If you want to optimise training performance and recovery, the best close-fitting compression tights – designed to be worn during and after training – can take the battle to muscle fatigue and soreness.

Compared to the best sweatpants, compression tights have two key benefits. Whether you’re lifting heavy weights or performing stretching exercises, compression tights help support the muscles, cutting the impact vibrations that can tend to increase muscle fatigue. And by applying controlled and graduated pressure at key points, they improve blood circulation. That increased blood flow delivers more oxygen to your muscles and helps remove waste faster, That keeps you fresher for longer during your sessions and speeds up the recovery process.

How do compression tights work?

The scientific jury is still out on whether there’s conclusive proof that compression tights improve performance during your workouts, but plenty of people swear by them. However, the evidence of their positive impact on recovery after training is far more compelling.   

The key thing to consider is the level of compression. Not all tights offer medical-grade compression, which is something you should look for in dedicated post-training recovery gear. The compression level can also change how you use them. Some compression tights work during and after; others – often tighter fitting – are better used for recovery only. 

When you’re buying compression gear, pay close attention to sizing too. You want a precise fit to maximise recovery benefits – that’s exactly how compression clothing works. And good compression gear requires more detailed measurements than regular base layers and workout apparel. So be sure to check the sizing charts and don’t automatically go for your usual size.  

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These are the best compression tights

The 2XU Light Speed compression tights offer a combination of medical-grade compression, comfort and flexibility. They also boast three secure pockets and reflective details for added versatility.

Other compression tight recommendations

Best for Far Infra-Red benefitsThese Kymira Recharge IR50 compression tights really do recharge, their Far Infra-Red technology helping to reflect your body’s energy back into the muscles for extra recovery benefits.
Best on a budget With all the hallmarks of excellent active wear (great stretch, coverage, comfort and breathability), these inexpensive Gymshark 315 Seamless tights also offer mild compressive qualities.
Product shot of compression tights

1. 2XU Light Speed 

Men’s Fitness verdict

These feel professional straight out the gate, and you really feel the difference when you start putting the work in. They’ve even got pockets too!
  • Excellent compression 
  • Lots of pockets
  • Occasional crotch drop 
  • Difficult to get on and off
SizesXS to XXL
FeaturesGraduated compression; drawstring waistband; 3 pockets; reflective logo; flatlock seams
ColorsBlack, India ink, Black and gold, Black and turmeric

These tights from compression specialist 2XU feature proper medical-grade, graduated compression. Such a high level of compression is usually found on dedicated post-workout recovery tights but the Light Speed leggings have plenty of features to make them workout-ready too. 

The 360-degree flex fabric and close-fitting comfort and support mean they stay put on runs or dynamic workouts, aided by the narrow, soft-fabric waistband, adjustable drawstring and elasticated cuffs. Flatlock seams cut the risk of chafing risk and three pockets mean you can stash essentials like phones, keys and gels for those longer runs. Reflective details for night running also underline the Light Speed’s workout credentials.

Product shot of compression tights

2. Skins Series 5 Long

Men’s Fitness verdict

Noticeable compression when in use, these are a squeeze to get into and out of – but that’s a marker of how well they work.
  • Graduated compression   
  • Fabric is smooth and comfortable
  • Waistband can roll up 
  • Expensive 
Materials76% nylon, 24% elastane
FeaturesTargeted compression; flatlock seams, breathable mesh panels, internal pocket
ColorsBlack, Green, Grey, Navy blue

Another pair of dedicated high-grade compression tights that can be worn during and after workout sessions, the multi-purpose Skins Series 5 tights are the closest fitting on test. Featuring the highest compression levels in the Skins recovery gear line-up, they deliver targeted, graduated compression to all the major muscles in your lower torso. 

Once you’ve wriggled into them, you’ll immediately feel their muscle vibration reduction benefits, whether you use them for road runs, strength sessions or HIIT workouts. The super-smooth, quick-drying fabric is one of the comfiest against the skin and flatlock seams should keep chafing to a minimum, too.

Product shot of compression tights

3. Kymira Recharge IR50

Men’s Fitness verdict

Kymira combines superb comfort and Far Infrared technology to make its Recharge IR50 compression tights a sound choice for workouts and recovery.
  • Quick drying
  • Second-skin feel
  • Thick seams
  • No medical grade compression
Material80% polyester, 20% elastane
SizeXS to 4XL
FeaturesFar Infrared technology; drawstring waistband

Kymira’s super-charged Recharge tights take recovery gear to a new level, using Far Infrared (FIR) technology to reflects your body’s heat back into the muscles to boost recovery.  

