Compression shorts are specialty athletic apparel used to create separation between the groin muscles and the hamstrings. Active men and women also wear compression shorts for an extra layer of warmth and to guard against the possibility of developing rashes and chafing as the result of vigorous physical activity.


Evaluate any fabric sensitivities your skin may have before you choose a material. Some compression shorts are made with latex-based synthetic fibers, which can cause chafing and rashes (rather than protect against them) in sensitive wearers. Keep in mind that compression shorts aren’t necessarily a vital part of your athletic apparel, and you can perform at just as high a level without them.

Wear compression shorts if your athletic endeavors take you into weather conditions that aren’t always optimal. They can provide a vital extra layer of warmth if you have a cycling competition to ride in, marathon to run or football game to play on a crisp, autumn day.

Use compression shorts with odor protectors if you are particularly prone to sweating in your nether regions when you exercise. Higher-end brands of compression shorts, such as McDavid, offer built-in odor protection. Find them at Supports 4 Less (see Resources below).

Ensure a proper, comfortable fit by trying on several different brands and sizes of compression shorts before you decide on a pair to buy. The cut and shape of the apparel differs slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, and comfort is a matter of personal preference. Also, bear in mind that full compression pants are available as well, so there’s no need to limit yourself to shorts alone, especially if you’re looking for warmth in a cooler climate.

Wear compression shorts that are designed specifically for the sport in which you participate. Compression shorts for basketball players, for example, are different from compression shorts for long-distance runners. You’ll get the most out of your compression shorts if you wear a pair that is meant for the game you play.

Tips

  • Some athletes claim that compression shorts help them compete at a higher level. However, there is no verifiable scientific proof that wearing compression shorts offers you any kind of competitive or musculoskeletal advantage.

  • Due to the sensitivity of the body area that compression shorts cover, you may be required to wear a bathing suit or underwear when you try them on in the store.