March 30, 2016

Best Compression Shirts 2017

Compression apparel is redefining how we look at clothes. Functional clothing is also referred to as performance clothing. The emergence of this type of garment has been fueled by recent advances in the technical fabrics and fibers industries.

The definition of functional clothing is to include all such clothing which is specifically engineered to deliver a pre-determined performance to the user over and above its normal function. Innovative materials add value to the garment to facilitate movement, body balance, improve stamina, temperature control and other technologies.

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Compression garments can include shirts, pants, shorts, sleeves, socks, underwear, and other items all of which are specifically engineered to hug your body tight and apply pressure to your muscles. Some say compression clothing feels like your body is getting a great massage.

What are truly fascinating about compression clothing are the fabrics which are used and the vast amount of research and technology focused on constant improvement of this functional wear. Made of materials like Lycra, Neoprene, Spandex and Nylon, a compression shirt is going to maintain its integrity and form through any test it is put through.

So What Does Compression Wear Do?

Compression gear provides muscle stabilization which is a vital characteristic of this intentional design. By putting pressure on the body, muscle restriction helps to maintain alignment and prevent any damage to the muscles.

There are six categories for defining functional clothing, compression gear covers four out of the six and they are medical, sports, vanity and cross-functional:

  • Medical: Measures physiological parameters, blood oxygenation, body temperature, pressure garments for lymphatic and venous disorders
  • Sports: Performance enhancing, body shaping to reduce drag, fatigue reduction
  • Vanity: Body shaping for enhanced appearance
  • Cross-functional: protection, comfort, life support, multifunctional performance

Best Compression Shirts Chart

Best Men's

Best Women's

Name

2XU Elite Long Sleeve Top

2XU Long Sleeve Compression Top

Photo

mens compression shirt

Fabric

70% Nylon, 30 % Lycra-blend

80% Nylon, 20% Lycra Sport

Review

Price

$119.95

$45.00

Where Compression Wear Began

Compression started in human medicine around 400 B.C. but it wasn’t until over a half century ago doctors discovered the uses of compression via graduated compression stockings. Compression stockings are routinely used through-out hospitals for post-operative surgeries. Air travelers wishing to avoid health issues while flying will wear graduated compression stocking to prevent DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).

The research of Wallace, Slattery & Coutts in 2008 showed the flow of deoxygenated blood returning to the heart from the peripheral limbs with the use of medical compression treatment.

Sports scientists and medical doctors have agreed it is a benefit to use compression apparel during and after strenuous activities and exercise as well as after injuries.

Since the medical field found healing practical uses for compression wear, it was only a matter of time before the connection was made with sports activities. When an athlete would suffer injury or be at risk for injury, it made sense to protect the weaker areas with a doctor approved application which was effective.

Today, many athletes can be seen wearing all different kinds of compression attire. Competitive sports athletes benefit from compression gear because it becomes relative to the impact on the body following rigorous activity. Most will say they experience less fatigue and muscle soreness after competing.

Compression Wear and Science

Scientific evidence suggests compression clothing does help reduce muscle fatigue and soreness. There are many active studies being conducted presently to further understand how and how much compression clothing truly benefits performance and recovery. The lack of prior research has lead to a stir of controversy regarding compression apparel and to its effectiveness.

There is also no known research to date which signifies compression apparel as having a negative effect on the body. According to medical uses, wearing this clothing during any physical activity regularly does enhance muscle recovery.

Numerous studies have revealed that compression wear does minimize delayed onset of DOMS (intense muscle soreness). Research and application have also shown compression clothing to be essential for those who stand on their feet or sit for long periods of time. The main function here is being able to keep blood circulation pumping optimally.

Research completed in 2003 by Doan, et al. revealed there was significant performance improvement through a warm up via increased skin temperature. There was an increase in vertical jump height, reduced muscle oscillation on ground contact, and an increased torque generated around the hip joints.

A 2012 study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research closely examined 14 athletes asked to complete two 40km cycle trials within 24 hours. The two trials were separated by one using compression gear and the other regular sports clothing. The results of the study showed athletes completed the trial faster when wearing compression clothing.

A 2010 study explored the effects on muscle recovery after sprinting and plyometric exercise over 24 hours. It showed minimum affect on whole performance, however, described lower levels of perceived muscle soreness.

Gait and Posture published in 2014 the results of a study which showed compression shirts and leggings improved overall balance and were useful in injury management and prevention.

In 2014, a published study by the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine examined the placebo effect in experienced cyclists who wore compression shirts while riding. The results were impressive showing cyclists perceived added benefits by experiencing less spine discomfort and better posture.

Over 30 studies conducted in 2013 focused on the effects of compression wear. The findings were that this type of functional clothing does cause a small to moderate impact in areas of strength, power, and recovery.

