As more and more people are exercising, it seems that the most popular clothes for working out are compression shirts. Compression shirts are exactly what they sound like; a shirt pressing against your body and contouring to your own natural curves.
The compression given to your body, especially in areas like your shoulders, back, arms, and ribcage can help to provide additional support and stabilization to your muscles as you use them. Maintaining muscle placement is one of the most important things when working out to ensure that you’re truly getting the most of your exercise. Compression shirts can even help simply in posture and your body’s alignment.
TOP 10 Compression Shirts
Best compression shirts are usually a special blend of lycra, neoprene, and nylon, all of which are fabrics that help to stretch tightly around your body’s shape. Because the shirt compresses your muscles, it also helps to move blood throughout the body, more efficiently transporting the oxygen needed for intense workouts.
The extra boost of oxygen to your body will also reduce the fatigue and tiredness from your exercise and aid in the repair of muscle cells, which is perfect if you want to work out more or longer, or if you are a cyclist or a weightlifter where the intensity can often leave you feeling like jelly.
Tesla Men’s Cool Dry Compression Tee
This tee shirt is great for indoor or outdoor activities. It’s highly elastic and made of a polyester and spandex blend.
These shirts run tight, so you will probably want to err on the larger side when making a decision about size.
As the name implies, these shirts are designed to keep you cool and dry during workouts. They boast two-way air circulation designed by Tesla.
- High range of motion
- Might be tighter than you expect
DRSKIN Compression Tight Shirt – Great for Running
This long sleeve shirt is great all year round. It blocks 98% of UV rays from the sun. Considering that it covers the entirety of the arms, it is a great buy for someone who burns easily or wants to avoid skin damage from the sun.
It’s also ideal for winter sports and will keep you warm while you ski, snowboard, or go for a hike.
DRSKIN is a relatively new company, but one that is quickly making a name for itself in compression gear. That means the affordability of these products might not last. For now, however, they remain a great deal.
- Year-round gear
Baleaf Long Sleeve Compression Shirt – Good for Weightlifting
Baleaf’s long sleeve shirt is a bit more expensive than other non-premium compression shirts, but it’s not unaffordable by any means.
Like all compression shirts, this model promises to wick away moisture, provide elasticity, and grant the user an unrestricted range of motion.
Unlike other shirts, its sleeves are specifically designed to make the wearer’s shoulders look more muscular, which is a hilarious and awesome appeal to our vanity. From shirt
- Look great, feel great
- Who doesn’t want great-looking shoulders?
- Slightly more expensive
- No additional athletic benefits
Neleus Men’s Dry Fit
This durable compression tee is a favorite of users looking for a strong degree of compression. For others, however, that turned out to be a bug rather than a feature. Several wearers have complained about the tightness of the shirt.
If you’re interested in this compression shirt, make sure you size it correctly and, be aware that it is more than likely that you will have to order a size bigger than you initially believe you need.
These shirts are an especially good deal in terms of dollars per shirt. Note that the price advertised is for a 3 pack.
- High compression value
- Very tight
Copper Compression Recovery Tee
Ok, so this is kind of on the line between inexpensive and premium compression wear. But if you can find it on sale, it’s certainly a bargain, so I’m going to list it here.
Copper compression’s clothing is embedded with a high amount of copper, which they allege benefits muscle repair and recovery. I’m not sure about that, but I suppose it’s possible.
The shirt also supports muscles and joints and keeps the wearer warm–but most compression gear claims to do the same.
- On the expensive side for a lesser-known brand
Under Armour Men’s Sonic Compression Long Sleeve – gREA
This shirt is part of Under Armour’s Heat Gear line, which is somewhat confusingly catered to keeping the wearer cool during hot weather.
Its composition of super light, hydrophobic fabrics allows for this, as well as moisture wicking, which keeps the wearer dry.
If you’re looking for a shirt that will keep you warm in the cold weather, Under Armour also makes a line called–you guessed it: Cold Gear. By the way, this shirt also offers UV protection.
- UPF 30 sun protection
- Great for warm weather workouts
- Despite the popular brand, not really that expensive
2XU Elite Compression Shirt
On the other hand, this 2XU compression short sleeve is on the pricier side. But the extra money might be worth it.
The 2XU Elite compression tee comes with PMX weight panels located in the back and on the obliques. According to the manufacturer, these promote “postural support.”
At first, I thought this was just gibberish. But it makes sense if you think about it. The increased support in these key areas helps keep your body in line when you’re doing heavy lifting.
- Added support for lifting
- UPF 50 sun protection
- Antibacterial fabric
CW-X Traxter Top
The Traxter Top’s fabric panels are positioned so as to follow the movement of the body at key joints. Similarly, this shirt’s compression isn’t uniform but rather targeted to specific areas of the body.
