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…
The best compression tights have two key benefits. Whether you’re lifting heavy weights or trying the best beginner-friendly 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. 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.
Find out more about how compression clothing works
These are the best compression tights
(Keep scrolling for full reviews)
- 2XU Light Speed ($113 / £80)
- Skins Series 5 Long ($159,99 / £125)
- Kymira Recharge IR50 ($129.99 / £100)
- Under Armour Rush SmartForm ($63.97 / £39)
- CEP Recovery Pro ($149.95 / £114.95)
- Gymshark 315 Seamless ($46 / £35)
2XU Light Speed
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Size: XS to XXL | Features: Graduated compression / drawstring waistband / 3 pockets / reflective logo / flatlock seams | Colour: Black / 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 rusk 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.
Read our full 2XU Light Speed review
Skins Series 5 Long
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$159.99 / £125, skinscompression.com
Material: 76% nylon, 24% elastane | Size: Small to XXL | Features: Breatheable mesh panels / elasticated internal drawcord / reflective logos / rear stretch pocket | Colour: Black
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.
Read our full Skins Series 5 Long review
Kymira Recharge IR50
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£80 (international shipping is available), kymira.com
Material: 80% polyester, 20% elastane | Size: XS to 4XL | Features: Far Infrared technology / drawstring waistband | Colour: Black
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.
Read our full Kymira Recharge IR50 review
Under Armour Rush Smartform Leggings
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$85 / £76, underarmour.com
Material: 82% polyamide, 18% elastane | Size: Small to XXL | Features: UA RUSH™ Infrared technology / breathable mesh panels / drop-in pocket | Colour: Black / tempered steel
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.
Read our full Under Armour Rush Smartform review
CEP Recovery Pro
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Material: 81% polyamide, 19% elastane | Size: various: 41-69cm mid-thigh, 30-46cm calf, 20-28cm ankle | Features: Precision fit / knitted knee zones / heel extension / flattened seams | Colour: Black
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.
Read our full CEP Recovery Pro review
Gymshark 315 Seamless
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$46 / £35, uk.gymshark.com
Material: 67% nylon, 24% polyester, 9% elastane | Size: XS to XXL | Features: Seamless design / internal drawcord / elasticated waistband | Colour: Black / 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 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.