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:
- What Are Compression Shorts?
- What Do Compression Shorts Do?
- The Best Compression Shorts for Men
- The Best Compression Shorts for Women
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.
Written by Professional S & C Coaches
Download Your FREE 16 Week Half Marathon Training Programme
Written by Professional S & C Coaches
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
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.
These compression shorts are for men who are serious about their fitness and want to make a statement.
These are a super unique pair, with impact-absorbing SmartFlex™ pads shielding from impact at the hips and tailbone.
This is certainly something to look out for if you're in a rigorous sport and are at risk of becoming injured. In fact, G-Form promises to provide protection for athletes of all types on the field, court or even on the mountains.
You don't have to worry about working out in hot weather either as these unique compression shorts are moisture wicking. The UPF 50+ compression fabric keeps you dry and comfortable throughout your workouts.
This product has just about everything you need, boasting a low-profile second skin fit and a built-in cup pocket.
So, if you're looking for a comfortable compression short that is made from polyester yet prepared for any sports G-Form may be the one for you.
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.
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 provide 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.
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 instalments 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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
If you’re enjoying this article, you might also like:
- 21 Best Gym Masks
- 17 Best Running Tops: Men, Women and Children
- A Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer
Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym!
- Qualify & start earning in just 2 weeks
- Study full-time, part-time or online
- REPS & CIMSPA Accredited
The Best Compression Shorts for Women
First up on our list of compression shorts for women are these comfortable cycling style shorts.
These shorts are best selling on their site and we can see exactly why. They boast a multi colour design so you can pair these up with any workout top you like, making life easier when putting together your workout outfit.
You can count on shaping side panels to compliment your figure and a super comfortable and supportive high waist.
These shorts are made from exercise specific material, obtaining a top quality 210gsm sports Lycra which give perfect bottom coverage.
Whatsmore, you can be sure of the perfect fit as you can find your waist and hips size in a simple drop down arrow - easy!
You can be sure to feel comfortable with this light-weight and breathable product so if you're looking for a long lasting and stylish investment, try them out.
Your search for good compression shorts is over! This product from Roam are the perfect choice for a workout, lounging or running errands so ultimately, it's a wardrobe staple.
These are super comfortable boasting 87% nylon and 13% spandex, the perfect combination for ultimate comfort.
Turning up to the gym with your keys can be a real nuisance, you might leave them on the treadmill or cross-trainer, but you can say goodbye to this mishap with these shorts having pockets (including one especially sized for your keys!)
These are a great pair of shorts for multi-use for workouts, they're perfect for having no restriction.
If you're looking for long compression shorts, these are a good medium. They are above the knee but not too short that they will ride up, a great balance for a first time wearer.
We certainly recommend these for anyone grabbing some new active wear, they're a great product with a budget friendly price.
If you're looking for some long compression shorts that are going to be a serious investment for physical activity, this is a great product.
These are perfect for women who are looking for the right compression shorts that are going to assist in less injuries and faster recovery, during and after exercise.
What makes these shorts so special is the targeted compression zones that follow the anatomy of the body and the muscles.
This means that you're getting ultimate compression to the correct areas and nowhere that you shouldn't be.
These are particularly effective for groin and hamstring injuries. Not only that, but they also reduce muscle fatigue and damage during and after training.
If you workout, you may have suffered the cramps that come after losing the all important electrolytes. These shorts can improve blood circulation in the muscles which can help assist in a reduction in cramps and overall muscle soreness.
You don't have to just take our word for it though, Knapman even share the reasons why it works. They let us know that there is research suggesting that micro-damage in muscle fibres is caused by muscle vibrations.
Thus, with Knapman's compression shorts, these vibrations are stabilised and in turn, reduce the risk of said damage.
There are many reasons why Knapman's compression shorts are a great investment and they justify the price point well.
So if you're looking for something that will last. Why not invest in Knapman?
If you're looking for cheap women's compression shorts that still obtain a high quality finish, Halara may be your choice.
These compression shorts have everything you need for just about any kind of movement. They are suitable for running, training, cycling, yoga and even for those days when you don't want to move at all!
What makes this product unique is the material. Halara use their Cloudful® Fabric for top quality active-wear. These compression shorts are made to feel as soft and as light as a cloud.
Not only that, but the high waist design offers support and comfort, without sacrificing on style all the while.
