The 7 Best Compression Running Shorts to Buy in 2018

Increase blood flow to your legs with this workout gear

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If you’re looking to revamp your running workout wardrobe, you’ve probably come across compression shorts. Compression clothing—whether shorts, leggings, or sleeves—claims to improve performance by increasing blood flow to muscles. Research has found that the garments may not live up to these claims, but some runners do swear that compression clothing boosts their workouts and also help aid in recovery.

Whether or not the shorts will help you get a PR, they can benefit runners in other ways. Many people like that the skin-tight shorts stay in place, even during long runs, and some people find that they are more comfortable to run in than looser shorts. Why not give them a try yourself? To get you started, we rounded up the top compression shorts on the market. Happy running!

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Under Armour HeatGear Alpha Women’s Shorts

Under Armour HeatGear Alpha Women’s Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

Once you find your perfect pair of compression running shorts, you’ll want to live in them. Consider the Under Armour HeatGear Alpha shorts that pair. Not too long and not too short, they’re made from lightweight moisture-wicking fabric to minimize chafing and keep you dry during even your sweatiest workouts. Speaking of sweat, anti-microbial technology fights bacteria and odors to avoid the all-too-common shorts stink. And you don’t need to worry about the compression feeling too tight with these Under Armour shorts. The four-way stretch provides plenty of range of motion.

Readers who own the Under Armour HeatGear Alpha shorts say that they stay put and don’t ride up even during long runs. They also gush that the shorts are unbelievably comfortable and pair well with a long tank top.

Best Women: Nike Womens 3" Compression Short

If you are looking for a pair of compression shorts that come in a slew of different colors, this popular pair from Nike is the right fit for you. Available in 18 colors, these 3" shorts work great under a pair of other shorts or on their own. They're made of a Dry-Fit fabric that helps wick away sweat so you stay dry throughout your workout session.

Reviewers comment that these have worked well from everything from volleyball, to track, and even women's wrestling. A few have commented that they run a little small, so if you are between sizes it is best to size up. 

Best for Men: Mava Sports Men’s Compression Shorts

Score a sleek look for your workouts with the Mava Sports Men’s Compression Shorts, which can either be worn alone or as a base layer. The nylon and spandex shorts have a compression level of 18-25mmHG, and claim to protect against muscle trauma and also improve recovery by reducing fatigue and muscle soreness. As a bonus, the breathable, moisture-wicking fabric will keep you cool and dry.

Reviewers say that the Mava Sports Men’s Compression Shorts offer a good amount of compression—more than most compression shorts. One person who wore them during a Tough Mudder said that the compression provided tremendous support to their hip flexors and mid glutes, and people say that even though these have a stronger level of compression, they are still very comfortable to wear. 

Best for Long Runs: Adidas Women’s Techfit 7’’ Short

Putting in extra miles requires a pair of shorts that will stay put for the duration of your run. One pair that doesn’t budge is the Adidas Women’s Techfit shorts. The seven-inch pair provides plenty of coverage and features TechFit compression, which claims to “focus your muscles’ energy for explosive power, acceleration and long-term endurance.” And no painful rubbing here: The long length combined with flatlock seams and wicking fabric helps prevent chafing. As a bonus, the fabric has UPF 50+ UV protection, perfect if your workout is taking you outdoors.

Reviewers agree that the Adidas Women’s Techfit shorts are lightweight, comfortable, and don’t ride up. One woman says that she wears the shorts under her tennis skirts and another explains that these Adidas shorts are even good for swimming in.

Best Long Length for Women: Firm Abs Women’s High Waist Shorts

If you’re not interested in a short inseam, then check out the compression-fitted FIRM ABS Women’s High Waist Shorts. The long inseam (one reviewer measures it as 9 inches) is perfect for running but can also be used for cycling and other workouts. Thick, 4-way stretch fabric promises no embarrassing see-through moments— even when bending and squatting—and the high-rise, wide waistband provides comfortable tummy control. The shorts are available in seven neutral colors, ranging from army green to light grey.

People who own the FIRM ABS Women’s High Waist Shorts say that the shorts are comfortable and not too tight. Many reviewers also like that the shorts feature two side pockets, which are large enough to hold a phone.

Best Compression Liner: Saxx Men’s Kinetic 2-in1 Athletic Run Shorts

The Saxx Kinetic 2-in-1 Athletic Run shorts aren’t made from compression fabric, but take a peek inside for a game-changing experience: a semi-compression liner that’s sewn into the waistband of the shorts. The liner’s ergonomic “ballpark pouch” provides friction-free support to keep things in place, even during sweaty, long runs and the semi-compression fit offers extra support around the glutes, thighs, quads, and hamstrings. Plus, reflective details on the shorts keep runners safe in the early morning and evening hours. One run and you’ll be sold.

People who own the Saxx Kinetic 2-in-1 Athletic Run shorts say they are “as good as it gets” and that the ballpark pouch really does prevent friction and chafing while running. One reviewer even goes as far as to say that these are the best shorts they’ve ever bought.

Best Budget Men: Neleus Men's 3 Pack Compression Short

If you need to wear compression shorts more than a few times a week you might want to opt for this three-pack that comes at a steal of a price. These shorts can be worn alone for Cross Fit workouts or under a pair of athletic shorts for when you crave more coverage. They come in eight different color options packs so you can choose whatever works best with your wardrobe.

Reviewers say these provide a lot of support and many have gone back to order a second and even third set. 

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