The 8 Best Compression Leggings, According to a NASM-Certified Trainer

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Leggings are some of the most comfortable items in our athleisure wardrobe—but they’re so much more than a pair of stretchy pants. In addition to comfort, leggings are functional pieces of athletic wear designed to provide support during exercise, promote blood flow, and help with muscle soreness. And, depending on your preferred workout, you can opt for a pair of leggings with light, medium, or high compression qualities in a range of styles and fits from top brands like Alo, Lorna Jane, Vuori, Beyond Yoga, and more. 

Up ahead, find our top picks for the best compression leggings for muscle recovery and exercise support. 

Best Compression Leggings, at a Glance 

What to Look for in Compression Leggings for Muscle Recovery, According to an Expert


Fit is one of the most important things to consider when shopping for a pair of compression leggings. According to Kate Baldasare, a NASM-certified-, pre- and postnatal-certified trainer and corrective exercise specialist, compression leggings should have a tight fit and “stay in place like a second skin during your [training] session.” 


“You might want to wear compression leggings for workouts because they give you support for high-impact activities and also promote blood flow, which helps with muscle soreness and recovery,” says Baldasare. With this in mind, the level of compression in your leggings can make a difference. You can find leggings with a range of compression, including light, medium and high. 


While most people choose compression leggings for their supportive benefits, you’ll still want to ensure that there is enough stretch for the leggings to move with your body while exercising—otherwise, they will feel uncomfortable and restricting, in turn affecting your overall workout.

Is wearing compression leggings good for you?

Baldasare says that compression leggings can definitely be good for you, especially when you consider the long-term benefits. “They are amazing for athletes since they can increase blood flow, which helps both mentally and physically during an intense workout,” she explains. Though there may be some instances in which you’ll want to avoid wearing them. “Compression leggings are mostly a great choice for anyone to try, but check with your doctor first if you have any neuropathy or circulation issues,” she adds. 

What is the difference between compression tights and compression leggings?

Compression tights and compression leggings seem to be used interchangeably by athleisure companies. However, there are stark differences between the two. “Traditionally, compression tights are thinner and maybe even translucent (think: old school stockings) and would be worn underneath clothing as a base layer,” says Baldasare. “Compression leggings are meant to be worn alone for workouts, and are opaque and more stylish,” she adds. 

Shop the best compression leggings for all forms of exercise down below.

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