After 14 hours of research evaluating 75 products, we picked Champion Men's Long Mesh Short as our top choice.
Pants can be stuffy, constricting, and make you sweat more than you want. Especially during an intense workout.
Thankfully, shorts are always appropriate for working out.
Gym shorts, board shorts, basketball shorts, compression shorts, cycling shorts—workout shorts come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Finding the right pair of shorts for your workout may be easier said than done, given how many options there are.
Don't sweat it: we've got you covered!
We've done the research of finding the best shorts for every type of workout. Whether you want yoga shorts, running shorts, extra-long shorts, uber-short shorts, or just something lightweight, we've got a pair for you. Read on to find the best athletic shorts on the market.
Cheapest shorts on the market, comfortable, decent length, loose fit, nice material, excellent ventilation, stylish, and lightweight.
Blend of fabric changes according to color and sized extra large.
The shorts are a blend of cotton and synthetic materials, though the blend changes according to the color. For example, the Graphite/Black Heather color shorts are 50% Polyester and 50% Cotton, while the Oxford-style shorts are 47% Cotton and 53% Polyester. Some colors even come in 100% cotton. Not the most durable material, but lightweight and comfortable!
Many reviewers have complained that the sizes run extra large, so make sure to buy a pair of shorts of your size or even one size smaller. The fit is loose and roomy, with just enough baggy to make them versatile. With the 8" inseam, they end just above the knees—perfect for most athletic activities.
The shorts are designed to be quick-drying (courtesy of the polyester mixed in with the cotton), and you'll find they're fairly odor-resistant as well. Thanks to the elastic waistband and drawstring, you'll be able to cinch them tightly around your waist for more active use. The two side pockets provide storage space for your phone, keys, or cards/IDs.
Cotton is a lightweight and super comfortable material, but not the most durable. These are almost better for loungewear than athletic wear, though they are good for walking or low-intensity, low-activity training.
Starting as low as just $9 per pair, these shorts are the cheapest you'll find anywhere! Though not the most long-lasting shorts, they're comfortable, versatile, and a great fit. Definitely worth paying rock-bottom prices for.
2.25" inseam, amazingly comfortable, weigh next to nothing, inside key pocket included, 100% nylon, medium fit, durable, and inexpensive.
VERY short and do not include a drawstrings.
These shorts are made out of 100% nylon, a material that is beautifully lightweight and comfortable. The fabric is soft to the touch, and they'll keep you from sweating too heavily. Though they're not designed for moisture-wicking, the material dries quickly so you won't have to worry about sweat crystals on your skin.
The fit is VERY short—just 2.25 inches for the inseam. For some men, this length is just too short and can be a bit uncomfortable (everything ends up flapping in the breeze). However, for men who have trained using only short shorts, they're the perfect length. The fit is medium, neither too tight nor too baggy or loose.
The shorts come with a single pocket sized for a single key, but there are no additional pockets for your phone, ID, or other cards. (What else are you expecting from shorts so short?) Some men dislike the lack of drawstring, but the elastic waistband is tight enough that the shorts will stay firmly in place as you run.
The material is decent quality—not the most durable shorts on the market, but they won't wear out too quickly. Machine-washing them keeps the nylon and elastic waistband from being damaged by exposure to excessive sunlight.
At less than $10 per pair, how could you possibly complain? The shorts offer comfort, freedom of movement, and a lightweight design perfect for guys who need very short shorts!
A slimmer (but not tight) fit, stretchy fabric, pockets, and a built-in boxer-brief make these shorts a dude pleaser.
Can't be thrown in the dryer - must hang dry.
The Swerve shorts are created using a blend of Nylon & Polyester which combines a 4-way stretch-ability with moisture wicking technology. What sets these bad boys apart from the rest? They feature an odor-resistant inner liner that will keep you odor free. Though, we do recommend you wash them after each use! The outer material is soft and flexible and moves with your body, while the inner is lined with a secure boxer brief ensuring your man goods are safely covered. It really is the perfect combination.
The shorts run on the smaller side and are meant to be slimmer so extra fabric does not get in the way of your practice. So don't be surprised if they seem a little tight. Not to mention, it will give the ladies something to look at during class. They come in a variety of color combinations, including black, heather grey, blue, dark green, and maroon. Guys love how versatile these shorts are - ideal for lounging, stretching, and downward dog.
