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Best Compression Leggings for Women

Updated April 2023
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
CW-X Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tight
CW-X
Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tight
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Extra Support
Bottom Line

An exceptional design with patented Exo-Web technology provides extra support for hips and knees during medium- and high-intensity workouts.

Pros

Made from 80% Coolmax polyester, these leggings move moisture away from the body to keep you cool and dry. The other 20% is Lycra spandex to give you plenty of stretch to move freely. Machine washable. Form-fitting. Comes in 10 colors. Sizes range from XS to XXL.

Cons

Some reported they were too thick for warmer months.

Best Bang for the Buck
DSG Plus-Size High-Waisted Workout Leggings
DSG
Plus-Size High-Waisted Workout Leggings
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Plus-Sizes
Bottom Line

These compression-fit pants get our expert's stamp of approval for their skin-like feel and durability.

Pros

You control the compression with an easy-to-move fit that contorts to your natural body shape and movement. Flatlock seaming gives it a consistent feel all around. Mesh paneling provides strategic ventilation for sweat-prone areas. These are recommended for plus-size gym enthusiasts who prefer a smooth fit.

Cons

Not the ideal fit for squats and other workouts that test its stretchability.

C9 Champion 7/8 Pocket Leggings
C9 Champion
7/8 Pocket Leggings
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Side Pockets
Bottom Line

With pockets on both sides, these leggings are a must-have for their convenience.

Pros

Quick-drying. Stretchable fabric. Made from polyester and spandex. High-rise elastic waistband. Breathable. Two side pockets. UPF 50+ sun protection. Wicks sweat away. Allows mobility. Odor-resistant. Machine-washable. Sizes range from XS to M.

Cons

Some buyers found the length to be shorter than expected.

Compressionz Plus-size Capri-Style Compression Leggings
CompressionZ
Plus-size Capri-Style Compression Leggings
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More stores

American-Made
Bottom Line

These body-slimming compression pants are made of four-way fabric that wicks away sweat and prevents chafing.

Pros

The washer-friendly fabric stretches wide without becoming see-through. They're breathable during hot and humid workouts. CompressionZ capris give you plenty of leg support but keep your lower legs free.

Cons

There aren't any pockets, and the seams tend to come undone.

Under Armour High-Wasted Compression Leggings with Pockets
Under Armour
High-Wasted Compression Leggings with Pockets
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

Stay agile and flexible without worrying about your workout pants thanks to Under Armour's high-waisted addition.

Pros

The polyester flexes and contorts with you. The breathable material makes sure you're not held back by your own sweat. It's machine-washable and stays wearable through many, many washes. People love these for their modesty, protection, and comfort.

Cons

Some think they are too snug to be compression leggings.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best compression leggings for women

Whether running, playing sports, practicing yoga or lifting weights at the gym, compression leggings offer a range of benefits to improve your athletic performance.

By increasing your blood flow and improving circulation, compression leggings can actually make your muscles feel less fatigued as you work out. This can help you run that extra mile or manage an additional few reps before your muscles give up for the day. The tightness of these leggings also positively affects the proprioceptive system, which detects force and pressure and provides body awareness. This increases balance, so you may find you can hold yoga poses for longer or feel more stable when attempting tricky dance moves.

What's more, you can keep wearing these leggings after exercise to boost your post-workout recovery. In doing so, you'll decrease muscle tightness, fatigue and soreness. There's no harm in wearing compression leggings all day as long as they fit right and you're comfortable.

We think CW-X Women's Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tights are the best around, offering impressive support while you work out and during post-exercise recovery. We also love Dragon Fit Compression Yoga Pants as a more affordable choice that's great for everyday exercisers rather than serious athletes.

Best compression leggings for women

CW-X Women's Stabilyx Joint Support Compression Tights

If you're serious about sports or fitness, these leggings are worth the investment. Designed for moderate and intense activity, they provide targeted support for the knees, hips, pelvis and lower back. This gives you extra stability, balance and power to help your body achieve more, no matter what kind of workouts, sports or exercise you engage in.

Despite the heavy compression and impressive support, they still allow you a full range of motion, so you won't feel restricted as you move. The four-way stretch fabric is moisture-wicking to keep you comfortable while you exercise.

Dragon Fit Compression Yoga Pants

While high-end compression tights are great, not everyone has the budget for them. These Dragon Fit compression yoga pants provide great value for exercisers who want a bargain. The soft, breathable fabric helps you exercise in comfort whether you're hitting the gym, going for a run or playing sports.

Figuring out how to carry essentials with you while you exercise can be a major inconvenience, but conveniently, these leggings have four hidden pockets in the waistband.

C9 Champion Women's 7/8 Sculpt Leggings

Thanks to their 7/8-length, these leggings have a relaxed, sporty look and are great for warmer weather wear. They also appeal to shorter people who are tired of their leggings bunching at the ankles. The matte moisture-wicking fabric feels soft to the touch and makes them comfortable against the skin.

We love the two side pockets that are large enough to hold most phones or other small essentials, such as keys or a credit card. The high waist gives you core support and helps keep them in place.

