The 7 Key Benefits of Wearing Compression Tights for Basketball (2023)

The 7 Key Benefits of Wearing Compression Tights for Basketball (1)

In the past few years, we got used to seeing a good number of NBA players wearing a long pair of tight shorts or even full-length leggings under their shorts. Today, we’ll take a deep insight into why do basketball players wear leggings and what benefits to our game could we expect from it.

First of all, these leggings are called compression tights or shorts. They’re supposed to absorb sweat, warm the body and benefit the prevention of muscle strain and allow for maximum blood flow during and after the activity.

Compression garment has been studied for years to help athletes improve performance and comfort, and with time it’s grown in popularity, especially in the basketball world.

Unfortunately, the appliance of tights in basketball has turned from performance and support to mere aesthetics.

For example, AAU players started to wear them because of their NBA role models, and it’s not a rare case that the NBA players wear it to cover up for imperfections they may have.

I have compression pants (exactly this Under Armour model) and compression sleeves. Pants are for running, cycling, or playing basketball and sleeves are for one of my hobbies – rock climbing.

I noticed that they keep my muscles warm between activities (for example, when I go from gym to basketball court), and help in preventing muscle fatigue. Good enough for me.

Without further ado, let’s get to the point. We’ll now go over seven reasons why basketball players wear compression tights and why should you too.

1) Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

So-called muscle fever can appear around two days after exercise, especially with activities that contain much eccentric contraction (e.g., gym work). Genetics is a substantial factor here, along with sleep and some other biological stresses.

Medicine, for now, can’t explain delayed onset muscle soreness. Massage is what many basketball players believe that helps, along with taking ibuprofen to edge the pain. If you happen to have excessive DOMS, you’re maybe vitamin D, or you lack sleep.

Using compression tights during the training session can help reducing muscle oscillation and therefore micro-tears that cause delayed muscle soreness.

(Video) The Benefits of Compression Stockings

With proper nutrition, basketball players manage electrolytes and glycogen easing soreness after exercise. It is also believed that curcumin (consuming orally, 2.5 gram, twice daily) reduces it, but there is still more research to confirm it.

2) Prevents deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

It is a condition that happens when blood clots form in veins. DVT usually hits lower legs or even tighs, and it can really happen to anyone, no matter how old.

Deep vein thrombosis causes swelling and pain, and the skin may feel warmer than usual. Those who had some kind of surgery or trauma are in greater danger, as well as smokers and overweight folks.

There was a study with 1681 people that showed compression garments help especially after surgery, as only 9 percent of those who were wearing compression leggings under their shorts developed DVT and 21 percent of those who didn’t.

This is a dangerous condition, as a blood clot can go all the way to lungs and block an artery. Doctors usually recommend compression pants to reduce swelling and improve blood flow.

3) Extends the benefits of stretching

The 7 Key Benefits of Wearing Compression Tights for Basketball (2)Sometimes the basketball game goes into OT, and there’s more of playing time. Since most of the players stretch at the beginning of the game, muscles can get tight as the game goes on.

Interesting way of looking at compression tights is that it helps extending advantages of stretching throughout a game.

When there is a lot of stoppage time (e.g., time-outs), players might get cold, and compression garments do a pretty good job of keeping them warm.

4) Keeps everything in place

Except for performance reasons, many basketball players love to wear compression leggings to keep everything in place.

It can be pretty uncomfortable to run in boxers and shorts when your little buddy dances around like it’s on an open field. Besides, people notice stuff.The 7 Key Benefits of Wearing Compression Tights for Basketball (3)

Keeping your genitals in check and pressed against your body will save you from discomfort you might feel when running and jumping.

Some compression garments are made with padded sections which are another great thing, so don’t hesitate, you’ll feel so much better during the competition. No matter if you’re a professional or just playing pick-up, compression tights are the way to go.

(Video) 5 Reasons Why You Need Compression Socks | Kintec: Footwear + Orthotics

5) Compression tights can ease injuries

They can, that’s for sure. That’s like a secret benefit of wearing compression tights. If you fall, at least you got something under your shorts.

When a basketball player is knocked down or needs to run and dive for the basketball, compression garment can ease the fall.

