Best Compression Pants: Performance Leggings for Enhanced Workouts and Better Recovery

Lindsay Boyers
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Best Compression Pants

Yes, they're a favorite of superstars like Steph Curry and Tom Brady, but compression pants are more than trendy workout gear. Not your typical workout leggings, research shows that compression garments can reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness and enhance recovery post-workout. But the key to reaping the benefits of this functional gear is to make sure they're actually compressing your muscles enough to see results.

The best compression pants for men have just enough spandex to give them some stretch, but not too much that they lose their compressive abilities. They also have comfort features like flatlock seams to prevent chafing, moisture-wicking fabric to keep you dry and comfortable, and pockets to hold all of your essentials when you're hitting the pavement or doing deep squats. Of course, they need to look good, too.

Whether you're into heavy weightlifting or long-distance running, or you're looking for something to keep you warmer when you're exercising or hiking outside in the colder months, these are the best men's compression pants for the job.

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The Best Compression Pants - Our Top Picks

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Best Compression Pants for Men Overall - Under Armour Iso-Chill

Under Armour Iso-Chill


  • Colors: Black, white
  • Sizes: XS-4XL
  • Length options: Regular, tall
  • Material: 100% polyester


The Under Armour Iso-Chill leggings combine compression with heat regulation. Made with stay-flat fibers, they're designed to help maximize performance while keeping you cool so you don't have to cut your workout short due to overheating. The Iso-Chill leggings are also infused with titanium dioxide, which can help pull UV heat away from your body when you're exercising outside on a hot day.

Because they're made of 100 percent polyester with no spandex, they're a little less stretchy than other compression pants, so make sure to buy your actual size (or size up if needed). They also have mesh pockets and an elastic waistband that helps prevent slipping.

What We Like

  • 2 length options
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Mesh pockets

What We Don't Like

  • May have to size up
  • Not very stretchy

BUY: Under Armour Iso-Chill

Best Budget Compression Pants for Men - CompressionZ Compression Pants

CompressionZ Compression Pants


  • Colors: Black, blue, gray, white, camouflage, green
  • Sizes: S-5XL
  • Length options: Regular, capri
  • Material: 85% nylon, 15% spandex


Compression pants can get pretty pricey. And if you want more than one pair to help get through your weekly workouts, it can add up quickly. In some cases, you get what you pay for, but the CompressionZ Compression Pants are surprisingly high quality for the low price. These pants are made of an 85 percent nylon and 15 percent spandex blend so they're equally stretchy and moisture-wicking.

They have an elastic waistband and are available with or without pockets—the pocketed version costs about $10 more. You can also choose from full length or capri length in the black, white, and navy options. The brand recommends sizing down if you want a really compressive fit.

What We Like

  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Available in full length and capri
  • Half the price of others

What We Don't Like

  • Pocketed versions cost extra
  • Might be too compressive for some

BUY: CompressionZ Compression Pants

Best Weightlifting Compression Pants for Men - NoBull Men's Compression Tights



  • Colors: Gray, navy, green, black
  • Sizes: S-3XL
  • Length options: Regular (32-inch inseam)
  • Material: 86% nylon, 14% spandex


If you're wearing compression pants mainly when weightlifting, you need a pair that stays put and won't slide down when you're at the bottom of your deadlift. These compression tights from NoBull are made with 86 percent nylon and 14 percent spandex and have a thick jacquard waistband so they stretch with you as you move without slipping.

They're designed for breathability, too. The interior leg panel is made from breathable mesh so they don't trap heat, and they have a shaped front basket that's lined with moisture-wicking fabric. Flatlock seams ensure the pants don't rub against your skin and cause irritation during your workout. There aren't any pockets, though.

What We Like

  • Incorporates breathable mesh and moisture-wicking fabric
  • Thick waistband to prevent slipping
  • Flatlock seams reduce irritation

What We Don't Like

  • No pockets
  • Only 1 length

BUY: NoBull Men's Compression Tights

Best Quality Compression Pants for Men - Lululemon Vital Drive 28"

Lululemon Vital Drive 28


  • Colors: Black
  • Sizes: XS-2XL
  • Length options: Regular (28")
  • Material: 59% nylon, 41% lycra/elastane


If you've ever tried any of Lululemon's leggings, you already know that the brand is synonymous with quality. Yes, these compression pants are one of the most expensive on the list, but they have a lot to offer. Designed for high-intensity workouts, the Vital Drive Training Tights have interior gripping and a secure elastic waistband to prevent slippage.

