Compression gear has become increasingly popular in the sports and fitness world in recent years. It has been observed to reduce lactic acid levels, increase muscle stability, improve recovery time, reduce cramping, and improve speed and strength results in athletes of all levels.
Compression shirts are one of the key pieces of gear that athletes and fitness enthusiasts use to boost their performance and prevent injuries.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing
With that in mind, we made our top picks in five different categories of compression shirts.
- Best Overall: WANAYOU Women’s Compression Shirt
- Best Value: Neleus Women’s 3-Pack Compression Workout Athletic Shirt
- Best for Running: TSLA Women’s Compression Long Sleeve T-Shirts Cool Dry Baselayer
- Best for Cross Training: Coovy Sports Women’s Compression Base
- Best for Recovery: 2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Long Sleeve
Best Overall: WANAYOU Women’s Compression Shirt
Why it’s great: WANAYOU makes quality, comfortable apparel at an affordable price. Their long-sleeve compression shirt is lightweight, breathable, and suitable for a wide range of sports and activities.
The shirt’s flatlock seams and rounded neck are designed to maximize comfort, and the moisture-wicking fabric is rated UPF 50+, which helps keep you cool and protected from harmful UV rays. It is available in sizes S to XXL, making it a good option for a variety of different body types.
Drawbacks: Some customers have complained that the fit was smaller than they expected.
- 85% polyester / 15% spandex
- Flatlock seams
- UPF 50+
Why it’s great: Neleus is a sports apparel wholesaler started in 2008 to produce high quality, affordable athleticwear. They offer a full slate of excellent compression products available through third-party sellers like Amazon. As their reviews can attest, their products are comfortable, reliable, and durable.
Neleus’ women’s compression shirt is a fantastic pick at an extremely affordable price. This shirt offers quality compression and moisture wicking fabric. The four-way stretch technology ensures that it fits snuggly and never loses its shape, even after multiple washes. Designed to be suitable for all weather, this shirt is a great choice for just about any activity, both indoor or outdoor.
Drawbacks: Some buyers have complained that this shirt runs small. Be sure to check the sizing chart carefully and consider what level of compression you prefer before purchasing.
- 85% Polyester, 15% Spandex
- Machine Washable
- Moisture sensing,
Best for Running: TSLA Women’s Compression Long Sleeve T-Shirts Cool Dry Baselayer
Why it’s great: Tesla (TSLA) is a global sports brand that launched in 2007 to manufacture high-quality rash guards for triathlon suits. Over time, they evolved to produce hi-tech gear for all sports. TSLA compression gear not only offers a great slate of products, they deliver them at an extremely affordable price, making their gear accessible to all.
Their long sleeve compression shirt is designed to be worn in all seasons, and it can be used as a baselayer or worn on its own. Its moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric is also rated 50+ UPF, keeping you cool and protected from harmful UV rays while out running. It is available in sizes XS to XL, making it a good option for a variety of body types.
Drawbacks: Some customers have reported that the material is very thin, which can make it a little see through depending on the color.
- 87% polyester/13% Spandex
- UPF 50+
Best for Cross Training: Coovy Sports Women’s Compression Base
Why it’s great: Coovy Sports sells their products through a handful of websites, cutting out the middleman and keeping prices low. Their ATHLETE line of apparel is light and comfortable, featuring 360-degree stretch fabric that wicks away moisture and fights odor.
This shirt is designed with flatlock seams to prevent chafing and a supportive and flattering design, keeping you feeling and looking good. It can be worn in warm or cold weather and works as both a base layer or on its own. It is available in sizes S to XL.
Drawbacks: Some customers have complained that the shirt’s material is too thin.
- 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex
- 360-degree stretch fabric
- 40+ UPF
Best for Recovery: 2XU Refresh Recovery Compression Long Sleeve
Why it’s great: 2XU is a reliable brand for all compression clothing needs, and their compression shirts are no exception. Started by a professional triathlete, 2XU was created to offer high quality, scientifically-backed compression gear to optimize performance, prevent injury, and improve recovery.
Unlike most other compression shirts on the market, 2XU’s shirt features graduated compression, which is specifically designed to improve blood circulation and promote muscle recovery. The fabric is breathable, moisture wicking, and rated UPF 50+, keeping you cool, dry, and protected from harmful UV rays. It is available in sizes XS to XL.
Drawbacks: 2XU’s apparel is very high quality, but it is among the most expensive options available.
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- UPF 50+
- Flatlock seams
How did we choose these shirts?
With the enormous number of options available in the compression gear category, choosing the best products can be extremely challenging. To put together this list, we looked at a number of important factors including the type of compression, the quality of the material, the specific use and associated benefits, and the cost.
Beyond those criteria, we also researched brands, their approach to compression wear, and their reputation with customers. We looked not only at how the product was designed and marketed, but how it performs for real people. We analyzed product reviews from across the web to find both positive and negative trends until we were confident that each product selected will effectively serve the needs of our readers.
What to consider when choosing a compression shirt for yourself
Our recommendations will hopefully serve as a useful jumping off point for you in your search for the perfect compression gear. Since each person’s wants and needs will vary, you’ll need to find what’s best for you. To this end, there are a few things to consider. Most important, is how you’ll be using your compression shirt. Ask yourself:
- Do you mostly do cardio or strength training?
- Do you participate in a contact sport or activity?
- If you are a runner, how often and how far do you typically run?
- For sports like basketball or soccer, how often do you play and at what level?
- Do you generally perform your activities inside or outside?
- Do you
workoutor play in cold weather or warm weather?
The answers to these questions will help you determine what type of compression shirt is best for you. For weightlifting or other resistance training, compression shirts that offer maximum range of motion are very important. Boxers and others engaged in full contact sports will want to look for the most durable, supportive material to offer maximum protection.
What are the benefits of compression shirts?
Compression shirts offer a number of benefits both during and after workouts. While the direct performance benefits of compression
The recovery benefits of compression work in two ways – short-term and long-term – both of which also indirectly impact performance. These benefits are the result of the improved circulation and increased blood flow provided by compression clothing.
- When worn during workouts, compression produces short-term results by more efficiently removing lactic acid from the muscles. Lactic acid build up is what causes you to feel that familiar burn when stretching your muscles to their limit. By speeding the movement of oxygen to the muscles and lactic acid away from them, compression allows you to bounce back more quickly between sets and reach your goals faster.
- When worn during and after a workout, compression eliminates or reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the result of inflammation caused by tiny tears in our muscles. While the repair of these tears is, in part, responsible for muscle growth, DOMS can leave us immobilized in the days following a tough workout. By enhancing the movement of oxygen and other anti-inflammatory agents to the muscles, compression helps muscles heal faster, reducing pain so you can get back to the gym or on the road sooner.
What is Compression Gear?
At the most basic level, compression gear is a category of clothing and other accessories designed to fit tightly around the skin.
Compression gear has a wide variety of applications including, medical, fitness, and personal uses such as fashion and travel. It continues to grow in popularity as athletes, doctors, patients, and regular people find more creative ways to benefit from these products.
Check out our What is Compression Gear? article to get a bigger picture of how compression work, its many benefits, and the role it plays in Fitness, Health, Travel, and Fashion.