Usually, these kinds of dives would give you a nasty burn due to court’s grip made of hardwood.

And as we already mentioned, padded sections are an excellent addition to compression garments. If you want extra protection, you can have it.

6) Compression pants maintain body temperature (keep you worm)

The body is using sweat to cool down itself. Since compression tights keep body temperature, it means they help in faster cooling of the body.

With that said it’s logical to conclude that compression sleeves and pants keep the body warm. And in sports like basketball, which requires sudden bursts of strenuous activity.

After exerting a sudden force on a muscle, there’s a higher possibility for injuries. This, in turn, keeps the muscles loose and can help basketball players not to strain or pull muscles.

What are the leggings that basketball players wear?McDavid 748X Teflx ¾ – Pro athletes use 3/4 length tights for expanded coverage and the compression benefits of muscle stabilization/warmth

7) Some say it just feels right (comfort)

Some basketball players don’t even think about benefits when wearing this kind of garments. When you think about this one, it does make sense.

For them, it’s enough that they feel good in them, play good, and while they are injury-free, they don’t change a thing.

Except for comfort, they look good in compression tights, and they don’t even care how other people will perceive them for wearing them.

Basketball players are people, just like everyone else. And no basketball player is the same, remember that. What may work for some players, won’t work for others.

(Video) What Do Compression Tights Do for Athletes

What compression tights won’t do for you

After we mentioned benefits compression tights bring, it’s time to hear what they won’t do for you.

First of all, they won’t help you perform better.

None of the compression garments won’t serve you regarding actually playing better basketball. You won’t run faster, you won’t shoot better, you won’t jump higher.

You will though play better if you stay injury-free, and they can help you with that.

Secondly, compression gear doesn’t guarantee that you’ll stay injury-free.

There’s always a way to get injured. You can twist your ankle, get nose broken by accident or fall while diving for the basketball.

You’re never completely safe.

And finally, they won’t make you look that much better. At least by my experience. Try it, see how you feel. But don’t ever wear them just for the aesthetics.

And by the way, it takes time to adjust and get used to compression leggings, especially if you’re used to baggy shorts and boxers underneath. Go slow, give it time.

What are compression tights made of?

It’s 2018, and all kinds of compression shorts and tights for basketball players overflooded the market. They’re produced in different colors and sizes, but the material stays the same.

Quality compression tights are made of tight and stretchable to allow for support, whether it’s about your thighs or lower legs.

Elasticized material that clings close to the body is known to be snug, and can’t get wet or sweaty. Compression gradually applies the most pressure to critical areas.

(Video) Benefits Of Wearing Compression Leggings While Working Out

Best brands use a cloth with antimicrobial properties and some resistance. The goal is of course to extend the tights’ lifespan.

What you should look for in your basketball compression shorts

When searching for perfect basketball compression tights that will actually fit you, there are some features you should look at first. Remember that the choice should come down to how comfortable it feels when you get used to wearing them. It’s important to give yourself time to adapt.

    • Fabric

Choose sweat-wicking fabric which won’t become smelly due to sweat exposure. It will keep you cooler and healthier.

    • Length

Basketball players wear all kinds of compression tights, some like shorter, some longer. If this is your first time thinking about compression garment, choose short compression tights first. It’s less of a shock if you haven’t wear them yet, and you can always order full-length when you get used to this kind.

    • Style and color

If you’re in the team, it’s best that all teammates have the same manner and color shade.
If you’re buying alone, make sure that the colors go well with the color of a basketball uniform.

No matter what, invest in quality.

The most compression and durability comes through the garment of a higher price range. It is what it is.

Of course, you will find cheaper compression tights on the market, but don’t be surprised if they end up in the garbage can too soon. Invest in your health; it’s a much safer option.

Final thoughts

We hope you’re now aware why basketball players wear compression tights under their shorts. As you can see, compression pants are not some miracle that will solve all your problems. It’s like any other training gear – it has its benefits and a few negatives.

We’re positively sure that it keeps your muscles warm, which in turn leads to better execution.

We can also agree on increased blood flow, as the Australian study from 2011 showed on runners and triathletes example.

Some studies reported inconsistent findings, but that’s fine too because, as we know, science doesn’t stop. We’ll know the answers soon enough, and Improve Hoops crew will make sure you know about them too.

