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Whether you’re looking to prevent swollen legs and ankles on a long flight, need something that doesn’t ride up or down during a grueling workout, or just want supportive pants that shape your curves, compression leggings are where it’s at.
Of course, every woman’s idea of the perfect pair is different. That’s why we rounded up the best options for working out, hanging out, and travel days, including high-rise, ankle-length, pocketed, neutral, printed, and shiny styles. Check out our top picks for the best compression leggings for travel below.
Why We Love It: These ultra-stretchy yet supportive pants have a flattering high-rise waist, a drawcord that keeps them in place, and three pockets.
What to Consider: They look slightly smaller than they actually fit, so get your normal size.
Lululemon makes our favorite compression leggings. Wunder Train Tights flaunt a flattering high-rise fit that holds you in without restricting your movement or ability to take deep breaths. There’s also a drawcord on the waist that prevents you from having to continuously pull them up.
Made of the brand’s thick and stretchy Everlux fabric (a blend of polyester and elastane), these leggings offer ample support while wicking away sweat and allowing air to flow through. The material feels sleek and cool from the inside and has a soft, brushed matte finish on the outside.
This version of the Wunder Train Tights has three pockets, including two drop pockets on the sides big enough to fit a smartphone and one hidden pocket on the back waistband for your keys, ID, or credit card. Like other Lululemon workout pants, these look a little smaller when you hold them up than they actually fit, so order your normal size.
Price at time of publish: $128
Sizes: 0 to 20 | Material: Nylon, lycra elastane
Why We Love It: These supportive, flattering, wallet-friendly pants are a convincing Lululemon dupe.
What to Consider: The printed designs fit tighter than the solids.
On a budget? With a brushed matte finish and a thick, supportive fabric that holds you in, these affordable leggings are a pretty convincing Lululemon dupe. The high-waisted fit offers compressive tummy control without digging into your skin, and there’s a hidden pocket on the waistband for stashing a phone, keys, or card.
These pants come in a bunch of chic colors and designs ranging from classic black to sapphire green to leopard. But just a heads up, the printed options fit a little tighter than the solids, so consider ordering a size up if you opt for a pattern.
Price at time of publish: $26
Sizes: XXS to XL | Material: Polyester, spandex
Why We Love It: Perfect for on-the-go workouts, they’re supportive yet stretchy, sweat-wicking, and breathable.
What to Consider: The fit might be too tight for all-day wear.
Is staying fit while traveling a top priority? Nike Pro 365 Leggings are your best bet for on-the-go workouts. The thick, body-hugging fabric is supportive yet stretchy, allowing you to lunge, lift, stretch, dip, and bend through your routine.
Not only that, but the Dri-FIT fabric helps you stay dry while you sweat it out, and ventilated mesh panels on the sides make these pants nice and breathable. One thing to note is that the ultra-compressive fabric makes them pretty tight, so they might not be comfortable enough for all-day wear.
Price at time of publish: $50
Sizes: XXS to XXL | Material: Recycled polyester, spandex
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Why We Love It: These pants promise to pull sweat away from your body, dry quickly, and prevent chafing.
What to Consider: Some of the lighter colors may show sweat marks.
Under Armour makes our favorite sweat-wicking pair of compression leggings. These leggings are made of the brand’s HeatGear fabric, a blend of polyester and elastane. The thick yet lightweight material draws moisture away from your body and dries remarkably fast.
We should note that some of the lighter colors might show sweat marks, but they’ll dry quickly. If this bothers you, go with black, charcoal, or navy. We also like that these pants have ergonomic seams, which promise an ultra-comfy fit and chafing prevention.
Price at time of publish: $45
Sizes: XXS to 2XL | Material: Polyester, elastane
Why We Love It: Elation Tights are made of a buttery-soft yet thick and lightly compressive fabric that allows for a full range of movement.
What to Consider: They only come in two colors.
Athleta Elation Tights were designed with yogis in mind. They’re made of the brand’s Powervita fabric, a buttery-soft material that’s thick and lightly compressive but not too restricting. The fabric also wicks away moisture and dries fast while staying breathable through your flow.
