Compression Clothing: Con or Not?

In the world of athletics, the barrier of entry to most is the cost of equipment. You’d think a low-impact recreational sport like jogging wouldn’t come with much of a cost, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Sweeping the nation and making a massive name for itself in the world of athletic gearcompression clothing, compression clothing is the next biggest thing to hit sports. But does it really have a benefit, or are we being sold another batch of sports snake oil?

Claiming to have benefits beyond covering your body during your daily workout, compression clothing suggests that it can improve performance, prevent injury and aid in the recovery of soft-tissue damage. Luckily, you as the consumer are not limited to which body part you’d like to wrap in this miracle fabric. Shirts, pants, shorts and underwear are all available to you, should you have the inclination and bank account to afford them.

The $3.2 billion dollar industry has done well to market itself to professional athletes and young up-and-comers, becoming a staple in nearly every locker room from coast to coast. But is there science behind this fashion? Analysts have performed countless tests on athletes both with and without the slick fabric, and results were inconclusive. An Indiana University study compared the running speeds of athletes wearing the lower-leg compression to those without, and found zero difference in their performance.

However, there is some truth to the advertisements. Compression clothing does infact aid in the recovery of soft-tissue damage, and reduce the pain caused by muscle soreness. Great for those suffering from tendon and ligament issues, compression clothing prevents blood from pooling around damaged or bruised areas of the body. While not the magic solution to your suffering scores in sports, there are benefits to using Compression clothing other than its sleek look.