(Video) Compression Tights: Do They Help Your Running Game?

And don’t be pressured by naysayers who say that this kind of gear will alter your sexual orientation. Those are the ones who are most insecure about their own sexuality.

To learn is it worth to invest in custom-made basketball mask if you need one and what are the best protective face masks right now, in this article we dive in deep into the subject so make sure to check it out.


Why do basketball players wear compression stockings? ›

Compression shin sleeves help to prevent injury, speed recovery, and improve performance by increasing the flow of blood. Keeping fresh, oxygenated blood flowing to muscles and extremities is essential, particularly during sports.

What are the benefits of basketball tights? ›

Increasing Blood Flow and Circulation

Basketball players wear basketball tights to increase their blood flow and circulation. This is done by compressing your muscles, which force more blood through them than usual. More blood in the legs means that basketball players will have increased energy during basketball games.

Are compression leggings good for basketball? ›

If you're serious about your game, consider throwing on some compression pants under your gym shorts. These tighter-than-normal leggings can boost blood circulation to your hard-working muscles, helping reduce muscle fatigue during your game then help to speed up recovery afterwards.

What are the benefits of compression tights? ›

What Do Compression Tights Do?
  • 1) Reduced Muscle Fatigue. Wearing compression shorts/pants during workouts helps improve athletic performance by reducing fatigue. ...
  • 2) Prevents Straining. ...
  • 3) Lower Risk of Muscle Soreness. ...
  • 4) Increased Power & Better Jumping Ability. ...
  • 5) Maximum Comfort.
Mar 15, 2021

Why do basketball players wear compression tights on one leg? ›

Echoing the powerful statements made by Griffith Joyner, the sleeves are more than a superficial on-court accessory for accentuating the legs. This asymmetrical style creates an important combination of serious, performance-enhancing strength and the beauty of a tight, form-fitting look.

Do compression tights help athletic performance? ›

There's no consistent evidence to suggest that compression wear: Enhances performance in any sport. Helps with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

Do tights improve performance? ›

“The theory behind the tights is that the tights reduce (muscle) vibration, and by reducing vibration, your muscles don't have to do as much work and you end up with less fatigue,” says Ajit Chaudhari, PhD, FACSM, who led the study and is an associate professor of physical therapy, orthopedics, mechanical engineering ...

Why do male athletes wear tights? ›

Compression tights for men are typically made of moisture-wicking materials, which bring sweat to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate quickly. This helps keep you dry during your workouts.

Do compression tights keep you cool? ›

When you are hot, and therefore sweating, compression clothing will spread out the sweat to that it evaporates more efficiently. The evaporation cools the compression clothes, which being next to the skin, helps keep you cool. Very thin compression clothing will keep you cooler than bare skin.

What leg compression do NBA players wear? ›

The McDavid Basketball Leg Sleeves are 9-mm thick and are the top choice for professional players.

What compression do NBA players use? ›

You'll notice most NBA players sport ¾ compression pants; well, that's because they get all the benefits of full-length pants, but their ankles are less restricted. Keep in mind these guys have layers of athletic tape, socks, and high-top basketball sneakers.

What do NBA players wear on their legs? ›

Like all basketball compression apparel, leg compression gear is designed to increase blood flow to the muscles. The extra blood keeps the muscle tissue warm and can reduce the risk of injury. It can also speed up recovery for joints and muscles that are already injured.

What are the benefits of compression wear? ›

Wearing compression clothes will help you recover faster from a tough workout. The elasticity of the compression wear helps to relieve pain by increasing blood circulation. It also helps speed up the process of rebuilding muscle tissues after exercising, which is really useful to heal broken muscles.

Do compression tights make you faster? ›

To test the theory, researchers put 20 experienced runners through their paces on a treadmill for half an hour on two separate days (one time rockin' the tights, the other just shorts). They discovered that wearing the high-performance leggings didn't have an impact on participants' stamina or speed.

What are the benefits of sports tights? ›

Running in tights creates a more streamlined profile, reducing friction with each stride. Some runners feel that this can improve running performance, while allowing for comfort and minimising distractions. A seemingly small adjustment in running wear can have an impact on speed.