That allows it to provide the benefits of compression while retaining the greatest amount of mobility for the wearer.
CW-X’s patented Cocona fabric technology is made from coconut fibers. It provides moisture wicking, UV protection, and antimicrobial properties that prevent the buildup of odor. The Traxter top is composed of 90% polyester and 10% spandex.
- Targeted compression
- UV protection
- Promotes freedom of motion
- Could provide more support; the shirt is mainly made of polyester
Nike Pro Cool Compression Top
This shirt is built for two things: comfort and support. Everything from the ergonomic seams to the Dri Fit Fabric to the back mesh panels is meant to improve the wearing experience.
It wouldn’t be right to characterize this shirt as expensive, but it’s certainly not cheap. It’s Nike, after all, and you get what you pay for. Special features of this shirt include flat seams, breathable mesh, and Nike’s signature Dri-Fit fabric.
Be forewarned: these shirts tend to run a little small, so buy a size bigger than you think you’ll need.
- Super comfortable
- Mesh keeps you cool
- Not that expensive
- These shirts run small
Tommie Copper Recovery Moxie – Good option for Golf
Tommie Copper boasts that its company sells the original copper and zinc-infused fabric.
This shirt is made of a blend of 86% copper-infused polyester and 14% spandex. That gives it a flexible and shape-conforming fit that provides support and keeps the wearer cool.
Like the Nike Pro Cool Compression shirt, this tee is meant to provide compression that keeps the muscles in line during lifts and other physical activity.
- Copper-infused fabric cools skin during workouts
- Can be expensive, depending on where you buy
- Claims to do pretty much what every other compression shirt does
When should you use a compression shirt?
Although compression shirts are very helpful, if you have any sort of injuries, you should ask a doctor or physician before wearing a compression shirt. Some injuries can be harmed with too much compression just as too much or too intense exercise can further injuries.
After you’ve consulted your doctor about your own personal needs, the compression shirt can be very helpful for your injury.
The shirts can help to reduce excess muscle movement which can localize and pinpoint which muscles you want to work out while protecting any injured or sore muscles from damage.
The reduction in soreness that compression shirts offer can also be beneficial to someone with a minor injury as it can make the workout less painful and in turn, more enjoyable.
If recommended by a doctor, exercising any injuries can be difficult if it hurts every time you move. The compression can make it possible.
Other great features found in compression shirts are that it pulls sweat away from your body in a process called wicking. This can also help to keep you cool naturally, working with your own body’s processes.
As you sweat, the sweat itself isn’t what keeps you cool, it’s the evaporation and removal of the sweat that cools you. The removal of sweat can keep you dry and comfortable while preventing chafing and rashes from forming on sensitive areas of your skin.
It can also maintain warmth in colder surroundings, though you should always take your own body into consideration when deciding whether or not to bring a jacket along.
Since compression shirts are skin tight, it is common for people to wear them as undergarments with regular athletic clothing on top.
It isn’t noticeable in anything other than color if you happen to wear white over a dark compression shirt.
The versatility of compression shirts allows many people to use them for their workouts, especially because of the fact that you can comfortably layer clothes on top of it and still get the best results.
Compression shirts can bare all with the form fitting qualities, so putting clothes on top can provide the same benefits with the compression shirt while making you feel more comfortable wherever you may be working out.
What style should I get?
Compression shirts are available in many different styles such as long sleeve, short sleeve, tank top, and even sleeveless which is useful in sports like volleyball where you need full range of movement in your arms but still want the benefits of the compression. Or you can just buy one of the best compression arm sleeves.
If you aren’t sure which style of compression shirt you should go with for your own workouts, you should test out each style and find which one works the best for you, but before you spend money on anything, having a general idea of what you’re looking for is extremely helpful in deciding in a shirt.
Although the difference in appearance between a long sleeve shirt and a short sleeve shirt is obvious, the physical benefits can differ. Long sleeve shirts will increase the force of compression for your body overall, even extending the support into your forearms and wrists.
Short sleeve compression shirts stop just between the bicep and triceps muscles, which can add additional support to those muscles in particular due to the fabrics contours around the muscles.
If you want more upper arm support, a short sleeve shirt may be the best, but if you would like consistent support around your entire upper body, a long sleeve may be the best. If you need less restriction around the arms, a tank top or sleeveless compression shirt may be the best for you.
If you would like to check out a long sleeve compression shirt, the Under Armour Sonic Compression Shirt is our top pick. For a short sleeve style, the 2XU Elite Compression Shirt is our recommendation.