise in harsh weather conditions. If this benefit is appealing to you, check out our article on the 15 best waterproof trousers here. 

The Under Armour Stretch Woven Shorts truly are some of the best compression shorts on our list, offering an incredible amount of unique features.

#10 - Made 4 Fighters Layer Fight Shorts

Price: £39.99

The Made 4 Fighters Layer Fight Shorts speak to the versatility of compression shorts for men. As a product, they truly can be utilised effectively across any physical activity, and in this case for combat sports. 

As such, there is no means of storage in these 2-in-1 compression shorts, they are exclusively designed and manufactured for controlled combat usage.

The designs of the Made 4 Fighters Layer Fight compression shorts follow its purpose, incorporating militaristic camouflage and digital camouflage designs in shades of blue and grey, which stand out in a truly eye-popping way. In addition to this, the simplistic design will allow you to effortlessly incorporate these shorts into your workout wardrobe.

A further benefit to these compression shorts is that if you haven’t already, you can sign up to the Made 4 Fighters online newsletter and receive 10% off your first order! 


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The Best Compression Shorts for Women -

#11 - Bam Enduro Bamboo Long Sport Shorts

Price: £32.00

When it comes to shopping for compression shorts, women understandably want the same level of comfort and support as men. Available in a sleek Black, Matisse blue, or a funky Starta Print, these compression shorts are super supportive and slightly longer than most ladies compression shorts.

These bamboo shorts come from BAM, a ‘viable and environmentally sustainable business’ that goes above and beyond to ensure that becoming an Impact Positive business is its top priority.

Composed of 64% Bamboo Viscose, 24% Organic Cotton, and 12% Elastane, you can count on these soft yet sustainable shorts to be comfortable and non-see-through no matter how intense your workout. 

The body-responsive Enduro bamboo jersey material means that these are super flattering but also sweat-wicking thanks to bamboo's temperature controlling properties. But don’t just take our word for it, this product almost exclusively has 5 star reviews with customers complimenting the quality and fit.

If you want more products that are designed specifically with women in mind, OriGym’s list of the 23 best gym bags for women is sure to impress. 

#12 - Santini Cycling Forza Indoor Cycling Shorts

Price: £99.00

Good compression shorts often combine two key aspects - breathability and flexibility. That’s where Santini’s signature cycling compression shorts for women really excel, and present themselves as an exceptional, premium quality product.

Offering supreme stability thanks to their high waistband and leg-gripping material, these shorts are designed with performance in mind. They’re specifically tailored to prevent soreness on difficult rides, and utilise cutting-edge technology to protect your legs when you’re training your hardest.

The intelligent GILevo seat pad that comes built into every pair of these compression shorts is specially designed with women in mind, offering comfort and additional support on long rides.

Not to mention that these flagship shorts use the latest in sweat-wicking and moisture management tech, ensuring you’ve got as much mitigation against sweat irritation as possible.

With a snazzy design that uses classic black and a pop of pink just above the knee, these shorts are not only one of the most technologically advanced options on the market, they’re also ideal for combining with your favourite cycling headphones or top of choice.

#13 - UnderArmour HeatGear Mid-Rise Shorty

Price: £22.00

The Under Armour HeatGear Mid-Rise Shorty ultra-light compression shorts feature a 3-inch inseam, the focus of which is to offer compression to your glutes for an isolated squatting motion. The extra small style is perfect for the summer, so you can catch a tan while catching a sweat. 

The implementation of ergonomic flatlock seams will maximise your comfort, as they cover threads on the inside of the shorts for a smooth exercising experience. When wearing these compression shorts for running, irritable itches and chafing will be significantly minimised because of the flatlock seams. 

Compared to our previous entry, the Under Armour HeatGear Mid Rise Shorty is slightly shorter and is an example of a pair of cheap women’s compression shorts designed to serve the same purpose as the pricier options.

As some of the best women’s compression shorts the UK has to offer, Under Armour’s Mid-Rise Shorty will make an excellent addition to any athlete's exercise wardrobe. That being said, so will any of the yoga pants that feature on OriGym's list of the best yoga leggings for women and men.

#14 -  GymShark Adapt Camo Seamless Shorts 

Price: £35.00

The GymShark Adapt Camo Seamless Shorts are among the best women’s compression shorts in the UK. Built with a high-waisted frame, they add extra support to the lower abdomen and will compress your core. 