Do compression tights help you jump higher? ›

The data indicate that compression shorts, while not improving single maximal jump power, have a significant effect on repetitive vertical jumps by helping to maintain higher mean jumping power.

How tight should compression tights be? ›

As a compression garment, they should be ever so slightly challenging to pull on, but not impossible. A tightness should be felt in the legs and posterior, but not so tight as to feel as if circulation is cut off. Once fully on, the waist should be motionless as you bend over, squat down, or lunge.

Can I wear compression tights all day? ›

You should wear your compression stockings during the day and take them off before going to bed. Put them on again first thing in the morning. You should be given at least 2 stockings, or 2 pairs if you're wearing them on both legs. This means you can wear 1 stocking (or pair) while the other is being washed and dried.

Do compression tights make a difference? ›

Compression tights support and stabilize your muscles while you train by absorbing some of the strain as you squeeze your muscles. They also increase blood flow and muscle oxygenation. This speeds up the muscle repair process and reduces muscle fatigue after workouts.

What is the science behind compression? ›

How Gradient Compression Helps. Applying compression to the legs helps reduce the diameter of the stretched-out veins so that they return to their original, efficient shape. This, in turn, helps the blood flow at a higher velocity, which means that it take less time to return to the heart.

Do tights help your knees? ›

Compression apparel can provide some much-needed support for your knees, taking the pressure off the knee joint and helping you stay active and mobile. Those who are recovering from surgery should opt for the Performance Compression Tights for Men and Women, which feature single-ply fabric that is gentle on the skin.

Why are compression tights good men? ›

Compression tights are tougher than leotards and sleeker than long johns. They grasp the groin, pressurize blood vessels and enhance muscle definition. Thus, in every athletic context, men are squeezing themselves in sub-torso stretchiness unparalleled since the time of Robin Hood.

Can you wear compression tights alone? ›

You can choose to wear compression shorts alone or with a looser layer over the top. Wearing your compression shorts during and after your workout is a simple adjustment with significant advantages. Don't miss out.

Should men wear compression tights? ›

Due to the support compressions given to the muscles, men's compression tights or leggings help to enhance and support the blood flow and oxygen around the body. This is key for the body to perform well during physical exercise.

Do you wear anything under compression tights? ›


If you wear underwear beneath your compression shorts, the underwear will bunch and become damp, leading to discomfort and decreased breathability. Wearing your compression shorts as intended will improve your athletic performance and help during the recovery period.

Should you run in compression tights? ›

By increasing the flow of oxygenated blood to the muscles after exercise, compression running tights, tops and socks can help to reduce water retention and swelling that may cause discomfort and soreness. The extra blood flow also flushes out the harmful by-products of exercise, such as lactic acid, more quickly.

Is it OK to sleep in compression tights? ›

What about wearing compression tights to bed? Wearing running tights—or even compression tights—to sleep should not be a problem. As long as your friends are sleeping well, what they wear to bed is not a huge issue.

Is leg compression good for athletes? ›

Some athletes involved in endurance sports use compression therapy on their legs during or after exercise. The increased blood circulation is thought to improve muscle recovery and reduce soreness. Some research studies support these beneficial effects.

Why do athletes wear tights under shorts? ›

Keeps the Muscles Warmer

Basketball players wear compression tights to keep their muscles warmer throughout the game. This is a huge benefit because it makes the players less likely to suffer a muscle strain. Severe muscle strains can cause a basketball player to miss several games, so preventing them is key.

Why do men's basketball players wear tights? ›

In addition to protecting your knees from falls, wearing compression garments can prevent deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that happens in a deep vein in your leg. Besides preventing deep vein thrombosis, you can also reduce swelling, sprains, chafing, and rashes by compression clothing.

Why do NBA players ice their legs? ›

The pressure of the water may also provide some compression against your muscles and blood vessels, which could also slow swelling and inflammation. Finally, icing relieves pain by numbing sore areas, at least temporarily.

Why do basketball players only wear one sleeve? ›


Some of the players sport the one-armed sleeve on the shooting arm to keep it warm, much like a baseball pitcher would to keep his pitching arm muscles from cooling down, Roche said.

