The 16 Best Compression Leggings for 2023

lululemon’s Wunder Train Tights are soft, stretchy, and loved by experts

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Best Compression Leggings for 2023

Verywell Fit / Marcus Millan

Compression leggings feel tighter and more supportive than standard leggings. And like other compression garments, they’re thought to improve recovery and performance. “Compression leggings increase blood flow from the lower body to the heart, and back again,” Corey Lewis, CPT, personal trainer and CEO of 1AND1, a health and wellness company, says. “This boosts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, improving energy and reducing muscle fatigue.”

Reviewed & Approved

Our top women’s pick, lululemon’s Wunder Train High-Rise Tight comes recommended by one of our experts. The cozy leggings feel tight and supportive—and they come in several sizes, lengths, and colors. Under Armour’s UA RUSH SmartForm Leggings are our men’s top pick, because they’re tight, supportive, and sweat-wicking. And they fit better than other compression leggings.

But the best compression leggings aren’t just tight. They’re also comfortable, easy to clean, and well-suited to your favorite workouts. Great compression leggings wick moisture, dry quickly, and boast chafe-free seams. They offer the right amount of compression (light, moderate, or high) for your go-to exercises. And they’re packed with features (like padding or breathable panels) that will keep you comfortable as you work out.

To find the best compression leggings, we researched dozens of top-rated options—favoring leggings that were comfortable, supportive, easy to clean, and available in several sizes and styles. For expert advice on buying and wearing compression leggings, we turned to three experts: Lewis, Alex Farrar, YogaSix trainer for Xponential+, and Shelly LeSun, apparel expert and owner of Competitors Outlet.

Best Women’s Overall

lululemon Wunder Train Hi-Rise Tight 25"

5
lululemon-wunder-train-hi-rise-tight-25

Lululemon

Pros
  • Snug, comfortable fit

  • Inclusive size range

  • Multiple inseam and color options

Cons
  • Moderate compression may not be enough for some

Farrar swears by lululemon’s Wunder Train High-Rise Tights—and with good reason. The leggings are supportive, comfortable, and easy to clean. And they come in a bunch of colors and sizes.

When our editors tested the best lululemon leggings, the Wunder Train High-Rise Tights scored a perfect 5 out of 5 for all the key categories we tested for. We found the material incredibly high-quality, fully squat-proof, and incredibly durable. Our tester also found these to fit incredibly well, scoring them a 5 out of 5 for fit. 

The leggings are made of lululemon’s Everlux fabric, a nylon-lycra blend that’s great for tough workouts. The compression fabric wicks sweat, dries quickly, and feels cool to the touch. And though the leggings are tight and compressive, they’re comfortable to move around in. The tights also boast an adjustable drawcord and a hidden waistband pocket. And they’re washer- and dryer-friendly for easy cleaning.

But what we love most about these leggings is that they’re really customizable. The tights come in a range of sizes and inseam lengths, and they’re available in 11 different colors. With that many options, it’s easy to nab a version of the leggings you love—in a size, length, and color that suits you perfectly.

Price at time of publication: $98

Sizes: 0–20 | Inseam Length: 25–31 inches | Color Options: 11 | Material: 77% nylon, 23% lycra elastane | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

What the Experts Say

“My favorite compression leggings are the Wunder Train High-Rise by lululemon. They are breathable. Sweat dries quickly. And the compression hugs everything tight, so I feel powerful and strong when I wear them. I need them in every color!” —Alex Farrar, YogaSix trainer for Xponential+

Best Men’s Overall

Under Armour Men’s UA RUSH SmartForm Leggings

4.9
under-armour-mens-ua-rush-smartform-leggings

Under Armour

Pros
  • Flexible, figure-hugging fit

  • Inclusive size range

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Designed without a fly

Under Armour’s UA RUSH SmartForm Leggings are tight, sweat-wicking, and breathable. And thanks to their unique design, they fit better than most compression tights.

The leggings are made of Under Armour’s UA RUSH fabric, a stretchy blend of polyester and elastane. And they’re some of the tightest compression leggings on our list. The tights wick sweat and dry quickly, so they’re great for intense workouts. They’re also lined with breathable mesh panels, designed with a supportive gusset, and machine-washable for easy cleaning.

