Once upon a time, people didn’t care what the hell they wore to the gym. You’d recall sweaty dudes at the weights rack in raggedy T-shirts that could well also be their pyjamas. With knee-length shorts. Or worse, shorts with waistbands that were (one could only hope) still elastic, and whose only functionality were two gaping pockets.

Compression wear is but one of the many things in the fitness world that has sparked divided opinions the world over. The form-fitting gear can bring to mind Spiderman’s spandex, and will hug the most unflattering of curves, but it can also make a considerable difference in your regime. Which is why we’ve sussed out the best compression wear brands to take note of now.

The type of compression garment you buy is highly dependent on the type of workout you’re invested in. Besides body suits for the whole body, there are targeted pieces for calves, forearms, biceps and other parts of the body to combat soreness and tightness. In other words, if only your biceps are bothering you, save the money and skip the body suit.

These body suits are meant to be tight as the compression helps increase circulation and blood flow during the workout, making your time at the gym more effective. Of course, you don’t want them to be excessively tight till they cut off your blood circulation — you don’t want to be turning blue at TRX.

Here are some skin-tight options to get started with.

1
Under Armour

Designed to keep the user cool, dry, and light in warm or hot conditions, Under Armour has clearly gotten the Singaporean crowd sorted with HeatGear. Working in tandem with the UA Compression technology, the performance fabric wicks sweat away from your body while keeping it comfortable enough to be worn all day. UPF 30+ protection also makes working out in the sun painless.

www.underarmour.com.sg

2
Pacterra Athletics

Doing away with thick seams, unnecessary design and bulky materials, Pacterra Athletics took the ideology “feel is performance” very seriously when they first came up with the perfect compression shorts. The brand from Oregon, Portland has its own innovation, the SwiftStretch fabric, which promises comfort even after long hours. Flat seams are also designed away from key irritation zones to keep the shorts in place without bunching, and the defining jacquard waistband is raised at the back for a secure fit, all game long.

www.pacterraathletics.com

3
2XU

The compression specialty brand boasts scientifically engineered apparel that’s the world’s lightest, most powerful and most flexible, so it’s little wonder it’s now a cult choice in the athletic world. It’s got more than twice the compression power of other brands, reducing muscle fatigue and improving blood circulation more effectively. It’ll also provide UPF 50+ protection, as well as a discreet internal drawstring that customises the fit of the waistband — perfect for those who are in between sizes or have trouble finding the right fit.

www.2xu.com

4
Nikelab Gyakusou x Undercover 

Nike might’ve come up with what’s possibly the most street-worthy compression wear ever. Made in collaboration with Japanese streetwear label Undercover and non-traditional running club Gyakusou International Running Association, the series is a vigorous effort to combine design and athletic functionality. Of course, the compression wear is also made with Nike’s famous Dri-Fit technology, and the tights are fitted with perforated waistbands to ensure breathability all over.

www.nike.com

5
Tracksmith

Founded in New England with a focus on running, Tracksmith’s extensive collection also comprises of high-performance compression wear. The ‘Reggie’ shorts in particular — named after the storied indoor track in Boston — have gained a following for their lightweight Inverno stretch-jersey that’s brushed inside to keep the wearer cool or warm whenever necessary. And to answer the woe of most men, flatlock seams reduce chafing over prolonged hours.

www.tracksmith.com

Shatricia Nair
Senior Writer
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.