The 10 best compression shirts for workouts 2021

The use of compression shirts to improve athletic performance has gained quite a bit of popularity.

They can keep athletes of any experience level warm or cool depending on the weather.

Also, they will keep you dry and provide support to your muscles. Some are designed to help you recover faster.

Others enhance appearance by making the midsection look slimmer. They fit very tight like a second skin but still allow users to move freely.

If you’ve been thinking about trying one, our guide will help you pick the best compression shirt for you. Let’s go!

In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:

Best Compression Shirt

Reviews – The Best Compression Shirt

CompressionZ Men’s Quick Dry Compression Athletic Shirt – Best Overall

The CompressionZ Men’s Quick Dry Compression Athletic Shirt is a long sleeve base layer shirt.

It’s designed to be supportive, comfortable, and lightweight. It’s made from sweat-wicking, breathable nylon spandex material.

It’s designed for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes to protect the muscles as well as help them recover faster.

It will help keep athletes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

When you look at the features, the CompressionZ Compression Athletic Shirt is the best overall compression shirt. 

PROS

  • Breathable – Prevents Moisture From Reaching Your Body
  • Supports Recovery
  • Lightweight & Comfortable

CONS

  • Like Many Compression Shirts, May Be Too Tight For Some Users

Nike Men Pro Compression Long-Sleeve Mock Top – Best For Beginners

The Nike Men Pro Compression Mock Top is made of Dri-Fit stretchable nylon fabric designed for comfort.

It fits tight, and the ergonomic design provides support for your muscles yet lets you move freely.

The fabric helps keep moisture away from the skin, and there are mesh sections built into the shirt to improve airflow.

Additionally, the seams lay flat against the skin to avoid irritation.

Have you heard about compression shirts and would like to try one?

The Nike Pro Compression Mock Top has good features that fit most budgets, making it the best choice for beginners. 

PROS

  • Tight Supportive Fit
  • Keeps Your Skin Dry
  • Ergonomically Designed

CONS

  • Some Users Do Not Like The Way The Neck Fits

Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Sonic Compression S/S Tee – Best For All Day Wear

This Under Armour Men’s HeatGear Sonic Compression Tee is made of 84% polyester and 16% elastane. This gives it a tight yet unrestrictive fit.

The shirt features a Moisture Transport System that helps you stay warm and keeps moisture away from your body.

There’s also a special anti-odor technology that prevents odor bacteria growth. This Tee is supportive and feels like a second skin, yet it’s comfortable enough to wear all day.

PROS

  • Fits Tight Yet Unrestrictive
  • Designed To Wear All Day
  • Sweat Wicking & Odor Control 

CONS

  • Some Users Feel The Shirt Is Too Small

Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Polartec Mock Shirt – Best Cold Weather Compression Shirt

The Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Polartec Mock Shirt is specifically designed for cold weather athletic activities.

The shirt consists of a dual-layer fabric that has a thermal layer on the inside and a quick-drying outer layer.

The Polartec Shirt fits tight yet allows easy movability and is designed to be breathable.

The fabric is an 87% polyester/13% elastane blend that is moisture-wicking and allows movement in any direction.

If you spend a lot of time training outside in cold weather conditions, this is the best cold-weather compression shirt.

PROS

  • Dual-Layer Compression Shirt Specifically Designed For Cold Weather Athletic Activities
  • Thermal Interior Layer & Water-Repellent Exterior Layer
  • Fits Tight For Support & Protection

CONS

  • Pricey

Neleus Men’s 3 Pack Athletic Compression Sport Tank Top – Best Value

Available as a value-oriented 3-pack, the Neleus Men’s Compression Sport Tank Top is made of an 85% polyester/15% spandex blend.

The material is tight-fitting yet stretchable, and the fabric is moisture-wicking.

The seams are meant to lay flat against the skin to prevent irritation.

These Tanks perform well for any sport or athletic activity, indoors or outdoors.

They are designed to keep you dry, provide support, and keep you comfortable.

PROS

  • Comes In A Value 3-Pack
  • Moisture-Wicking Fabric
  • Designed For Any Athletic Activity

CONS

  • Some Users Feel The Tags On The Inside Cause Irritation

Neleus Women’s 3-Pack Dry Fit Compression Shirt – Best Women’s Compression Shirt

The Neleus Women’s Dry Fit is our pick for the best women’s compression shirt.