It even has a UPF 50+ rating, which is essentially the fabric version of SPF 50, meaning it’ll protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. In the end, we just wish these leggings came in more colors.
Price at time of publish: $89
Sizes: XXS to 3XL | Material: Nylon, elastane
Why We Love It: Made for all-day wear, these leggings are super soft, incredibly stretchy, and endlessly comfy.
What to Consider: They don’t offer quite as much compression as less stretchy options.
When it comes to stretchy pants you can comfortably wear all day, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, Zella is hard to beat. These leggings are made of a super-soft, moisture-wicking fabric that flatters your figure and doesn’t restrict your movement.
While they don’t offer quite as much compression as less stretchy options, the material is still plenty supportive — and it definitely holds you in without riding up or slipping down. We also like that there’s a hidden pocket on the back for your phone, ID, or hotel key card.
Price at time of publish: $59
Sizes: XXS to XXL | Material: Polyester, spandex
Why We Love It: These leggings shape your backside, smooth your waistline, and prevent muffin top.
What to Consider: They run slightly small, so consider ordering a size up.
Spanx is an OG in the shapewear industry. You can count on the brand for figure-flattering designs that hold you in in all the right places — and these pants are no exception. Booty Boost Leggings boast a built-in lift that shapes your backside while smoothing your midline and eliminating the muffin top.
Not only that, but Spanx’s signature contoured waist stays in place without restricting movement and creates the illusion of a perkier behind. There’s also a hidden pocket in the waistband big enough to fit a smartphone. Since these pants run slightly small, consider ordering a size up.
Price at time of publish: $98
Sizes: XS to 3XL | Material: Nylon, elastane
Why We Love It: These cropped tights offer compressive support while wicking away sweat and protecting your legs from sunburn.
What to Consider: The thick, compressive fabric is a little hard to pull on.
Leggings with this cropped cut are seven-eighths (about 88 percent) as long as regular full-length pants. We like this pair from Outdoor Voices, which is made of the brand’s SuperForm fabric. It’s thick and compressive, offering ample support without slipping down or riding up.
The fabric will definitely stay in place, no matter what you’re up to, but since it’s so thick and tight, these pants can be a little hard to pull on. Still, we appreciate that the material wicks away sweat while offering UPF 50 protection from the sun.
Price at time of publish: $98
Sizes: XXS to 3XL | Material: Nylon, lycra
Why We Love It: These stretchy, compressive pants have a large pocket on either side big enough to hold a phone, credit card, or ID.
What to Consider: They only come in black.
We also like P.E Nation’s Title Game Leggings, which are made of a thick and stretchy (yet not too tight) fabric. They boast a flattering high-rise cut and a slightly cropped seven-eighths length that doesn’t sacrifice any compressive action on your calves.
Best of all, there’s a large pocket on either side big enough to stash your phone, keys, or ID. The only real downside of these pants is that they only come in black.
Price at time of publish: $109
Sizes: XXS to 3XL | Material: Recycled polyester, elastane
Why We Love It: The ultra-high-rise waist sits above the belly button and can be folded down if you want to wear it lower.
What to Consider: They only come in three sizes, and the dye might bleed on the first wash.
If you want your compression pants to hold in your midline, Free People won’t let you down. The brand’s Happiness Runs Leggings have an ultra-high-rise waist that sits a few inches above your belly button. Thanks to the thick, compressive fabric, the waist won’t slip down.
However, it’s also soft and stretchy enough that you can fold the waistband down if you want to wear it a little lower. Just a heads up, these leggings are made using a special dyeing process, so the color might bleed on the first wash. And they only come in three sizes, but other than that, we have no complaints.
Price at time of publish: $60
Sizes: XS/S, M/L, L/XL | Material: Nylon, elastane
Why We Love It: These adventure-ready pants are soft, stretchy, breathable, and moisture-wicking, with a wide waistband that stays put.
What to Consider: They’re meant to be worn as a base layer in very cold climates.