These five-star rated shorts are made with quality in mind. Guys everywhere claimed that these shorts felt high quality and lasted far longer than others on the market. Another feature we love are the well-made seams and waistband. They are flat, creating a no bunch, no fuss practice.
At $69, the Swerve Yoga Short is not the cheapest pair of shorts on our list; however, they are mid-range compared to others and are a steal for the quality. These shorts will hold up for years and are well worth the investment. Get multiple pairs, you will not regret it.
The Swerve Yoga Short by Yoga Crow, defines what it means to be a yoga short. We're not talking basketball shorts with a fancy name -- this is a short, made by men, specifically for yoga. Plus, the shorts are made in the good ol' U.S.A. Yoga Crew is a small, independent company, so don't be surprised if you get a handwritten note from the owner with your order.
These compression shorts are a great choice when it comes to active living. Whether you run, lift, bike, or row, these compression shorts are sure to get the job done for a fraction of the cost of most competitor brands.
These run slightly small, but reviewers say over and over again that the pros well outweigh the cons.
Stretch material makes it easy to move about in, while also keeping all of the important parts in place. And the flatlock seams protect against chafing.
Made of 84% Polyester and 16% Spandex, these compression shorts are quick-drying, moisture wicking, and machine washable. As an added bonus, these compression shorts even come in a variety of colors.
You can get these bad boys for as low as $10 on Amazon, which we think is an amazing deal at 1/3 of the cost of other brands of compression shorts.
These workout shorts are super comfortable and provide the perfect fit for a good workout. The deep pockets allow you to keep your personal belongings on you without worrying about things falling out! These shorts are ideal for those who are on the taller size, or for those who love that long fit.
These shorts are a bit pricey but highly worth the extra cost. The material is thin and lightweight, which is excellent for giving your body room to breathe, but beware that the shorts can be a little see-through.
The fabric provides a four-way stretch- meaning it gives you room to breathe. These shorts work to actively wick away sweat and heat, keeping you cool and comfortable during your workouts.
These shorts fit relatively true to size, but like anything else, make sure to check out the size chart and measurements before purchasing. The elastic waist is exceptionally comfortable and moves with you. These shorts are perfect for hot temperatures; they keep your body ventilated and cool.
The material is exceptionally lightweight, which may seem scary, but it genuinely holds up. These shorts should last you for a few years.
These shorts are just under $30 on Amazon. You're paying for quality. Once you buy a pair, you'll probably want to come back for more. They are the perfect everyday workout shorts that keep you cool and comfortable, enabling you to achieve peak performance.
Stylish, incredibly lightweight, comfortable, keeps everything dry, excellent breathability, moisture-wicking, mesh pockets, flexible, odor-resistant, and decent length.
These shorts are made with a blend of 88% Polyester and 12% Spandex, but the fabric is specially designed to be both moisture-wicking and quick-drying. Whether you're a runner, a resistance trainee, or just someone who sweats a lot, the lightweight fabric of these shorts will keep you comfortable for hours.
The shorts have an 8" inseam, meaning they're long enough for most athletes without being too long for runners. The fit is comfortable and loose, but not baggy. Thanks to the 4-way stretch of the elastic material, you'll find you have excellent freedom of movement no matter what type of exercise you're doing.
The shorts come with a mesh pocket, a solid elastic waistband that keeps everything in place, and a liner to keep your privates nice and dry. Definitely one of the most comfortable shorts on our list.
The quality of these shorts is decent, though they're not the most durable. They will fade or wash out after a few months, and they may lose their trendy look quicker than some of the other shorts on our list.
At $68 per pair, these are among the priciest shorts we've found. However, they're amazingly comfortable and weigh next to nothing—a runner and lifter's dream!
These Training Shorts by Nike are incredibly versatile and ideal for any workout. The inner mesh material allows your body to breathe and keeps you cool and comfortable. These shorts are 100% polyester and are machine wash friendly for easy maintenance.
Check out the size charts ahead of time, so you purchase the right length and fit.
The fabric is made from 100% polyester that works to actively wick away sweat and keep your body cool during workouts.