But the best thing about the tights is their unique design. The leggings are woven with a flexible knit, which stretches as you move around. And since they’re segmented into panels, they can stretch in the knees without pulling down your waistband. This combination makes the leggings fit like a dream. They’re figure-hugging but flexible—and they’ll stay put as you exercise.

Price at time of publication: $85

Sizes: XS–3XL | Inseam Length: 27.75 inches | Color Options: 3 | Material: 82% polyester, 18% elastane | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Compression Level: High | Pockets: Yes

Best Women’s Budget

Old Navy PowerChill Two-Tone Compression Leggings

old-navy-powerchill-two-tone-compression-leggings

Old Navy

Pros
  • Stylish look

  • Inclusive size range

  • Multiple inseam and color options

Cons
  • No solid colors or neutrals

Lots of budget-friendly “compression” tights just have compressive waistbands. But Old Navy’s PowerChill Two-Tone Compression Leggings are compressive from top to bottom.

The leggings are made of four different fabrics: breathable cotton, sturdy polyester, cozy Tencel modal, and stretchy spandex. And since they wick sweat, dry quickly, and provide moderate compression, they’re great for a range of workouts. The leggings are packed with handy features, like reflective details, chafe-free seams, and an interior pocket. And since they’re washer- and dryer-friendly, they’re also easy to clean.

But what we really love about these leggings is how cute they are. The color-blocked tights are lined with vibrant panels, and they come in three sleek colorways. We also like that the leggings come in a range of sizes and inseam lengths—so it’s easy to score a deal on a pair you love.

Price at time of publication: $27

Sizes: XS–4X | Inseam Length: 26–32 inches | Color Options: 3 | Material: 53% cotton, 22% polyester, 13% tencel modal, 12% spandex | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

Best Men’s Budget

DSG Men's Compression Tights

dsg-mens-compression-tights

Dick's Sporting Goods

Pros
  • Inclusive size range

  • Chafe-free seams

  • Great for layering

Cons
  • Designed without a fly

Soft, compressive, and sweat-wicking, DSG’s Compression Tights tick a lot of boxes. And they cost a fraction of what you’d spend on our other top picks.

The leggings are made of a sturdy blend of recycled polyester and elastane. And they’re designed to offer moderate compression. So while the leggings feel tight and supportive, they’re still stretchy and easy to move around in. Like other performance leggings, the tights wick moisture and dry quickly. And thanks to their sleek silhouette, they’re easy to layer under other clothing.

The leggings are also designed with chafe-free seams, a convenient phone-sized pocket, and a supportive gusset. And we like that they come in a range of sizes and colors. 

But our favorite thing about the leggings has to be their budget-friendly price point. At $28, they cost one-third as much as our top pick for men—so they’re great leggings to stock up on.

Price at time of publication: $28

Sizes: S–3XL | Inseam Length: Not listed | Color Options: 13 | Material: 87% recycled polyester, 13% elastane | Care: Not listed | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

Best Size Range

Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Leggings

girlfriend-collective-compressive-high-rise-leggings

Girlfriend Collective

Pros
  • Inclusive size range

  • Multiple inseam and color options

  • Squat-proof

Cons
  • Not dryer-friendly

Girlfriend Collective’s Compressive High-Rise Leggings are soft, supportive, and easy to clean. And they’re more size-inclusive than any other compression tights we found.

The leggings are made of Girlfriend’s super-soft RPET (recycled plastic bottles) fabric, which has been blended with spandex for extra stretch. And since they’re compression leggings, they’re not just cozy—they’re also sturdy, supportive, and great for high-impact workouts. The squat-proof leggings are great at wicking sweat, and they’re machine-washable for easy cleaning. They’re also designed with a hidden back pocket that’s great for keys and cards.

The cherry on top of these already-great tights? They come in a more inclusive size range than any other compression leggings we found. We also like that they come in three inseam lengths and seven colors—giving you plenty of options to choose from as you look for leggings you love.

