The 12 Best Women’s Compression Leggings of 2023

The CW-X Endurance Generator Compression Tight is our top pick for travel.

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Best Women’s Compression Leggings for Travel of 2022

Spanx / CW-X

Long flights (and grueling workouts) really take a toll on our bodies, but having the right tools to be more comfortable, or better prepared, can help keep us feeling good. Compression leggings, for example, aid with sore muscles, swelling, and restricted blood flow no matter the location.

Whether using the style for travel, errands, or exercise, not only do these leggings have potential health benefits, they can look pretty stylish, too. Some, like our top pick the CW-X Endurance Generator Joint & Muscle Support Compression Tight, offer full lower body support, including quad, hamstring, and calf muscles along with the pelvis and lower back, and can be worn all day long. Others may be meant solely for physical activity or recovery periods instead. No matter what you’re looking for, our list breaks down the best options to wear—or pack—for your next trip.

Here’s our list of the top women’s compression leggings:

Best Overall

CW-X Endurance Generator Joint & Muscle Support Compression Tight

CW-X Endurance Generator Joint & Muscle Support Compression Tight

Amazon

Why We Love It: They provide ample support and compression while still looking good. 

What to Consider: There are no exterior pockets, and they only go up to size extra-large.

Targeted compression just scratches the surface when it comes to reasons why we love the CW-X Endurance Generator Joint & Muscle Support Compression Tight. These leggings incorporate UV protection while supporting joints and muscles during long flights or vacation workouts, too. 

These moisture-wicking leggings can help with circulating and oxygenating the blood to reduce muscle fatigue and shorten recovery time. They come in a few solid colors and patterns, including black and soft red, but both feature a web pattern where the compression spots are. There’s a small pocket inside the waistband to keep a few necessities with you, and flat seams reduce chafing. 

Price at time of publish: $180

Material: 80 percent nylon, 20 percent lycra spandex (CW-X EXO-WEB compression); 70 percent polyester, 30 percent spandex (body)| Sizes: XS-XL | Inseam: Not listed

Best Cropped

Spanx Booty Boost Active Cropped Leggings

Spanx Booty Boost Active Cropped Leggings

Spanx

Why We Love It: They give your bum a boost and smooth out your legs while applying compression. 

What to Consider: If they slip down during intense exercise, you may notice a little sagginess in the crotch.

If you’re looking for a shorter pair with a compressive boost, these Spanx Booty Boost Active Cropped Leggings are engineered to sculpt your rear in particular. There’s also a high contoured waistband that helps support your stomach and stays up as you move. The smoothening fabric is breathable and dries fast, great for a workout or jog around a new city. There’s a handy hidden pocket in the design to fit your phone or smaller items, too.

 Price at time of publish: $88

Material: 68 percent nylon, 32 percent elastane (body), 80 percent nylon, 20 elastane (pocket) | Sizes: XS-3X | Inseam: 20-inch

Best for Flights

Nike Pro Tights

Nike Pro Tights

Amazon

Why We Love It: They’re a good pick for a long flight as they have light compression without being uncomfortably tight.

What to Consider: These have more of a mid-rise fit than something with a high waist.

These Nike Pro Tights help keep the blood flowing while traveling or doing low-impact activities. Not only are they made with dri-fit fabric to keep moisture out, they’re breathable on hot days, too. Best yet, they offer the right amount of compression, without being uncomfortable, so they’re a versatile pick for your next trip.

Price at time of publish: $57

Material: 100 percent polyester | Sizes: XS-3X | Inseam: Not listed

Best for Sightseeing

Lululemon Instill High Rise Tight

5
Lululemon InStill High-rise Tight

Lululemon

Why We Love It: These are great for everyday support during medium-impact activities, and feature quick-dry, moisture-wicking material.

What to Consider: Be careful when picking the color as lighter shades can show sweat more easily.

The Lululemon InStill High-rise Tight works well for medium-impact activities like a morning sightseeing or an afternoon of yoga. They fit snugly and securely, to protect the leg muscles, while also managing to be lightweight and soft. There’s a hidden pocket to keep something small tucked away at the waistband but no full-sized pockets. In addition to black and navy, this style comes in a variety of colors including grass green and dark red to mix and match workout outfits.