These shorts have a drawstring so you can adjust them for the perfect fit. These Dri-fit shorts have sweat management technology and motion vents that enable you to move freely during your workouts/ day to day activities. The pockets are made with mesh material, allowing your body to breathe.
The material is thin (keeping your body cool) and moves with you freely. With that said, it's incredibly durable and should hold for quite a while.
The price depends on the size you're purchasing, but overall expect these shorts to cost about $30.
These running shorts by BALEAF provide the ultimate comfort for the avid runner. These shorts fit relatively true to size and wick away sweat and heat while you run. They even have a little zipped pocket in the back to store your items!
A few users reported that the liner feels a bit big and tends to bunch up.
These shorts are made from 95% polyester and 5% spandex. They are machine wash friendly and okay in the dryer on low (recommended to hang dry to keep them in the best condition).
These shorts provide an incredible fit. They are made with a 4-way stretch material that enables you to move freely. The material is exceptionally lightweight and breathable - keeping you comfortable throughout your entire workout. There is a built-in drawstring and built-in briefs to give you that extra support. There are three pockets, including a back pocket that has a zipper so you can keep your items secure throughout your run.
These are high-quality shorts that will not disappoint. Hang dry these shorts to keep them in running shape for years to come.
These shorts are selling for only $20 on Amazon, which is half of what most higher named brands are selling at. We think these are valued at a great deal, and that you'll like them so much, you'll probably want to purchase two!
Classic comfort, durable, stylish even when used, compatible with every sport, very affordable price tag, lightweight, side pockets for storage capacity, and breathable.
Thin and semi-transparent material.
The mesh material used for these shorts is lightweight, though slightly transparent. If you want a comfortable pair, you'll love how soft these are. They offer superior ventilation and breathability for use on hot days. They're also lightweight enough that they make a great base layer for use in cold weather/environments.
The fit of these shorts run slightly on the baggy side, making them ideal for guys who need more room to stretch and move around. They're not so long they look goofy, but they end just above the knees—classic shorts length.
The shorts have your two basic features: a drawstring and two side pockets for storage (of wallet, keys, etc.). The Champions logo is embroidered onto the left leg just above the knee, making it highly visible.
The elastic waistband is comfortable enough for guys with larger waists, and it will keep the shorts from slipping down. However, for guys with slimmer waists and thicker legs, the drawstring ensures everything is securely in place no matter how much you move around.
The best thing about these shorts is that they're durable. They don't fade or wear out like other brands (including Nike and Adidas). Even after months of regular wear, they'll still look good as new. They're one of the longest-lasting pairs of sports shorts you'll find on the market!
At less than $10 per pair, these are a total steal! Larger sizes will run closer to $15 or $20, but they're still one of the best-priced shorts anywhere.
Getting motivated to exercise is difficult enough without worrying about how you look. And needless to say, going all out on the gym is challenging enough without the wrong clothes holding you back.
We’ve said it before when we talked about the best workout shirts for men, but we’ll say it again: everyone should have several pairs of good workout shorts in their closet.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a runner, a biker, a gym rat, or a CrossFit enthusiast. Whatever your preferred workout is, you’ll benefit from having good-quality activewear at your disposal.
In this guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know to select the best workout shorts for your needs. Sure, the market is saturated and the sheer number of options we have can be confusing. Luckily, it’s nothing that a quick read-through of this guide can’t remedy.
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
For fitness enthusiasts, investing in good quality activewear is a no-brainer. But for the rest of the population, the importance of wearing proper workout clothes isn’t as obvious.
Many of us are probably guilty of wearing regular cotton shorts—or worse, even denim shorts—to the gym at least once in our lives. Hey, no judgment here. We didn’t know any better, right? But if you happen to still be in that phase where you don’t quite get why proper workout shorts are necessary, here’s a brief explainer:
Ultimately, investing in proper workout shorts will improve your performance, confidence, and comfort level and help lower the risk of injuries. Sure, you might wear them only a few times a week, but they’re well worth it in the long run.
Obviously, workout shorts are not one-size-fits-all. Some workouts will require special cuts, fabrics, or features. If you want to learn more about the different types of workout shorts, check out this section.
Compression shorts are useful in so many ways. They provide added support to the hamstrings, thighs, and groin—therefore helping lessen the risk of injury. Compression gear, in general, is designed to stimulate blood circulation by adding a bit of pressure to the muscles. This decreases the chance of blood clots and helps the muscles recover faster.
