The 7 Best Compression Shirts

By Emily Aldridge | 2021 Update

Update: The best compression shirt for men is the Baleaf Men’s Long Sleeve Shirt. And the best for women is the COOVY Sports ATHLETE Women Compression Shirt.

Both of these products are top sellers in the category.

Make sure to check out the other best-rated products too.

Best Compression Shirts – My Top Picks

Top ProductsBest Features
1. Baleaf Men’s Long Sleeve Running Fitness Workout Compression Base Layer ShirtComfortable fit, breathable fabric, keeps warm and dry
2. Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Armour Short Sleeve Compression ShirtIncreased mobility, cuts down recovery time, keeps body firm
3. COOVY Sports ATHLETE Women Compression Under Base Layer Armour Long Sleeve ShirtGreat fit, comfortable material, breathable fabric
4. 2XU Women’s Elite Compression Short Sleeve TopExcellent support for core and back, reduce muscle swelling and soreness, faster recovery

Best Compression Shirts for Men


Baleaf Men’s Long Sleeve Running Fitness Workout Compression Base Layer Shirt

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I’m an older runner. I don’t compete. I’m running to live, not living to run, and I got my share of blue ribbons and gold medals when I was a kid. I don’t need to run any races to prove anything to myself. I just want to stay alive.

That said, when I saw the trend I figured it had nothing to do with me. I don’t care about performance. And I thought I’d be embarrassed to wear a form-fitting compression shirt. I still have a lot of muscles in my chest and shoulders, but they’re not in the shape they used to be. I’d rather hide them with a loose t-shirt or sweatshirt than show them off to the world.

However, I was suffering more and more from muscle soreness and getting out of breath while running. It was getting so I dreaded the morning after every workout. Finally, my wife convinced me to try out this shirt, and I’m glad I did.

I followed the advice to buy a size higher, and it fit snugly, but comfortably. It slid right across my skin. I’m normally a simple plain cotton kind of guy, but this material felt smooth, not artificial.


  • Comfortable fit
  • Kept me warm when I ran in cool weather
  • Kept my skin pretty dry when I ran in hot weather despite all the water I sweat
  • Made my run feel easier. I didn’t get as out of breath despite keeping to a slow pace. I felt better when I finished.


  • In cold winter weather, I still need to wear heavier gear over it, especially when the wind blows.


Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Armour Short Sleeve Compression Shirt

Review from another expert: I’m an HIIT runner, which stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. That’s just a fancy term for what we used to call wind sprints. I was motivated to try out compression gear when I read how it helps improve speed and performance.

I’m not a racer, but I am interested in efficiency. I’m running for heart health, so anything that can boost the effectiveness of my workouts is a benefit. Plus, after the intense sprinting, it used to take me, at least, one full day off to recover.

Thanks to wearing this shirt, I have gone from running my workout three times a week to four times. And I have more energy later in the evening. I don’t fall asleep before the news comes on.


  • I feel faster, just like Superman in my skin-tight uniform.
  • Without my old, loose T-shirt flapping in the wind, I think I actually am faster.
  • Cuts my recovering time. Before, I couldn’t run two days in a row. Now, I do run on Saturday and Sunday. And still have energy on Monday.
  • It keeps my chest from jiggling.


  • It feels bulky when the weather is hot even though it does wick the sweat off my skin.

Best Compression Shirts for Women 2019


COOVY Sports ATHLETE Women Compression Under Base Layer Armour Long Sleeve Shirt

( From a Female Expert) I’m very happy with this top. The fit is very snug, and I had to get used to the constant feeling of being squeezed, but I just kept remembering that I wanted a compression shirt. I enjoy wearing it for all my outside activities, not just when jogging, but when I play golf and tennis, take long walks in the park and pull weeds in the garden. I live in a warm environment and I like how this material wicks my sweat away from my skin.

That keeps me feeling fresh and dry underneath the thin material. That seems a little counter-intuitive, but it works. With a loose top or blouse, I’d be feeling sweaty wet and frazzled.

The long sleeves get a little prickly in this weather, but aren’t bad, and they keep the mosquitoes off.

The shipping was good. The package arrived quickly. Would recommend.


