Best Basketball Compression Tights (2021)
Top picks to give you confidence on the court.
Watch any professional or college basketball game nowadays and you’re likely to see quite a few players sporting compression tights.
In fact, these tights have become so commonplace that you might not even really notice the extra compression fabric extending past their shorts unless you’re purposefully looking for it.
But apart from their increasing popularity, you might be wondering what started this trend and what purpose do tights serve in basketball anyway?
Believe it or not, there are actually several benefits that compression tights offer basketball players (beyond just a cool look). And while compression shorts have long been the standard for basketball players of all stripes, many are now opting for the longer compression tights.
And if you think about it, this progression toward compression tights from compression shorts makes a lot of sense. Compression tights are simply extending the benefits that compression shorts offer to more of your legs.
Also, note that there are different types of basketball tights that players can wear to meet various needs and preferences. So, we’ve compiled our top choice recommendations for all 3 types of basketball tights:
Best Full-Length Basketball Tights
Best ¾ Length Basketball Tights
Best Padded Basketball Tights
Determining the Best Tights for Basketball
Here are the criteria we used for putting together our list of the best basketball tights:
Prioritizes Mobility: First, and perhaps most important, is finding compression tights that don’t restrict your movement in any way. Basketball requires a lot of quick, agile, and explosive movements. You need tights that support your moves, not hinder them.
Secure Fit: Compression tights serve as your baselayer—the armor under your uniform. You need a pair you can count on to stay in place and keep you locked in no matter what your shorts and jersey do. A secure fit keeps your head in the game.
Optimized Design: Why opt for tights over shorts? To extend those compression benefits. But the extra length won’t matter if you have an inferior product. We’re looking for leading activewear brands with the best fabric, design, and technology that boosts your performance.
Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.
Best Full-Length Basketball Tights: Nike Pro
Our pick for the best full-length basketball tights are the Nike Pro Tights.
These are a great full-length option for basketball and have earned a “Highly Rated” tag on the Nike site. They have a tight and secure fit while remaining very stretchy and comfortable as you move.
Shop over at Nike: Nike Pro Tights
Available on Amazon: Nike Pro Tights
Another awesome feature of these tights is the waistband, which is slightly thicker for support but vented for breathability, making them great for wearing under shorts.
The Nike Pro Tights utilize sweat-wicking Dri-FIT technology to keep you dry, cool, and comfortable. Not only are these Nike tights great for basketball but you’ll find wide use for them beyond the court, as well.
Nike also has a ¾ length version of these tights: Nike Pro ¾ Tights
See our full list of picks for Best Full-Length Basketball Tights
Best ¾ Length Basketball Tights: Curry (Under Armour)
Our pick for the best ¾ length basketball tights are the Curry UNDRTD ¾ Tights.
These tights are from the brand new Curry Brand backed by Under Armour. Much like how the Jordan Brand is backed by Nike, Under Armour is now giving similar treatment to Steph Curry.
Shop over at Under Armour: Curry UNDRTD ¾ Tights
Available on Amazon: Curry UNDRTD ¾ Tights
The Curry UNDRTD Tights have a really cool two-toned fabric design that utilizes Under Armour HeatGear technology and 4-way stretch for mobility. These tights also have mesh panels for improved ventilation and comfortable wear under shorts.
See our full list of picks for Best ¾ Length Basketball Tights
Best Padded Basketball Tights: McDavid
Our pick for the best padded basketball tights are the McDavid Elite Hex ¾ Tights.
We had to go with the true padded compression pioneer for this pick. McDavid has been leading the way on padded compression for years now, so much so that they’re the popular choice among NBA players.
Shop over at McDavid: McDavid Elite Hex ¾ Tights
Available on Amazon: McDavid Elite Hex ¾ Tights
The Elite Hex Tights have padded HEX Technology that contours to your knee for added protection without restricting any of your movement. These also have a breathable knit compression that stabilizes your muscles while keeping you cool and dry.
Why Do Basketball Players Wear Compression Tights?
In the NBA, players compete in a long and grueling season that requires a ton of physical effort and puts lots of wear and tear on their bodies. Many wear compression tights and other compression garments to assist their in-game performance while also aiding in injury prevention and muscle recovery.
You may also notice that some basketball players wear padded compression tights, as well, which are worn for the same reasons. The padding helps with injury prevention and reducing general wear and tear on the body. All those bumps and bruises can add up and affect overall performance.
Basketball players of all skill levels can wear compression tights to achieve these same performance and injury-prevention benefits. No matter at what level you play, anyone competing on the court knows that you can find yourself drenched in sweat and leg muscles burning in no time at all.
Compression tights wick sweat from your body to help keep you cool, comfortable, and dry while you play. Additionally, the compressive pressure applied to your legs offer muscle support and improved circulation. This helps players perform at a higher level for longer and many notice an improvement in muscle recovery time, as well.
Is It Okay to Wear Compression Tights for Extended Periods?
Compression tights sold by popular athletic brands, such as the picks mentioned above (Nike, Under Armour, McDavid, etc.) are absolutely fine for extended wear.
These compression tights are made for widespread use with normal compression pressure levels that range from mild to medium pressure.
In fact, not only are compression tights beneficial on the court while you play, but they’ve also proven helpful in both pre and post activity. The compressive pressure applied by the garment improves your circulation, which assists in warming up your muscles pre-activity and aids in muscle recovery post-activity.
Note, however, that compression garments with heavy pressure should only be worn in moderation or at the direction of your doctor, physical therapist, or other healthcare provider. Such products will signal to the purchaser that they’re not intended for the average user.
Tights aren’t the only compression garments that you’ll see basketball players utilizing on the court. Compression sleeves are a staple on players nowadays and for good reason.