2XU Elite compression tights review£70.00

Effective recovery tool

BikeRadar score3.5/5

There's a common edict in cycling: don't stand when you can sit, don't sit when you can lie down, and if you lie down put your legs up – preferably while taking a nap. 

Most of us don't have the luxuries of daily siestas or full-time soigneurs, however, but modern compression gear seems to be the next best thing.

Donned immediately after a hard ride, our 2XU (say, 'two times you') Elite compression tights do a good job of staving off that heavy feeling you get in your legs as a result of fluid pooling down below, especially if you know you're going to be upright for a long stint – like if you decide to hang around to watch a friend race after your event wraps up or you've got a long trip home in the car. 

2XU build their Elite range with a more powerful fabric than their standard compression tights so while they offer a tighter squeeze than earlier versions we've tried – and are markedly more snug than standard cycling or running tights, as they should be – they're still remarkably thin, highly breathable and barely insulative at all. 

As such, they're unobtrusive under standard clothing and a viable option if you're trapped at a desk all day before a big ride. They're also an exceptional airborne travelling companion – we've worn ours on at least three trans-Atlantic journeys this year and exited the plane with notably more spring in our step (though they sadly do little for jet lag).

Still, even the best compression gear has its limitations and 2XU's Elite tights are no exception. They will shorten recovery time if used properly but don't seem to do much to push the existing fluid out if your legs are already swollen, and in spite of the hype, they won't miraculously turn your sore legs into power-packed matchsticks overnight. Alas, they're no substitute for proper stretching and cool-down, either.

They're very expensive, too, but ours have thankfully held up to countless machine washings, a few errant trips through the drier, and intentionally abusive tugging and stretching with no notable decrease in elasticity and just a little cracking on the logos. They're a luxury item for sure but one that's useful to have if your budget allows.

James Huang

Former Technical Editor, US
James was BikeRadar's US tech editor from 2007-2015.
  • Age: 40
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 70kg / 154lb
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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