Reap the Benefits of Compression Wear

With the knowledge in hand about compression functionality, let’s focus on compression shirts. While all compression clothing is going to tackle a different area on the body, compression shirts are now the ‘go-to’ clothing preferred by not only athletes but consumers in general.

compression shirt benefits

Compression shirts have many positive attributes and remain on a high level of approval for functional clothing. While all compression apparel has a multitude more of exceptional benefits you can expect these advantages when you wear a compression shirt:

  • Improves blood flow for any circulation issues. There are some long-sleeve compression shirts dedicated to aiding in improving circulation in the forearms.
  • Increased blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the muscles to prevent swelling
  • Reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) DOM occurs 24-72 hours after intense exercise, impacting subsequent performances
  • Flushes out waste by-products especially lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This is essential for overall health, especially in regards to high aerobic activities and aging.
  • Enhances recovery time from injury. This is where compression clothing crossed over from medical into sports and fitness industry.
  • Physiological advantages. People love how they instantly provide a toned and more muscular look. Compression shirts are a confidence booster, and motivator for lifestyle change.
  • It aids in proprioception which is how you sense your body positioned in space. Efficiency in movement is improved by reducing the amount of muscles which need to be activated. The end result is you are less tired
  • Sun Protection is infused into the clothing with the latest technology offering a 50 SPF sun protection rating.
  • Technology has also allowed for the inclusion of anti-bacterial and anti-odorless within breathable fabrics.
  • Moisture is repelled away from the body and will evaporate at a much faster rate than other types of clothing.

The use of other types of compression clothing added to wearing a compression shirt is recommended for those who engage in strenuous physical activities. Any high aerobic activity benefits from keeping the blood and oxygen circulating properly in the body.

Different uses for compression treatments

Here is the big misunderstanding about compression shirts and leggings. Most consumers believe they are only directed at athletics, thereby passing up the opportunity to be a part of a fascinating futuristic trend in functional apparel.

Here are some categories for compression wear:

Slimming: If you are struggling to look good in clothes, add a compression under shirt. These shirts work well to smooth out love handles, and offer the benefit of massaging the muscles. These were the original tee shirts to come out in compression wear. You can find them sleeveless or traditional short-sleeve. The wonders of compression shirts is in the way the materials fit and press the skin to present a more toned appearance all while feeling good on your skin.

Sports/Athletic: You don’t have to watch sports to know how popular compression gear is. If anything, they have helped to bring immense interest to this trend. But other people wear these too, such as hiking, winter sports, cycling and in the gym.

Medical: There is a population of men who suffer from borderline gynecomastia. This is the excessive growth of the breast tissue, also known as ‘man boobs’. Compression shirts work absolute wonders for this condition. It is an easier and less expensive option than surgery. They are a huge confidence booster and offer other benefits as well.

Recently, it has been discovered that compression shirts may be beneficial to those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pressure seems to offer pain relief.

Casual: Compression shirts are taking off in the fashion industry. The reason is they are soothing and comfortable to wear, plus they look great on a person. The biggest bump to fashion was the popularity of super hero movies. As favorites like Superman and Batman donned their tight-fitting signature ensembles, that look is now seen in compression shirts. Now seen in a design like ‘the punisher’ or camouflage, this extremely good look has gravitated to mainstream consumers.

Know Your Compression Brands

The key factor in having a positive experience with compression shirts is to know your brand. There are too many knock-off manufacturers eager to take your money for a less-than compression item which carries little value in looks or purpose.

Compression shirts should be made out of quality fabrics such as Lycra, Spandex, Neoprene and Nylon. More importantly, they need to fit correctly. A loose fabric will not allow the shirt to do what it was designed for.

A good solid tip for buying any compression gear is to go to the company’s website and research. The best companies like 2XU and UA, are dedicated to continuously improving their products.

While your jaw might drop at the price, the next best thing you can do is look for that same product on sites like Amazon. You are guaranteed to save a few dollars and still get the integrity of product.

Compression shirts are meant to stay true to form always. They do not lose their shape and continue to provide all the benefits offered. Here are some other additional things to look for in an impressive compression shirt:

  • Lightweight and breathable fabric with SPF 50+ sun protection for all day comfort
  • Graduated fit to promote increased circulation throughout arms
  • Mesh through underarms, back and chest for ventilation
  • Raglan sleeve construction for unrestricted movement
  • Moisture wicking/moisture sensing
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes

Also emerging onto the market this year is a new technology which infuses menthol into compression shirts to aid in inflammation and encourage muscles to relax.

What are the Best Compression Shirt Brands?

As mentioned, 2XU and UA are the best qualified in the compression industry. Other great companies are SKINS, Tommie Copper, Nike, and CW-X. These companies rule in ways of innovation, quality, and reputation.

