Best Compression Tights – Can They Make You Run Better?

As a runner, you are always willing to try something that will increase your performance. When it comes to gear, there have been many theories of what wearing certain pieces of clothing can do to help you run better. One of the common gear is compression tights.

The question is do they work? What can they do for you? In this article, we will answer these questions. We will also give you a roundup of our top five best compression tights and highlight their features.

More...

Rankings

1st choice
for Woman

2nd choice
for Woman

1st choice
for Man

2nd choice
for Man

3rd choice
for Man

Best Compression Tights

Gender

Female

Female

Male

Male

Male

Brand

CompressionZ

CW-X

Tesla

CompressionZ

DRSKIN

Type

Full Length

3/4 Length

Full Length

Full Length

Full Length

Material

73% Polyester

27% Spandex

80% Coolmax

20% Lycra

87% Polyester

13% Spandex

85% Polyester

15% spandex

92% Polyester

​8% Spandex

Score

96 / 100
93 / 100
96 / 100
96 / 100
93 / 100

Getting Started

What Are Compression Tights?

What-Are-Compression-Tights

When you think of tights, you may have in your mind leggings or yoga pants. These are not the same as compression tights. Compression tights are commonly made from materials such as lycra, spandex, polyester and the like. They are designed to fit around the skin like a second skin providing extra support. (1)

​Compression garments can be categorized into slimming, casual, athletic and medical.

  • For runners, the athletic garments are what you are after since they are specifically designed for athletes.
  • Medical compression garments are often used by those suffering from arthritis or varicose veins.
  • Slimming and casual tights are used mainly to make you look good.

Do Compression Garments Work?

There have been multiple studies conducted to try and evaluate whether compression tights are just good in appearance or if they actually give some athletic benefit. Let’s consider three of these.

Blood Lactate Kinetics Study

In this study, the ability of compression gear to improve lactic acid clearance was examined. (2)

During intense physical exercise such as running, oxygen levels are depleted and the process of breaking down glucose for energy is impaired. As a result, a substance called lactate is formed. When this substance accumulates in the blood, muscle cramps, weakness and exhaustion occur.(3)

The study examined the relationship with lactate buildup due to anaerobic respiration. The 8 subjects performed exercises using compression stockings and then without them.​

  • At the end of the trial, it was found that lactate removal was significantly improved when wearing the stockings during recovery.

Aerobic Energy Cost Study

Another study (aimed to examine the effect of wearing compression tights in comparison with conventional shorts and elastic tights and the difference it made on oxygen cost during running. (4)

The group of six runners who wore the compression socks had a 26% reduction in their maximum volume of oxygen intake (VO2) compared to those who wore conventional shorts or tights.

  • In addition, results showed that there was a significantly low energy cost by wearing compression compared to tights or shorts.

Running Performance Study

In a study conducted on 21 runners, the effect of wearing below knee compression socks on the performance of runners was examined. During the test, 21 athletes were assigned to perform a treadmill test first with the compression socks and then without. (5)

At the end of the study, running performance was higher when the runners used the compression socks compared to without.​

  • The improvement of an individual's aerobic and anaerobic threshold increased from 2.1% to about 6.2% with the use of the compression gear.

Muscle Recovery

​Athletes who wear compression socks feel more comfortable than those who use conventional shorts or tights. One study compared the effect of wearing different grades of compression stockings on treadmill running. At the end of the study, the athletes reported feeling more relaxed after the trial and less sore. (6)

Comfort

Although the philological benefits of compression tights may be debatable, runners who use compression tights say that they feel more comfortable after the workout. (7) This may be because the material used in compression tights often controls body temperature and repels body moisture. This results in a dry, cool feel.


Tips In Choosing Compression Gear

Now that you know what compression gear can do for you, remember these tips before you select which brand to purchase. (7)

Get The Right Size

Unlike traditional garments that base the size on standard sizing measurements, compression tights use a sizing method that is dependent on your height and weight.

Before you buy anything, make sure you are familiar with the size charts. Getting the right size is critical if you are to gain the aforementioned benefits.

Get The Right Type

Different kinds of compression tights are ideal for different activities. Before you decide, make sure you select something that is designed for your specific needs. What you use in the gym may be different from what you need for a marathon.

In addition, what is considered tight for one person may not be enough for another so make sure you understand your options before purchasing.

Get The Right Material

Compression tights are often made from polyester or spandex to create a tighter fit. On the other hand, compression socks may be made from merino wool and are common for long distance runners.

Make sure you know what material is used so you can determine if it is ideal for your activity. The kind of material used will also have a great impact on the durability and flexibility of the pair of tights.


5 Best Compression Tights for Runners

​The quality of the tape you select will have a great impact on the benefits you gain. We have put together a list of our top five kinesiology tapes to help you decide which one will best fit your needs.

Rankings

1st choice
for Woman

2nd choice
for Woman

1st choice
for Man

2nd choice
for Man

3rd choice
for Man

Best Compression Tights

Gender

Female

Female

Male

Male

Male

Brand

CompressionZ

CW-X

Tesla

CompressionZ

DRSKIN

Type

Full Length

3/4 Length

Full Length

Full Length

Full Length

Material

73% Polyester

27% Spandex

80% Coolmax

20% Lycra

87% Polyester

13% Spandex

85% Polyester

15% spandex

92% Polyester

​8% Spandex

Score

96 / 100
93 / 100
96 / 100
96 / 100
93 / 100

Getting Started

1. CompressionZ Women's Leggings

If you are after a pair of tights that can also be worn casually, then the CompressionZ women’s leggings are a good option. They not only give you the support you need to improve your performance during workouts but also are plain and can be worn casually.

