• NEW SWIM

    Forever chasing sunshine and warm waves

    Men Women
  • RVCA INSIDER

    Free shipping & returns for members

    Join now

Product guides :

How To Choose Compression Clothing

Guide to choose compression clothes

Compression clothing is stretchy, compressive activewear that improves comfort supports muscle recovery, and enhances performance. Athletes and those who exercise wear compression clothes while doing high-impact sports like running, basketball, cycling and MMA, as well as low-impact sports like strength training, circuit training and stretching.

The following guide covers everything there is to know about compression clothing, from fabrics to fit features, so you can choose the right gear and level up your workout routine.

What Is Compression Clothing?

Compression clothes are made from technical synthetic fabrics like spandex, polyester and nylon. These lightweight, flexible fabrics are durable and can stretch 5 times their size and return to normal.

The tighter blend of fabrics puts added pressure on your muscles which increases the amount of oxygen that enters the bloodstream, which not only helps to maximize workouts but also aids in quicker muscle recovery.

SHOP MEN'S COMPRESSION APPAREL SHOP WOMEN'S COMPRESSION APPAREL

Compression Clothes Benefits

Athletes and those with medical conditions have been using compression technology for years, but anyone can benefit from increased circulation and decreased muscle strain. Read more about how compression clothes can help you in our “Compression Clothes Benefits” guide.

There are a few things to keep in mind when checking out compression clothes. We cover them below.

Womens compression garments guide

Get The Size Right

Compression clothes should always be comfortable and never restrict movement. The general rule for sizing is to choose your regular size and consult a size chart if available.

If you’re used to wearing compression clothing, size down for added benefits. If you’re new to compression clothing, choose an in-between size or size up for added comfort.

The general size charts below are a good starting point for choosing the right size compression tops and bottoms. Here are a few tips to consider when measuring:

  • Chest: Measure the fullest part of your chest, keeping the tape horizontal.
  • Waist: Measure the narrowest part of your waist, where your body bends side to side.
  • Hip: Measure the fullest part of your waist.

Men's Tops Size Chart

SIZE - TOP XS S M L XL XXL
CHEST 36 38 40 42 44 46
WAIST 27-28 29-30 31-32 33-34 34-36 37-38
HIP 35½ 37½ 39½ 41½ 43½ 45½

Men's Bottoms Size Chart

  26 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
SIZE - BOTTOM  XS XS S M M L L XL XXL
WAIST 26 28 30 31 32 33 34 36 38
HIP 33½ 35½ 37½ 38½ 39½ 40½ 41½ 43½ 45½

Women's Tops Size Chart

SIZE - TOP XS S M L XL
BUST 32 - 32½ 34½ - 35 35½ - 36 37½ - 38 39½ - 40
WAIST 23 - 24 25 - 26 27 28 - 29 30
HIP 34 - 35 36 - 37 38 39 - 40 41

Women's Bottoms Size Chart

SIZE - BOTTOM XS S M L XL
BUST 32 - 32½ 34½ - 35 35½ - 36 37½ - 38 39½ - 40
WAIST 23 - 24 25 - 26 27 28 - 29 30
HIP 34 - 35 36 - 37 38 39 - 40 41

Get The Fit Right

Fit is a personal preference, so how your compression clothing fits is completely up to you. There’s no right or wrong.

Choose the right compression fit

Tighter-fitting compression clothes increase benefits and highlight the body’s silhouette.

Compression shirt fitting guide

Looser-fitting compression clothes increase range of motion and comfort.

Compression Clothes Essentials

Over the years, compression clothes have grown in popularity and now come in a variety of styles. From compression rash guards to compression socks, a few essentials in your closet can become versatile options for any workout.

T-Shirts & Long Sleeves

long sleeve compression rash guard

Compression shirts are worn not only for their compressive benefits but also because they’re great for layering. If you’re comfortable with the form-fitting nature of compression tees and long sleeves, wear them as outerwear. For more coverage, comfort and warmth, layer up.

SHOP MEN'S COMPRESSION TOPS SHOP WOMEN'S COMPRESSION TOPS

Compression Rash Guards

compression rash guard for men

What’s the difference between a compression shirt and a compression rashguard? Compression shirts have a tighter fit and are designed to increase performance and recovery, while compression rashguards have a slightly looser fit and are designed to protect the skin with anti-chafing and UV protection.

Read everything you need to know about "Compression Rash Guards".

Compression Sports Bras

Womens compression sports bra

Compression sports bras feature proper chest support to control movement and improve overall comfort. They come in various designs but are most often pullover styles with racerback straps.

For more information on different types of sports bras and their features, check out our informative guide on “How To Choose a Sports Bra”.

SHOP WOMEN'S SPORTS BRAS

Compression Pants

Compression trousers guide

Compression trousers and leggings are skin-tight and place pressure on the waistband, glutes, quads and calves.

They also provide thermal retention, which makes them great for layering beneath gym shorts or joggers.

SHOP MEN'S COMPRESSION PANTS SHOP WOMEN'S COMPRESSION PANTS

Compression Shorts

Compression gym shorts

Compression shorts, like other compression garments, are known for their tight, supportive fit that’s designed to reduce muscle strain, increase blood flow and circulation and enhance performance. Compression shorts are ideal for cycling and other aerodynamic sports and can also be found in combat sports like MMA. They can be layered under looser-fitting gym shorts for extra coverage and improved recovery.

Read all about "How To Choose Gym Shorts".

SHOP MEN'S SPORT SHORTS SHOP WOMEN'S SPORT SHORTS

Compression Socks

Compression socks are stretchy, and supportive and reduce swelling in the feet, legs and calves. They provide performance-enhancing comfort during sports and prevent fatigue, muscle soreness and blood clots.

Designed in various lengths to match your activity, compression socks are generally tighter around the ankle and looser up the leg. They can be worn for all types of exercise.

SHOP SPORT SOCKS

Now that you know what to look for when choosing compression clothing, get ready to take your workout routine to the next level.

SHOP SPORT APPAREL

Related Guides

Moisture Wicking Clothing Benefits

How To Care for Your Workout Clothes

How To Choose a Sports Bra

How To Choose Workout Shorts

Compression Clothes Benefits

How To Choose Workout Clothes

How To Choose Compression Rash Guards