While they do have a tight fit, the high Lycra/elastane percentage makes them stretchier than most, so they compress the major muscle groups without limiting range of motion. Plus, compression bands strategically placed throughout the pants mimic the support of kinesiology tape. They're also designed with abrasion-resistant fabric and have textured fronts on the calves to help them stand up to wear and tear. Deep drop-in pockets with a phone sleeve sweeten the deal.

What We Like

  • Interior gripping to hold tights in place
  • Hidden pockets
  • Compression bands

What We Don't Like

  • Limited size range
  • Only 1 length

BUY: Lululemon Vital Drive 28"

Best Men's Compression Pants for Cold Weather - Under Armour Men's ColdGear

Under Armour Men's Cold Gear


  • Colors: Black, gray (heather), white, navy, red
  • Sizes: XS-4XL
  • Length options: Regular, tall
  • Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane


If you're working out in colder temperatures, you need compression leggings that can preserve your body heat while also preventing sweat buildup. The Under Armour Men's ColdGear Leggings combine 13 percent elastane with 87 percent polyester, which is an excellent all-weather fabric. Polyester is extremely insulating, keeping you warmer than cotton, but it's also great at wicking away moisture. Plus, these compression leggings are dual layered and have brushed fabric on the inner lining so they dry even faster.

There are inseam panels and a stretchy mesh inside the gusset that allow for maximum ventilation. These compression leggings also have a deep right-side pocket and a specialized design that keeps the seams away from high-abrasion areas to reduce potential irritation.

What We Like

  • Comes in 2 length options
  • Extra moisture-wicking features
  • Extra drying features

What We Don't Like

  • Only 1 pocket
  • On the thinner side

BUY: Under Armour Men's ColdGear Leggings

Best Men's Compression Pants for Long Runs - Brooks Source Tight

Brooks Source Tight


  • Colors: Navy, black, gray
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Length options: Regular
  • Material: 78% polyester, 22% spandex


If you're looking for top-tier running gear, you can't go wrong with Brooks. From sneakers to compression pants, the brand expertly combines comfort with function. The Brooks Men's Source Tights are made with an insulating and sweat-wicking mixture of 78 percent polyester and 22 percent spandex. Because these have more spandex than other pairs, they're a bit stretchier and not as compressive, but this, combined with the lack of side seams, is ideal to prevent chafing and irritation on long runs.

Like most compression pants, this pair has a secure elastic waistband, but it also includes a drawstring so you can get the most comfortable fit. There are also two deep drop-in pockets so you can hang onto your cell phone and other essentials when you're on the road.

What We Like

  • Anti-chafe design
  • Drawstring elastic waistband
  • Warm and fast-drying

What We Don't Like

  • Limited sizing
  • Only comes in 1 length

BUY: Brooks Source Tight

Best Men's Compression Pants for Hiking - CW-X Men's Endurance Generator High Performer

CW-X Men's Endurance Generator High Performer


  • Colors: Blue, red
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Length options: Regular
  • Material: 70% polyester, 30% spandex


These CW-X Men's Endurance Generator High Performer Compression Leggings are ideal for hikes where you need full range of motion without too much constriction. They're made of a combination of 70 percent polyester and 30 percent spandex, which keeps you warm and wicks away moisture while also naturally moving with your body.

These compression pants are designed with what CW-X calls Exo-Web technology. Essentially, they have deeper compression in some areas thanks to a different combination of materials (80 percent polyester and 20 percent lycra) to mimic kinesiology taping techniques. This enhances blood circulation and provides additional support in these areas. They also have UPF 50+ UV protection for daytime hikes and flat seams to prevent chafing, but no pockets so you'll have to throw your essentials in your backpack.

What We Like

  • Different pressure compression areas
  • UV-protection
  • Flat seams to prevent chafing

What We Don't Like

  • Limited sizing
  • No pockets

BUY: CW-X Men's Endurance Generator High Performer

Best Men's Compression Pants for Travel - Nike Men's Pro Tights

Nike Men's Pro Tights


  • Colors: Gray, black, white
  • Sizes: S-2XL
  • Length options: Regular
  • Material: 90-93% polyester, 7-10% spandex


These no-frill compression pants from Nike are all about the function. They're made with a 90-93 percent polyester and 7-10 percent spandex blend that has just enough stretch to keep you comfortable, but not so much that you lose any of the compression capabilities.

The polyester is naturally moisture-wicking, so it pulls sweat away from your body and keeps you dry when you're on the go. There's also a double-layered mesh pouch in the gusset to enhance breathability and keep things from getting too steamy. They don't have any pockets, but they're on the more budget-friendly side so if you misplace them on the road they're not as expensive to replace.

