How to Choose the Best Compression Shirts

Compression shirts are one of those items I see more and more in gyms. People have started to reconsider how they think about compression gear, and started to enjoy the full benefits of compression performance clothing. This article will help you choose the best compression shirts in order to unlock your true athletic potential. It is going to cover what the benefits of upper body compression clothing and which ones are the best compression shirts.

Performance clothing

Compression garments are designed to hold your body tight, in order to apply pressure on the veins and help blood circulation. This has many positive effects, like better muscle performance, quicker muscle recovery and decreased risk of injury.

 Runners have been the first ones to embrace and benefit from compression wear, but slowly other sports started to catch up as well. Now cyclists, soccer and basketball, badminton players can all be seen wearing compression clothing.

Although the sheer success of compression garments should be proof of their effectiveness, the scientific evidence is not clear about their effectiveness. Although many studies demonstrated the benefits of the best compression socks and the best compression shirts, but these studies all used different models, so their results are not conclusive.

What does the science say?

A 2015 study performed by Stickford et al. found that wearing compression garments significantly improved running economy at higher speeds. Although there was no difference in muscle workrate at submaximal speeds.

One of the most cited studies about compression shirts was performed by Daniel J Cipriani.  He conducted a study where he tried to assess the benefits of wearing compression shirts with expert cyclists. Cyclists taking part in the study reported significant perceived benefits in post-ride recovery.

Several studies have proven that compression socks reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Many runners had similar experience. By applying pressure on the veins and reducing their diameter the blood flows quicker from the muscles. As the blood washes through the muscles, it flushes away the lactate and other waste materials.

Running compression shirt in action

In 2014 the Australian Family Physician – a publication geared at providing evidence-based medical advice – published a study claiming that compression shirts and leggings improved balance while helping injury prevention.

In 2009 Kemmler published a study where he wanted to find out the effect of compression socks on maximal running effort. The study concluded, that running effort was aided by wearing compression socks. The difference in performance most likely came from improved running ergonomy.

One of the most revealing and surprising studies was performed by Varela-Sanz in 2011. He and his colleagues were examining what causes the effectiveness of compression socks. Their finding was the most remarkable out of all the studies. They found that compression socks decreased the average heart rate in runners wearing compression gear over medium distances.

The positive effects of the best compression shirts

The main positive effect of compression clothing is its effect on the circulatory system. The blood travels quicker from the organs to the muscles, providing a steady stream of nutrients, helping the muscles regenerate themselves and grow.

The firm, yet elastic material of the shirts stabilises the muscles. By keeping the muscles in a firm structure, the muscles keep their alignment and the risk of injury is reduced.

But exactly what type of compression gear do you need? Let’s concentrate on the types of compression shirts on the market. If you need recovery or performance enhancement in other areas of your body, you might want to look at compression socks and leggings, compression sleeves or compression shorts.

A short video about how to wear compression shirts:

Reasons for wearing compression shirts

Functional clothing such as compression shirts are put into the following categories:

Medical: These functional compression shirts are for patients who suffer from chronic muscle or tendon injuries. They are usually available only with a doctor’s prescription.

Sports: These are for professional athletes or weekend warriors who want to enhance their performance or recover faster after a demanding workout.

Vanity: People wear these mainly for aesthetic reasons, they give the body tone and shape.

Cross-functional: These compression shirts combine features from the above categories, giving protection to the muscles while toning the body and helping it recover quicker.

What benefits can you expect from wearing the best compression shirts?

Upper body compression apparel comes in all types of shapes and colours, treating different issues. Exactly what benefits can you expect from wearing the best compression shirts?

Improved blood circulation in the upper body. All compression garments work based on these premises, regardless if we are speaking about compression hand sleeves, wrist bands or the best compression shirts.

The increased blood flow delivers more nutrients to the muscles quicker, and washing out the waste materials from the muscles. Such waste products include lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The lactic acid is responsible for delayed onset muscle soreness, which causes fatigue and discomfort in the muscles even up to 72 hours after exercise. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is another term used for this phenomena.

The increased blood flow also aids recovery. In case of inflammation, the T cells of the immune system reach the inflamed area and heal it quicker.

The increased economy of movement helps by reducing the number of muscles that need to activate for a given movement pattern. Those muscles that activate, perform their movements more efficiently, so by achieving the same results with less energy.

What are compression shirts made of?

Superhero “Punisher” compression shirt.

If you like exercising outdoors, you need compression shirts with sun protection. The best compression T-shirts are infused with protective material that has up to 50 SPF sun protection rating.

The manufacturers might put antibacterial materials into the fabric. Most notably Copper Compression produces the best antibacterial upper body compression wearables. Thin lines of copper are woven into the fabric, fighting bacteria that otherwise infest the compression shirt when you sweat. This preventive system reduces body odour.

The best compression shirts have moisture wicking abilities. The sweat can evaporate from the skin, resulting in a much better, more comfortable workout experience.

