Compression Clothing Defined for the Fashion Industry & Consumers

Apparel Search has not conducted independent testing on compression clothing or compression fabrics.  Because we do not have adequate knowledge in regard to health benefits or lack of such benefits, please do not use the information on this page as an authoritative source of health & fitness relevant issues.   Some companies claim benefits in regard to health or athletic performance, but we are uncertain as to the official findings.  We are simply reporting on what we have heard or read in the market.  The statements made on this page are what we have heard and should not be treated necessarily as facts.  Please conduct further research regarding the benefits of wearing compression fabric if you are doing so for health issues.  If you have an injury, you should most definitely consult with your doctor for recommendations.

What is compression clothing?

Compression garments are one of the latest trends to hit the performance gear market.

There are many types of compression garments that serve a similar function, such as compression T-shirts, socks, sleeves, pantyhose, and tights.  Compression clothes and accessories provide support that is especially useful for athletics, people who have to stand for long periods, or people with poor circulation.  The garments can come in varying degrees of compression.

The main benefits of compression sportswear is that it keeps the muscles warm to prevent muscle strain and fatigue, and wick sweat away from the body to prevent chafing and rashes.  In addition, there has been statements from various apparel companies that compression shorts may enhance athletic performance.   Compression clothing has been stated to improve athlete performance before, during and after activity through improved circulation, muscle containment and reduced muscle vibration.

Compression sportswear helps to keep undergarments in place, and for certain sports, like baseball and softball, come with padding at the hips to protect players from injuries due to sliding.  Compression sportswear is usually worn by athletes.  Compression garments may be shirts, shorts, tights, bodysuits, or underwear. They are form-fitting garments often made from a spandex-type material.

Compression stockings are specialized hosiery designed to help prevent the occurrence of and guard against further progression of various medical disorders.

Compression shorts and tights are undergarments usually worn by athletes.  They are form-fitting garments and when worn, cover the athlete's waist to mid or lower thigh, similar to cycling shorts.  Good for male athletes that want to hold their “blank" in place.  More recently, jockstraps have declined in popularity with young male athletes, and garments such as compression shorts have seen an increase in popularity, arguably because of their comparable function and less embarrassing looks. Many are available with a "cup pocket", a sewn-in pocket that can hold a protective cup.  Compression shorts are also popular among female athletes, especially among those who wear skirts or kilts during games. In those situations, athletes wear compression shorts under the skirt so if they fall over and their skirts ride up, their underwear will not be exposed. This is seen particularly in women's lacrosse and field hockey (both being no-contact sports in which players often wear skirts). In this situation, compression shorts are colloquially identified as spandex shorts. Women also wear compression shorts in tennis, where, most recently, compression shorts have been produced with ball pockets for convenience. There are also women's compression shorts for use before, during and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy compression shorts supports upper and lower abdominal muscles, Caesarean wounds and perineal stitches.  Consult your physician for suggestions.

Compression Apparel Accessories
Image: Tommie Copper brand.

What are benefits of compression clothes or accessories?

The benefits of wearing compression garments are:

Helping relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness.

Reducing the time taken for muscles to repair themselves

When the right amount of compression is used (will vary depending on body area, typically in the range of 10 to 25 mmHg), improving venous return and oxygenation to working muscles.

News About Compression Clothing Benefits:

As per an article, Is compression gear really effective? “Clinically, compression gear is designed to deliver specific levels of pressure to the affected limb. Typical pressure ranges are from 20 to 40 millimeters of mercury, depending on the limb and the clinical indication."  As with most fitness apparel trends that come and go in sports, it is possible that it will take a while for the science to catch up with the practice.  You may also want to read The Compression Sportswear Craze in the Men’s Journal.

Can Compression clothing enhance your workouts? (New York Times)

Note: Apparel Search cannot confirm these benefits.

Here are a few examples of companies selling compression apparel:

Adidas

2XU  2XU engineers the leading high performance compression fabric (PWX) through rigorous independent testing with the world's top athletes and research institutes, resulting in the most advanced garments on the market.

Tommie Copper Tommie Copper was founded in 2010 with the simple goal of helping people feel better. The comfortable compression apparel that Tommie Copper™ designs has helped over one million people get back to doing what they love.  100% of our proprietary fabric is copper and zinc infused.  CopperZnergy™ eliminates odors caused by microbes on the fabric and offers UPF 50+ protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays for skin health benefits.

Nike

Reebok

Skins: The research they carry out in the garment development stages allows them to keep pushing the boundaries of technology and compression leading to the development of dynamic gradient compression, which features in their A400 clothing, for example.  The amount of research published on the functional parameters of SKINS is unrivalled within the sports compression wear industry. So far, ten studies carried out using SKINS have been published in independently peer reviewed medical journals.  Published research of this kind has contributed to SKINS being recommended and endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association and qualifying for registration as a therapeutic device by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Under Armour: Under Armour Men’s Compression / Under Armour Women’s Compression

You may also want to view our fitness apparel guide for women.

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