Whether you are an elite athlete or you just want to stay fit and healthy you need some decent athletic gear for your activities. Compression shorts are among the most popular and sometimes, necessary items for almost any physical activity.
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Why Compression Shorts
Compression garments won’t make you a champion, but they will help you avoid unnecessary suffering in inadequate clothes. And yes, you’ll look good too.
Compression shorts, as well as compression shirts, leggings, and pants are popular for a reason. Modern weaving techniques allow for the production of materials that enhance performance and make sports and activities more comfortable hence more enjoyable.
And if you’re like me you just love the feeling that you get of firmness and support.
Compression fabrics wick moisture and provide support for your muscles.
It means you’ll stay relatively dry so you can say goodbye to chafing and rashes. As for muscles, compression keeps them warm to prevent injuries, aids post-workout recovery, and alleviates stiffness and soreness.
If that’s not enough, there’s also a psychological effect – you’ll look thinner, feel more confident and ready to run, dance, or work out in the gym.
We are here to help you choose the best women’s compression shorts and provide some info on athletic compression shorts and notes on what to look for. But first our top 5.
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Under Armour’s Shorty Shorts is our top pick for women. They are so cute – that’s just me being objective. We have also reviewed our choices for the 5 best compression shorts for men too. But, let’s stay with the ladies – here’s the full list:
Under Armour HeatGear Shorty Shorts – Best overall
Nike Women’s Pro 3 Inch Compression Shorts – Comfortable short shorts
WOLACO North Moore Women’s Shorts – Best with 2 pockets
Neleus Compression Shorts 3 Pack – Best value option
BALEAF High Waist Compression Shorts – Best high-waisted
5 Best Women’s Compression Shorts Reviewed
Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Shorty Shorts – Best overall
The Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Shorty shorts are super light and comfortable. I’ve used them for HIIT, Zumba, running, and cycling. They’ve always provided both support and outstanding freedom of movement without riding up.
I’ve worn UA Heatgear (and ColdGear) shorts on and off for a few years now and they last forever. Well, maybe not forever but they are certainly durable and the colors stay strong.
Even after years of wear, I notice a certain loss of stretch which is to be expected, although less so in the band, surprisingly. And for those with a little belly, the band doesn’t roll down when in use.
Like many other good athletics gear companies Under Armour includes anti-odor technology in their garments.
This simply means that the fabrics are blended with certain chemicals that defeat the build-up of bacteria which is the cause of body odor.
The fabrics do a great job at wicking sweat away and dry very quickly.
It was really a tough job to figure out the downside of this model. These were somewhat thinner than previous Under Armour models, but as long as they last I don’t see a problem.
Made from 100% polyester
- High-quality HeatGear fabric.
- 4-way stretch construction for comfortable movement in all directions.
- Anti-odor technology.
- Very breathable and dries really quickly.
- Some users find them too short.
Nike Women’s Pro 3″ Shorts – Most comfortable short shorts
It was a tough choice with all of our top 3 models as to which was most comfortable. It often comes to personal preferences, but Nike Pro 3-inch shorts are up there when it comes to comfort.
I guess it depends on whether you like a small or larger in seam and where you prefer the placement of your band. I’m lucky to have little to no spare tyre (in the genes) and so the band is fine low or high.
wider friends who prefer the support of the higher waistband. The wide waistband provides a secure fit onto hips – even large hips without any embarrassing butt appearance.
They are snug, although some users felt they ran small – I thought the size (medium) just right for me, after all they are meant to be tight.
The triangular gusset and flat-seam construction gives a good feel.
As does the fabric itself which felt particularly soft – you wouldn’t think they were made of plastic bottles.
Yes, the company boasts these shorts are manufactured using at least 50% recycled polyester materials, namely old plastic bottles.
Made from 80% polyester 20% elastane
- Excellent moisture-wicking and breathability.
- They stay in place no matter what.
- Whites are a bit see-through.
WOLACO North Moore Women’s Compression Shorts – Best with pockets
I love these WOLACO’s North Moore shorts with their two perfectly designed pockets, one for any size phone and a smaller one for anything else – great for avoiding rubbing metal against my precious phone.
The pockets are waterproof, well placed, and tight. So, no bothersome jiggling, and your phone, keys, or whatever will stay dry and safe.
It’s great to have a convenient pocket, but it’s useless unless your shorts perform well.
Well, no worries, these shorts fit well and wick well and they’re made in the US.
After a run including intervals, I found these shorts not to ride up in the thigh although the “medium” pair I had seemed snug in that area although not in the crotch.
Outstanding comfort and compression, great fit and moisture-wicking abilities, neat design to prevent riding up. with a high band to stay put.
The fabric appears durable and I’m no seamstress but the stitching looks extremely steadfast. I can’t imagine a failure at the seams.
The company has only been around since 2013 and the women’s range only since 2018. They don’t have the first-class reputation that Under Armour has – not yet anyway.
Made from 96% Polyester, 4% Spandex.
- Two sweat-proof pockets.