You can choose from 8 colours and with no patterns and simple block colours, it is a timeless staple in your gym wardrobe that you need!
For some ultra-light compression shorts that have that second skin feel for a budget friendly price, Smmash have you covered.
This product offers a professional sports piece for all things running. Not only are they great for your next trail run, but also for crossfit and other types of training that require a hugging pair of compression shorts.
These shorts feature thermospeed material that evenly absorb sweat and quickly evaporates moisture. Not only that, but you can count on durability with this purchase as a reinforced quadruple Spider's Steel seam is used.
This means that this material is 140% more resistant to abrasion than other fabrics you may find on budget compression shorts.
You don't have to worry about losing your key on your run either, as a special tab pocket in the back of the shorts allows for storage in a safe place.
So, why not try out these compression shorts, they're perfect for a first time buyer and have all of the elements of a durable and staple pair.
These compression shorts are for the woman who wants a pair of shorts that provide optimal movement thanks to the length.
These 2.5" shorties are perfect for just that, they come in 15 different styles and patterns and offer an inclusive size range from XS to XXXL.
The shorts are created from the best exercise materials combined. This includes 87% Polyester and 13% spandex.
WodBottom boasts how they have a perfect mix of compression and stretch with a mid-rise waist and a fabric that won't rise, no matter how deep the squat!
This durability is a great unique feature considering the short size. This combination is hard to find and so perfect for those who want to look chic yet feel comfortable during their next workout.
The next pair of compression shorts have a simple yet chic look and will match up with just about anything in your gym'drobe with their versatile look.
These mesh panel high rise shorts are super light-weight and hugging. They are created from comfortable poly-spandex fabric and designed with a 4-way stretch.
This means that you can move with ease and not worry about restriction nor tearing. They are super stretchy and completely squat proof so you can feel confident and secure in the gym.
They also offer breathable and most importantly sweat wicking properties that will see you through a workout no matter how sweaty it gets!
You can choose from 7 staple colours and for a budget friendly price, you can fill your basket with as many as you can for a fully stocked wardrobe for whatever exercise you desire.
Next up is a product that is worth the investment for determined cyclists who want comfort, freedom and durability on each ride.
These compression shorts offer a wide size range from XS to XXL, these will be suitable for many cyclists who are looking for a long term investment for their wardrobe.
These are a great product for those who want features designed specifically for touring and want only the best.
Boasting touring pockets and more padded chamois, you can count on comfort and freedom within your movements.
Made with Polartec's tri-blended power stretch fabric, no matter how much you sweat your shorts will dry fast and still fit perfectly.
These shorts are designed for an all-day fit in any capacity, whether thats sporting or chilling out. The waistband is especially comfortable, with it being elastic free and bonding to reduce seaming against your front waist.
There are endless benefits to this pair of compression shorts and we recommend them for just about anybody!
Compression shorts that have such unique engineering are not easily found, so this is a great find to add to your gym kit.
The CW-X compression shorts are designed to support your joints during high intensity exercise. They have overcome this hurdle of design by strategically placing mesh panels for extra breathability.
The shorts feature a patented EXO-WEB support panel to contour your joints in order to provide optimal stability without compromising on your body's range of motion.
Whatsmore, you can grab a pair of compression shorts and if you love them, you can get the same design and style in full length - perfect for summer and winter.
CW-X compression shorts induce enhanced blood circulation and oxygenation and thus, reduce muscle fatigue and distress.
These are great for the avid runner or someone who wants to take care of their muscles in the gym - whatever your activity, these are a great fit.
Finally, drawing our list of the best compression sleeves to a close is Pressio, with their compression 5" mid rise shorts.
These are a perfect choice for an all round gym wear piece that is super versatile.
They are designed to help power you through your workouts by reducing muscle oscillation for less soreness during and after your exercise.
They align your muscles for greater output and do the work to ensure your risk in developing overuse injury is reduced.
The 36-gauge knit offers support and even though it is super un-restrictive, you can rest assured that there is zero sheerness.
The material is made from a powerful fabric, known as their EcoPower CK - this fabric is the key to comfort and stretch in one.
With a figure flattering design, you can work out comfortably and beautifully!
#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.
Written by Professional S & C Coaches
Download Your FREE 16 Week Half Marathon Training Programme
Written by Professional S & C Coaches
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.