What We Like

  • Moisture-wicking and breathable
  • Mesh pouch in the gusset
  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • No pockets
  • Run small

BUY: Nike Men's Pro Tights

Best Lightweight Men's Compression Pants - Alo Yoga Men's Warrior

Alo Yoga Men's Warrior


  • Colors: Gray, black, navy
  • Sizes: S-2XL
  • Length options: Full-length
  • Material: 80% nylon, 20% spandex


The Alo Yoga Men's Warrior Compression Pants are the most lightweight and breathable on the list, thanks to the nylon and spandex fabric combo. Because these pants are designed for yoga, the four-way stretchiness of the fabric allows for full mobility while still offering some compression (although they're less compressive than others). The fabric is not only moisture wicking, it's also odor resistant so you'll stay fresh even after really sweaty workouts.

There's a lined panel between the legs to provide a more secure fit and minimize chafing. There's also a drawcord in the elastic waistband so you can tighten or loosen them as needed. There are no pockets, but they do have a lie-flat design for enhanced comfort.

What We Like

  • Lightweight fabric combo
  • Odor-resistant fabric
  • Drawcord in the waistband

What We Don't Like

  • No pockets
  • Less compressive than others

BUY: Alo Yoga Men's Warrior

Best Men's Compression Pants for Sports - 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights

2XU MCS Run Compression Tights


  • Colors: Black with gold reflective, black with gray reflective
  • Sizes: XS-2XL
  • Length options: Full-length, tall
  • Material: 72% nylon/28% lycra spandex (front); 65% nylon/35% lycra spandex (back)


The 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights are built for all types of workouts, from long runs to quick HIIT training sessions. They're made of a nylon and spandex combo that's stretchier in the back but more compressive in the front. They also have specialized compression areas, which the brand calls Muscle Containment Stamping (MCS), built into the quad and calf zones to help reduce muscle strain and soreness specifically in these targeted areas.

Built for comfort, these compression pants have a wide, covered elastic waistband to prevent slipping, and flatlock seams that minimize chafing. They're also quick-drying and have antimicrobial elements built into the fabric to reduce the buildup of odor-causing bacteria. A zippered pocket keeps your essentials secure no matter which sport you're playing.

What We Like

  • Specialized compression areas for targeted support
  • Anti-slip waistband
  • Zippered pocket

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Limited color options

BUY: 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights

FAQs About Compression Pants

Do compression leggings make you look slimmer?

Like constricting shapewear, compression leggings smooth out curves and bulges so they can make you appear slimmer. Compression leggings don't directly change your body composition, though.

Why do men wear compression leggings?

Men wear compression leggings to enhance workout performance and boost recovery following exercise. Studies have shown that compression leggings can reduce the perception of post-exercise muscle soreness and pain, assist with recovery following resistance training, reduce time to exhaustion, and increase blood flow and oxygen delivery.

Do compression tights actually work?

Yes, compression tights actually work. There have been numerous studies backing up their benefits, from reducing muscle soreness post-workout to speeding up recovery to increasing blood flow.

Do compression leggings work as well as compression stockings?

Compression leggings and compression stockings are very similar, but compression stockings typically have a graduated amount of pressure that's focused on the lower half of the legs. Compression stockings are often used by those with fluid retention, whereas compression leggings are favored by athletes and those looking to improve workout performance and recovery.

Does higher spandex mean more compression?

No, higher spandex doesn't translate to more compression. Spandex is what allows your pants to stretch, so a higher percentage can actually make them less compressive since they don't resist pressure from your body.

Do compression pants make you lose weight?

Compression pants increase comfort and support during a workout, but they don't boost your metabolism or contribute to weight loss in a direct way. However, when you're comfortable and your temperature is regulated, you may be able to sustain a longer workout, which can help increase overall calorie burn.

How long can you wear compression pants?

There's no limit to how long you can wear compression pants. As long as you're comfortable, you can wear them all day. However, if you've been sweating through a workout and they're damp, you might want to change to prevent bacterial buildup and discomfort.

How tight should compression pants be?

Compression tights should feel tight in the thighs, hips, and waist, but not so tight that you feel like your circulation is getting cut off or you have trouble breathing. They should be tight and form-fitting around your body, but should not restrict movement or make it more difficult to get through your workout.

While most compression pants come in standard sizes, like XS to 5XL, they often have size guides that are based on your specific measurements. It's best to measure your body and choose your compression pants based on this rather than relying on the sizes which can vary between brands.

Should I wear compression pants after a workout?

Studies show that wearing compression pants during and after a workout can help optimize performance and reduce muscle soreness. It's best to wear compression pants during your workout, but keeping them on for a while afterward can increase blood flow and ensure that your muscles are getting the oxygen they need for recovery.