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How To Deal With My Compression Shorts Bulge?

Putting on proper running gear is one of the secrets to running faster and for longer distances. Not only that, but it also helps in managing several problems, such as ventilation and sweat wicking to prevent chafing. When it comes to running, there are several types of shorts that you can wear, whether they’re split shorts or regular shorts with liners.

However, a lot of runners also wear tight shorts while running because they prevent friction and provide compression, hence the name “compression shorts”. Although compression shorts are excellent for female runners, they can pose a slight problem for male runners, which is the compression shorts bulge. Its particularly difficult for a guy to decide what to wear under running shorts – especially when dealing with this issue.

In addition to being embarrassing to some men, they can also feel a little uncomfortable to wear, leading many runners to question the effectiveness of these shorts and how to deal with the bulge. In today’s article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the compression shorts and leggings bulge, how tight your shorts should be, and how to deal with this problem. Let’s jump right in!

compression shorts bulge text with picture of two women with spandex pants

Compression Shorts Bulge

Compression shorts bulge is mainly caused due to the fabrics used in the manufacturing process. However, these fabrics are necessary to apply compression on your leg muscles while running, which can have some benefits while working out. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to deal with the bulge.

This includes wearing regular split shorts above the compression shorts to cover the bulge or even swapping the compression shorts with alternatives depending on your use of the shorts.

Before diving into the juicy details of dealing with the bulge, let’s have a quick look at the root of the problem with compression shorts. To apply compression, these shorts usually use thin elastic fabrics like spandex and polyester, which causes the root of the issue.

Luckily, there are plenty of methods to deal with compression shorts bulge, so let’s have a quick look at them:

  • Wear Covering Shorts: If you mainly wear the shorts because compression helps you feel more comfortable, you can always wear loose running shorts over them. This way, you can benefit from the compression provided by the shorts while covering the bulge.
  • Apply Gliders: A good alternative to wearing compression shorts is using body gliders that prevent irritation and chafing, so you can try that while wearing regular shorts.
  • Wear Underwear: Although you’re not supposed to wear underwear with shorts that have built-in liners, compression shorts don’t have one. In that case, wearing underwear may help in resolving the bulge problem.

In addition to all the previously mentioned solutions, you can also consider switching to a different model or brand of compression shorts that have a different spandex ratio, as the higher ratio of elastic fabrics tends to make the bulge more noticeable. Of course, you can also ditch the whole compression shorts and wear regular running shorts without worrying about any performance issues, but more on that in the following section.

How Tight Should Compression Shorts Feel?

Although compression shorts are supposed to fit tightly, a compression short that is too tight can actually block circulation and cause more harm than good. A good compression short should provide a snug fit around your waist and thighs while allowing you to enjoy a full range of motion without pain or discomfort.

A lot of male runners are curious about compression runners and how tight they should be. First, you should know that most guys overthink the bulge problem and that they’re never too flashy, especially if you’re running, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But here’s a question: do compression shorts do anything to begin with?

Well, there is a huge debate on whether compression shorts provide any physical advantages. According to a study on compression shorts, they didn’t show any significant improvement in performance. Yet, many runners actually wear compression shorts because it prevents friction between their thighs, which causes chafing and painful irritation among other problems.

In other words, whether compression shorts are any good depends mainly on why you’re using them.

For starters, while buying compression shorts, the seller might provide a sizing chart according to the measurement of your waist and thighs. In that case, make sure that you measure your body before buying one. If you constantly suffer from bulges while wearing tight shorts, you can go one size up to avoid this problem or look for shorts that typically run big.

One way to figure out the right sizing of compression shorts is to test the waist strap by pulling on it. Suitable compression shorts will provide ample elasticity and you won’t find a hard time stretching them several inches.

Are There Bulge Enhancing Compression Shorts?

There are compression shorts that actually enhance the bulge. Used to make the male’s package seem bigger or to generally provide more comfort by lifting the package, these shorts will usually have up to 5% spandex in their composition. They may increase the thickness of the fabric, or change it, in the bulge area.

In general, bulge enhancing compression shorts are used to provide a more flattering fit while also boosting the level of comfort. The main idea here is that these shorts will provide snug compression throughout the shorts, including the bulge area. However, the shorts will have a bulge pouch to prevent excessive pressure.


Compression shorts bulge is a part of the game if you’re a male and you wear compression shorts. We’ve covered a few ways to help minimize the issue, but it’s most likely not as big of a problem as people may think. Runners are a tight knit group and respect each others efforts – bulge or no bulge!

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About the author

Jasper loves to write about fitness, running, and anything else that gets him moving outdoors. He's an avid hiker, backpacker, and climber who loves to stay fit so he can make sure he's healthy enough to enjoy his favorite hobbies. He also spends time writing about his true passions in life.