Compressionz High-Waisted Women's Leggings

These high-waisted compression leggings are made from a four-way stretch fabric that moves with you and stays opaque, even when you squat. The moisture-wicking material helps keep you cool and comfortable no matter how hard you go. And, thanks to the flat stitching, you won't experience chafing.

You can pick from options with and without pockets. So, if you want to carry anything with you while you exercise, make sure you choose leggings with pockets.

Compressionz Compression Capri Leggings for Women

With their capri length, these leggings reach around the mid-calf, making them suitable for warm weather and strenuous activity. The four-way stretch material gives you a comfortable range of motion and is completely opaque, so there's no need to worry when wearing them in public.

The moisture-wicking material helps you stay cool and dry, even when you sweat heavily. Plus, the material offers ultraviolet protection to keep your skin safe from the sun while you exercise.

C9 Champion Women's High-Waisted Jacquard Leggings

Leggings don't have to be boring; these have a textured jacquard finish that looks stylish while providing plenty of compression and support. Not only does the fabric wick away moisture, but it also dries quickly to keep you comfortable over long periods of time — even when pushing yourself to your limits.

Are you worried about where to stash your phone and keys when you go for a run? The two side pockets in these C9 Champion leggings are deep enough to keep them safe.

Under Armour Women's HeatGear High-Waisted Pocketed Capri

Despite offering firm compression, these leggings are made from a super-lightweight fabric that won't weigh you down and keeps you feeling cool. The material gives you a full range of motion with a four-way stretch that moves well in all directions.

If you feel restricted or too warm in full-length leggings, you'll be pleased with the short capri length. The drop-in side pocket is just the right size to hold the average phone, while the flatlock seams are comfortable and chafe-free.

Under Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Leggings

Anyone who likes the sound of the HeatGear Capri Leggings above — but prefers a full-length design — should check these out. There's no need to feel uncomfortable or experience chafing while you run when you have flatlock seams like these.

These Under Armour leggings are made from a light fabric that's breathable and wicks away sweat, so even the most strenuous of exercise feels less taxing. The waistband doesn't slip, so you won't find yourself having to stop to pull up your leggings.

Danskin Women's Double Brushed 7/8 Leggings

The double-brushed finish of these leggings makes them feel beautifully soft, but they also wick moisture from your skin to keep you comfortable during exercise. The thigh pockets are great for carrying those small essentials that you need to bring with you but aren't worth carrying a bag for.

You get core support from the wide waistband, which also serves to keep these leggings in place. Some people prefer this 7/8-length over the full-length option.

Nike Women's Fast Crop Leggings

Made from a blend of polyester and spandex with a tight fit, you can expect secure, supportive compression from these leggings. However, they still allow a great range of motion, so you won't feel restricted.

Nike's Dri-FIT technology effectively wicks sweat from the skin, so you'll remain cool and comfortable, even when exercising hard. The cropped design and mesh panels on the backs of the calves help keep you from overheating on hot days.

CRZ Yoga Women's Butterluxe Workout Leggings

If you're looking for leggings with gentle compression, these are an excellent choice. They're made of buttery soft fabric and don't feel at all restrictive, yet they still offer support for increased balance and performance.

Fully opaque and squat-proof, you don't have to worry about showing anything you don't want to show when wearing these. You can choose from a standard 28-inch length or a slightly cropped 25-inch option. The side pockets provide storage for essentials such as your keys, card and phone.

Gayhay Compression Leggings

With their affordable price, these leggings are for consumers on a budget. They're made from fabric with a four-way stretch that moves with you and stays opaque no matter what. The high waist helps keep them in place while offering core support.

You won't have to concern yourself over what to do with your belongings when exercising outdoors because the two side pockets can hold your basic essentials. Choose from full-length and capri options.

Amazon Essentials Women's Compression Yoga Pants

Compression fabric can still be soft and comfortable to wear, as these leggings prove. They feel extremely light, yet they offer support that can help improve your athletic performance. The moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and comfortable in all conditions.

With flat interlock seams, chafing is a thing of the past. The two side pockets come in handy when you don't want to carry a bag or a waist pack. They come in six designs, including a leopard print and a snake print.

HeyNuts Essential Hawthorne Leggings

The super-soft fabric is perfect for anyone concerned with comfort and makes these leggings great for all-day wear, even with the compression fit. The waistband features a small interior pocket that lets you store small items.

Thanks to the flat seams, they don't rub, even during extended exercise sessions and when you get sweaty. In fact, the fabric wicks moisture from the skin to keep you dry, so sweat-related chafing isn't a problem.

90 Degree By Reflex High-Waisted Squat Proof Capris

These leggings offer gentle compressive support while being stretchy enough to move with you. The four-way stretch allows a full range of motion and helps them stretch without becoming see-through.

The capri length is great for warm weather and anyone who prefers the cropped look. The seams are flat, which significantly reduces the chance of chafing. The hidden key pocket is ideal for anyone who doesn’t mind leaving their phone at home while they exercise.

 

Expert tip
Compression leggings can easily shrink. Always hang dry after each wash. 
BestReviews Fitness Expert

What to know before you buy compression leggings for women

Outerwear vs. underwear

Women’s compression leggings are available in two styles: outerwear and underwear.