Price at time of publication: $78

Sizes: XXS–6XL | Inseam Length: 19.5–28.5 inches | Color Options: 7 | Material: 79% RPET (recycled plastic bottles), 21% spandex | Care: Machine wash cold, line dry flat | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

Best Maternity

Old Navy Maternity Elevate PowerSoft Leggings

old-navy-maternity-elevate-powersoft-leggings

Old Navy

Pros
  • Gentle compression

  • Stretchy full-panel waistband

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • Only one length and color option

If you want a pair of compression leggings that can get you through all three trimesters, Old Navy’s Maternity Elevate PowerSoft Leggings have you covered.

The tights are made of a polyester-spandex blend, so they feel sturdy and stretchy. But since they’re designed for exercise during pregnancy, they’re also extra-soft—and they only provide gentle compression. The leggings are also designed with two hip pockets and comfortable flat-lock seams. And since they wick sweat, dry quickly, and hold up in the wash, they’re great for everyday wear. 

But the real selling point of these leggings is their pregnancy-friendly waistband. The full-panel waistband covers your belly from top to bottom. And it’s supportive but stretchy, so you can comfortably wear it through all three trimesters.

Since the leggings are so great, we wish they came in more sizes. (And we’d appreciate some color and length options, too.)

Price at time of publication: $45

Sizes: XS–XL | Inseam Length: 24.9 inches | Color Options: 1 | Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Compression Level: Light | Pockets: Yes

Best for Postpartum

Kindred Bravely Louisa Maternity & Postpartum Leggings

kindred-bravely-louisa-maternity--postpartum-leggings

Amazon

Pros
  • Gentle compression

  • Foldable full-panel waistband

  • Available with or without pockets

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • No length options

Kindred Bravely’s Louisa Maternity & Postpartum Leggings are soft, stretchy, and supportive. And their unique waistband makes them perfect for wear during postpartum exercise or just everyday postpartum life.

Made of polyester and spandex, the leggings feel sturdy and supportive—just like classic compression tights. But since they’re designed for new and expecting moms, they’re also cozy, stretchy, and gently compressive. Thanks to this comfortable fit, the leggings are easy to wear every day. And since they’re washer- and dryer-friendly, they’re also easy to clean.

But the leggings stand out for one simple reason: They’re designed with a foldable, full-panel waistband. This waistband is flexible, so it stretches to support your belly during pregnancy. But it’s also foldable, so you can make the high-waisted leggings low-rise any time you want to. This convertible feature makes the leggings extra comfortable—allowing you to choose how much support you want on any given day. 

Price at time of publication: $90

Sizes: S–XXL | Inseam Length: 26–28 inches | Color Options: 4 | Material: 85% polyester, 15% spandex | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Compression Level: Light | Pockets: Optional

Best for Running

Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity High-Waisted Running Leggings

sweaty-betty-zero-gravity-high-waisted-running-leggings

Sweaty Betty

Pros
  • UPF 40 rated

  • Two pockets

  • Adjustable waistband

Cons
  • Limited size range

  • Expensive

  • Hard to adjust inseam length

Sweaty Betty’s Zero Gravity High-Waisted Running Leggings are tight and supportive. And they're packed with features that make them great for runners. 

The compression leggings are made of a lightweight fabric that feels like a second skin. And since they’re one of the few pairs on our list that offers UV protection, they’re great for outdoor runs. The leggings are also sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and easy to clean. And they’re packed with runner-friendly details—like breathable ventilation panels, pockets, and an adjustable waistband.

The leggings also come in a small range of sizes and a couple of different colors. And though you wouldn’t know it from their product page, they're available in different lengths. Sweaty Betty sells a shorter pair of the tights with a 24-inch inseam—and a cropped pair with a 20-inch inseam. So with a little extra work, you can customize your inseam length.

Price at time of publication: $128

Sizes: XXS–XXL | Inseam Length: 20-27 inches | Color Options: 2 | Material: Not listed | Care: Not listed | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

Best for Weightlifting

CW-X Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tights

cw-x-stabilyx-joint-support-compression-tights

Amazon

Pros
  • Mimics kinesiology tape

  • UPF 50+ rated

  • High compression that holds up

Cons
  • Too tight for casual wear

  • Expensive

  • Not dryer-friendly

When we tested 25 pairs of the best leggings on Amazon, CW-X’s Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tights blew us away. The weightlifting-friendly tights felt compressive and supportive—and they were comfortable, to boot. 

