Recovery Tights vs Compression Tights: What's the Difference?

Recovery Tights vs Compression Tights: What's the Difference?

Man wearing a Kapow Meggings while working out

Recovery tights? Compression tights? They’re the same thing right? Slap ‘em on, go workout  and keep those pigstrings, quads and calves all nice and sweet. 

Whoaaa… hold on there big fella. 

There is a difference between compression and recovery tights.  And knowing the ins and outs could be the difference between being a champ or a chump when it comes to taking care of your muscles and getting the best out of your workout wear.

Gentlemen. Let’s talk tights.

What are recovery tights and compression tights and what do they do?

Let’s shed some lights on these tights shall we?

Recovery tights

This type of men’s tights have one job and one job only: to help your shattered muscles get back to tip top condition. 

You know the feeling after an intense lower body workout? After you’ve obliterated your legs after a long distance cycle or run and can barely stand, much less move?


Those are the times when you need something to yank those muscles back to the land of the living.

If you’re a hardcore Ice Warrior like magic super gnome Wim Hof, an ice bath is the order of the day. For mere mortals and those who object to balls shrinking to the size of raisins, something else is needed – recovery tights.

Constructed for graduated compression – stronger at the bottom to light compression at the top to stimulate blood flow – recovery tights do exactly what the name suggests. So, minimization of muscle fatigue, circulation boost, removal of lactic acid. And as you lounge, recovery tights help your muscles heal faster and much more effectively.

Man wearing a Kapow Meggings stretching in a track field

Compression tights 

Most of what the best recovery tights can do, men’s compression pants can do too. But when it comes to all-round workout/recovery/fashion wear, compression leggings are the absolute shiznit.

Tailor-made for the intense workout, compression leggings are constructed from tough technical fabric, protecting your body from potential abrasions and stabilizing your muscles in the process.  

They also increase blood flow and get oxygen to your muscles faster, to aid recovery times and prevent muscle fatigue. The best compression pants for men come with sweat-wicking and 4-way stretch materials for supreme comfort. 

Then there’s the thing fellas realize when they slip a pair on for the first time. The second skin feel, when everything aligns and the confidence in your own ability to balance reaches new levels of insanity.   


What are the pros and cons of each?

Recovery tights


  • Graduated compression – so, higher compression at the bottom of the legs and milder compression at the top – helps blood flow and speed up recovery. 
  • The most effective men’s tights at reducing DOMS after an intense workout.
  • They reduce lactic acid, preventing muscle cramp and long term injuries.


  • They’re designed to reduce muscle soreness after exercise, so they’re not made with performance in mind.
  • They don’t have the out-and-out style factor like men’s compression pants. 
  • They’re not as comfortable as compression leggings.

Man wearing a Stormbreaker Meggings

Compression tights


  • They’re made for the workout. Sweat wicking, robust technical fabric, 4-way stretch and breathability make them awesome for intense activity.
  • The second skin feel boosts your proprioceptive function. That’s how you sense your body’s position and body. Essentially, this type of men’s tights make you feel like a g’damn midnight ninja.
  • The best compression pants for men come with sweet extra features, like bounce-proof pockets. No more running like a numpty with your phone in your hand.
  • Performance aside, they also work as recovery tights in their own right. You can wear compression leggings for circulation and increased blood flow. So, not only do they take your performance to the next level, they deal with the aftermath.  
  • Whereas recovery tights are all about functionality, men’s compression pants also tick the ‘looks like a magnificent bastard’ box. Wild colors and epic designs are all par for the course for the very best compression leggings.


  • While they are pretty shit hot at aiding recovery, they are not specifically focused on recovery, like recovery tights. 

Man wearing a Conquest Signature Meggings

Compression tights vs recovery tights – which is better for you?


If you’re specifically looking for something to speed up recovery after a workout, recovery tights might be your best bet.

For any other reason, it’s got to be compression pants every time. They still offer great recovery capabilities, while bringing some next-level support and comfort when crushing it in the gym, on the court or when running long distance.

Plus, they look hella cool.

How to measure for the correct size

Despite what you tell yourself after a cold swim, there’s no escaping the truth…


So, size up the situation son! Unless they’re some kind of shonky shysters, makers of men’s compression pants will have a sizing chart. Track it down and scope it out and stick to your numbers – unless you want that extra tight, high compression; in which case, go a size down.

When should you wear each type of tights?

Slap on the recovery tights after an intense lower body workout or after a monster run/marathon. Better yet, wear them after a cold bath or ice bath for super sweet extra effective muscle repair.

Don’t bother wearing them for workouts though. They ain’t made for that kind of action. 

The best compression pants for men can pretty much crush it any time anywhere. Long distance running? Oh yes. Badass bikram yoga? You best believe it. Base jumping off a mountain top at sunrise, while screaming into the wind?