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People may choose to wear compression leggings during or after exercise to help support the muscles and aid recovery.

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Please note that the writer of this article has not tested these products. All information is purely research-based and correct at the time of publishing.

This article looks at whether wearing compression leggings benefits health and performance and explains the key features to consider when purchasing them. It also provides details on some of the compression leggings available to buy.

Wearing compression leggings can bring several health benefits, but they may carry risks for certain people.

Benefits

Compression leggings may provide a faster recovery when athletes wear them after intense, resistance-based exercise. Wearing compression leggings after exercising may help minimize exercise-induced muscle damage.

According to a 2018 article, compression sports clothing may help by:

  • improving recovery by boosting oxygen supply to the muscles and aiding the removal of lactic acid from them
  • supporting the hamstrings in sprinting and increasing leg extension and flexion when the clothing covers the lower legs
  • reducing exercise-related trauma, swelling, and muscle soreness
  • improving performance due to a psychological effect

An older review of 12 studies found that compression garments provided a moderate improvement in recovery from delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise.

Compression leggings are tighter than regular leggings and may stay in place better during a workout or everyday activities.

Risks

As with other compression garments, compression leggings may not suit people with certain health conditions.

The excess pressure that they place on the legs can feel uncomfortable and may cause numbness in the affected area.

Too much pressure or pressure or unevenly distributed pressure may even break the skin, according to one case report.

Therefore, people with thin or damaged skin may wish to consult a healthcare professional before wearing compression leggings. It is also advisable for people with conditions that affect vascular health to seek medical advice before using these clothing items.

Key features to consider when choosing compression leggings include:

  • Size: Compression leggings can have a tighter fit than regular leggings, so people may find that the leggings come up smaller than other clothes of the same size.
  • Comfort: Although compression leggings can feel tighter than other leggings, they should still feel comfortable to wear. People may want to start by wearing leggings with a lower compression level.
  • Moisture-wicking: Moisture-wicking fabrics can help draw sweat away from the body and dry quickly to help people stay as comfortable as possible when exercising.
  • Breathability: Breathable fabrics may help the body better regulate temperature during exercise. Antibacterial fabrics may help control odor.
  • Washability: Some leggings may be easier than others to wash and more likely to keep their appearance and shape after washing.

Below are five pairs of compression leggings available for people to purchase.

Most of the products listed below are for women’s compression leggings. However, all of the companies mentioned offer versions for men.

We refer to “women,” “men,” or both to align with how companies market their products, but there is no need to stick to one type or the other. A person should choose the product that best suits their needs.

CW-X Endurance Generator Compression Tights

According to the CW-X company website, these leggings target the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, as well as the hip and knee joints. The company state that they offer the following compression benefits:

  • improved circulation and increased oxygen supply to reduce muscle fatigue
  • muscle support and greater stability
  • improved performance and reduced recovery time
  • unrestricted range of motion

Other features include:

  • extra support around the lower back and abdominal area
  • breathable, moisture-wicking, stretchy material
  • UV protection
  • flat seams to minimize chafing
  • an adjustable drawstring around the waist
  • an internal pocket

Below are the available size and color options:

Available sizesXS, S, M, L, and XL
Available colorsBlack

Red

At the time of publication, CW-X Endurance Generator Compression Tights are available to purchase online for around $170.

CEP Compression Run Tights 3.0

Best for targeting thigh and calf muscles

CEP state on their website that their Compression Run Tights 3.0 offer the following benefits and features:

  • increased circulation
  • injury prevention
  • improved performance
  • compression panels around the thigh and calf muscles
  • nylon and spandex brief to stop chafing
  • machine washable
  • 6-month durability guarantee

The table below shows the available size and color options:

Available sizesI, II, III, IV, and V
Available colorsblack

black/sky

At the time of publication, CEP Compression Run Tights are available to purchase online for around $125.

CompressionZ Compression Leggings

Best for muscle efficiency

According to the CompressionZ website, the company’s Compression Leggings have the following benefits and features:

  • faster recovery after exercise due to an increase in oxygen supply to remove lactic acid
  • improved circulation and blood flow, leading to more efficient muscle tissue warm-up
  • supported muscles and better muscle efficiency for improved performance
  • flexibility to maximize a range of motion
  • breathability and moisture wicking
  • antibacterial and anti-itch fabric
  • the leggings keep their shape after washing

Below are the available size and color options:

Available sizeXS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL, 6XL
Available colorsBlack

Heather Grey

Black Camo

At the time of publication, Women’s Compression Leggings are available for purchase online for around $50.

2XU MCS Run Compression Tights

Best for a graduated compression

The 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights have targeted support for areas around the quad and calf muscles to reduce straining.

They have graduated compression, flat seams to prevent chafing, and a UV protection factor (UPF) of 50+.

According to the 2XU website, their compression tights have benefits, including:

  • reduced impact on the knee joints
  • front and back compression panels
  • reduced muscle soreness and muscle fatigue
  • less muscle damage
  • improved muscle alignment
  • increased agility and recovery
  • lower risk of injury from overuse

It also advises that the compression tights’ fabric is antibacterial, breathable, and moisture-wicking.

The table below shows the available size and color options:

Available sizesXXS, XS, XST, S, ST, M, MT, L, LT, XL, and XXL
Available colorsblack/black reflective

black/gold reflective

At the time of publication, 2XU MCS Run Compression Tights are available to purchase online for around $120.

Evoshield Recovery DNA Compression Tights

Best for wearing after exercise

Evoshield has designed their Recovery DNA Compression Tights for people to wear after exercise rather than during it.

According to the company, the benefits include:

  • improved muscle recovery
  • fabric offers 360-degree stretch for movement and flexibility
  • reduced soreness and recovery time due to increased blood flow and toxin removal

However, these leggings require hand washing and air drying.

The table below shows the available size and color options:

Available sizessmall, medium, large, X-large, and XX-large
Available colorsgray

At the time of publication, the Evoshield Recovery DNA Compression Tights are available to purchase online for around $80.

People looking for compression clothing but want an alternative to leggings could consider compression shorts, socks, or both.

Compression shorts apply pressure to the upper legs and may be a better option than compression leggings for people who get hot exercising.

People can wear compression socks with shorts or underneath looser-fitting trousers to apply pressure to the lower legs.

Compression leggings may help improve recovery after exercise, and they might also help reduce muscle damage and soreness.

People with an existing health condition, particularly a skin or circulatory condition, should speak with a healthcare professional about whether it is safe for them to wear compression leggings.