In the last decade, it’s become more and more common for guys to rock compression pants on their own or underneath shorts during workouts, runs, and hikes. At this point, compression pants for men are thankfully the norm, thanks to the many benefits they provide. Getting your lift on? Men’s compression pants provide the extra support you need for maximum reps. Want to keep your legs warm during those cold winter runs? Throw on a pair of men’s compression leggings. Heading to spin class and want to make sure everything stays securely in place down there? Order compression pants to wear under your best gym shorts.
We should note that compressing leggings are distinct from compression shorts, which typically fall above the knee, and meggings, aka man leggings, which are designed to be worn on their own rather than under a pair of running shorts or gym shorts. Compression pants do what their name implies: compress your body to help hold everything in place, including your muscles. Beyond comfort and style, the best compression pants also offer health benefits for athletes, at least in theory.
To get the full story, we talked to an expert and compiled a full list of our favorite men’s compression pants available to order online. Keep scrolling to see our recommendations for the best compression pants, but first, let’s go over a few basics about this handy gym accessory.
What Are Compression Pants?
In order to fully understand what compression pants are, what makes them different from regular leggings, and the full benefits of wearing them, we decided to turn to a fitness expert.
Celebrity Personal Trainer Kollins Ezekh is a plant-based fitness trainer and boxer out of Los Angeles, California, who also runs a YouTube channel that specializes in at-home workouts with little to no equipment. He answered a few of our most pressing questions about compression pants for men.
I asked him why tight-fitting athletic clothing is better overall, and he explained that it doesn’t “restrict” movement and is aerodynamic.
Why Are Men’s Compression Pants Useful?
Compression pants in particular, are useful because they “help increase blood pressure and reduce muscle fatigue, and they can also serve as a rash guard.”
The compression provided by the best workout leggings for men increases blood flow, and the close fit means you’re not fighting extra fabric during your workout. While not every guy will incorporate workout leggings into their fitness routine, they are a great article of clothing to keep in your gym bag. You know, just in case.
How Should You Wear Compression Pants?
Compression pants are often worn underneath a pair of running shorts or gym shorts in place of underwear. Sure, you could throw on underwear over men’s compression pants, but we don’t recommend it. Instead, wear these under your favorite workout shorts or joggers. A simple tank top or t-shirt is all that’s needed for a perfect gym outfit.
Can You Wear Compression Pants on Their Own?
Hey, it’s a free country, so unless your gym specifically forbids it, you might be able to get away rocking nothing but a t-shirt and compression pants, but again, we definitely do not recommend it. Meggings, aka man leggings, are meant to be worn solo, but these are an entirely separate product category. Instead, think of compression pants and shorts as underwear. It’s a base layer that shouldn’t be worn solo.
Are Compression Pants, Dare We Say, Sexy?
Because compression pants for men are form-fitting, they will hug your glutes and thighs in a way that’s actually, dare we say, sexy. We know, we know, skinny jeans are out, but that doesn’t mean skinny pants for activities are. Compression pants for men are officially in; honestly, we don’t see them going anywhere.
If you’re looking to transform the way you work out and exercise, then check out the best compression pants for men below.
1. Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Base 4.0 Leggings
In our experience, Under Armour makes the best compression pants and leggings for men, and in the winter, we recommend the brand’s ColdGear Base 4.0 Leggings. The 4.0s are Under Armour’s warmest leggings, made with a brushed soft negative grid pattern that traps body heat. They also wick sweat, dry fast, and even feature a working fly for convenience. Though they’re not as skintight as “true” compression pants, they’re optimized for winter, so you could wear them solo if you can handle the cold or use them as a base layer with looser sweatpants.
2. Ten Thousand Full-Length Tight
Ten Thousand is one of our favorite boutique athletic wear brands for men because of their high-quality materials and durable designs. These workout tights from them offer full coverage for running, cycling, and HIIT training. They’re made of premium Italian fabric that’s quick-drying and anti-odor. They have a three-layer front pouch and a no-pinch waistband as well. The phone pocket on the site is sweat-proof, and there are strategically-placed ventilation zones across the design for optimal comfort.
3. Nike Pro Warm Men’s Tights
You simply can’t go wrong with the Nike Pro Warm Men’s Tights. Made from recycled polyester and a French terry knit, these compression pants promise to keep you warm without compromising your workout. They feature Nike Dri-FIT technology to wick sweat, mesh overlays on the knees for better motion, an elastic waistband that stays put and a single media pocket for your phone.
4. Adidas Techfit 3-Stripes Long Tights
When it comes to the best compression pants for men, trusted brands like Adidas will never let you down. The Adidas Techfit 3-Stripes Long Tights simply check all the boxes you want in compression pants, including a polyester-elastane construction for moisture wicking and a tight fit, a secure elastic waist (with a drawcord, just in case) and the classic three stripes along the side. Though we’d appreciate pockets, their lack obviously doesn’t affect the high performance of these compression pants.