It’s ergonomically designed to provide good compression and an improved range of motion.

It’s lightweight, fits tight, and provides good support.

Also, these shirts have flat seams that will not cause skin irritation.

The Neleus Women’s Dry Fit Shirt is breathable, moisture-wicking, and good for both indoor as well as outdoor athletic activities.

Additionally, they come in a value-oriented 3-pack.

PROS

  • Available In A Value Priced 3 Pack
  • Fits Tight – Provides Support & Protection
  • Designed For Outdoor Or Indoor Training & Sports

CONS

  • Some Users Feel The Shirt Is Not Tight Enough, Especially In The Stomach Area

2XU Men’s Compression Short Sleeve Top – Best Short Sleeve Compression Shirt

The 2XU Men’s Compression Top is the best short sleeve compression shirt. It’s made of a 72% nylon/28% elastane blend that uses certified gradient compression.

This means it is designed for good oxygen flow to your muscles.

It provides protection, supports performance, and enhances recovery.

Additionally, by supporting correct muscle alignment, the 2XU Compression Tops improve posture, power, and endurance.

The fabric is moisture-wicking and includes mesh panels for breathability.

Also, they are antibacterial and feature SPF 50 sun protection.

The 2XU provides balanced compression that still allows users to move in multiple directions.

PROS

  • Gradual Compression Designed To Protect & Support Your Muscles
  • Improves Power & Athletic Performance
  • Polyester/Elastane Blend

CONS

  • Expensive

Champion Men’s Double Dry Compression Shirt – Best Budget 

The Champion Men’s Double Dry Compression Shirt is long sleeve and features an 84% polyester/16% spandex blend.

The fabric is moisture-wicking, and the logo is reflective for safety if you are training outdoors around sunrise or sunset.

The shirt is tight-fitting, and all seams are flat so there’s no skin irritation.

Also, there are no loose inside tags that may cause chafing.

Overall, the Champion Men’s Double Dry has good features and is the best budget compression shirt.

PROS

  • Excellent Price Point
  • Tight Fitting, Moisture Wicking Fabric 
  • No Inside Tags & Flat Seams To Protect Skin 

CONS

  • May Not Be The Best Fit For Taller Users

Wonderience Undershirt Slimming Tank Top – Best Body Shaping Compression Shirt

The Wonderience Undershirt Slimming Tank Top is a body-shaping zippered vest that’s meant to pull in the stomach and improve posture.

The Wonderience Undershirt is made of 60% nylon and 40% spandex. It’s designed to give men a smooth upper body appearance under a dress or other form-fitting shirt.

It also provides back support with steel “bones” in the lower back and double layer fabric on the upper back.

There’s double compression in the front stomach area to hide any midsection problems.

This shirt is designed to be worn under any type of form-fitting shirt.

It can be worn to work or when you work out to enhance your appearance.

PROS

  • Designed To Improve Body Appearance
  • Wear Under A Dress Shirt Or Any Form-Fitting Shirt
  • Wear It To Work, Special Occasions & When You Work Out

CONS

  • May Not Fit Men With Larger Stomachs

Huge Sports Wildling Series Compression Shirt – Best Design

The uniquely styled Huge Sports Compression Shirt features a blend of 80% polyamide and 20% elastane.

It also provides UPF 50+ sun protection. The shirts combine animal and geometry designs for a one of a kind look.

These shirts are designed for outdoor athletic activities including water sports.

It’s made of a breathable 2-way stretch fabric that helps eliminate moisture and excessive heat.

Additionally, it provides support to your muscles to help prevent energy loss.

The unique style makes this the compression shirt with the best design.

PROS

  • Provides UV Protection
  • Features Exclusive Animal & Geometric Designs
  • Relieves Muscular Fatigue

CONS

  • May Cause Itching

Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Compression Shirt?

What Is A Compression Shirt?

A compression shirt is a tight-fitting long sleeve or short sleeve T that provides support to your muscles. They are meant to be hard to get into and they fit very tight, like a “second-skin”.

A compression shirt can keep the muscles dry and warm, as well as help reduce fatigue. Some shirts improve performance and support post-workout recovery by increasing blood flow.

Others help posture and can improve your overall upper body appearance.

Beyond these features, they are moisture-wicking, anti-odor, and are designed to have flat seams that prevent skin irritation. 

