Like most workout apparel, compression shorts aren’t complicated. The right pair should keep you cool, dry, and comfortable through even the toughest workout. While there is no one ultimate pair of men’s compression shorts, these are the things to look for when shopping for the best compression shorts for you:
Ideal compression: Of course, the most important feature of compression shorts is—wait for it—the compression. But, finding the right compression for you can be a challenge, especially if you’re not used to wearing ultra-tight shorts. You want a pair that fits very snugly, but not so tight that it’s unflattering or you feel “squeezed” while wearing them. If you’re buying your first pair of compression shorts, consider sizing up until your body gets accustomed to the feel.
Inseam matters: Choosing an inseam is partly about looks, but it’s also about supporting the right muscle groups. Longer inseams tend to stay in place better without the notorious compression short “ride-up.” Full-length compression shorts also target your hamstrings and quads which may be better for, say, cycling. Shorts with shorter inseams (5 inches or less) are better at targeting the glutes and hips. Just keep in mind that the shorter they are, the more likely they’ll be to ride up and or chafe. There’s no “right” inseam—it’s a matter of personal preference and what works with your fitness routine.
It’s all about the stretch: Every pair of men’s compression shorts we’ve researched or field-tested is made of a blend of either polyester or nylon, plus some amount of stretchy fabric like elastane or spandex. The more stretch fabric, the more give; the more give, the looser the compression. Again, it’s about the right fit for you.
Price: Thankfully, compression shorts aren’t expensive. Even the best models are typically under $70. But you can also score good, budget-conscious shorts for less than $10 per pair. Bottom line: You don’t have to spend a fortune.