Why do basketball players tape their legs? ›

Preventing Injury

This is especially used in areas of the body near joints, such as ankles, wrists, and hands. This added support can help prevent sprains, breaks, or other injuries that may occur from exercise and competitive sports. Athletes also use less restrictive tape to help prevent injuries.

What happens if you wear compression too long? ›

Overusing compression socks and wearing them incorrectly can break your skin and create conditions where an infection can start. You shouldn't leave the same pair of compression socks on for days at a time, and you should ask a doctor about the length of wear time recommended for treating your symptoms.

What are compression shorts used for in basketball? ›

Compression are designed to promote blood flow and improve oxygenation of muscle tissue, which can enhance athletic performance during short bouts of exercise.

Are tights good for blood flow? ›

Our study is the first to compare various sports compression garment types on muscle blood flow, and the results identified TIGHTS as the most effective garment for improving resting muscle blood flow in the calf and thigh musculature.

Do compression tights help hamstrings? ›

Injury Prevention & Recovery

The short tights are very effective in helping prevent hamstring strains and other injuries. Studies have found that compression shorts provide increased flexion and extension, which is greatly beneficial in helping prevent hamstring injuries.

Do NBA players wear compression stockings? ›

When watching an NBA game, you may see individual players wear tights and arm sleeves on the court. Basketball players wearing compression tights during games may seem odd initially, but there are health benefits to this look.

What do compression socks do for athletes? ›

The use of compression socks during training aims to help the skeletal-muscle pump, increase deep venous velocity, and/or decrease blood pooling in the calf veins and alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness.

When should athletes wear compression socks? ›

The author of The Real-World study that showed improvements to recovery, suggests that athletes wear the socks for long or hard sessions, and for 24 hours following them. As some studies have shown benefits in performance, it doesn't hurt to wear them during your quality workouts and long runs.

Do compression socks make you faster? ›

Reducing muscle oscillation increases muscle efficiency. Compression empowers runners to power harder and faster, even while having to fight muscle oscillation. Compression enables effort to be directed straight ahead rather than to oscillation. These are the most common benefits of compression socks for running.

Do compression socks help prevent PE? ›

Patients who are at higher baseline risk for DVT or PE should wear compression stockings to reduce their risk of DVT, especially for long flights,” said Dr. Tjaden. For active and generally healthy individuals, the risk for developing DVT or PE during travel is significantly lower.

Do compression socks increase performance? ›

In athletic populations, compression socks (CS) may improve exercise performance recovery. However, their potential to improve performance and/or recovery following exercise in non-athletic populations is unknown.

When should you not wear compression stockings? ›

Compression socks are NOT recommended for some patients.

If you have peripheral vascular disease affecting your lower extremities, you should not wear compression socks,” he says. “The pressure provided by compression socks may make ischemic disease worse.

Is there a downside to wearing compression socks? ›

Compression socks can cause: Discomfort: At higher pressures, compression socks can feel really tight and uncomfortable. Skin irritation or damage: Signs of irritation may include tingling, itching, redness, or bruising. Poor circulation: Ill-fitting compression socks can cause decreased blood flow.

Should you put lotion on before compression socks? ›

Put silicone lotion or cornstarch on your legs. This will help the stockings slide on.


1. Health Benefits Of Wearing Compression Gear
(Zakir's Gym)
2. 7 Reasons You Need Compression Socks. Hint Lebron James Wears Them
(Bob & Brad)
3. Why Wear Compression Socks? (Benefits of Compression Socks Explained)
4. How Compression Pants Work And Why They Are So Popular
(Insider Tech)
5. How Compression Gear Works & Improves Athletic Performance..
(Sports Section)
6. How Compression Socks Helps
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Terence Hammes MD

Last Updated: 12/29/2022

Views: 6177

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Terence Hammes MD

Birthday: 1992-04-11

Address: Suite 408 9446 Mercy Mews, West Roxie, CT 04904

Phone: +50312511349175

Job: Product Consulting Liaison

Hobby: Jogging, Motor sports, Nordic skating, Jigsaw puzzles, Bird watching, Nordic skating, Sculpting

Introduction: My name is Terence Hammes MD, I am a inexpensive, energetic, jolly, faithful, cheerful, proud, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.