This is perfect for exercises such as sit-ups or leg raises, as they will help in maintaining stability in the lower abs. To add further support, the Adapt Camo Seamless Shorts are also fitted with an elongated, ribbed waistband to really squeeze in those hips.

In terms of aesthetics, the women’s running compression shorts feature a black and grey jacquard pattern with ruched sides to really stretch the fabric around your body and accentuate your features. The GymShark logo is heat-sealed into the leg, which stands out as another trendy feature. 

GymShark Adapt Camo Seamless Shorts are made mostly from a gentle polyamide fabric, so they’ll feel softer and warmer than most of the other women’s compression shorts on the list, with reduced irritability in the long term.

The products featured within our list of the 13 best fleece-lined leggings will also provide this benefit, and will be perfectly suitable for those colder months.

These women’s running compression shorts are not only a solid choice in terms of practicality, but the style is so adaptive, with added comfort levels that will allow you to wear them for everyday wear. 

GymShark’s Adapt Camo Seamless Shorts offer real versatility compared to many other listed women’s compression shorts, so if you’re interested in a versatile product why not treat yourself to a pair. 

#15 - Ryderwear Camo High Waisted Shorts

Price: £20.99

With the tagline ‘too bold to blend in’, the Ryderwear Camo High Waisted Shorts are an example of Women’s compression shorts that are designed to look good on everyone. 

Featuring a scrunched bum fabric, with these women’s compression shorts you can isolate your glutes to not only provide maximum workout efficiency, but also highlight and accentuate your gym gains.

The women’s compression shorts are also resistant to fading, if you like to keep your clothes looking pristine you’ll be pleased to know that the dark camouflage design will be maintained over a long period of time. In addition to this, the Ryderwear Camo High Waisted Shorts are also shrink-resistant, so you’ll be sure to get a lot of mileage out of this product.

With built-in durability coupled with their low price, Ryderwear Camo High Waisted Shorts are unquestionably one of the best women’s compression shorts the UK has to offer. Buy a pair today if you’re looking for a product that costs less money, but will last a longer period of time. 

Whilst we’re in the midst of discussing female products, it may interest you to read OriGym’s article detailing the rise of the female personal trainer. This is packed with fascinating information and personal stories surrounding the women’s led movement in the fitness industry. 

#16 - Aybl Core Shorts

Price: £22.00

The Aybl Core Shorts are optimised for students in that they’re a basic but incredibly reliable option. These are some of the best compression shorts for starting a fresh workout routine, perfectly suited for beginners and those looking to change things up.

What's more, the company website features a 10% student discount on the already reasonable price tag. The Aybl Core Shorts’ cheap price coupled with the vastly positive reviews (5 stars with over 170 ratings) make the compression shorts an excellent choice for students and others on a tight budget. 

If you’re looking for a fashionable pair of women’s compression shorts, the soft blue colour is subtle and comes as part of a full set which is also available on the company’s site.

Our guide on the 13 best women’s running hoodies and jumpers is sure to impress any female customers, and will provide you with garments suitable for all seasons. 

The Aybl Core Shorts are a general pair of all-rounders, perfectly suited and adaptable to a variety of athletes.  These women’s compression shorts have pretty much got it all; they’ll enhance your performance and you’ll look good whilst doing so, the perfect combination for any athlete of any level.

#17 - Avenue 85 ATAK Compression Shorts

Price: £20.00

Coming in at just above knee height, the Avenue 85 ATAK Compression Running Shorts will effectively combat lactic acid build-up in the entire upper leg, enabling you to push yourself past your regular boundaries and excel in your athletic performance.

Speaking of women who are at the peak of their athletic performance, OriGym has curated a list of the 23 best female bodybuilders of all time

The enhanced fabric used in the manufacturing of the Avenue 85 ATAK Compression Shorts also helps to regulate body temperature. These women’s compression shorts will simultaneously keep you cool enough when you’re hot and warm enough when it’s cold, so they’re apt for year-round usage to come sun or snow.

Unlike some of the other products listed here, Avenue 85’s will actively encourage you to run no matter the weather conditions. Once you’ve worn them, you’ll want to test them out in a variety of situations. 

