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8 Best Compression Shorts for Active Men

By Andrew Peloquin  |  Updated November 29, 2023

8 Best Compression Shorts for Active Men
Courtesy of WOLACO

Over my years of running, weightlifting, and martial arts, I’ve developed an immense appreciation for compression shorts.

They’re so much more than just workout clothes—they’re an essential part of my training outfit, as crucial to my performance as my training shoes or moisture-wicking T-shirt.

A good pair of compression shorts can be the difference between hitting your PR and walking away from the set in failure. They can keep you from feeling insanely sore the day after an intense run or Muay Thai session. And, most important of all, they can be more comfortable than any athletic underwear.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • No underwear necessary. Compression shorts are worn as a “base layer” right up against your skin. No need to wear underwear beneath. In fact, if you wear underwear beneath your compression shorts, they’re likely to bunch or ride up, and no one wants that when they’re training.  
  • Tighter isn’t better. The shorts should fit you comfortably and be just tight enough to provide compression without squeezing your legs or cutting off circulation. It’s not recommended to buy a size smaller to increase compression. Always buy your regular size.
  • Be aware of risks. Excessive compression can reduce circulation in your legs, as well as in your junk. Compression shorts that have a too-tight waistband can also squeeze your abdomen, pushing stomach acid and food upwards and causing acid reflux or heartburn. They offer a lot of benefits (as you’ll see below), but the risks are real. 

In my obsession to find the best compression shorts for my fitness training, I’ve combed through dozens of product reviews and personally tested as many as I could get my hands on.

Below, I’ve put together a list of the compression shorts that proved the best-performing, best-priced, and most comfortable.

Best Overall Compression Shorts

WOLACO North Moore Short

Why did I choose it?

Tough as nails, heavy-duty fabric, and sweat-proof, dry-all-day phone pockets make these my favorite compression shorts, a pair that has lasted me for 2+ years of hardcore training and long-distance runs.



Best Overall Compression Shorts

WOLACO North Moore Short


$62
 

Of all the shorts I’ve put to the test, none have been as sturdy or durable as the WOLACO North Moore Shorts.

The fabric is thicker and heavier than any other compression short I’ve tested (300 GSM), which means they’re a bit hotter but won’t wear out, over-stretch, or tear easily. They’re also anti-pilling so I can wash them repeatedly and they’ll still stay in great shape.

The two side pockets are great for my phone, keys, and IDs, and they’re “sweat proof” so they keep their contents dry even if I’m dripping wet. I’ve worn these running, hiking, and doing hot Yoga, and they haven’t once ridden up or been excessively tight or stiff. They’re a pair of shorts I’m always happy to wear.






Under Armour Heatgear Compression Short


$22.50
 

Under Armour is one of my favorite athletic brands, so when my research led me to these compression shorts, I knew I had to put them to the test.

I wrestled myself into the Heatgear Compression Shorts for a bodyweight HIIT workout and paid close attention to what they could do.

The first thing I noted was how comfortable they were. The mix of polyester and elastane has excellent compression, just enough stretch that I could move easily, and a really nice, thick, solid feel.

The mesh panels provided great ventilation so I didn’t overheat, and helped the shorts to dry out quickly. It’s also moisture-wicking so it pulled sweat away from my body—no chafing, rubbing, or sogginess with these bad boys.






DEVOPS 3-pack Compression Shorts


$25 / 3-pack
 

For value, I have yet to find a better option than the DEVOPS 3 Pack Compression Shorts. For the same price I paid for my Under Armour shorts, I got three performance-friendly training shorts that are nicely sturdy and comfortable enough that I keep them in my weekly rotation.

I love that they have a pocket, which lets me keep my phone tucked away out of sight but easily at hand when I’m running, lifting, or boxing. The non-abrasion spandex and polyester fabric is smooth and silky against my skin and comfortable over long hours of exercise.

The shorts come with UPF50+ protection so I can wear them all summer long trusting they’ll keep me protected from sunburn and solar radiation.






Ten Thousand Compression Short


$54
 

The Ten Thousand Compression Short is a pair I can wear with nothing else over it, which makes them a “win” in my book. No need to double up on layers—just slide into these bad boys and hit the trail to run in style and comfort.

The premium-grade Italian fabric feels really sturdy to the touch, and the medium compression is just right for high-intensity training and powerlifting.

Thanks to the silver ion treatment, they won’t smell even if I’m sweating hard for hours on end, but will stay fresh and clean over repeated use.

It’s got just the right amount of support for all my “important bits” so nothing bounces around while I’m sprinting or trail running.






Matador Meggings Shorts


$79
 

There’s a lot that I really like about the Matador Meggings Shorts:

  • a zippered pocket for my keys and IDs
  • a shirt loop at the back where I can stash my towel or shirt for hands-free running
  • an inner drawstring that keeps the shorts from riding up or sliding down (trust me, this is a BIG “pro” when I’m doing squats or deadlifts)
  • a soft crotch cup that keeps everything nestled comfortably and hides any bulge so I can wear them on their own
  • moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties
  • irritation and odor-free construction
  • UV resistance

But honestly, what I think appeals to me most is the insanely wide variety of color options.

Rather than just the usual choices (black, gray, blue, etc.), I’ve got choices like camo, galaxy, rainbow, psychedelic, even geometric patterns. They’re a fun way to spice up my training outfits and draw a bit of attention to my bold style preferences.






Lululemon SenseKnit Running Short


$128
 

Be warned: these are not the shorts to wear on their own. Think of them as the men’s equivalent of ultra-sheer “nude” shorts—much too thin and skimpy not to be worn beneath shorts, unless you want to end up drawing the wrong kind of attention.

But in saying that, I have to point out that they are the softest, silkiest, and most comfortable of the compression shorts on my list. They’re built with runners in mind, offering targeted support (yeah, you know where!), excellent ventilation and breathability, four-way stretch, and both quick-drying and moisture-wicking capabilities.

At 10”, they’re long enough to cover your entire legs to the knees, and snug design and the addition of grippers in the hem keep them firmly in place all run long.






Vuori Limitless Compression Short


$54
 

For the days I’m going to hit the gym for a weightlifting workout and want the extra compression to help me set a new PR, the Vuori Limitless Compression Short are my go-tos.

They’ve got enough compression to improve performance but don’t squeeze so tight I can’t bend, squat, or lunge easily. The stretch fabric has enough elasticity to move comfortably with me for better performance across every exercise.

I particularly like the hidden back zipper pocket—it’s perfect for keeping my keys, gym access fob, and slim card wallet close at hand when I’m training, running, or cycling.






Boxraw Saddler Compression Short


$38
 

I started kickboxing again at the beginning of this year, and these Boxraw Saddler Compression Shorts have made my training so much more comfortable.

The SMRT-TEC fabric is silky soft, smooth against my skin, lightweight, breathable, and has enough elasticity that I can kick, block, and teep with ease.

The mesh ventilation panels are amazing for when the temperature hits 100+ and I’m dripping sweat. They’re nicely tough, too, with a thick, sturdy-feeling polyester and elastane blend that has held up well to repeated heavy sweat sessions and subsequent washes.

Tthey’re very much a “you get what you pay for” pair of shorts. Great quality, long-lasting, and, most important of all, boxing/kickboxing-specific mobility.




Benefits of Compression Shorts

What makes compression shorts such a useful addition to your training outfits?

  1. Boost circulation and improve muscle oxygenation. More oxygen-rich blood being delivered to your muscles enables them to work harder, recover faster, and maintain your exertion for longer.
  2. Increase stability and support. The compression around your muscles (and joints, depending on the length) acts as a sort of “brace” to reduce tissue damage and increase the amount of weight you can support.
  3. Prevent chafing. When running, boxing/kickboxing, cycling, or doing any other activity with repetitive lower body motion, this is an absolute must-have.
  4. Reduce strain. The compression decreases both force impact and muscle vibration, which in turn decreases the risk of muscle, joint, or bone damage.
  5. Speed up recovery time. Not only do compression shorts help to reduce inflammation, but also accelerates blood flow to your tired, drained muscles to accelerate recovery.
  6. Decrease post-workout soreness. Compression garments help your body get rid of lactic acid produced by physical activity at a faster rate, as well as deliver fluid and nutrients to the muscles. The result: less soreness after the workout is over.




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