- Reinforced stress points help avoid riding up and provide excellent comfort and fit.
- Very durable.
- Excellent stitching.
- It’s a bit pricey.
- The high waistband might not be to everybody’s taste.
Neleus Women’s Compression Shorts 3 Pack – Best value
If you want to buy compression shorts for occasional use and get the best bang for your bucks these Neleus compression shorts might be just what you’re looking for.
You’ll get three pairs in different colors and there are 17 color variations to choose from although all are a bit bland.
As for the quality, the fabric doesn’t feel so soft and the waistband although big had a tendency to roll over and twist during activities, in my case a HIIT session.
I thought the material is thinner than others on our list and bending over in certain colors may not pass the “squat-proof test” even you are a larger lady.
The seams are not as neat as other shorts although the placement was good avoiding areas that most have the most friction.
Still, they wick moisture, dry fast, and have a convenient pocket.
Although more expensive models have better quality, as you might expect, these Neleus are great value for money.
Made of 85% Polyester, 15% Spandex
- Very affordable.
- Wide elastic waistband.
- Wide variety of colors.
- Solid comfort and breathability.
- Mediocre compression.
- Pocket doesn’t take large phones
- The sizing is not consistent.
BALEAF Women’s Compression Shorts – Best high-waisted shorts
If you have a couple of extra pounds on your tummy or backside, high-waisted shorts will help you look leaner and pull everything in which may improve your performance.
BALEAF compression shorts reached over my belly button and these have a thick waistband. They certainly make the legs look longer. They are nicely fitted to accentuate the bottom.
This model is really versatile and it will fit different body types doing different activities. They are relatively thick, and I found the color/design I wore (tye die black) was squat-proof. Still, they are breathable and wick sweat although not as effective as others on our list.
You should stay dry even during an intense workout and there will be no sweat stains.
The fit and design of these shorts, including the stitching suited my body shape but I can understand, as some reviewers commented that different, more curvy bodys may see a loose waist and tight thighs or similar.
Quality wise, however, I would put these above our number four the Neleus but they just pipped ot with the price.
For ultimate convenience, it comes with two large pockets, one for your phone and one hidden, waistband pocket.
The colors and designs are very imaginative and not boring at all.
5″ – 8″ inseam
Made of 87% Polyester, 13% Spandex
- Very comfortable and supportive (for me).
- Stylish. A high waist flattens your tummy and makes your legs look longer.
- Thick non-see-through fabric.
- Choose your inseam length.
- Wide variety of colors and designs.
- We think not the most durable shorts.
- Not suitable for all body shapes.
How to Choose Compression Shorts
Making the right choice may seem to be difficult with a wide variety of offers in the market. Which features are the most important? Are affordable products any good? Do different styles come with different features?
If you’re a first-time buyer, dozens of questions arise. But, it’s not that difficult as it appears.
For starters, I like to stick with reputable and/or specialized brands.
All decent manufacturers include all of the necessary features. I’ll mention them anyway: moisture-wicking, breathability, multi-directional stretch, comfort, and durability are the most important features.
Then, you can follow your personal preferences considering styling, the addition of pockets, colors, the inseam length, anti-odor, and sun-protective fabric properties.
As for vital features, there are small differences even between the best manufacturers. However, you can’t really know it upfront as they aren’t measurable and often come down to personal and subjective opinions. Our list is here to help you out and you should also check out user reviews.
That’s pretty much all there is to it when it comes to choosing compression shorts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are compression shorts overhyped or I really need them?
A: They are not overhyped by any means. Compression garments, shorts included, are among the greatest game-changers in the sports industry.
While they are not a magic bullet that will turn you into Superwoman, they come with numerous benefits beyond any doubt. Check out our take on the benefits of compression pants.
Q: Can women wear men’s compression shorts?
A: Yes, they can, but they probably won’t fit properly.
Woman’s and men’s compression garments use the same materials and technology. However, women’s and men’s body shapes are different and these garments are designed to match each gender.
Most likely the opposite gender shorts will be too tight or too loose in one area. If they don’t fit like a second skin, some benefits will be lost or diminished.
Q: Should I wear underwear under my compression shorts?
A: No, these are meant to be worn as a base layer. You can wear something over it, though.
Q: Are compression shorts and bike shorts the same?
A: No, they are not. While they are very similar, almost all cycling shorts have very distinct padding in a saddle area.
Apart from padding, the rest is pretty much the same. Still, you don’t need that extra liner for any other activity, while cycling is less comfortable without it.
Compression garments rule the fitness world today. Once you try them, you’ll never go back to old-fashion gear.
Under Armour Women’s HeatGear compression shorts won our today’s contest, but I have to say, it was a narrow victory. Modern technologies are becoming more affordable so there is a lot of competition out there.
Still, Under Armour has won because they really shine in all departments. Superb breathability and lightness, excellent comfort and moisture-wicking properties, outstanding durability, and freedom of movement, they’ve got it all covered.
If you, like me, love these compression garments check out our choices for the best compression shirts.