The tights’ second-skin fit offers a decent level of compression and its comfortable material and technical features such as a wide waistband and elasticated cuffs mean it can easily double-up as workout gear too.

Raised seams might cause chafing problems if worn for longer sessions but good insulation and wicking performance make this a stand-out choice for those looking for comfortable all-in-one workout and recovery tights.

Product shot of compression tights

4. Under Armour Rush Smartform Leggings 

Men’s Fitness verdict

With Far Infrared technology and good breathability, the Under Armour Rush Smartform compression tights are ideal for outdoor endurance sessions.
  • Good sweat wicking
  • Deep leg pocket storage
  • No medical grade compression
Material82% polyamide, 18% elastane
SizeSmall to XXL
FeaturesUA RUSH™ Infrared technology; breathable mesh panels; drop-in pocket
ColorsBlack, Pewter

Under Armour’s Rush Smartform are another set of compression tights that harness Far Infrared (FIR) technology to boost post-workout recovery. Like the Kymira Recharge, its mineral-infused fabric reflects your body’s heat and energy to help fight off workout fatigue and reduce recovery times.  

These Under Armour tights are some of the most comfortable we’ve tested, both in the gym and out running on the roads. They don’t offer medical grade compression but they hug tight to support muscles without constricting.  

Their technical design provides plenty of flexibility and support, with mesh panels on the knees and gusset to aid air circulation. Plus, a wide, flat waistband and elasticated ankle cuffs keep them firmly in place – ideal for more intensive sessions or when layering up – and they are impressively quick drying too.

Product shot of compression tights

5. CEP Recovery Pro

Men’s Fitness verdict

CEP’s Recovery Pro tights offer some serious compression benefits, with a precision fit to maximise your post-workout recovery.
  • Medical-grade compression
  • Precision fit
  • Pricey
  • Not the most comfortable
Material81% polyamide, 19% elastane
SizeVarious: 41-69cm mid-thigh, 30-46cm calf, 20-28cm ankle
FeaturesPrecision fit; knitted knee zones; heel extension; flattened seams

For those looking for serious recovery benefits, look no further than the CEP Recovery Pro. These tights offer medical-grade, precision-fitted compression, which is why CEP asks for precise calf, mid-thigh and ankle circumference measurements when you’re sizing up.

Knitted knee zones with visible seams help you get the tights perfectly positioned on your legs. Plus, they extend under your heel to your mid-sole, to ensure they’re held in place. You’ll feel the graduated compression extend from your ankle upwards.  

The Recovery Pro are definitely post-workout recovery tights, but they still feature flattened seams and a wide waistband for extra comfort, though the material is a little rougher than most compression gear.

Product shot of compression tights

6. Gymshark 315 Seamless

Men’s Fitness verdict

Made for gym workouts, these technical Gymshark 315 Seamless Tights are the comfiest on test and offer some mild compression benefits.
  • Excellent comfort
  • Wide drawstring waistband
  • No medical-grade compression
  • No pockets
Material67% nylon, 24% polyester, 9% elastane
SizeXS to XXL
FeaturesSeamless design; internal drawcord; elasticated waistband
ColorsBlack, Cherry brown, Winter teal, Light grey

Designed primarily for gym workouts, Gymshark’s 315 Seamless leggings aren’t strictly compression tights. However, they do offer some mild compressive qualities. They feature different material textures on the quads, knees, calves, shins and hamstrings. That makes for a superb fit that flexes exactly where you need it.  

The fabric is soft and smooth next to the skin and offers a good balance of warmth, support and protection. The flat-seam gusset is nicely chafe-free, and the wide, soft drawstring waistband and substantial elasticated ankle cuffs ensure everything stays put. Plus, sweat wicking and drying performance is impressive, underlining that the Gymshark 315 is primarily active wear rather than recovery gear.

How we test the best compression tights

Kieran Alger is one of our top fitness product reviewers where running is concerned, so he was the obvious choice to put these compression tights through their paces. When conducting these reviews, Kieran paid attention to factors like fit, comfort, level of compression, and any other extra features that might be present.

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