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  • Compression Athlete

Can I Wear My Compression Shirt All Day?

What to look for in a compression shirt and what to avoid.

Athlete wearing a compression shirt.

Compression shirts are a great choice for nearly any sport, whether in competition or during training sessions. Of all your clothing top options, a compression shirt is easily the best for staying cool, dry, and comfortable when you’re sweating.


For this reason, it’s very common to see compression shirts worn as a baselayer under jerseys and uniforms, or simply worn on their own during workouts or other physical activities.


Additionally, many athletes have adopted compression wear into their attire because they prefer the fit and feel compared to other fabric choices. The stretchy and silky soft feel of compression is not only super comfortable to wear but it also allows for the fullest range of motion.


Beyond the scope of athletics, some individuals have even begun to incorporate compression shirts and their many great characteristics and benefits into their everyday wear.


For example, compression undershirts have become a popular option for both men and women. The light compressive pressure from the shirt provides a comfortable way to reduce fabric bulk and create a sleek and slimming appearance.


Because of that compressive pressure, however, you might be wondering if there are any adverse effects that come with extended wear or whether it’s okay to wear a compression shirt all day.


We’ll cover those questions here, as well as offer our top picks for the best compression shirts to wear as undershirts, working out, and more.



Note: Featured products are independently selected and reviewed by Compression Athlete. If you purchase through our links, we may earn commission.



Is It OK to Wear My Compression Shirt All Day?


Once you find a favorite brand or style of compression shirt that fits and feels great, it’s not uncommon to begin expanding its use and incorporating it into more of your wardrobe.


Many athletes find that they really enjoy the fit of compression shirts both on their own and as a layering option for physical activity and everyday wear.


Compared to other base layer and undershirt options, compressions shirts are superior in several ways: soft and breathable feel, no bunching or shifting around, and moisture wicking to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable.


2 female athletes wearing compression shirts while running.

But as you wear your compression shirt more, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to wear for longer durations.


For instance, is it okay to wear a compression shirt all day?


Yes, it’s okay to wear your compression shirt for extended periods of time, including all day, so long as you choose a shirt that does not block in moisture or one that is too constricting.


If you’ve noticed that your compression shirt has either of these characteristics, it’s important that you replace it with a better option, as these characteristics can lead to problems when worn for extended periods.


Remember, compression garments that fit correctly and are constructed with high-quality fabric do not get in the way of any bodily movement or function. Rather, the compression garment simply offers additional support and mobilization to the applied muscle areas.


Choose A Compression Shirt That Doesn’t Block in Moisture


When it comes to compression shirts, you want to find one that’s breathable and non-restrictive.


The last thing you want is a tight-fitting shirt that limits your movement or a non-breathable fabric that’s holding in moisture, weighing you down, and causing you to overheat.


Athlete wearing compression shirt while working out.

Compression fabric is naturally breathable, one of the reasons why it’s so popular among athletes, and certain compression garments can boost breathability with strategic perforations and other ventilation design features.


Most compression garments feature moisture-wicking fabric, but some perform better than others. To be sure, look for compression shirts from reputable athletic brands that specifically tout this feature.


Not only will you feel better and more comfortable as you’re active or just moving throughout your day, but this feature will also help to regulate your body temperature.



Choose A Compression Shirt That Isn’t Too Tight

Another important factor to look for in your compression shirt is how tight it fits through the torso and chest.


Compression shirts that fit too tightly in the chest can restrict your natural range of motion and too tight in the torso often leads to an uncomfortable and distracting “sucked in” feeling.


Additionally, too much pressure in the abdominal area could lead to, or exacerbate, acid reflux (which occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus).


Support is one thing (and it’s important to have), but what you don’t want is any restriction or excessive pressure. A good rule of thumb is if your compression shirt limits your mobility or flexibility in any way, then you likely need a larger size.


For additional help in determining the proper fit for your compression shirt, be sure to check out or guide on Choosing the Right Fit.



The Best Compression Shirts: Our Top Picks


As the popularity of compression wear and activewear has grown in recent years, there are more and more options available to athletes and active individuals than ever before.


And with this increase in choice comes product specialization to meet the various needs and preferences of different sports and activities.


