Working out is hard on the body, which is the point right? Building muscle, burning calories, and cardiovascular improvement only happens as a direct result of putting stress on your body. However, there are stresses that just hurt without providing any physical improvements. The most common of these pesky side effects is chafing. Fortunately, advancements in modern textile technology have provided us with compression shorts. These miracle garments eliminate friction in all the sensitive areas between the waist and the knee, thus eliminating all the worst kinds of chaffing from your workout routine.
Men’s compression shorts have been around for a couple decades now and pretty much every athletic apparel company makes their own version. With so many options out there it can be a challenge to tell which compression shorts are the best and find the right pair for you. An abundance of low price options exist that will get the job done but just like a watch or leather dress shoes, compression shorts are something you want to invest a little more money in. Purchasing compression shorts from a brand that specializes in them will provide a significant boost to the comfort of your workout.
Why should I purchase men’s compression shorts?
Compression shorts do just what they claim to, they use elastic materials to compress your body parts. The compression holds everything in place to eliminate friction and bouncing around from movement. Less friction and bouncing means less irritation. Less irritation eliminates distraction from your sport and routine.
Top Men’s Compression Shorts
WOLACO North Moore Short – Best Overall Compression Short
Lululemon License to Train Half Tight – Best Lightweight Compression Short
Under Armour HeatGear Armour Compression Shorts – Best Priced Compression Short
Adidas Techfit Short – Best Underwear Alternative
What are the best Men’s Compression Shorts to try in 2022?
The best men’s compression shorts utilize all the advancements that have been made in recent years. This includes an extra wide waist band to prevent your shorts from sliding down, elastic bands around the thighs to keep your shorts from riding up, and perforation to allow breathing in all the right spots. These days, compression shorts should also include a pocket for your phone or keys because that’s the best place to prevent them from bouncing around as you move.
1. WOLACO North Moore Short
Top Key Features: Two things immediately set WOLACO North Moore Shorts apart from the competition. The fabric is hefty in a good way, you can feel the durability at first touch. They also feature two built in compression pockets when you’re lucky to find one in other compression shorts.
Returns: Thes best indicator that a brand stands behind their product is a generous return policy. WOLACO allows returns within 30 days of receiving your order, given the item is unworn and unused.
What’s Good about WOLACO: WOLACO really stands apart with their durability. While most compression shorts have been getting as lightweight as possible at the expense of durability, WOLACO recognizes that once you’re wearing them, a few more ounces of weight won’t make a difference in performance but will provide a stronger, longer lasting short. The two built-in compression pockets are clutch. A larger one placed on the hip is ideal for sliding your phone in and out to change music while the smaller thigh pocket is perfect for securing your keys, cards, and/or license.
What’s Not So Good: The only possible issue with the North Moore Short are the elastic bands on the thighs. You want a strong hold on the end of your shorts to keep them from riding up but WOLACO’s North Moore Short is very strong. I wear a size M and my thighs are pretty average width but the elastic band is tight enough to get slightly uncomfortable after very long workouts. However, this is something that will probably just take some breaking in and isn’t really noticed majority of the time.
The Verdict: WOLACO clearly did their homework when they designed the North Moore Shorts. They feature all the details you would expect in a compression short plus some you didn’t even know you needed (like the sweat-proof compression pockets). The compression pockets are indispensable once you’ve started using them. They come in on the higher end of the price range but they’re a bargain when you consider their convenience and durability. Ultimately, the WOLACO’s North Moore Short are definitely worth the investment and once you try them out you won’t ever settle for another brand.
Shop the North Moore Short Here
2. Lululemon License to Train Half Tight
Top Key Features: As the name suggests, the License to Train Half Tights are longer than most compression shorts. The 9” inseam has them sitting only a couple inches above your knee. With most workout shorts averaging around a 6” inseam these days, these are designed to extend past the bottom of your shorts.
Returns: Lululemon accepts all returns within 30 days of purchase. However, items must be unworn, unwashed and have all accompanying tags. You can make returns by mail or at any Lululemon retail location regardless of where the item was purchased.
What’s Good about License to Train Half Tights: These compression shorts are very lightweight and thin. They use bonding rather than stitching for seamless construction and are made from the same fabric throughout, except for the waist band. Lululemon’s proprietary Luxtreme fabric is about as thin as you can find in a compression fabric. The extra length helps eliminate friction from your shorts and is actually a little more comfortable than a traditional inseam.
What’s Not So Good: All that comfort comes at the expense of durability. A fabric this light simply cant withstand the long term abrasion that a heavier fabric can. Also, bonded seams are inevitably less durable than stitched seams. If you’re playing a high intensity sport or endurance training then you’re going to burn right through these compression shorts sooner than you would like, given the price.
The Verdict: Lululemon went for a very thin and lightweight compression short with the License to Train Half Tight and they achieved it. Their Luxtreme fabric is pretty soft and you really don’t feel like you’re wearing compression shorts when you have them on. The catch is that they are not ideal for long term use in high intensity sports and training. They are better for activities like yoga, weight lifting, and short distance running. If you want a thin lightweight pair of compression shorts then this pair is for you. But if you value durability and don’t want to continuously be spending a ton of money on compression shorts, then I wouldn’t recommend this pair.
