2XU Compression Apparel Review

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Scott & Don

2XU (pronounced 2 “times” U) has 3 categories of performance compression apparel – (1) Perform(2) Xform; and (3) Refresh. I will be reviewing the following with the help of other testers (thank you testers):

PERFORM (Apparel for active use)

XFORM (Apparel for active use and also for recovery)

REFRESH (Apparel for Recovery)


See comments from our testers below.


Men’s Sleeveless Compression Top



“VERY tight.   I thought I might have a size too small, but after putting it on, it was “slimming” and promoted a taller, straighter posture.”


“I love the fact that it helps me stand up straight.  I can feel when I am bending over, hunching or letting my shoulders slouch. It is difficult to remove after the workout!  I felt like Houdini trying to get out of a straight jacket.”


Men’s 3/4 Compression Tights



“Very sleek and stylish.  I love the graphics!”


“I did like these.  I did feel decreased “vibration” in my quads – and feel this may have helped reduce fatigue. On a long 4 + hour run, I had some chafage on my man parts 🙂  I would recommend wearing underwear!  They seamed to need to be pulled up periodically.”


Men’s Compression Shorts



“I liked the feel of the fabric – light, stretchy, and quality fabric.”


“I’m starting to love these shorts. I use them on my long runs. They seem to help with overall muscle fatigue near the end of the run. I’ll keep using these during training. However, it would be nice to have an extra pocket on the outside – for gels, music player, etc. It did have a very small pocket on the inside.”


Unisex Non-Stirrup Calf Guard



“Very sleek and cool graphics.  Very tight.”


“I really like these.  They are useful in the cool weather so I don’t have to wear tights.  I think I have better proprioception during my workout, although it may be in my head.  Of all the compression gear I have, I like these the most. They can be a bit difficult getting off. ”


Women’s Short Sleeve Compression Top



“…visually appealing…and surprisingly easy to get on.”


” I have to say that I fell in love with the compression top. I was very skeptical at first to any benefit a runner would have from a compression top. I was worried the product would ride up as I was running and was VERY excited to find out that the product stayed put! No riding up and I think it really helped with proprioception on the hills.”



Men’s Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top



“Well fitted. Sizing seemed correct.”


“It was snug fitting. However, I really liked the “tight” feel after running a 30 miler. I didn’t have anything around my waist (used hydration pack), but when I did the top seemed to ride-up. This was alleviated by tucking in the top into my compression shorts. Man, I looked like some superhero.”


Men’s Elite Compression Race Socks



“It fit right out of the box. I’ve tried most compression socks, but these socks felt like they had just the right compression.”


“They worked well in training. They are well cushioned in the foot area. I ran through several stream crossings and the socks seemed to retain water and didn’t feel like they drained quickly – maybe a lighter material in the foot area?”


Women’s Compression Tights



“I had all intentions of wearing them solo, but after much debate I decided it would be in the best interest for my fellow trail mates to wear a skort over the tights.”


“I ran a rather technical section of trail in the active compression tights and did not feel like my motion was impeded by the product. I felt as if the tight kept my truffle shuffle to a minimum and allowed for extra energy towards the higher miles in my run that day. Overall, impressed by the tight. Might be a little difficult to get on/off, felt like I might rip the active product in attempts to get it settled on my body…”



Men’s & Women’s Recovery Tights


“They fit snug. Now I know how women feel trying to put on nylons.” – Male Tester

“…the recovery pants were another adventure. There were some choice words spent in attempts to get those gems on.” – Female Tester


“I used the recovery tights after my main workouts – (speed sessions, tempo session and long runs). I did not feel as tired or sore the next day. However, I have been increasing my training. I am not completely sure if the recovery tights helped or my body was getting use to the increase volume in my training. I’m still testing this apparel. The real test will be after a race.” – Male Tester

“Overall, impressed by the tight. I was really anxious to try the recovery product. After struggling to get my tights on I instantly felt like super woman. Not because the gear was literally plastered to my body, but I felt less muscle soreness. I slept comfortably through the night and was not doing my usual “flexing” of the legs in my sleep due to soreness. I eventually got myself out of the product after rolling out of bed and experienced little to none DOMS that I could relate to that particular adventure on the trail.” – Female Tester

Men’s Compression Recovery Socks



“VERY tight, took some work to get on!”


“I liked the feeling of wearing these after a workout or on long (3-4 hour drives). I feel they did aid in recovery- less soreness.  I think these are some of my favorite 2XU gear! [However,] after wearing these for 4+ hours the band around the top caused some pressure points and needed to be readjusted often.”