Outerwear compression leggings are meant to be worn on their own and provide support for the muscles in your legs while running, biking or performing other activities involving the lower body. They usually have durable stitching to withstand intense workouts and are more elastic to allow for better stretch to help maintain compression without ripping.

Underwear compression leggings are typically shorter than outerwear styles and designed to be worn under shorts or other workout pants. They take the place of other underwear because the leggings are so tight that wearing anything beneath them could be uncomfortable. Underwear compression leggings provide stability and support to the muscles in the legs and are effective at wicking away moisture during workouts.

Fit

Compression leggings must be tight to stimulate blood flow and support the legs. A tight fit also helps prevent your leggings from loosening when they’re wet with sweat and helps keep you warm in windy weather.

However, compression leggings shouldn’t be so tight that they restrict circulation. They should feel comfortable and allow for easy movement while the wearer is working out. You don’t need to buy a size down when shopping because these leggings are designed to provide a tighter fit.

Pay attention to the placement of the seams, too. They should sit comfortably on the legs and follow the line of your muscles so they don’t chafe or irritate your skin during exercise. Flatlock seams that don’t have excess material are the best option for compression leggings worn for workouts.

Opacity

Nobody wants to walk around in leggings that aren't totally opaque. If you plan to buy compression leggings for outerwear, consider how opaque they are when you’re wearing them. Because the material is designed to stretch as you move, some leggings can get fairly sheer when you bend, exposing you in a way you don’t want.

Thicker leggings are a safer bet because they typically stay opaque, even when you bend and stretch. If you intend to wear your leggings under shorts, the opacity doesn’t really matter since you’ll have coverage for the areas you don’t want to show off.

Expert tip
Compression tights should fit very snugly, but not so snugly that they restrict functional movement patterns.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

Compression leggings for women features

Components

Waistband: Women’s compression leggings all have an elastic waistband for a comfortable fit. Most are simple spandex waistbands that are comfortable and stretchy enough for basic workouts, but they can differ in their rise. Some leggings have a high-rise waistband that covers up to the navel; others have a mid-rise waistband that hits at the natural waist. High-rise waistbands provide more support while staying flexible enough for easy movement.

Pockets: Leggings with pockets make life easier. When you’re running, cycling or working out, it helps to have a pocket to carry essential items like your keys or ID. Many pairs of compression leggings have a pocket at the waist for small items, while some have a pocket on the thigh that’s large enough to hold a phone. Zippered pockets are an excellent option because you don’t have to worry about items falling out when you’re running or exercising.

Reflective panels: If you plan to wear your compression leggings for running or other outdoor activities in low light, look for a pair with reflective panels. They pick up the light, so you’re more visible on the road after dark and in the early morning.

Length

Most compression leggings are full length, extending to the ankle or just above it. Some pairs are cropped, hitting just below the knee or mid-calf. Legging length is usually a matter of preference. For year-round use, a full-length pair works best, but you might thank yourself for buying cropped leggings for use in warmer weather.

Moisture-wicking

You don't want to end up weighed down in wet, sweaty leggings, so to help yourself stay comfortable during workouts, choose leggings made from a moisture-wicking fabric. These materials move moisture away from the skin so the fabric doesn’t feel wet and uncomfortable when you sweat.

You can usually tell if compression leggings are moisture-wicking by sprinkling some water on the fabric. If it spreads out quickly, the leggings can effectively move the moisture away from the skin and help it evaporate. Leggings made of fabric that allows water to bead up on it can get soaked pretty quickly.

Color/pattern

Who says you have to choose between fashion and function? Leggings come in a wide range of colors, prints and patterns. Whether you're into basic black or brighter hues and striking prints, you have plenty of options.

Expert tip
I always recommend washing compression gear in a sports laundry detergent to prevent odors and promote longevity.
BestReviews Fitness Expert

FAQ

Q. How much do compression leggings for women cost?

A. Compression leggings for women vary in price based on type, opacity and other features. Most cost between $9 and $148. Cheap compression leggings are best worn under shorts; they are not opaque and typically don’t offer special features like flatlock seams, pockets or reflective panels. More expensive pairs are fully opaque to eliminate any show-through and have special features like flatlock seams, pockets, moisture-wicking material and/or reflective panels.

Q. Should I wear underwear with compression leggings?

A. It’s really a matter of preference. The leggings are tight, so there’s a good chance that panty lines would be visible when you’re wearing them. Some people find that their underwear bunches up under their leggings, too, which can be uncomfortable. If you feel more comfortable wearing underwear, it’s best to opt for sports or athletic underwear, which is more breathable and moisture-wicking than traditional cotton garments.

Q. How tight should compression leggings be?

A. It's hard to quantify exactly how tight compression leggings should be, as everyone has a different tolerance, and what feels tight to one person might not to another. However, it should generally be slightly challenging to pull them on — but not impossible. When you’re wearing them, you should feel their tightness in your legs and backside, but if you feel as though your circulation is restricted, they're too tight.

 

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