Once you discover a passion for this unique functional clothing, you can always opt for customization. There are plenty of sites which allow you to upload your own designs for personal or professional use. This is a great option for sports teams needing uniforms, or other competing arenas. UA also offers the option to customize your compression shirts.

Stick to Quality Compression Shirts

In case you are still not sure what to buy, we will give you an edge with some of the best compression shirts to hit the market in 2016. When you are shopping for a good product, read the reviews and always check the sizing requirements. Some products run smaller than advertised; you will notice this when you read the reviews.

Remember reviews can sometimes be deceiving, as competition is fierce with some companies using dodgy marketing strategies such as listing poor reviews on their competition’s sites. The best way to navigate through this is to look at the amount of reviews and the status quo for satisfaction with products. This is why it remains important to research the company’s site before heading on over to a less expensive offering.

Top Men’s Compression Shirts

2XU Men's Elite Compression Long Sleeve Top

mens compression shirt

This is a 5 star product, which is rare in the industry. Customers swear by this shirt, and it is no wonder because 2XU remains solid in compression gear. Anybody who has ever owned a 2XU compression shirt will tell you their functional wear is powerful. The price is higher, but this is a good investment given the shirt is going to hold up for quite awhile. Here is what you are going to get and what you should expect from any compression wear:

  • Lycra-Blend
  • Supports and protects shoulders, forearms, deltoids, back and core muscle groups
  • Muscle Containment for reduced vibrations and oscillation, less fatigue and muscle damage
  • Better muscle alignment for increased power and endurance, better postural position and improved breathing and agility
  • A combination of certified 70/105 Denier Invista LYCRA Compression with a 360 degree fabric knit construction for a consistent yet powerful pressure
  • Lightweight and breathable fabric with SPF 50+ sun protection for all day comfort

Under Armour Men's Alter Ego Compression Shirt

mens compression shirt

Another 5 star product with excellent performance is UA’s compression gear. This shirt is a part of UA’s ‘alter ego’ collection which is growing fast in popularity. UA is able to bring technology and quality to their products without a huge price tag. They also have the traditional black compression shirts, so if you are shy about your first compression shirt, and need to stay on budget, check UA’s compression product line out. Here is what they promise with their compression shirts:

  • HeatGear® fabric, with all the benefits of UA Compression, comfortable enough to be worn all day
  • 4-way stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction
  • Moisture Transport System wicks sweat & dries fast
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes
  • UPF 30+ protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays

Tommie Copper’s Short Sleeve Compression Shirt

mens compression shirt

Tommie Copper’s quality is unsurpassed. They have perfect compression undershirts for those wanting to improve their appearance. This is widely bought item and almost has reached 5 star statuses. Their compression shirts do exactly as defined, offering maximum relief for sore muscles. The price isn’t too bad either. This is what they will do for you:

  • 56% Copper Nylon, 28% Nylon, 16% Spandex
  • Wicking fabric keeps skin dry
  • Helps support muscles and joints in the shoulders, torso and back
  • Gentle, effective compression allows for 24 hour use, even while asleep
  • Comfortable enough to be worn all day under your work clothes

CW-X Revolution Top

A top contender making waves in compression shirts is CW-X. They are fast on top of new technology and mean to design the best functional wear around. While their designs border on more conservative colors and styles, the innovations cannot be ignored. They just make superior compression gear. You can expect to see more of their compression shirts becoming high in demand in the next year. Take a look at the technology engineered into their functionality clothing concept:

  • This is a high-performance technical top that helps athletes of all kinds improve their speed, endurance and recovery
  • Provides excellent seamless support for the lower back and abs/core
  • The CW-X Patented Support Web technology provides targeted support and accelerated recovery
  • The CW-X Patented Support Web technology provides targeted support and accelerated recovery
  • The newly patented EXO-Lite Seamless Support Web makes this a 14% lighter-weight tight with the same high level of CW-X targeted joint-centric support for a more efficient run

SKINS Men's A400 Long Sleeve Top

mens compression shirt

You cannot beat the lightness of the materials SKINS uses in their compression shirts. They are well loved because their products feel so good on, and provide an amazing amount of comfort. SKINS is one of those clothing lines where you are either a fan or you are not. If you are used to a heftier compression shirt, then SKINS will surprise you. Here is what is in their designs:

  • 76% Nylon, 24% Spandex
  • More oxygen to your muscles
  • World's first Dynamic Gradient Compression delivers more oxygen-filled blood to active muscles, increasing endurance, power, and efficiency.
  • Hem gripper around the waist, stretch airflow mesh under the arms, and taped and bonded sleeves ensure maximum comfort and support in any activity

​Top Women's Compression Shirts

Women are not excluded from wearing compression shirts, quite the opposite. There is a wide palette of designs and styles available in women’s compression apparel, even unisex options are abundant. There are favorites though and here are some great choices:

2XU Women's Compression Long Sleeve Top

Best women's compression shirt

While not a hot ticket item as the man’s version, 2XU still delivers the same quality promise to women’s compression shirts. You can never go wrong with anything from 2XU functional clothing line. The desire for these shirts are so intense, sometimes you may find them out of stock. If you are lucky to score one, this is what you are going to get:

  • Lycra-Blend
  • Supports and protects shoulders, forearms, deltoids, back and core muscle groups
  • Muscle Containment for reduced vibrations and oscillation, less fatigue and muscle damage
  • Better muscle alignment for increased power and endurance, better postural position and improved breathing and agility
  • Certified 70 Denier Invista LYCRA Compression with a 360 degree fabric knit construction for a consistent yet powerful pressure
  • Lightweight and breathable fabric with SPF 50+ sun protection for all day comfort

Under Armour Women's HeatGear® Long Sleeve Compression T-Shirt

best womens compression shirt

UA hears what women want in compression clothing and rise to the occasion with this signature compression shirt. The lightness and length are the main attractions. Once you put it on, you will appreciate UA’s technology infused into their clothing. The great thing about UA is they provide superior quality at a reasonable price. You can expect the following from their compression shirts:

  • Ultra-soft stretch material improves mobility and accelerates dry time, while maintaining shape
  • Provides enhanced muscle support and increased circulation to keep you stronger, longer
  • Signature Moisture Transport System wicks away sweat to keep body cool, dry, and light
  • Anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes to keep your gear fresher, longer
  • Reinvented with longer silhouette for total coverage and a flattering feminine silhouette

CW-X Women's Short-Sleeved Ventilator Web Top

best womens compression shirt

CW-X has incredible technology invested in their compression shirts. If you take a close look at the company you will see the mad scientist approach to clothing, with a serious eye on every detail. This is a superior product. Made for comfort, CW-X focuses on improving posture and reducing inflammation from exercise. Here is their promise of quality:

  • Made of 90% polyester, 10% spandex
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Kinetic-taping technology to create an exoskeletal support system.
  • Specifically targets the trapezius muscles and scapular bones of the upper back for improved posture and more controlled movements in the arms and shoulders.
  • Mesh ventilation panels allow hot air to escape and cool air to enter, reducing heat fatigue and improving circulation.

Skins A200 Women's Compression Tank Top

womens compression shirt

For women who are crazy about tank tops, you can have the best of both worlds with SKINS version of a compression tank top. While your arms are not benefiting from the gentle massage of pressure, there is gradient compression which is going to provide maximum benefits to the torso. The best thing about this top is it won’t ride up. Here is what SKINS offers:

  • Nylon
  • Women's tank top made using engineered gradient compression
  • Improved circulation increases oxygen delivery to active muscles to create more power
  • Improved circulation increases oxygen delivery to active muscles to create more power
  • Seasonal colors draw inspiration from the catwalks and flattering lines give you a slimmer silhouette

Fixgear Sports Womens Compression Running Base layer T shirt 

best womens compression wear

Relatively new to the compression gear market, Fixgear might be able to hold their own if they continue to focus on creating the best possible product at a lower price. They offer unisex compression shirts in wildly unique patterns and designs, all the while including some late technology. This is their compression claim:

  • Quick dryness: Normal shirts absorb sweat quickly but they are not capable of drying sweat which causes the shirt to weight more and to feel coldness. However, fixgear product not only absorbs sweat quickly but also dries instantaneously. Therefore, it gives you the best fit for your activities.
  • Quick Absorption: In short time, during your exercise, it gives you the comfortable fit and, helps your workout.
  • Air permeability: Due to light material, this product provides the best air permeability which helps you to absorbs and dry sweat quickly. Because of the air permeability, it does not stress out your skin Therefore, fixgear product is the best functional item for your workout.

Expect for new technology to emerge this year with the development of menthol infused into clothing to provide the ultimate in anti-inflammatory properties.

Also, keep your eye on a company called “Athos” , a company which digs deep into research regarding functional clothing. They use biosignal sensors integrated into their clothing line. They offer ‘starter packages’ but the price remains pretty hefty, yet these are what dreams are made of for those who are serious about their fitness lifestyle.

Other functional clothing technology to watch for is from a company called “Titin”. They are pretty fierce about fitness and training, with their own patented shirt system which adds weights right into the clothing. The claim is it helps boost workout efficiency by improving speed, endurance, vertical leap and keeping balance.

Compression shirts and other functional clothing will only get better this year. Companies are working double time to make competition fierce to see who will shine as number one in the compression gear industry. As people trade their sedentary lifestyles with a more active regimen, these compression shirts will remain in hot demand. All the encouragement and motivation you need lies in one purchase, and then, it is on—get life.

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