Leggings can be so much more than athleisure and workout wear. Compression gear has medical and physical benefits. So much so that Serena Williams wore a compression catsuit in last years French Open. The controversial and now banned out outfit was designed to prevent blood clots, a complication Williams experienced during pregnancy.
Many athletes now wear compression garments to enhance performance and minimize recovery. Compression leggings reduce fatigue, soreness, and strains while increasing blood flow, comfort, and recovery.
The benefits of compression leggings aren’t just for athletes though. Compression can benefit anyone with leg swelling and tiredness from extended periods of sitting or standing. That’s just about everybody! Beyond that, compression garments are used medically to ease discomfort from spider veins, varicose veins, edema, tired aching legs, deep vein thrombosis, and surgical recovery.
Last but not least, compression also acts as shapewear for slimming and smoothing. These plus size leggings can be worn on their own or underneath skirts and pants.
All of these compression leggings are breathable, don’t roll up or fall down, and designed not to chafe. What separates the brands is the fabric, degree of compression, colors and patterns, and fit. Every brand fits differently and sometimes it’s just about finding the design for your body. Some companies seem to design more for apple shapes while others work better for hourglass figures.
Medical Compression Leggings
Marena Women’s Core Fit Legging – This made in the USA medical grade garment features graduated compression from the ankle up, action seams to prevent chafing, and a stay-in-place waistband. They are available up to size 3x with 3 inseam lengths to customize fit. This ankle length version sits at the natural waist but capri and low rise options are also available.
2. Diva’s Curves
Diva’s Curves Ultimate Sport Compression High-Rise Controls Tummy Leggings – We’re not fans of waist training but are on board with smoothing shapewear. Made out of their own multi-layered, breathable material and designed with an advanced pattern technique, these high-waisted leggings are designed for comfortable and flattering compression that defines the waist and smooths everything else. They are available to 4x and for a very reasonable $60. Diva’s Curves also features a range of post-surgical garments.
3. Absolute Support
Absolute Support Graduated Compression Stockings – These footless 75% nylon, 25% spandex opaque tights provide firm and graduated support of 20-30mmHg to relieve discomfort with bonus body-shaping. Wear them as tights or underneath clothing.
Workout Compression Leggings
4. Superfit Hero
Superfit Hero Pocket Leggings – Designed by athletes (like Olympic Bronze Medalist weightlifter Sarah Robles) for athletes with the goal of making fitness more inclusive, body positive, and empowering for women, Superfit Hero is a brand worth supporting. Most bottoms are available up to size 5x although this one is up to 4x.
In addition to a cool colorblock design and pockets on both sides for your phone and keys, the premium compression fabric provides comfortable support that won’t ride up or fall down. Also committed to ethical manufacturing, all clothes are made in Los Angeles.
5. Old Navy
Old Navy High Rise Multistripe Compression Crops – Old Navy is a solid choice for cute, comfortable and affordable plus size athletic wear and athleisure up to size 4x. While some people think black is the way to go for leggings, we are all about bold colors and patterns. It is eye-catching, if that’s what you’re after. It is also slimming, if that’s what you want.
Rsport Plus Size Athletic Capri – The evidence that being fit matters more than being fat is growing every day. The growing number of Athena athletes are getting out there and showing the world. Those ladies need something to wear! And not men’s wear.
RSport is another plus size focused athletic company that carries clothing from size L to 6X. These capris are tested by athletes and include a hip media pocket, equestrian-type abrasion panels on the inner thigh and back waistband pocket. The lightweight fabric keeps you cool with compression for support and to keep everything in place.
Rainbeau Curve Basix Compression Leggings – Made of 88% cotton and 12% spandex, these might be the most comfortable plus size compression leggings out there. The wide V-shaped waistband provides subtle tummy compression while side panels provide extra support. Choose from black, gray and blue in sizes 14/16 to 30/32.