However athletes are not the only ones who can benefit from using compression shirts. The best upper body compression garments have other benefits for the general public.

Compression shirts and weight loss

If you have put on a little weight recently, or you already started an exercise routine, but you want to experience some quick results, slimming compression shirts.

Just put on one of the best compression shirts under your regular T-shirts. You won’t believe the results. They smooth out the little extra weight you might have here or there, while offering support to the muscles. You can find short sleeve or long sleeve models as well on the market. To experience all the benefits, find a model that fits you perfectly.

Some men suffer from overgrowth of tissue in the breast area. Even though they exercise regularly, this area is still overgrown. Compression shirts help smooth out the breasts, and loose weight quicker from this part of the body.

Casual people can wear compression shirts too. With some movies portraying the likes of Batman and Superman and at the same time montages of fit, muscular actors exercising on the big screen wearing compression shirts, the general public has also become more accepting of these garments.

There are differences in the design of the best compression shirts for men and the best compression shirts for women. Since the two sexes have different muscular makeup, their compression shirts also have different designs. Also the designs of these two models differ.

Best compression shirts for men

Under Armour Men’s Heatgear Armour Long-Sleeve Shirt

Most athletes could use a long sleeve compression shirt. When playing outside the UA Heatgear gives much needed protection against the sunlight. Powered with a strong, UPF 30+ UV Ray protection, it protects the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Made of the HeatGear fabric, and combining all the benefits of UnderArmour Compression. It lets your skin breathe and dry up. It has stretch-mesh underarm panels to deliver strategic ventilation to the place where sweating is the biggest issue for most people.

When playing sports mobility is of the essence. The best compression shirts get a very delicate balance right. They are strong and firm enough to press your muscles and give shape to your body, but they give you a lot of mobility.

When you are playing outside, you get sweaty easily. The UA Heatgear works so well because it has a moisture wicking system that transports the sweat away from your body.

UnderArmour Men’s Short Sleeve Shirt

This short sleeve model is comfortable, stretchable and gives you all the benefits of compression technology. Just like the UnderArmour Heatgear, this model also comes with stretch-mesh underarm panels to provide better ventilation and keep your skin dry throughout exercising.

It also has UV protection, an essential element if you are exercising outside. The model comes with four way stretch fabrication that allows enhanced mobility whichever direction you want it. For further protection its moisture wicking transport system wicks sweat away from the skin.

Made of synthetic materials, 84% polyester and 16% elastane. This fabric makeup gives great tone to your body while still letting it move and stretch. You will not want to take them off, looking like Adonis with a perfectly toned body and feeling so comfortable.

JustOneStyle Black Running Base Layer Shirt

This compression shirt is an excellent choice for runners. Runners need to have a base layer shirt to provide added structure and support for their muscles. The compression fit of the JustOneStyle shirt bolsters support and produces better blood circulation.

As most runners prefer running outdoors over the treadmill, it is vital that the best running compression shirts come equipped with UV radiation protection.

Thankfully the JustOneStyle Compression running shirts are machine washable, saving you considerable time and effort.

Comes at a considerably cheaper price than its UnderArmour counterparts. With this compression shirt you get a great model that feels comfortable and provides all the benefits of compression technology for a value price.

Under Armour Men’s Superhero Compression Shirt

Maybe many people wouldn’t wear these to the gym, or show up publicly in these, but these compression shirts are an excellent way to look muscular while living out your inner geek. Available in many designs, such as Captain America, the Flash, Batman and Superman.

The shirts were made from the patented Under Armour HeatGear fabric. This  4-way stretch fabrication allows for greater mobility while giving more tone to your body. The moisture transport system of the fabric wicks away your sweat and dries up fast. Since you can wear these shirts the whole day, the fabrics anti-odor technology prevents the growth of odor causing microbes. At the same time the fabric prevents your skin from the harmful UV rays of the Sun.

Best compression shirts for women

DRSKIN Women’s Compression Running Shirt

This compression shirt is made of ultra soft fabric (92% polyester and 8% spandex) to provide a smooth, comfortable feel on your body with very little weight and no restriction. The fabric is elastic and durable, blocs out 98.8% of the UV light.

Great for all sports, such as running, tennis, weight training, yoga, cycling, skiing and snowboarding. It’s quick time dry system lets the sweat evaporate from your skin. The shirt allows two way air circulation, to keep you warm during the winter, and dry during summer months.

You get to enjoy all the benefits of the best compression shirt for women without sacrificing comfort or looks. Do better in the gym, and recover faster from workouts while looking great in the best compression shirt for women.


The best compression shirts allow you to enjoy all the benefits of compression clothing on your upper body. They give you protection against the elements, yet improve blood circulation. They don’t restrict your movement, but add tone to your body. The best compression shirts for men and women can help your whole workout tremendously, or make weight loss quicker.

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