The leggings are mostly made of Coolmax polyester, a sturdy fabric that wicks moisture and feels cool to the touch. But that fabric is woven with lycra spandex for added stretch. Like other compression tights, these leggings feel tight and supportive. Our tester gave them a 5 out of 5 for both feel and hold—meaning the leggings felt tight and stayed tight, even after wears and washes. 

Lined with seams and panels, the compression leggings mimic the feel of kinesiology tape. And they provide graduated compression, loosening up around the ankles. This supportive design makes the leggings ideal for weightlifting workouts. But since they’re UPF 50+ rated and lined with reflective details, they’re also great for outdoor workouts.

Price at time of publication: $114-$120

Sizes: XS–XXL | Inseam Length: 24–26.5 inches | Color Options: 10 | Material: 80% Coolmax polyester, 20% lycra spandex | Care: Machine wash cold, line dry | Compression Level: High | Pockets: Yes

Best for Cycling

Sweaty Betty Velo Padded Cycling Leggings

sweaty-betty-velo-padded-cycling-leggings

Sweaty Betty

Pros
  • Padded groin

  • UV protection

  • Three pockets

Cons
  • Only one color option

  • Expensive

Sweaty Betty’s Velo Padded Cycling Leggings are stretchy and supportive. And their padded groin makes them perfect for cyclists, especially when cycling for long distances.

Made of lightweight compression fabric, the leggings feel sturdy and stretchy. And they’re packed with cyclist-friendly details. The leggings are UV-protective, so they’re great for outdoor bike rides. And they’re lined with reflective accents that improve your visibility. The leggings are also designed with three pockets and an adjustable waistband. And they’re 90 percent squat-proof, which means they look mostly opaque—even mid-squat (or mid-bike ride).

But the best thing about these tights is that they’re padded with foam. That foam starts at the gusset and extends along the groin, cushioning your saddle and cutting down on discomfort. We also like that the tights come in several sizes and two inseam lengths—though we wish they came in more than one color option.

Price at time of publication: $148

Sizes: XXS–XXL | Inseam Length: 24–27 inches | Color Options: 1 | Material: Not listed | Care: Not listed | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

Best for Cold Weather

Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Authentic Leggings

under-armour-womens-coldgear-authentic-leggings

Amazon

Pros
  • Cozy inner lining

  • Great for layering

  • Multiple inseam and color options

Cons
  • No pockets

Like other compression leggings, UnderArmour’s ColdGear Authentic Leggings are tight, stretchy, and supportive. But they’re also lined with a cozy fabric that makes them great for cold weather.

Made of a polyester-elastane blend, the leggings feel sturdy and stretchy. And like other compression leggings, they wick sweat, dry quickly, and hold up in the wash. But on the inside of the leggings, you’ll find a cozy lining. This lining feels soft, while the outside of the leggings feels smooth. And thanks to this dual-layer design, the tights are great at keeping your legs warm during cold weather exercise.

The best thing about these leggings? Their cozy inner lining doesn’t add any bulk. Because the tights are so compressive, they still fit like a second skin and make a great base layer. Plus, they come in three different lengths—so you can score a pair that insulates your legs and your ankles.

Price at time of publication: $50-$55

Sizes: XXS–XXL | Inseam Length: 24–28 inches | Color Options: 3 | Material: 87% polyester, 13% elastane | Care: Machine wash cold inside out, tumble dry low | Compression Level: High | Pockets: No

Best Capri

Alo Yoga High-Waist Airlift Capris

alo-yoga-high-waist-airlift-capris

Alo Yoga

Pros
  • Moderate compression

  • Sweat-wicking

  • Shiny look and smooth feel

Cons
  • No pockets

  • Only one color option

  • Hand wash only

Compression leggings don’t have to hug your ankles. With Alo Yoga’s High-Waist Airlift Capris, you can get the compression you crave in capri form, instead.