For this reason, we can’t say there’s just one particular compression shirt out there today that’s the perfect choice for any situation you might find yourself in. However, you can find a great compression shirt to meet your needs, whether general or specific.


Here are our compression shirt recommendations for some of the most common scenarios in which they’re worn.



Best Compression Shirt to Wear as An Undershirt


If you’re looking for a compression shirt that works great as an undershirt, we recommend the Spanx Sculpt Cotton Crew Neck and the Spanx One-and-Done Cami.


Man and woman wearing Spanx compression undershirts.

Men: Spanx Sculpt Cotton Crew Neck Women: Spanx One-and-Done Cami


These compression shirts are specifically designed to be worn as undershirts for everyday wear and extended use. Compression undershirts feature classic compression benefits like breathability and sweat-wicking capability with an everyday style that’s great for layering.



Best Compression Shirt to Wear for Light Activity


Whether heading outside for a walk, doing some yardwork, or chasing your kids around, any time you’re active and working up a sweat, we recommend the Men’s Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Shirt 2.0 and the Women’s Lululemon Align T-Shirt.


Man and woman wearing Lululemon compression shirts.

Men: Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Shirt 2.0

Women: Lululemon Align T-Shirt


These compression shirts have the classic compression properties (breathability, sweat-wicking, quick-drying) but in a slightly more relaxed fit for lighter activity.



Best Compression Shirt to Wear Working Out


If you’re ramping things up a bit and hitting the gym for a workout with a higher intensity level, we recommend the Men’s Nike Pro Dri-FIT Short Sleeve Top and the Women’s Nike Sportswear Crop Top.


Man and woman wearing Nike compression shirts.

Men: Nike Pro Dri-FIT Short Sleeve Top

Women: Nike Sportswear Crop Top


These compression tops feature lightweight and breathable fabric in a performance-driven design that can handle any movement you throw its way.



Best Compression Shirt to Combat Cold Weather


Forging out into the cold? For compression gear specifically designed to keep you warm in cold-weather conditions we recommend the UA ColdGear Compression Mock Neck.


Man and Woman wearing Under Armour compression shirts.

Men: Under Armour ColdGear Compression Mock Neck

Women: Under Armour ColdGear Authentics Mock Neck


These compression shirts feature quick-drying exteriors and brushed interiors for warmth, all while remaining lightweight and stretchy for freedom of movement.


For more cold weather compression shirt options, check out our top picks for the Best Cold Weather Compression Shirts for Men and Women.



Is It Dangerous to Wear Compression Shirts All the Time?


When you put a compression shirt on, you’ll immediately notice the different fit and feel of compression compared to other everyday shirts.


This is a good thing. Actually feeling a slight degree of pressure to your torso, chest, and arm muscles is a sign that your compression shirt fits correctly and is doing its job.


But what about if you’re wearing a compression shirt nearly every day and applying that pressure to your body for extended periods of time, is that dangerous in any way?


In short, the answer is no. Compression shirts provide better blood flow and support to your muscles without inhibiting or altering your body’s normal functioning.


Graph depicting pressure levels in compression wear.

Compression shirts sold by popular athletic brands (Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, etc.) are fine for extended, everyday wear.


These compression shirts are made for widespread use with normal compression pressure levels that range in the mild to medium levels, as outlined in the graphic above.


Compression shirts or other garments that utilize heavy pressure will signal this to the purchaser, as they’re not intended for the average user.


Heavy pressure garments should be used in moderation or at the direction of your doctor, physical therapist, or other healthcare provider.


Note: While it’s not dangerous to wear a compression shirt or any other compression garment every day for long periods of time, it’s really not necessary that you do so, as your body does not require the additional help all the time.



Benefits of Wearing Compression Before and After Activity


Now that you know that compression shirts are okay for everyday wear and extended use, you might not be that surprised to learn that they’re great for both pre- and post-activity, not just during activity.


In the same way that the compression garments increase muscle stability and blood flow during activity for improved endurance and ability, this process is also great for warming up your muscles pre-activity and helping your muscles recover post-activity.


Proper muscle warm-up will help you reduce injury and perform your best. And good muscle recovery will allow you to get back in the game quicker.


Recently, some activewear brands have begun designing compression garments with post-activity muscle recovery in mind. You can check out some of those great recovery options here.

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