Basketball, a sport dominated by agility, strength, and skill, has seen various changes in its attire over the years. From the shorter shorts of the 1980s to the baggier styles of the late 1990s and 2000s, each era has had its distinct style. One of the more recent trends that has caught the eye of many is the rise in the use of basketball compression pants, or leggings, or tights. Far from being just a fashion statement, these leggings serve practical, performance-enhancing, and protective functions.
Why Wear Basketball Compression Pants?
The primary reason athletes wear compression pants is to improve blood circulation. These leggings exert pressure on the leg muscles, which can increase venous return, reducing muscle fatigue and soreness. By doing so, players might experience better endurance and a reduction in the time taken for muscles to recover post-game.
Compression pants offer an additional layer of protection. They can reduce the risk of scrapes, cuts, or floor burns that might occur during a fall or slide. Additionally, by supporting the muscles and keeping them warm, compression leggings can reduce the risk of strains or pulls.
Compression pants or tights help in maintaining optimal muscle temperature. By keeping muscles warm, they reduce the risk of injury and can be especially beneficial in colder playing environments.
Many compression garments are made of moisture-wicking materials that draw sweat away from the body. This helps players stay dry and reduces the discomfort from sweat-soaked clothing clinging to the body.
Post-game or post-practice, compression leggings can speed up recovery. The improved circulation they promote helps in flushing out waste products from muscle metabolism, which can reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery times.
Comfort and Freedom of Movement
The elasticity of compression pants/tights can aid in better movement. Good quality compression tights are designed to fit snugly without restricting movement, providing players with both comfort and a full range of motion.
Confidence and Style
Beyond the functional benefits, many players feel confident when wearing compression gear, enjoying both the feel and the look. Given the influence of NBA stars and other professional athletes, compression pants have also become a style statement in the basketball community.
Evolution and Varieties
As with any sportswear, basketball leggings have evolved. Today, you’ll find leggings that offer UV protection, those infused with antimicrobial properties to reduce odor, and even those designed with specific compression zones for targeted support.
Top 7 Basketball Compression Pants
1) Adidas TechFit 3/4 Tights (Best Reviewed)
The Adidas Techfit 3/4 Tights have consistently received many high marks from users for their comfort and durability. They offer reliable compression, enhance performance, and come with the added benefit of what they call AEROREADY, its their moisture-wicking technology. Overall, it’s a great choice for athletes looking for quality and longevity at a great price!
2) Nike Jordan Sport Dri-FIT 3/4 Tights (Our Favorite)
A perfect blend of style and functionality, these tights are not only aesthetically pleasing but also feature Nike’s Dri-FIT technology to keep athletes dry during intense workouts. The Jordan branding adds an extra touch of style to an already top-tier product. They do run a little small so keep that in mind and they are a little more expensive than the Adidas Techfit tights.
3) Adidas TechFit Short Tights (Best Short)
Ideal for those who prefer shorter tights, the Adidas Techfit Short Tights offer the same quality compression and moisture-wicking features as their 3/4 counterparts. They are perfect for high-intensity workouts or sports that require a greater range of leg movement. The product received positive reviews for comfort, flexibility, and keeping you dry. However, some users mentioned that the fit is a bit small and tight, suggesting to order a size up for a better fit.
4) Under Armour Curry Brand 3/4 Leggings (Most Expensive)
Synonymous with quality, the Curry Brand 3/4 Leggings are on the pricier side but offer impeccable fit and support. They are designed to cater to the needs of serious athletes, providing optimum compression without compromising on comfort. The interior is incredibly smooth and soft, with a convenient drop-in Strength Pocket on the right side for a little storage.
5) Hercicy 3/4 One Leg Compression Tights (Best One Leg)
A unique offering in the compression market, the Hercicy Men’s One Leg Tights are perfect for athletes who need targeted compression on one leg. They are comfortable, durable, and offer excellent support where it’s most needed. These compression leggings come in a pack of 2, offering great value for money. They are not only affordable but also available in multiple colors, with the option of pockets.