5. Alo Yoga Warrior Compression Pants
Oh, so we’ve got ourselves a yogi. If so, you’ll know damn well how important it is to ditch loose articles for tighter clothing that keeps everything where it needs to be and out of the way. The Warrior compression pants from Alo Yoga make the perfect pants for spending time stretching out on the mat. Each pair is made of nylon, so they’re moisture-wicking to keep you comfy and mobile. They’re created with a gusset and double inseam panel to keep your goods at ease, too.
6. Lululemon Vital Drive 28″ Tight
Though it’s one of the biggest names in yoga apparel, Lululemon sports a great fitness apparel line for all athletic needs. Their Vital Drive training tights are designed for training of all kinds and are made with abrasion-resistant fabric, so you avoid chafing and rashes. The tights have four-way stretch, are sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and have drop-in pockets designed for your smartphone and other EDC items. They also have reflective detailing to keep you safe while training at night.
7. Janji Groundwork Tight
If you’re serious about running, the Janji Groundwork Tights will be the best compression pants for you. Made from moisture-wicking nylon and form-fitting spandex, they feature double-lined fabric on the front for extra warmth and durability, multiple stretchy pockets, and hi-vis reflective tape along the side seams for extra visibility.
8. TSLA Men’s Thermal Compression Pants
While you can find higher quality compression leggings from better-known brands like Nike and Under Armour, TSLA makes budget-friendly compression pants for men that will hold up to repeated use. For runners on the hunt for the best workout leggings for men, these compression pants come in a variety of styles and colors, and the low price makes it easy to have a pair for every day of the week.
9. Vuori Limitless Compression Tights
These Limitless compression tights from Vuori are hard to beat. They’re all about performance and are made with a brand-new performance stretch that’s unbeatable. They’re built with a brushed waistband for added comfort and moveability and have a hidden pocket feature to keep your phone or wallet safe and sound on runs and workouts. This material is also tremendously breathable, making these compression leggings great for warmer days.
10. DEVOPS 2 Pack Men’s Compression Pants Athletic Leggings
A two-pack of the best compression pants for men for the price of one? Sign us up! These compression leggings for men are an affordable option for dudes and come in a number of different color choices. They’re ideal for all-weather situations and whatever the temperature is outside. Each pair is really breathable and wicks away moisture with ease. Not only that, but the compression pants are made with UPF 50+ to protect skin from any potentially harmful sun rays.
Read More: Best Men’s Joggers
11. Tracksmith Turnover Tights
Tracksmith is a Boston-based company with products as slick and high quality as its branding. Ideal for cold weather, the Turnover Tights boast a thick blend of nylon and elastane built to withstand those harsh east coast winters, and a well-positioned rear pocket to stash keys or a credit card. Like most things in life, quality comes with a price, and these tights are no exception. But take a look at the product photos, which are pretty much guaranteed to make you want to jog through New England in the fall while rockin’ these bad boys. Plus, you can spend $10 more to get lined versions of these compression pants for extra support on long runs.
12. Roadbox Compression Pants
Need a reliable pair of compression pants that won’t cost you both legs? Check out these awesome compression pants from Roadbox on Amazon. They are available in one, two, and three packs for your need and come in an array of colors. These pants are made with tons of elasticity and durability to keep you feeling confident during your workout. A longtime Amazon bestseller, these have more than 13,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating.
13. New Balance Impact Run Tight
It’s hard to go wrong with New Balance, a company that’s been a fixture of the sportswear game for more than a century. Its Impact Run Tight has everything you’d expect from a great pair of men’s running tights — a blend of recycled moisture-wicking polyester and stretchy spandex, a snug design with a good range of motion, and ergonomic pockets for easy storage. Throw these on for your next cold-weather run or workout, and you won’t be disappointed. For even more warmth, go for the pricier New Balance Impact Run Heat Tight, which has NB HEAT technology and brushed interior fabric for unbelievable warmth.
14. GymShark Element Baselayer Leggings
GymShark is another great affordable brand that makes compression pants for men built to support your muscles so you can focus on the work at hand. They’re made of super breathable fabric and have muscle-shaping flatlock seams. The raised rubber print waistband keeps everything secure, and they come in a bunch of basic colors, including this burgundy red. Heads up, there are no pockets of any kind here, so we’d encourage you to throw some lightweight shorts on if you need to carry anything.
15. Asics Race Tight
Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, we know some folks prefer working out under cover of darkness. Thing is, that’s not always the safest choice, particularly if you’re a runner who jogs on the streets. The Race Tight from Asics has reflective bars along the sides and on the brand logo, which should help boost visibility in the dark. Granted, this is not a replacement for safe running practices. For more, we recommend our roundups of the best running/cycling lights and gadgets for exercising at night. Still, these tights are a great addition to your moonlight exercise starter pack.
16. Brooks Running Source Tight
If you’re the no-frills type, might we suggest these tights from Brooks Running, which are as simple as they come — black, navy and gray color options with two pockets and a semi-fitted shape. But that simplicity is no knock on the quality. On the contrary, Brooks Running consistently tops lists of the best running shoes, so it’s no surprise that the brand also makes some of the best compression pants for men. Better yet, Brooks has a generous 90-day “trial run” period, allowing you to return items that don’t work out, even if you’ve worn them.