Price at time of publish: $128

Material: 74 percent nylon, 26 percent lycra elastane | Sizes: 0-20 | Inseam: Not listed 

Best Water-resistant

Baleaf Women's Laureate Thermal Water-resistant Leggings

Baleaf Women's Laureate Thermal Water-resistant Leggings

Amazon

Why We Love It: They’re water-resistant, affordable, and have two deep pockets.

What to Consider: They’re made primarily for outdoor activities on cooler days.

The Baleaf Women's Laureate Thermal Water-resistant Leggings are compression leggings that can keep you warm and wick away moisture at the same time. They suck in the tummy and have two deep pockets for a few things like keys, cards, or a phone. The pair is water-resistant and windproof with a cozy brushed-fleece lining to keep you warm and as dry as possible if you get caught in bad weather.

Price at time of publish: $58

Material: 82 percent polyester, 18 percent spandex | Sizes: XS-3XL | Inseam: 27.8-inch

Best for Intense Workouts

CompressionZ High Waisted Women's Leggings

CompressionZ High Waisted Women's Leggings

Amazon

Why We Love It: These reasonably priced leggings come in sizes up to 6.

What to Consider: The material is on the thinner side. 

The CompressionZ High Waisted Women's Leggings come with a lot of benefits including comfortably firm pressure with a body-shaping boost. Not only are they affordable, but they come in a wide variety of sizes from extra-small to 6X. This breathable and stretch pair is made from moisture-wicking fabric for comfort and compression during HIIT classes, runs, or other active workouts. They also come in a variety of colors if you’d prefer a more vibrant pair than basic black.

Price at time of publish: $50

Material: 73 percent polyester, 27 percent spandex | Sizes: XS-6X | Inseam: Not listed

Best Dressy

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

4.8

Why We Love It: They look like stylish leather pants while offering shaping and compression at the same time. 

What to Consider: You need to wash them on a gentle cycle, inside out, to maintain the faux-leather fabric. 

Spanx is known for more than just undergarment shapewear, including beautiful clothing like bodysuits and jumpsuits that slim and smooth the body. If you’re looking for compression leggings to do double duty at dinner, the Spanx Faux Leather Leggings are the perfect pair to grab. They look super stylish on the outside while they’re keeping everything locked in with tummy control and a high waistband to provide compression at the core, too. 

Price at time of publish: $98

Material: 87 percent nylon, 13 percent elastane with polyurethane coating (exterior); 80 percent polyester, 20 percent elastane (lining)| Sizes: XS-3X | Inseam: Stretches to accommodate up to a 34-inch

Best Color Variety

Sweaty Betty Power High-Waisted Workout Leggings

4.6
Sweaty Betty Power High-Waisted Workout Leggings

Amazon

Why We Love It: These leggings come in a wide variety of patterns and colors from daisy to dapple.

What to Consider: There are full-length and 7/8-length options but not all patterns are available in both cuts.

The Sweaty Betty Power Workout Leggings come in a variety of colors and patterns, and even in a few different lengths. These compression leggings are great for mixing and matching with various outfits or sweaters, while still providing a smooth, sculpted look. They wick away sweat to keep you as dry as possible during any physical activity, and they are equipped with a side and back pocket to keep a few personal items securely nearby.

Price at time of publish: $100

Material: 62 percent polyamide, 38 percent elastane | Sizes: XXS-XXL | Inseam: 27-inch

Best for Cold Weather

Aday Layered Up Thermal Leggings

Aday Layered Up Thermal Leggings

Aday

Why We Love It: Using “thermal” in the description makes these leggings sound heavy, but that’s not the case; they’re warm without being cumbersome. 

What to Consider: You may want to size up as compression should be snug, but not too tight in the legs.

If you plan to visit a chilly country (or work out in cooler weather), the Aday Layered Up Thermal Leggings are a good pick thanks to their cozy compression lining. They come in 4 neutral colors, so they are stylish and functional no matter what tops you pack. These leggings are breathable and quick drying so you stay comfortable during your trek, and also offer a high waistband for extra support, too. 

Price at time of publish: $150

Material: 62 percent nylon, 38 percent elastane | Sizes: XS-XL | Inseam: Not listed 

Best for Hot Weather

Under Armour Women's UA Iso-chill Leggings

Under Armour Women's UA Iso-chill Leggings

Under Armour

Why We Love It: These are designed to keep you cool during your warm-weather outdoor hikes

What to Consider: They only come in dark colors, although that’s probably what you want to hide sweat after intense workouts anyway. 

