I own an extraordinary large number of compression shorts. For something that two years ago, I didn’t own I single pair of, I would be embarrassed by the number I have except that I save that embarrassment for compression socks which I have even more of. The good news is that my wasteful spending puts me in a unique position to discuss the different brands of compression shorts out there. The bad news is this is me, so you aren’t likely to learn anything useful anyway. The really bad news is what this did to my budget. Thank goodness the Pig brings in a steady income.
Before I talk specifics, I will share a few general thoughts. One, the science of compression shorts is somewhat iffy, but for me compression shorts make my legs feel better during and after runs (my nice way of saying “suck it science”). The brands I am reviewing aren’t cheap (50 bucks and up) so you have to decide if “the juice is worth the squeeze”.
This isn’t some ad, and I didn’t get discounts or free stuff or the promise of a three week vacation in Maine for this review. Let’s be honest, most of these companies would prefer I not wear their stuff because it might make them look bad. So companies, feel free to contact me for and maybe we can arrange for your product to disappear from this list. I hear Maine is nice this of year.
There is nothing overly complex about the Skins A-200 compression shorts. They are straightforward solid compression. I used these for the 2nd half of my 24 hour race, so they can definitely go the distance (even if I can’t). Another advantage to these shorts is that they are cheaper than most of the shorts on this list.
CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator Short
Although better known for their tights (which rock), the Ventilator shorts are a nice summer compression short (my timing as a blogger is impeccable) since part of the front panel is vented. There is a pocket in the back and overall these compression shorts have lasted well. I used them in the first half of my 24-hour race and they are still going strong.
Bioskin Compression Shorts
If you LOVE compression (or like singing like a soprano) then Bioskin is where to go. This is the company that makes my monster knee brace (which I am a big fan of) but the compression was more than I liked. However if you are looking for maximum compression, this is where I would start. Bioskin runs 10-20 % off sales from time to time, so check their Twitter account.
2XU Compression Shorts
Another solid pair of compression shorts. This one has a pocket in the front (which I prefer). The compression is probably tighter around the lower half than the Skins, but lighter on the upper half. I have used them both in warmer and cooler weather and have been happy with them.
Opedix Core-Tec Shorts
These were my first pair of compression shorts, and I have the 1.0 version(which is no longer made). These shorts have multiple zones of compression and panels to optimize movement while providing compression. My main complaint with these shorts is that they are too heavy for summer wear (although I did wear them for Endless Summer 6 hour race last year). The 2.0 look like on the website to have lighter material so that problem may have been solved. These are the most expensive shorts on this list (145.00 retail).
Compressport Trail Shorts
These shorts have silicone printing so you can put your hands on your thighs without slipping when running up very steep trails. Although I think it is easier to avoid routes like that than buy a pair of shorts designed for them, it is good to know if I ever end up in a situation I am good to go. One interesting differentiation is that these short come over the stomach to provide some core/back support. I suspect this works better for skinny people who don’t have a beer/vodka/pizza/chip gut but that part of the short can be folded down if needed. The compression of these shorts is greater toward the knee which I happen to like.
CEP Dynamic Base Compression Shorts
I just bought these (OK, I MIGHT have a problem (OK, problems…)) recently so I haven’t been able to test these completely. I have done a couple of 4-7 mile walk/runs. These have a pocket in the back for a gel which is nice. They also have tighter compression on the lower part of the thigh. If you are Quadzilla, this might not work so great for you. Overall I would give these decent marks, though I prefer Compressport for shorts that have more compression in the lower half. These are cheaper than Compressport though.
So what is the final verdict? I use the CW-X and Skins more often than the others, but maybe I should buy one more of each, just in case.