What You Should Look For In a Compression Shirt

Sleeve Length

Long Sleeve – This is the most popular compression shirt. It works well as a base layer for colder weather athletic activities but can be used in any climate. It’s also popular for people engaged in weight training in general and CrossFit in particular. These shirts are moisture-wicking and help keep the body warm or cool.

Short Sleeve – This style is common and has the same advantages as the long sleeve compression shirts. 

Sleeveless Tank or Vest – Body shaping style compression shirts may come as a regular style shirt. They can also come in a vest style that can be zippered. These shirts are designed to minimize the appearance of an overweight midsection. They allow users to look trimer in a dress shirt, polo shirt, or any other form-fitting shirt.

The Fit

As noted, compression shirts are meant to be tight fitting. To get the benefits of a compression shirt, it needs to fit right. The best compression shirts should be hard to put on and fit tight but not restrictive. You should be able to move in any direction. 

Fabric & Stretchability

Many compression shirts are made of a blend of polyester or nylon, and elastane or spandex. A properly made shirt should stretch 4-5 times its normal size. Some shirts are made to allow movement in the arms and shoulders. As noted, expect these to fit tight but still allow you to perform your workout or activity. 

Heat Or Cold

Compression shirts can be designed for cold weather activities like football, winter sports, or jogging/running. Some are designed for warmer weather events and are moisture-wicking as well as quick cooling. Make sure your shirt fits the style of athletic activities you plan to engage in. 

Tags & Seams

To prevent skin irritation, most compression shirts have seams that lay flat and feel smooth to the touch. Many others do not include loose tags on the inside, using tags printed into the shirt. These features prevent the irritating chafing that may occur from rough seams or loose tags that constantly rub against your upper back or neck. 

Budget

Of course, budget is a consideration for many people and some of these shirts can be pricey. It goes without saying that if budget is a concern, value-shop for the best features. Your budget does not have to stop you from getting a high-quality compression shirt. 

Types Of Compression Shirts

There are three fundamental types of compression shirts. Let’s look at each one:

Athletic Build

This type of compression shirt is thin and stretchy. They are designed to support but also reveal the muscles. They allow good movement, are moisture-wicking and prevent odor. This style can be cooling, or provide warmth, and some may have sun protection. 

Recovery

Recovery style compression shirts are made of a material that’s designed to keep the muscles warm. They are a good choice for outside training and help stabilize the working muscles. These shirts blend support and stretchability to improve post-workout blood flow. This improves nutrient delivery and helps the body flush out lactic acid. They also help decrease post-workout soreness.

Additionally, some shirts have gradual compression, which means they are tight in some areas and loose in others. This helps improve oxygen delivery. To get the best results, these shirts should be worn for 2-4 hours. It should be noted that these shirts are tight and may be uncomfortable for some users. 

Body Shaping 

This type of shirt is meant for people that may have allowed themselves to slip out of shape. Perhaps your lifestyle has become too hectic but you plan to get back to the gym. In the meantime, a body shaping compression shirt can help you look your best. They will have a lot of midsection compression and will be hard to put on. Some, like the Wonderience Compression Tank, is vest-style and uses a zipper. Others will need to be stepped into. 

Some users may be concerned about parts of the body showing but the best shirts do not allow this to happen. This means there are no armhole problems, or any other problems of fat bulging out. These shirts often have metal strips that prevent them from rolling. Finally, choosing a shirt that fits smooth with flat seams and no zipper will help others from detecting what you are wearing. 

Conclusion

If you’ve decided to try a compression shirt and want the best overall, the CompressionZ Men’s Quick Dry Compression Athletic Shirt is the choice for you. It acts as a long sleeve base layer shirt that’s lightweight, tight, and supportive. It’s designed for anyone but specifically designed for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes that want good protection and muscle recovery.

Are you not quite the athlete you want to be but still want to look good? The Wonderience Undershirt Slimming Tank Top can be worn underneath your dress shirt or polo shirt. It’s a zip-up vest style shirt that will make you look slimmer in the midsection. 

Perhaps you need something to wear in the cold weather. The Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Polartec Mock Shirt is designed for any cold-weather training. From intense winter sports to simply jogging or running in cold temperatures, this is the shirt for you. It’s dual-layer with a thermal layer inside and a quick-drying, windbreaker-like outer layer. It will keep you warm and provide the support you need. 

As you’ve seen in our guide, there’s a compression shirt that’s the best choice for your needs. 

Why wait, get yours and get more out of your training!

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