The leggings are made of Alo Yoga’s Airlift fabric, a polyester-spandex blend that’s perfect for high-impact workouts. The leggings look shiny and feel smooth to the touch. But they fit like classic compression tights. They’re sturdy and supportive, but stretchy enough to move around in. And they wick sweat to keep you comfortable as you work out.

We especially love that the leggings provide moderate compression. They’re tight enough to feel like compression leggings, but not uncomfortably restrictive. Since the capris leave half your calves exposed, this middle-ground is ideal. The transition at the seams shouldn’t feel too dramatic, so you can get the support you want—while staying comfortable.

Price at time of publication: $118

Sizes: XXS–L | Inseam Length: 21–21.5 inches | Color Options: 1 | Material: 84% polyester, 16% spandex | Care: Hand wash cold, line dry | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: No

Best Flare

Athleta Elation Flare Pant

4.8
Athleta Elation Flare Pant

Athleta

Pros
  • Buttery-soft fabric

  • Pinch-free waistband

  • Multiple size, inseam, and color options

Cons
  • Gentle compression may not be enough for some

Compressive flare leggings aren’t easy to find. So when we saw Athleta’s Elation Flare Pants, we got so excited that we added a new category to our list.

The leggings are made of Athleta’s Powervita fabric, a nylon-lycra blend that’s figure-hugging and buttery-soft. This fabric only provides gentle compression, so it’s ideal for lounging and low-impact workouts. But the leggings still feel like compression tights: They’re stretchy, sweat-wicking, and supportive—and they’re also easy to clean. 

We love that the leggings are packed with cozy details. Their three-layer waistband doesn’t pinch or roll, and they’re designed without side seams to cut down on discomfort. We also like that they come in a range of sizes, lengths, and colors—so it’s easy to find a pair that fits right and looks great.

Price at time of publication: $99

Sizes: XXS–3X | Inseam Length: 29.5–34.5 inches | Color Options: 6 | Material: Nylon, lycra | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Compression Level: Light | Pockets: Yes

Best With Pockets

Athleta Women’s Rainier Tights

4.8
Athleta Rainier ⅞ Tight

REI

Pros
  • Three pockets

  • Cozy inner lining

  • Multiple size, inseam, and color options

Cons
  • Best for cold weather

Most of the compression leggings we found had at least one pocket. But Athleta’s Rainier Tights have three—giving you plenty of space to store your stuff.

The leggings are made of Athleta’s SuperSonic fabric, a nylon-lycra blend that feels tight and supportive. This fabric is thick and stretchy. And since it wicks sweat and dries quickly, these tights are great for high-impact workouts. The leggings are also lined with a cozy brushed interior, so they’re great at keeping you warm in the cold.

These features make the leggings worth the buy—and the abundant pockets only sweeten the deal. The tights are designed with two side zip-up pockets, which are spacious enough to hold lots of essentials. And they boast a drop-in back pocket that’s big enough to hold your phone. If you care about storage space, these tights are tough to top. And since they come in lots of sizes, lengths, and colors, it’s easy to find a pair worth buying. 

Price at time of publication: $109

Sizes: XXS–3X | Inseam Length: 25–30 inches | Color Options: 7 | Material: Recycled nylon, lycra | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

Best With Light Compression

Everlane The Perform Legging

everlane-the-perform-legging

Everlane

Pros
  • Great for everyday wear

  • Suitable for low/medium-impact workouts

  • Multiple inseam and color options

Cons
  • Limited size range

Most compression leggings are too tight for everyday wear. But since Everlane’s Perform Leggings are designed with lightweight compression, they’re perfect for lounging, working out, and everything in between.

The fan-favorite leggings are made of recycled nylon and elastane. So they feel soft and stretchy, and they offer some of the support you expect from compression tights. Like other performance leggings, the tights wick sweat and hold up in the wash. So while they’re cozy enough to lounge around in, they’re also sturdy enough for low- and medium-impact workouts.