This means you can improve your skills comfortably in any scenario, pushing you to beat that personal best no matter where you are or what season it is.

#18 - Tala Hosta Shorts

Price: £30.00

The main benefit of Tala’s Hosta Shorts is their sustainable origin, as they are crafted from 92% up-cycled antibacterial polyamide. These women’s compression shorts are eco-friendly, and will stay clean for a longer period of time so you can reduce your carbon footprint even further by picking up a pair.  

If you love eco-friendly products you’re sure to find something of interest within the 17 best yoga mats article from OriGym.

The sustainability of the Tala Hosta Shorts save over 22 liters of water and over 1kg of CO2 compared to regularly made polyamide, so you can train comfortably, both literally and mentally, knowing your sports gear is actively helping the environment.

Coming in a variety of slick colours like light purples, blues and greys, the Tala Hosta Shorts are some of the most fashionable women’s running compression shorts to feature on this list. With a pair, you can run in style with these compression running shorts. Environmentally friendly and extremely stylish, what’s not to love here? 

If you pick up a pair of these women’s compression shorts, you’ll not only benefit from the aforementioned perks of compression shorts for running, but you can also run easily knowing you’ve contributed to helping the environment - even on this small scale, every bit helps!

#19 -  Harris Active Sport Zero Point Compression Shorts

Price: £79.99

Coming in as the most expensive item on our list of the best compression shorts, the Harris Active Sport Zero Point Compression Shorts warrant their high asking price for being extremely tight, offering unrivaled compression power.

These women’s compression shorts squeeze harder than most, increasing blood circulation more efficiently and deal with delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S) extraordinarily quickly, meaning a faster recovery so you can dive back into the action. 

As an example of the best compression shorts, the Harris Active Sport can help to maximise your squatting power, allow you to run faster than before, and dominate any spin class, thanks to the stabilisation that the fabric provides. 

These are some of the best women’s compression shorts in the UK, truly worth every penny of their asking price. 

As we conclude our section on women’s compression shorts, we would like to direct you to read OriGym’s list of Influential Women in Sports and Fitness. This will educate you on some of the top female athletes in the world, by sharing their personal stories and experiences. 


#1 - What's the difference between compression gear shorts and underwear? 

Despite their namesake, compression shorts are actually underwear. They were initially designed to be worn underneath your workout gear, but can be fashioned in a variety of ways.

For example, many athletes such as football and basketball players will wear compression boxers underneath their shorts, whereas some runners will solely wear their compression underwear on the lower half of their body.

For your own modesty, OriGym would always recommend reading the label of your chosen compression shorts. This should tell you whether they’re suitable for wearing on their own, or if they should merely act as a base layer. 

#2 - Are Compression Shorts Gender-Specific?

We have divided our list of the best compression shorts into gendered categories, as each style is known to have gender-specific features that can help you run more comfortably.

Men’s compression shorts, for example, will have a longer inseam and built-in liner to offer further support for the groin area. This is to help prevent discomfort or chafing within the area and is overall better suited to adapt to the male body. 

Women’s compression shorts typically focus on a better fit for the waist, hips and thighs. This makes for a more comfortable design, that is further supported by shorter inseams for shorter legs. 

Unisex compression shorts don’t typically feature any of these benefits, and as a result, may not provide your body with the support that it requires. 

Before You Go!

As our comprehensive list of the best compression shorts draws to a close, we hope that you have benefited from this article, and now have more insight into the existing compression short market. 

Whilst many compression shorts fulfill the same purpose, we hope that you have found a pair that is best suited for you and your exercise needs, whether that be for running or recreational sports.  

See yourself working in the fitness industry? OriGym’s award-winning personal training diploma will help you kick-start your career, with the help of an incredible team who are on hand to guide you 7 days a week. Better yet, OriGym can guarantee excellent post-course support once you graduate, and help you land your first role as a PT! 

Download our FREE prospectus today to explore the qualifications we offer, and how they can benefit you. 

Written by Harry Griffiths

Freelance Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

Harry is a freelance article writer for Origym. With a degree in creative writing at his back, he writes about all things fitness for our company blog, covering everything from exercise techniques to product reviews. A passionate weight lifter, Harry’s commitments to fitness
and wellbeing extend from behind the keyboard all the way to the gym floor.

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