If you’re planning a summer hiking trip (or active tour in a hot destination), the Under Armour Women's UA Iso-chill Leggings are designed to keep you cool during it all. These leggings are breathable, with a few mesh patches strategically placed, and the Iso-Chill fabric wards off body heat, leading to the fabric feeling cool against your skin. They come in both black or navy and provide a more intense compression than regular leggings to help during your recovery as well.

Price at time of publish: $60

Material: 78 percent nylon, 22 percent elastane | Sizes: XS-XXL | Inseam: 29-inch

Best Sweat-wicking

Tommie Copper Women’s Pro-grade Lower Back Support Leggings

Tommie Copper Women’s Pro-grade Lower Back Support Leggings

Amazon

Why We Love It: They’ll help keep moisture away during sweat-inducing activities or temperatures.

What to Consider: There’s not much stretch inside this pair.

There are some great moisture-wicking options out there, but a good one to start with is the Tommie Copper Women’s Pro-grade Lower Back Support Leggings. They are designed to be both breathable and to keep whoever is wearing them dry. There is a patented copper-and-zinc-infused fabric technology built in the leggings to control odor and last through repeated washes. They squeeze each muscle in your lower half while also offering up to UPF 50 protection from the rays as well. 

Price at time of publish: $100

Material: 86 percent nylon, 14 percent spandex | Sizes: S-XXL | Inseam: Not listed

Best Sustainable

Adidas Optime Training Croc Emboss 7/8 Tights

Adidas Optime Training Croc Emboss 7/8 Tights

Adidas

Why We Love It: These patterned tights look chic and are made of 76 percent recycled polyester.

What to Consider: To maintain these embossed leggings long term, you’ll need to use a mild detergent and air dry. 

If you’re looking for a sustainable option, check out these Adidas Optime Training Croc Emboss 7/8 Tights. Not only are they made partially from recycled materials, helping to reduce plastic waste, but they are high rise compression leggings that keep the lower body smooth, dry, and comfortable. The embossed crocodile-inspired pattern makes them more stylish than a solid pair so you can wear them beyond vacation workouts, too.

Price at time of publish: $65

Material: 76 percent recycled polyester, 24 percent elastane interlock | Sizes: XS-XXL | Inseam: Not listed

Tips for Buying Women's Compression Leggings

Utilize the Size Guides

When purchasing, keep the size chart and the inseam in mind to make sure your pick will fit your body properly. Especially with compression items, you want to make sure you’re getting the right amount of compression for your body and know that they should feel tight but not overly constrictive.

Think About What You Need Them For

It’s important to know the difference between therapeutic compression (for workouts) and supportive compression (for less activity/recovery). Make sure you’re buying for what you need. If you’re getting ready for a long flight, you want the compression there to help with circulation and blood flow, while remaining comfortable and breathable. If you’re spending active time outdoors in cold weather, you’re going to want something thermal and moisture wicking.

Check the Materials and Details

Look at the materials used and the specific compression details for your desired pair. Don’t just buy them because they look like the right fit online, or match your standard size; read the label and description carefully. You’ll likely want to look for supportive, breathable, moisture-wicking material and other functional details like pockets.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are compression leggings and how do compression leggings work?

    Compression leggings give the feel of a little squeeze or hug by applying some pressure to the muscles. Their main purpose is to keep blood flowing properly, improve circulation, and keep swelling and pain down.

  • What should I use compression leggings for?

    Compression leggings can be used for any step of your trip or everyday life. Wear them on long flights — as you may with compression socks — along with outdoor workouts at home or away. This style helps to potentially reduce muscle and joint soreness both during activity and recovery time. 

  • How long can I wear compression leggings?

    Depending on the amount of compression, they can be uncomfortable after a while, so you might want to take a break. Always check with your doctor (and the specific product labels) when wearing for extended periods. Usually, you’ll want to wear compression leggings during the day when you’re out running around (or during a flight) and give yourself a break at night or after landing. If you have specific medical conditions, again, it’s always better to speak with a healthcare professional first.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, travel journalist and photographer Jess Kelly researched dozens of compression leggings and chose the best ones for travel. Based in New York, Jess has written for a wide range of publications including Travel + Leisure, HuffPost, Condé Nast Traveler, Insider, Food & Wine, Cosmopolitan, Thrillist, and more. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram @Adventures.Are.Waiting.

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