We like that the leggings are packed with comfortable details, like an extra-high waistband, minimal seams, and a low-profile hidden pocket. And we appreciate that they come in two lengths and three colors. These options make it easy to find a pair of leggings you can wear every day—though we wish the leggings came in a more inclusive size range. 

Price at time of publication: $68

Sizes: XXS–XXL | Inseam Length: 25–28 inches | Color Options: 3 | Material: 58% recycled nylon, 42% elastane | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Compression Level: Light | Pockets: Yes

Best Sculpting

Spanx Booty Boost Active 7/8 Leggings

Spanx Booty Boost Active 7/8 Leggings

Spanx

Pros
  • Contoured waistband

  • No center seam

  • Multiple size and color options

Cons
  • Only one inseam length option

When looking for shapewear, you can’t go wrong with Spanx. And the brand’s Booty Boost Active Leggings do not disappoint.

Made of nylon and elastane, the leggings feel sturdy and stretchy. And they’re designed to withstand your toughest workouts. The leggings are breathable, flexible, and easy to clean. And they wick sweat and dry quickly to keep you comfortable as you exercise.

But what sets these leggings apart is their shapewear-inspired design. Lots of compression leggings feel tight and supportive, but these are also loaded with flattering features. The leggings boast a contoured waistband that lifts your booty. And since they’re designed without a center seam, they keep camel toes to a minimum. 

We also like that the leggings come with a sneaky phone-sized pocket. And we love that they’re available in a range of sizes and colors.

Price at time of publication: $98

Sizes: XS–3X | Inseam Length: 25 inches | Color Options: 10 | Material: 68% nylon, 32% elastane | Care: Machine wash warm, tumble dry low | Compression Level: Moderate | Pockets: Yes

How We Selected the Best Compression Leggings

To find the best compression leggings, we turned to three experts: personal trainer Corey Lewis, yoga instructor Alex Farrar, and apparel expert Shelly LeSun. They shared that great compression leggings should be comfortable, supportive, and well-suited to your favorite workouts. They should also wick moisture, dry quickly, and be easy to clean.

With their advice in mind, we researched dozens of popular compression leggings. We looked for leggings that were comfortable, supportive, and easy to clean—and prioritized options that came in several sizes, lengths, and colors. We also sought to feature a range of compression leggings that were well-suited to different activities (like cycling, weightlifting, and working out in cold weather). 

What to Look for in Compression Leggings

Compression Level

Not dissimilar to compression socks, compression leggings come in three compression levels: light, moderate, and high. And when deciding which compression level is right for you, you should consider when you want to wear your leggings and how you want them to feel. High-compression leggings are great for intense exercise, while low-compression leggings are better for everyday wear. Moderate-compression leggings split the difference—and they’re most of what you’ll find when shopping.

Size and Fit

When shopping for compression leggings, check two numbers: size and inseam length. Your leggings should come in a size that fits you right and a length you find comfortable. And since compression leggings run tight, you might have to size up to get the right fit. “Your compression leggings should be skin-tight,” Farrar says. “But if you feel like you can’t breathe and your flow of breath and circulation feels constricted, then go up a size!”

Once you’ve found your perfect fit, pay attention to rise and style. You can find compressive high-waisted leggings, flare leggings, or capris. And you can score compression leggings in a range of prints and colors. “There is so much to choose from, so enjoy what’s best for you and your preference,” LeSun says.

Comfort

“If your leggings aren’t comfortable, you won’t keep wearing them,” Lewis says. And when it comes to comfort, you’ll want more than a pair of leggings that fits you right. “Look for compression leggings that are moisture-wicking to keep you cool and dry,” Lewis says. “[Make sure] seams on the inner leg are offset, so they don’t rub together and cause chafing" LeSun adds that great compression leggings are also breathable and quick-drying. And for your own convenience, you might want your leggings to be easy to clean, too.

Preferred Activity

Since compression leggings are such a popular pick for exercise, some are tailored to specific workouts. There are running compression leggings packed with pockets and reflective details. There are cycling compression leggings that are padded along the groin. And there are weightlifting compression leggings designed to mimic the feel of kinesiology tape.