Another feature is the improved efficacy which restricts muscle movement when you run to ensure you don’t get injured. The fabric is also very comfortable and keeps the skin dry even during intense workouts. The material is made of 73% polyester and 27% spandex which allows it to be stretchable.

What We Like:

  • Opaque in color
  • Tight fitting but stretchy
  • Flexible
  • Uses 4-way stretchable fabric
  • Keeps odor away
  • Reduces pain after exercise
  • Improves recovery time

What We Didn't Like:

  • The seam on waistband may be too tight for some
  • Sizes may run too small

2. CW-X Women's 3/4 Length Stabilyx Tights

Looking for compression tights that are not full length? The CW-X Women’s ¾ length Stabilyx tights may be a good option for you. They provide ample support in the pelvis, hip and knees making them good if you do exercises that involve lateral movement.

In addition, the material used is 80% Coolmax polyester and 20% lycra which help pull moisture away from the body while providing UV protection. These tights are ideal for marathons and distance run especially if you wear them along with compression socks.

What We Like:

  • Has a key pocket and a waistband with flat drawcord
  • Specifically engineered for women
  • Designed to stabilize the knee and hip joints
  • Provides nighttime visibility
  • Fabric designed to remove moisture from the skin
  • Supports abdomen and back

What We Didn't Like:

  • Can be see through
  • May be too small for larger sized women

3. Tesla Men's Compression Baselayer Running Tights Pants P16

For men who are interested in wearing compression tights underneath a pair of shorts, then the Tesla men’s compression Baselayer running tights pants P16 is a good option. These pants are made of 87% polyester and 13% spandex that make them ideal for use in different seasons.

The length of the tights is also ideal for male runners since it ends just above your socks, so they are not too long. They are also tight enough if you are wearing them for varicose veins since they offer enough compression for this condition too.

What We Like:

  • Ideal for all seasons
  • Nonabrasive fabric
  • Uses a flat-lock seam for extra comfort
  • Shields from UV rays
  • Repels odor with the deodorizing function
  • Ideal for base layer because a thin fabric
  • Improves blood circulation

What We Didn't Like:

  • May be too short for tall people
  • No drawstrings
  • Too thin if not worn under shorts

4. CompressionZ Men's Pants

Looking for a versatile pair of full-length tights to use for different exercises? The CompressionZ Men's pants is a good choice for you. The tights can be used for jogging, cycling, gym, running and another medium to high-intensity activities. They are made from 85% polyester and 15% spandex giving them a good stretch.

The material also allows the wide array of movement and does not cause any skin irritation or chafing. Another good feature is that they are not transparent and remain opaque during high stretching exercises such as squats.

What We Like:

  • Versatile
  • Gives faster recovery after the workout
  • Reduces chances of injury
  • Can be worn as a base layer
  • Helps reduce swelling
  • Fabric adaptable to warm or cold environments
  • Fabric is anti-odor and anti-itch

What We Didn't Like:

  • Too tight and revealing for some
  • May run long in the leg

5. DRSKIN Compression Cool Dry Sports Tights Pants

If you don’t want a conventional design plain looking pair of compression tights, the DRSKIN compression tights are a good option. They perform as the ordinary solid colored tights but come in commando designs giving them a unique look.

They are also quick to dry and can help keep sweat away from the body allowing you to feel cooler and drier. Ideal for sports such as basketball or even for weightlifting or running, these tights are all weather tights.

What We Like:

  • Comfortable with little restriction
  • Non-abrasive
  • Elastic and durable
  • Provides UV protection
  • Versatile for any activity
  • Good air circulation
  • Prevents odor

What We Didn't Like:

  • Lack compression

​Conclusion

Choosing to use compression tights may be one of the best decisions you make as a runner. The multiple studies conducted prove that they do provide some benefits including boosting performance and improving recovery time.

The secret is selecting the right kind of compression tights with the right fit. Wearing something too tight can cause damage to your skin while wearing something too loose will not give the benefits that come with the tights.

If you are after something that can be worn casually, the CompressionZ women’s leggings come in different colors and prints making them ideal. In addition, they also provide ample compression so you can use them for workouts as well.

For men, the Tesla men’s compression Baselayer running tights pants P16 have a good length running just above your sock line. They also are versatile and can be used for different sports. However, they need to be worn as a base fabric due to their thin nature.

Whichever tights you choose to wear, find the best compression tights to fit your personal comfort and usage.

How did you find this article? Do you agree that compression tights are beneficial for runners? What is your favorite brand? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Also feel free to share this article with other running enthusiasts.

Amber Irwin
 

Hi everyone. I'm Amber a running and sports writer. I love to share my passion with fellow outdoor lovers and hope to establish a community here. I believe running is an amazing sport for everyone and hope to inspire others with my words. Welcome to my fantastic blog!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments