Cyclists have used compression shorts and jerseys for decades. As of late, compression garments have taken over pretty much the world of fitness apparel in running, workouts and all kinds of sports.
In my continued enthusiasm for compression garments, I have worn and pulled apart (metaphorically speaking) a ton of compression items so let’s delve into my shorts and find out what might be the best men’s compression shorts to suit you.
Oh and if you’re wondering whether anything should be worn underneath compression shorts read this.
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Do You Need Compression Shorts With Pockets?
Okay, maybe you don’t. But a vast majority of fitness enthusiasts have problems where to keep phone or car keys while running or working out in the gym. Having your phone bouncing around your shorts is not a pleasant experience. Not to mention that it may fall on the ground.
Professional athletes don’t need convenient pockets, but for the rest of us, it’s a good idea. With a safe pocket or better still, 2, you can exercise and listen to music or keep your phone and car keys close to you. The fewer worries and hindrances, the more enjoyable your workout sessions will be.
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My top choice is Under Armour’s HeatGear compression shorts, sports apparel that I’m particularly familiar with. Here’s a quick look at our full list before we dive deeper into performances and features and then a guide about compression shorts and what to look for.
Under Armour Men’s HeatGear – best overall
WOLACO North Moore – best 2 pocket shorts
Neleus Men’s 3 Pack Compression Short – best value
THE II BRO Compression Shorts – best single layer
DEVOPS Men’s Compression Shorts – best price
Our 5 Best Men’s Compression Shorts with Pockets Reviewed
Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Compression Shorts – Best Overall
For me, Under Armour doesn’t disappoint when it comes to athletic gear and in particular, compression clothing. After all, they were the first.
I’m a big believer and supporter of the first in the field and innovator. Under Armour has been at it since 1996 and was the first to design and make compression shirts specifically for active sports (rather than just training and recovery).
I’ve been wearing their compression shirts for 15 years or more and I can safely say that their athletic clothing last for a very long time. I’ve still got 10-year-old shirts.
Their moisture-wicking properties of compression shorts, however, were what inspired the founder to develop the Under Armour shirts.
I have always been happy with the HeatGear range and these shorts don’t disappoint for moisture-wicking and keeping a firm hold on things. I like wearing these under regular shorts as a base layer. They’re perfect on colder mornings – keep the boys warm and secure.
While all compression shorts are lightweight these are as light as it gets.
Both the gusset and seams have been improved on this model making them more comfortable than previous designs. Especially so for other sports where you’re moving around more and where the seams used to rub where the friction was highest.
I tried cycling in these as well, a good test for chafing and discomfort but they held up well with no rubbing.
There is one pocket on the side that is big enough for any size phone. Maybe another pocket would have been a good idea even if it was smaller so that the metallic thing could be kept separate from the phone.
I sweat a lot but can recommend these shorts if you want to remain comfortably dry. I had to get my testing partner to do the sniff test (nice job – but I have a bad sense of smell) and there was no offensive odor after a workout in them.
8 colors to choose from.
Inseam 6”, 8″ (Tall)
Material: 50% nylon, 40% polyester, 10% Elastane
One phone pocket: Capacity 6″x3″
- 4-way stretch for maximum comfort and freedom of movement.
- Excellent breathability and moisture wicking.
- Upgraded gusset prevents chafing.
- Only one pocket.
WOLACO North Moore – 2 Pockets
There are bigger names in the athletic wear industry, but WOLACO compression shorts are a contender in the sportswear category.
They have only been going since 2013 from a Kickstarter program. The then-unique design of the North Shore shorts with 2 water-proof pockets was the inspiration for the problem of securing phones and valuables whilst running. It is the flagship product still with new designs and gear for women.
The compression shorts are made in the USA and they just look and feel of a superior quality. Although I don’t believe the materials are sourced locally.
We can see these as a good choice for a range of activities where you don’t want any jiggling from whatever you put in the 2 convenient sweat-proof pockets. I tried cell, cards, keys and coins (where did that come from) and they were solid.
We found them to be slightly less tight on the hips or around the nether regions but firm compression around the thighs. Also, the legs don’t ride up when running.
Even after a good run, we found the material remains soft but it is a good thickness overall.
If you want to listen to music while running or keep your car keys close – no problem. Waterproof pockets are neatly designed to be fully functional. It means that your devices won’t fall out, get wet or hamper your movement.
The overall snug fit was perfectly comfortable with the right amount of support.
Inseam 6”, 9″
Fits all phone sizes
Material: 88% polyester, 12% spandex
- Supreme quality, made in the USA.
- Patented design.
- Two water resistant pockets.
- Very durable.
- Runs small.
- A bit pricey.
Neleus Men’s 3 Pack Compression Shorts – Best Value
If you work out every day or so you may want to purchase several shorts without breaking the bank. Neleus 3-pack is our top budget option.
I’d say they perform better than expected considering the price. They wick moisture very well, dry fast and they are comfortable and versatile.
The compression on these shorts isn’t up to much though and as the benefits of compression is the prime reason for using them it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Overall they are more than good enough for most non-ultra activities and if you are not after proper compression. On the downside, there are occasional quality control issues according to some reviewers like getting two “normal” pairs and the third one of the wrong size.
Material: 85% polyester, 15% spandex
- Stretchable materials.
- Loads of colors.
- Fine discrete seams.
- Not great compression.
- Quality control issues.
- Runs small.
- Pocket a little narrow.
THE II BRO Compression Shorts – Most Suitable as Stand Alone Use
If you want to carry your phone and your keys while exercising, this model has a solution. Two tight pockets will keep your phone, wallet, or car keys safe without bouncing or falling out.
There are other models with convenient and functional pockets but THE II BRO Compression Shorts come with a unique feature: a protective layer between your skin and the pocket blocks the electromagnetic field of your phone.
While no adverse health effects of EMF have been established so far, if you prefer to be cautious, this is ideal.
This is a step up from their previous model which just had one generic pocket.
Two different-sized pockets are a stand-out feature of these shorts, but they are pretty good overall.
However, for me, there isn’t enough compression.
Although quite comfortable to run in the material is quite thick and may be less suitable for more dynamic sports. But the material thickness makes these shorts more appropriate than others to wear as the only layer as well as a base layer.
Material: 80% nylon, 20% spandex
Pocket will stretch to take any size phone.
- It comes with two pockets.
- Comfortable fit and size is as expected
- 30 day 100% money back warranty.
- The left pocket comes with EMF (electromagnetic field) protection.
- Not enough compression for me.
- Thick material.
DEVOPS Men’s Compression Shorts – Cheapest
This is another budget option. DEVOPS offers an unmatched color range which is not essential but it’s nice to have.
Ergonomic design allows freedom of movement without chafing. The fabric is soft, breathable, and stretches 4-ways.
Moreover, they have UV protection. UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+.
For steading exercising like jogging these shorts perform well, no riding up, chafing and moisture-wicking ability is pretty good.
I tried a 30-minute HIIT and the phone flew out. For more dynamic activities whatever you keep in the pocket, which couldn’t be sealed, is not very secure.
Material: 87% polyester, 13% spandex
- Very affordable.
- Soft and breathable.
- UV protection.
- Wide variety of colors.
- Phones may fall out.
- The waistband tends to roll up during activity.
Advantages of Wearing Compression Shorts
Are these funny-looking shorts really that important? It depends on how you define importance. They are undoubtedly useful as a base layer for keeping muscles warm and bits secure. Alternatively, there is the 2-in-1 where the tight compression part is built into a traditional short.
They will improve your exercise experience in many ways. Compressive garments have been used for medical reasons for decades. They improve circulation and help the post-operative recovery process. That’s the basis of athletic use as well.
We have also looked at the benefits of compression pants here. We just love compression apparel.
Compression Reduces Muscle Fatigue and Helps Prevent Strains
Compression provides support for your muscles and joints, reducing exertion and stress. It will also keep your muscles warm. The perfect amount of compression at the right spots will also increase circulation and muscle oxygenation.
As a result, compression shorts reduce muscle fatigue, soreness, and strain risk during and after the workout.
Furthermore, they will speed up the recovery process after grueling workouts or during an active recovery process after the injury.
It has started with compression, but modern fabrics allowed other improvements as well. All compression shorts are made of breathable materials that can wick moisture away from the skin.
Allowing your skin to breathe while staying relatively dry has changed the athletic world immensely. And it applies to all fitness regimes, from low-impact workouts to HIIT.
Check out our guide on the best moisture-wicking shirts.
Moisture management combined with soft, breathable, and lightweight fabric properties ultimately lead to improved comfort.
“No pain no gain” doesn’t apply to all segments of exercising anymore. With compression garments soaked and heavy underwear is history.
Say Goodbye to Chafing and Rashes
It’s another direct consequence of using soft and moisture-wicking fabrics. Less friction, no waistband ride-up, staying dry or drying very quickly – that’s what you’ll get from high-quality compression shorts.
We have more on the benefits of compression gear, in particular compression pants here.
How to Choose The Best Compression Shorts
Choosing high-quality gear is never easy. However, when it comes to compression shorts, it all comes down to comfort, performance, and size.
Then, your personal preferences come into play.
When we talk about comfort, it’s pretty much individual. Nevertheless, other users’ experiences can be helpful.
Compression shorts’ performance depends on moisture-wicking ability, fabric stretchiness, and tightness level. Some people prefer tighter shorts while others are happy with lighter compression. Eventually, it’s up to you, but you need a decent level of compression to enjoy all the benefits.
Sizing is also very important. I know it sounds obvious, but these garments are supposed to be skin-tight. Just a fraction smaller or larger size will make it too tight or too loose. So, check out the size chart and then check it out again.
With all the benefits, it’s easy to see why compression shorts have become so popular.
Our top pick is Under Armour Heatgear compression shorts. There are many compression shorts in the market that will do the job. But, Under Armour compression gear has always stands out for exceptional quality and being meticulous about every little detail.
These shorts are made in the USA with the best quality control and high-quality fabrics. They are comfortable with excellent durability and good value.
If you’re desperate for a 2 pocket version, Wolaco’s North Moore is made to the highest standard here in the U.S.