When shopping, consider how you like to work out and what features you’d find handy while exercising. Then, look for a pair of leggings that provides the right amount of compression for your workouts—and that offers some of those nice-to-have features.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can benefit from wearing compression leggings, and why?

    “All exercisers can benefit from wearing compression leggings,” Lewis says. “Compression leggings have also been shown to speed up post-workout recovery.” And they’re thought to boost performance and blood flow. And this last benefit can be helpful, even if you don’t work out. “[If you] travel a lot—or sit for long periods of time—compression leggings [can] keep [your blood] moving—even when you aren’t,” Farrar says.

  • What are the benefits of compression leggings?

    Compression leggings have been linked with a range of benefits. They’re thought to improve performance during exercise—and speed up post-workout recovery. They’re also thought to increase blood flow, even when you’re sitting down.

  • Can you wear compression leggings all day?

    “Yes, you can wear compression leggings all day long,” Lewis says. “The gentle compression they deliver [shouldn’t] have harmful effects, so there are no restrictions on their use.” That said, if your compression tights feel painful or irritating, take them off. “When wearing compression becomes uncomfortable or painful, you should remove the compression from your body,” LeSun says. And if you’re worried about something specific, check with your doctor.

  • What is the difference between leggings and compression leggings?

    “Compression leggings are snug-fitting tights that apply gentle pressure to the lower body,” Lewis says. “These leggings have a second-skin feel that is different from regular leggings.” Farrar and LeSun note that compression leggings are often thicker than regular leggings—and they have a much tighter fit. “Compression leggings purposefully fit more snugly than a regular pair of knit leggings that do not ‘compress,’” LeSun says.

  • How tight should compression leggings be?

    Your compression leggings should be tight—but not too tight. “You want your compression leggings to be tight enough to provide constant, gentle compression,” Lewis says. Well-fitting compression tights should be tough to put on, but you shouldn’t have trouble breathing or moving around in them. “You should be able to perform a deep squat without restriction,” Lewis adds. If your leggings make you feel restricted, uncomfortable, or distracted, try sizing up.

  • How do you maintain the compression in your leggings over time and after washes?

    Want to keep your compression leggings in tip-top shape? Lewis has some advice. First, wash your leggings every time you wear them. “Regular washing will not degrade the material,” he says. “In fact, washing will help preserve compression by removing all the oils, grime, and bacteria that have accumulated.” (Just be sure to wash your tights according to their care instructions.)


    Second, keep your leggings out of harm’s way. “Do not expose your leggings to harsh elements, such as bleach or fabric softener,” Lewis says. And third, give your leggings plenty of air. “When you get home from the gym, take your compression leggings out of your gym bag and air them out [before] washing,” Lewis says. “Remove them from the washing machine as soon as the wash is over, and don't allow wet areas of the leggings to layer on top of themselves.”

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Lindsey Lanquist is a contributing writer for Verywell Fit with seven years of experience in the health and fitness space. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them. 

As someone who wears leggings every day, Lindsey values leggings that are comfortable, stretchy, and easy to move around in. She’s happy to spend a little extra to score a pair that maintains its stretch after lots of wears and washes.

7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Born DP, Sperlich B, Holmberg HC. Bringing light into the dark: effects of compression clothing on performance and recovery. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2013;8(1):4-18.

  3. Hettchen M, Glöckler K, von Stengel S, et al. Effects of compression tights on recovery parameters after exercise induced muscle damage: a randomized controlled crossover study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2019;2019:e5698460.

  4. Are compression garments effective for the recovery of exercise-induced muscle damage? A systematic review with meta-analysis. Physiology & Behavior. 2016;153:133-148.

  5. Compression therapy: types and benefits. Cleveland Clinic.

  6. Rugg S, Sternlicht E. The effect of graduated compression tights, compared with running shorts, on counter movement jump performance before and after submaximal running. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2013;27(4):1067.

  7. Belczak CEQ, De Godoy JMP, Ramos RN, De Oliveira MA, Belczak SQ, Caffaro RA. Is the wearing of elastic stockings for half a day as effective as wearing them for the entire day?: Elastic stockings for half a day vs. entire day. British Journal of Dermatology. 2010;162(1):42-45.