  • Good fit.
  • The material itself feel comfortable.
  • Good for all outside activities.
  • The cloth is breathable.


  • When the temperature gets down really cold or really hot, I still feel it. This top is good for a middle range.


2XU Women’s Elite Compression Short Sleeve Top

From Female Expert 2: I’m in training to run my first marathon, and so I’m taking it quite seriously. This top is just what I need to help me feel like the athlete I’m striving to become. I like how it supports my running form by supporting my core. When I finish my evening run, I’m almost ready for more. No more soreness or cramps afterward or the morning after.

It fits well, perhaps just a little too tight under the arms. I like the short sleeves when I run in hot weather. The rest of it wicks the sweat away and keeps me dry, but I just like the feel of bare arms when it’s that warm.

Also, I warm up faster. It only takes five minutes now to get me relaxed and zooming instead often with the blood flowing fast.


  • Support for back, shoulders and core muscles. That helps to keep my running form.
  • Short sleeves
  • Faster recovery
  • Less muscle swelling and soreness


  • To get the full after-workout benefit, you have to wear a compression shirt for several hours. I want to pull it off and take a shower.

What Are Compression Shirts? Why Are They Used?

Compression gear started out as items of clothing provided to people who needed extra support. Compression socks and pantyhose could help people who had to stand on their feet for a long time or had poor circulation. Compression garments on the legs helped prevent deep vein thrombosis and reduced swelling.

About five or six years ago, athletes began discovering benefits from wearing compression garments during and after their workouts. Because they fit so closely and snugly, they do not chafe or cause rashes. Athletes also claimed the wearing of such clothing reduced post-workout muscle pain and stiffness and recovery time. It reduced the time it takes for your body to repair muscle damaged caused by athletic workouts. This enables the athlete to work out harder and more often, reducing the time it gets to maximize their physical performance. This is especially important for training for a specific event taking place at a fixed time.

Athletic sportswear fits very snugly because it’s form-fitting. It’s usually made of spandex. Athletes wear compression shirts, shorts, socks, tights and underwear.

Compression gears keep the athlete’s muscles warmer, reducing fatigue and strain. It draws sweat away from the skin like a wick, keeping skin drier, which helps to prevent rashes.

By applying direct pressure to exercised muscles, compression garments in effect act as a massage, reducing soreness and inflammation caused by the stress of the workout. This is a great benefit to everybody who does not have access to a professional masseuse after every workout.

Athletes who continue to wear compression gear for several hours after their workouts report reduced swelling and tiredness, verified by research.

Scientists studied a group of cyclists over the age of 60. They found this group had less lactic acid buildup in their muscles when they wore compression socks.

Compression shirts, socks, shorts and sleeves act like a second pump pushing your blood through your veins. They squeeze blood back to your heart, saving you energy, reducing fatigue.

Some athletes believe this helps improve their speed. According to one study, compression socks improved speed by 1.5-2.2 percent. That seems tiny, but at the level of world-class sports, it’s huge. In the Olympics, that was the difference between Usain Bolt and the fourth-place finisher. And they could run for 4 percent longer.

The best compression shirts can help weightlifters and other athletes who exercise their upper bodies during workouts to recover more quickly and suffer less inflammation.

Benefits of Compression Shirts

Compression shirts can benefit performance for athletes who carry out fast, explosive movement that requires maximally oxygenated blood in a minimal time. That includes weight lifters, sprinters and basketball players. The shirts keep the blood flowing efficiently through the veins, giving your heart a helping hand. That increases the athlete’s efficient use of energy.

They can also help men and women who are loose in the upper chest. Jiggling can be embarrassing for both men and women while they’re running around their neighborhood. Compression shirts hold everything in tight to their chests.

They are great for a wide range of temperatures. They help keep you warm in chilly weather and cool and dry in hot weather.

For athletes who really work their arm and chest muscles, their use can help reduce lactic acid in those muscles.

They also help reduce post-workout inflammation and soreness. When you wear them for an hour or two following the workout, the shirts reduce recovery time. This enables you to workout again more quickly.

It also reduces morning-after muscle soreness. Apparently, the best compression shirts, by increasing blood flow, help muscles restock their store of glycogen.

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