3. Under Armour HeatGear Armour Compression Shorts
Maker: Under Armour
Top Key Features: Under Armour divides their compression garments into hot and cold weather. Their HeatGear is designed to maximize breathability and moisture wicking. Strategically placed mesh patches provide ventilation where it is needed most.
Returns: Under Armour accepts returns within 60 days of purchase. Items must be unworn and you must have proof of purchase. You can return online purchases by mail or at any Under Armour store.
What’s Good about HeatGear Armour Compression Shorts: Under Armour pretty much invented modern compression shorts and the HeartGear Armour model is the current evolution of their original design. Decades of R&D have gone into these shorts and it shows in all the little details. Seams, mesh patches, the waist band, the compression pocket, and leg bands are all perfectly located for maximum efficacy and impediment.
What’s Not So Good: The waistband on the Armour Compression Shorts line is not the most effective out there. It allows more slipping down than competitors and the elastic stretches out faster. The mesh points, while providing enhanced breathability, are also structural weak points. They wear out faster than the rest of the fabric.
The Verdict: Under Armour long ago positioned themselves as the industry standard for compressions shorts. The problem is that the company has been so successful and grown so large that it is impossible to maintain the quality level they set many years ago. Their products still perform at the top of the game but they don’t possess the endurance that they used to. Still, at $30 the HeatGear Armour Compression shorts are a fair price for a product you won’t mind having to replace sooner than later.
4. Adidas Techfit Short Tights
Top Key Features: The Techfit Short Tights are no frills compression shorts designed to get the job done at a minimum price. Think of them as boxer-briefs built for athletic performance. They are ultra lightweight and breathable but they don’t have any built in pockets.
Returns: Adidas accepts returns within 30 days of in store purchase or receiving online orders. The product must be unworn and unwashed and you must have the receipt and all original packaging and tags.
What’s Good about Techfit Short Tights: The Techfit Short Tights almost feel like boxer briefs that are extra snug without being uncomfortable. They sit on the waist and thigh like underwear and they are of a similar weight. Of course, they offer much more flexibility, moisture wicking and breathability than any underwear. Adidas is an industry leader in using recycled materials and the Techfit line is made with 88% recycled polyester.
What’s Not So Good: These compression shorts are the most economic option that still offer decent performance. The problem is that they don’t have any advanced features and they lack durability. They work well for low impact activities and will deteriorate with prolonged use in high intensity training like competitive sports and endurance training. At $25, you can and should buy these in bulk.
The Verdict: Adidas really made an underwear/compressions short hybrid with the Techfit Shirt Tights. They make a great replacement for your boxer briefs during hot weather or if you want to get a workout in at some point during the day without changing your underwear. They certainly have a use but a dependable compression short for high intensity training that will last is not it. They’re priced fairly at the low end of the compressions short market and you get a solid bargain with them. If you are looking for underwear and not compression shorts then I would give these a try. If you want a real compression short for running, biking, sports, etc then you should definitely go with the WOLACO North Moore Short.
Questions about Men’s Compression Shorts
If you’re not wearing compression shorts when you workout then you are missing the easiest way to enhance the comfort and increase the endurance of your workout. Not only do compression shorts make for a more comfortable workout but they actually can help reduce injury by keeping the muscles warm.
Where can I purchase men’s compression shorts?
Compression shorts are available from practically every sportswear and underwear brand on the planet. Every sporting goods retailer will have a wide selection and most big box retailers like Kohls and Target have a variety available. However, WOLACO definitely has the best compression shorts on the market in our opinion so I would recommend starting your search there.
What is the best material for men’s compression shorts?
A strong elastic fabric is the defining feature of compression shorts. Most are made from a synthetic poly fabric like elastane and polyester. More and more brands are using recycled materials because synthetic fabrics are essentially plastic and can be recycled accordingly. I prefer 88% polyester and 12% spandex for a comfortable yet firm hold. This is the exact ratio the WOLACO North Moore short offers.
What is the difference between men’s compression shorts and regular shorts?
Compression shorts are a replacement for traditional underwear that provide more support and protection when working out. They are generally meant to be worn under regular shorts but some models can be worn by themselves, in a similar way to football pants, for minimum weight and drag. Some regular shorts even feature built-in compression shorts. If you really want to get into the details about compression shorts then you should check out this study about lower extremity compression garments for athletic use.
How can I benefit from purchasing men’s compression shorts?
In a word: comfort. Any kind of athletic activity will cause chafing of any skin that rubs together along with discomfort of your man parts from bouncing around. Compression shorts eliminate that chafing and bouncing but holding everything in place. They also remove moisture and improve breathability which reduces stink and stickiness. You can even benefit from wearing some lighter compression shorts as a stand-in for underwear on hot, humid days or if you have a job that requires constant movement.
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