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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 that 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?
Most often, compression pants are 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 and to be honest, we really 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 Iso-Chill Compression Pants for Men
In our experience, Under Armour makes the best compression pants and leggings for men, and in the winter, we typically recommend the brand’s ColdGear Leggings. However, as the temperatures rise, compression pants can start to cause overheating, which is why we love Under Armour’s Iso-Chill leggings. These workout pants are comfortable, wick moisture, and offer ventilation in strategic places. On top of that, the material disperses body heat while you work out, keeping you cool on hot days. As an added bonus, these leggings even have a pocket for added convenience.
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. Alo Yoga Warrior Compression Pants
BEST FOR YOGA
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 both keep 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.
4. Lululemon Vital Drive 28″ Tight
Though it’s one of the biggest names in yoga apparel, Lululemon sports a great line of fitness apparel for all athletic needs. Their Vital Drive training tights are designed for training of all kinds and are made with an 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.
5. Adidas Own The Run Tights
BEST FOR RUNNERS
Now’s your chance to get in on the best compression tights from Adidas, the Own The Run long tights. Given their name, these made-for-running tights will have you absolutely speeding on the streets or the treadmill. They’ll help you chafe less, have ankle zips for easy outfit changes and the moisture-absorbing AEROREADY fabric is great for hot, sticky days.
6. TSLA Running Base Layer
BEST BUDGET OPTION
While you can find higher quality compression leggings from trusted brands like Nike and Under Armour, TSLA makes budget-friendly base layers that will hold up to repeated use. For runners on the hunt for the best workout leggings for men, this TSLA base layer is another great option. These leggings for men 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.
7. Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Leggings
BEST COLD WEATHER
These compression for men from Under Armour are everything you’d expect from the athletic brand, which is famous for its high-quality compression clothing. The compression leggings should promote blood flow, prevent gross body odor, and keep all your bits and pieces right where they’re supposed to be — all without being too constricting or uncomfortable. Under Armour’s ColdGear compression leggings check all of these boxes. A double-layer fabric provides warmth during the winter when the time comes, but it also has enough stretch and ventilation to keep you comfortable during your workouts in the summer. We also like the flat seam design and odor-control features.
8. 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. It’s built with a brushed waistband for added comfort and moveability and has a hidden pocket feature so you can keep your phone or wallet safe and sound on runs and workouts. This material is also tremendously breathable and makes for a great pair of compression leggings to work out in when it’s hot out.
Read More: Best Sweatpants for Men
9. 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 potential harmful sun rays.
Read More: Best Men’s Joggers
10. 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.
11. 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 and two packs depending on how many you 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. An Amazon bestseller in the men’s running tights category, these have more than 9,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating.
12. 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, ergonomic pockets for easy storage. Throw these on for your next cold-weather run or workout and you won’t be disappointed.
13. Gym Shark Element Baselayer Leggings
Gym Shark 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.
14. 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.
15. Brooks Running Source Tight
BEST FOR MINIMALISTS
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 grey 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, and 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.
16. Girlfriend Collective Everyday Legging
Girlfriend Collective is an awesome company that — as the name might suggest — makes activewear for women. But it recently launched a line of men’s (and technically unisex) clothes that we’re absolutely stoked on, mainly thanks to the company’s extremely transparent commitment to using sustainability. These leggings are made entirely from recycled water bottles. And in case that wasn’t enough, Girlfriend Collective is so committed to eliminating waste that you can also recycle these leggings with ReGirlfriend, which allows you to send these leggings back for a coupon toward your next purchase. Make sure to check the size chart before purchasing.