Selecting the correct sizing for your body is important. It is recommend to follow the 2XU sizing charts listed below. Please note the comment regarding recovery apparel.

Men’s Shorts

Men’s Tights

Men’s Tops

Men’s Socks

Men’s Recovery Tights (If you are a borderline in sizing, you should select the small sizing when it comes to recovery compression.)

Women’s Tights

Women’s Tops

Women’s Recovery Tights (If you are a borderline in sizing, you should select the small sizing when it comes to recovery compression.)

Unisex Calf Guards

Questions & Answers

For more information, you can review the 2XU’s QA document (2XU-Compression-QA).

You can also re-listen to the podcast.



2XU makes 3 categories of products – (1) Perform(2) Xform; and (3) Refresh.  Due to the “form-fitting” nature of compression apparel, it may require some effort in getting the apparel on and off.  Choosing the correct sizing is important.

As for the recovery apparel (“Refresh” product line), they are made with a less flexible fabric combined with graduated compression that is different from the “active” apparel. They should be used just after your run (hopefully after you shower) and left on for several hours. If you are still “feeling it”, you can sleep in them. The alleged benefits is that the recovery apparel will reducing muscle soreness during post workout recovery by flushing out the damage markers faster thereby repairing the muscle and other soft tissue.

I must admit that the 2XU apparel is well made and constructed. I have enjoyed testing and training in 2XU apparel and feel that it has helped. The real question for me will be – will I show-up at the starting line with my running buddies wearing the “European-look” (per my wife’s comment).  I showed up for a training run and one of my friends said – where’s James? (I was standing right by him) I guess he didn’t recognize me in my new look.  If you are looking for a “slimmed” down look, it’s more sporty than Spanx.

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Join the discussion

  • I’m a big fan of compression tights both for training and recovery. I use the running tights and socks and both are excellent! Haven’t had a chance to get the recovery tights yet. One of these days…

    I do have a question about the calf sleeves. I know these are quite popular. I have a pair that I use from time to time. But, I’ve been told that you shouldn’t do long runs because they will cause blood to pool in your feet and cause them to swell. I’ve actually experienced this myself and it is fairly unpleasant. Does this happen to anyone else? Have you heard of this?

    Also, 2XU is a great brand with great products. But, don’t buy their gear just because you like the graphics. If you do, you will be supremely disappointed with all of the graphics peal off, as has happened to all of my gear.

  • Great comments Daniel. I have emailed Johnny regarding your calf guard question/comments. I have not had issues, but my longest training run has been 30 miles.

  • Hi Daniel – thanks for the comments and questions regarding calf guards in general. As with any product, be it shoes, shorts, socks, or nutrition, everybody will have a different response. Sometimes positive sometimes not. Over a prolonged period of time there is always going to the propensity for fluid build up when you are not wearing a medically graduated sock or sleeve simply because of gravitational effects or even over use in an endurance event.

    The 2XU Calf Guard is focused 100% on muscle containment and reducing the vibrations of the calf muscle and other soft tissue in the lower leg. Thereby increasing the muscles endurance, reducing damage, and ultimately keeping this large soft tissue mass happy and comfy whilst we are active.

    One thing to keep in mind. The great saphenous vein is located from the foot to the groin in most cases has enough pressure to overcome blood pooling in the foot and many will mistake other fluid build up such as ankle bursitis as blood pooling. (remember Arteries feed blood out to organs and capillaries, veins return deoxygenated blood back to the heart) The GSV is the largest and most powerful vein in our body.

    So ultimately, it wouldn’t be prudent to comment specifically on what may have caused the swelling or pooling in your feet.

    Hope that helps clarify what you were looking for.

  • Thanks for the info Johnny. That is very interesting. Most product reviews aren’t really thorough enough to ever get into this kind of stuff.

    By the way, I do use your compression gear quite a bit and love it! Whenever I am increasing my mileage and/or time on the trail I use it for recovery almost every night.

  • Thanks Daniel for your comments on using 2XU. I too am liking it more and more as I increase my mileage or when I know I will be running harder.

    Thanks Johnny for your knowledge and advice. You are a great resource beyond the product your represent.

  • I’ve been looking at the compression calf guards. I have fairly thin calves (15″), but am 6’3″. Would the Small size, still fit and be beneficial for my height?

    • Hey Todd – I am wearing the small with similar calf measurement. Nice tight fit. NO complaints.

  • Johnny, the “x” on my calf sleeves has worn off. Does this change the performance of the sleeve? I love wearing mine on my long runs.

  • I just bought the recovery sleeves and was wondering if you could still use them for runs as well?


    2XU makes great Tri products!

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