If you need something to wear while hiking, rock climbing, skiing, or snowboarding, Summit Series Tights are the way to go. Made of double-knitted polyester, they’re breathable, stretchy, and soft against the skin. But we should note they’re technically meant to be worn as a base layer under another pair of pants in snowy or otherwise very cold climates.
Other standout features include engineered holes that help keep you dry and a wide waistband that stays put and keeps you comfortable during outdoor adventures.
Price at time of publish: $100
Sizes: XS to XXL | Material: Recycled polyester
Why We Love It: The soft brushed lining provides lightweight insulation and an extra layer of compression.
What to Consider: They only come in black.
Looking for something a bit warmer? You can’t go wrong with Lorna Jane’s Amy Thermal Tech Leggings. Made for winter wear, they have a soft brushed lining that offers lightweight insulation to keep you warm during any activity.
The additional layer also enhances the compressive qualities of these thoughtfully designed pants. Thanks to a triangular panel sewn into the inseam, they also promise not to ride up or slip down. There are even two phone-size pockets on the sides. We only wish they came in more colors than just black.
Price at time of publish: $126
Sizes: XS to XXL | Material: Nylon, elastane
Why We Love It: These flattering pants sculpt your curves, cinch your waist, and lift your backside.
What to Consider: They’re more of a streetwear style than active or athleisure, and call for hand-washing only.
We’re also big fans of this sleek and shiny pair from Good American. These leggings are designed to sculpt, define, and smooth your curves while cinching your waist and lifting your butt.
The chic, flattering style comes in neutral colors, flirty hues, and an inclusive range of sizes. With back pockets, belt loops, and a zipper-button closure, they’re more of a streetwear style than active or athleisure. Also, they call for hand-washing and air-drying only.
Price at time of publish: $120
Sizes: 00 to 28 | Material: Nylon, polyester, elastane
Tips for Buying Compression Leggings for Travel
Consider your intended activity
When shopping around for compression leggings, first consider your intended activity. Are you planning to wear them while working out? Opt for a tighter, conforming fit that won’t ride up or down. Do you need something to prevent swelling on a flight? In that case, look for a breathable pair that encourages circulation.
For outdoor activities in cold weather, a thermal fabric is ideal. And if you’re planning to wear the pants while shopping, sightseeing, or just hanging out, you’ll want them to be stretchy and comfortable enough for all-day wear.
Look for thick, supportive materials
Compression leggings are made of relatively thick fabrics — usually a blend of synthetic materials like nylon, elastane, spandex, or polyester. This makes them more supportive while preventing them from riding up or down. To avoid discomfort, you’ll want your pants to also be stretchy, breathable, and ideally moisture-wicking.
Make sure you’re wearing the right size
Be sure to check the brand’s size chart to ensure you’re getting the right fit for your weight and height. But bear in mind that compression leggings are often slightly tighter than everyday stretchy pants, so they might be a little harder to pull on, even when the fit is right.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between compression leggings and regular leggings?
Compression leggings are made of thick, highly supportive fabrics. This makes them generally tighter and sometimes less stretchy than regular leggings, as they’re meant to enhance blood circulation and prevent swelling.
What do compression leggings do?
How long can I wear compression leggings?
Since compression leggings are relatively tight, they can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods. For this reason, lots of folks wear them only while working out or while on a long flight. But stretchier, more flexible pairs are often comfortable enough to wear all day during a wider range of activities.
How do you wash compression leggings?
Most compression leggings can be machine-washed and tumble-dried on low heat. Having said that, the proper way to clean yours really depends on the fabric and overall design. Some may call for hand-washing, and others might suggest line-drying. Always follow the brand’s recommended care instructions just to be safe.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure contributor Theresa Holland is a commerce writer and product tester specializing in apparel, travel, and lifestyle. She carefully researched today’s best compression pants for women and has personally tried styles from Lululemon, CRZ Yoga, Under Armour, Athleta, Zella, Spanx, Outdoor Voices, and Lorna Jane.
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