What Are Compression Shorts and Why Should You Wear Them?

What Are Compression Shorts and Why Should You Wear Them?

If you’re too young to remember the days when guys straggled into the gym wearing whatever they could scrounge off the floor of their apartment, consider yourself lucky. We’re talking raggedy t-shirts, faded tracksuits, and sweatpants that lost their shape in the early aughts.

These old-school rags did nothing to boost performance (or appearance).

Thankfully, things have changed. Athletic wear is more high-tech these days, ever since apparel makers started collaborating with fitness experts. The result is performance-enhancing gear that’s functional and stylish.

Compression shorts are a classic example of how companies are merging fashion and function. Compression garments often make big claims about how they can help you work out better and recover faster. But do these claims hold up to scrutiny? Let’s find out.

What Is Compression Wear?

Compression shorts are garments woven with spandex and other stretchy fibers to create skin-tight clothing designed to enhance performance. But just because an item is form-fitting and stretchy doesn’t mean it offers compression.

Legit compression garments will be woven tightly enough to support and contain your muscles. This improves circulation by forcing blood back to your heart instead of allowing it to pool in your legs (a common cause of leg swelling during exercise).

Adolfo - Virginia

Benefits of Compression Shorts

Let’s look at how compression shorts stack up against other gear in terms of performance, comfort, and other factors.

Greater Performance

Guys who devotedly wear compression gear swear it improves their performance. Evidence backs this up.

One study found that compression clothing enhanced running performance and helped reduce inflammation, muscle pain, and damage—most likely because it improved muscle temperature and running economy. Another study found that compression garments improved perceived exertion (in other words, made the workout feel more effortless) in endurance runners.

Wearing compression shorts can also reduce muscle soreness and fatigue during and after workouts. And anything that boosts endurance and recovery is a good thing, in our book.

Groin Support

The days of “dick towels” and shorts-over-leggings to cover your junk are fading fast as apparel makers have finally started making better compression gear.

When it comes to crotch support, Matador Meggings has the market cornered. Our men’s compression shorts have a removable molded crotch cup that supports the goods and keeps everything tucked in to help you avoid awkward situations.

And, bonus: According to a study of football players, compression shorts help reduce groin pain. 

Faster Recovery

Any physical therapist will tell you compression helps treat sprains and strains. But it offers benefits during workouts, too. One of the biggest is helping your body remove pesky lactic acid from muscles, the stuff that causes dreaded post-workout soreness. And when you’re less sore, you’re less likely to injure yourself due to bad form during your next workout.

Caleb - Shorts

Ultimate Comfort

Form-fitting doesn’t have to mean constricting. Compression shorts apply pressure in all the right places but also give you full range of motion. Well-designed garments will feel like a second skin, moving with your body and keeping you cool, dry, and comfortable.


If you’ve ever experienced the misery of chafing—the burning, stinging, itchiness, and funky rashes—you’d pretty much do anything to prevent that mess from happening again. Well-designed compression gear is made to prevent chafing and irritation. It will stay in place no matter how you move. No riding up or slipping down when you’re squatting, running, or showing off your best downward dog.

Increased Flexibility

Compression shorts support your muscles without limiting your range of motion. The stretchy properties give you complete freedom of movement (without any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions). And compression wear can help improve your technique during workouts, since these tight-fitting garments let you see the biomechanics of your movements.

Bonus: Wearing compression gear during and after exercise helps re-oxygenate muscles and get rid of soreness-inducing lactic acid—and less soreness means deeper stretches. 


Compression shorts look and feel sporty, giving you the confidence to go the extra mile—whether you’re a devoted runner or a gym rat. And compression shorts are ideal for tracking your progress in pictures, since they show every line, ridge, and curve.

Blue camo shorts

What to Look for in Compression Shorts

If you choose compression shorts purely based on price point, you might end up disappointed. Remember, you’re going to put this garment to the test during workouts, so you want it to last. Here’s what to look for:

  • Moisture-wicking materials – Fast-drying, moisture-wicking materials draw away sweat to keep you drier and more comfortable.
  • Good stitching – A hallmark of quality, garments with good stitching will stand the test of time.
  • Breathable fabric – Look for a product made with breathable fabrics like nylon, Lycra, and polyester.
  • Pockets – Open and zippered pockets hold your phone, cash, and keys.
  • Stretch – Fabrics that stretch in multiple directions give you better range of motion.
  • Comfort – Quality compression shorts shouldn’t pinch, rub, or chafe, and they should move with your body.
  • Crotch support – Look for a garment with decent crotch coverage, so you can work out with confidence.
  • Style – Athletic gear doesn’t have to be boring. Look for fun prints that speak to your personality.

Why Buy Matador Compression Shorts? 

The simple answer is that our products tick all the boxes above—and more. 

We’ve designed a supportive men’s compression short that keeps you cool, dry, and comfortable during your workouts.

And with a removable molded crotch cup, you never have to worry about “oversharing” while you run, squat, lift, or bend. Our compression tights also feature a t-shirt/towel loop in back—super convenient during workouts.

Check out our full collection of compression shortsmen’s leggings, tops, and masks.