Because compression shorts hug the skin, they’re a great option if you want to protect yourself from chafing and rashes. What’s more, they provide extra warmth to the muscles, which then makes your muscles less prone to pulling or straining. Overall, if you are a competitive athlete or into some serious training, compression shorts are a must-have.
Running shorts are designed to be super lightweight to avoid weighing you down during your runs. They’re also usually made of polyester or lycra—breathable fabrics that wick sweat away from the body. Good quality running shorts avoid the use of cotton because this fabric makes your inner thighs more prone to chafing and irritation.
Typically, you can get running shorts in one of three lengths—five, seven, or nine inches inseam. The best length for you will, of course, depend on your preference, height, and body type. If you frequently struggle with chafing, a longer pair of shorts would probably suit you best. On the flip side, short shorts are great for a quick running session in the summer.
Unlike any other type of workout shorts, yoga shorts should be loose and comfortable above all. They should allow free movement in order to let you execute even the most complicated poses without worry. At the same time, they shouldn’t be so loose that they ride up and expose the wrong body parts when you’re trying to execute anything that would require your legs to go upside down.
If you’re looking into all-purpose shorts for when you’re using free weights or machines in the gym, consider cotton-blend shorts that are mid-thigh to above-the-knee in length. Anything longer than that might limit your movement and even give way to safety issues.
Plus, while cotton fabrics are not the best at keeping you dry, they’re comfortable, low-maintenance, and they wash well—perfect for workouts that don’t make you generate a ton of sweat.
When it comes to clothing, we know you’re probably used to walking into a shop, buying the first decent piece that fits, and then leaving. But when it comes to choosing the best workout shorts, there are actually several factors that you have to consider before making the best purchasing decision.
Aside from checking the reviews and ratings of a particular pair of shorts, here are some of the other key considerations you should think of before shelling out cash. Now, not all of them might matter – some will depend on the type of workout you like doing. Nonetheless, scanning this list will definitely help you make a better choice.
When it comes to the best workout shorts, the type of fabric used will always make a difference. Shorts will either be made using natural or synthetic fibers or a combination of these two.
Synthetic fibers provide great moisture management and are frequently stretchable. Polyester, polyester-spandex, and nylon blend are some examples of synthetic fabrics.
Natural fiber workout shorts are usually made of cotton. These shorts will offer good stretch, comfort, and movement. However, they aren’t as great at wicking away moisture from the skin. Natural fibers are also less durable than synthetic ones.
Breathability is important to keep you cool and comfortable. If you live in a place where it gets extremely hot in the summer, wearing shorts that aren’t breathable enough can lead to heat rash, excessive sweating, and discomfort.
Using breathable fabrics, as well as a cut that allows for excellent ventilation, will keep your groin from turning into a sweat fest. Some shorts also use mesh inserts to improve their breathability.
Moisture-wicking materials will make your workouts more pleasant—especially if you do a lot of sweaty cardio.
Working out in a clearly-drenched pair of shorts can be quite embarrassing. At the same time, fabrics that don’t have moisture-wicking abilities tend to get weighed down by sweat. You might also want to go for water-resistant fabrics if you live in a wet climate.
Depending on your preferred workout and situation, you might want to go for workout shorts that come with pockets. Different workout shorts will offer varying degrees of storage capacity. Some pairs will have tiny pockets for valuables like keys, while others will have enough space for you to carry an energy bar or a replenishing gel for long-distance running.
Some workout shorts come with a liner built-in. A liner can be good for your performance because it provides ample support and moisture-wicking properties. The idea behind having a liner is to make it unnecessary for you to wear underwear—helpful if you find that that extra layer of fabric is causing chafing issues. The liner should be supportive enough to keep your goods in place and wick away sweat.
We all love a classic, understated pair of plain black workout shorts. But choosing a pair with a unique and colorful design can pay off, too! After all, the color of the clothes you wear can impact the effectiveness of your workouts.
Visibility becomes important if you like to run, bike, or jog in the evening. Choosing a pair of shorts that has good reflective detail will help prevent accidents. At the very least, go for a pair that is vibrant in color (think neon green) as darker fabrics have less visibility.