6) Nike Pro Dri-Fit 3/4 Length Tights (Best Value)
These tights from Nike stand out due to their balance between compression and comfort. Made with Dri-FIT technology, they ensure dryness during prolonged basketball workouts. Great option for a high-quality product at an affordable price.
7) Roadbox Men’s Compression Pants (Most Affordable)
Budget-friendly without skimping on quality, the Roadbox Men’s Compression leggings offer good value for money. They provide reliable compression and are surprisingly durable for their price point. A great choice for those looking for affordable yet effective compression wear. And you have options to buy in back of 1, 2, or 3.
What To Look For When Buying Compression Leggings?
- Purpose: Understanding your primary reason for buying compression pants is essential. Is it for sports, recovery, or medical reasons? Different needs might require different types of compression wear.
- Material: Look for breathable, moisture-wicking materials that will keep you dry and comfortable. Common materials include a blend of nylon, spandex, or elastane. The material should also be durable and able to maintain its compressive properties after multiple washes.
- Level of Compression: Compression garments come in different compression levels, usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Mild compression might range from 10-20 mmHg, while higher compression can go up to 30 mmHg or more. Consult with a professional or do thorough research to determine what’s best for your needs.
- Fit: A proper fit is crucial. Compression pants should be snug but not overly tight to the point of causing discomfort. It’s a good idea to check the brand’s sizing chart and, if possible, try them on before purchasing.
- Seams: Flatlock seams can be beneficial as they reduce the risk of chafing, especially during prolonged wear or intense physical activity.
- Design and Coverage: Decide whether you want full-length, 3/4 length, or shorts. This might depend on the sport, the weather, or personal preference. Some designs also offer targeted compression in specific areas, like the calves or quads.
- UV Protection: If you’ll be wearing your compression pants outdoors, consider those with UV protection to shield your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.
- Antimicrobial Properties: Some compression pants come with antimicrobial treatments, which can help reduce odor and keep the garment fresh for a more extended period.
- Price: While you often get what you pay for, expensive doesn’t always mean better. Look for a balance between cost and quality. Reading user reviews can provide insights into durability and performance.
- Brand Reputation: Established brands with a history in sportswear or medical compression garments are generally more trustworthy. They tend to have more reliable and tested products.
- Style and Aesthetics: While the primary focus should be on performance and comfort, the design and look might also be essential for some individuals. Many brands offer a variety of colors and patterns.
- Return Policy: Especially if you’re buying online, ensure the company has a favorable return policy in case the fit or feel isn’t right.
Which NBA Players Wear Compression Pants?
- LeBron James: Perhaps one of the most notable figures in the NBA, LeBron often wears leggings, especially later in his career, for the comfort and benefits they provide.
- Kevin Durant: The Brooklyn Nets star has been seen wearing leggings throughout various points in his career.
- Russell Westbrook: Known for his explosive speed and unique fashion sense, Westbrook frequently sports leggings during games.
- Stephen Curry: The Golden State Warriors’ sharpshooter has also adopted leggings, especially during colder games.
- James Harden: Like his fellow superstars, Harden has been known to wear compression tights both in games and during practice.
- Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, and Giannis Antetokounmpo: These players, among many others, have also been seen wearing leggings at different times in their careers.
The trend of wearing leggings isn’t limited to just these superstars. Many players, including role players and emerging stars, have started wearing them because of the benefits they offer in terms of muscle support and warmth. The choice to wear leggings often depends on individual preference, potential injury concerns, or sometimes even just the weather.
Basketball leggings, while stylish, are primarily about comfort, protection, and enhancing a player’s ability on the court. As the sport continues to evolve, so will the attire, and it’s clear that basketball compression leggings are more than just a fleeting trend. Whether you’re a professional or just playing a pick-up game at your local court, investing in a good pair of basketball leggings can make a significant difference in your playing experience.