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Gym shorts are available in a variety of styles and materials. Many use breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics to help regulate body temperature. Some may include additional components, such as linings, zipped pockets, and anti-odor technology.

Comfort, durability, and range of movement are important considerations when choosing gym shorts.

This article lists 9 of the best gym shorts, how they compare, and how to choose. We also discuss the potential pros and cons of wearing gym shorts, alternatives, and answer frequently asked questions.

A quick look at the best gym shorts in 2024:

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  • Sizing: MNT chooses products available for various body shapes and sizes.
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Best longer short: Under Armour Raid 2.0 Shorts

  • Number of sizes: eight
  • Fit: regular and tall
  • Materials: polyester and elastane
  • Price: $35

These Under Armour Raid 2.0 Shorts consist of 90% polyester and 10% elastane. The shorts are available in a regular or tall fit, allowing for a longer length.

Other features include:

  • a loose, streamlined fit
  • an elasticated waist with drawstring
  • four-way stretch material
  • a moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and lightweight design
  • anti-odor technology
  • a mesh back panel for extra ventilation

This product is available is machine washable on a cold cycle, and is available in the following colors:

  • black and white
  • gray and black
  • blue and gray
  • red and black

The Under Armour Raid 2.0 Shorts cost $35. When buying directly from the brand site, they come with a 60-day return guarantee. Financing is also available with interest-fee payments.

Best with extra pockets: Nike Flex Stride Shorts

  • Number of sizes: five
  • Fit: standard
  • Material: 50% recycled polyester fibers
  • Price: $54-66

These Nike shorts feature a zipped back pocket and side pockets, which may benefit those who exercise outdoors regularly and need to carry items safely.

Other features include:

  • a lightweight construction
  • flexible stretch fabric for movement
  • drying technology to wick moisture away from the body
  • rear ventilation for breathability
  • a brief liner with inner pocket
  • a narrow waistband with drawstring
  • reflective elements

These shorts are available in twelve different colors, including:

  • black
  • gray
  • red
  • green
  • orange

The Nike Flex Stride Shorts costs between $54-66. When buying directly from the brand site, customers can pay in installments. Nike members also benefit from a 60-day returns guarantee.

Best for length options: Lululemon Pace Breaker Short

  • Number of sizes: seven
  • Fit: streamlined
  • Material: lycra, polyester, and elastane
  • Price: $78-97

These Lululemon Pace Breaker shorts are available in seven sizes, each with three length options. The shorts are also available with a liner.

Other features include:

  • a Lycra, polyester, and elastane design
  • a lightweight, four-way stretch fabric construction
  • moisture-wicking properties
  • a streamlined fit
  • zipped pockets

These shorts are available in 11 different colors, including:

  • black
  • mint
  • red
  • camo

The Lululemon Pace Breaker Shorts costs $78-97. The company also offers payment in installments and 30-day returns when buying direct.

Best eco-friendly: Vuori Banks Short

  • Number of sizes: six
  • Fit: classic
  • Material: recycled polyester and elastane
  • Price: $68

These Vuori Banks shorts feature materials constructed from recycled plastic bottles.

Other features include:

  • an elasticated waistband with drawstring
  • quick-dying, four-way stretch material
  • anti-odor technology
  • zipped mesh pockets
  • scalloped leg edges

These shorts are available in 12 color options, including:

  • azure
  • red
  • orange
  • camo

The Vuori Banks Shorts cost $68 and customers can pay in installments. The company also operates a 120-day returns policy.

Best for easy care: Designed 2 Move Shorts by Adidas

  • Number of sizes: eight
  • Fit: regular
  • Material: polyester
  • Price: $15-35

These Designed 2 Move Shorts by Adidas feature a 100% polyester construction and are machine washable on a cold cycle for easy care.

Other features include:

  • 100% polyester material with moisture-wicking properties
  • an elasticated waist with drawstring
  • a regular fit design, offering free range of movement

These shorts are available in 7 colors, including:

  • black
  • navy
  • green
  • red

The Designed 2 Move Shorts by Adidas cost between $15-35. Adidas offers a 30-day guarantee when buying direct.

Best for comfort: Hudson Shorts by Outdoor Voices

  • Number of sizes: eight
  • Fit: mid-rise
  • Material: recycled polyester and Spandex
  • Price: $58

These Hudson Shorts from Outdoor Voices feature a wide knit waistband for added comfort.

Other product features include:

  • a combination of 86% recycled polyester and 14% Spandex
  • lightweight, quick-drying fabric
  • a built-in brief liner

The shorts are machine washable on a cold cycle. They are available in12 colors, including:

  • black
  • green
  • orange
  • tie dye

The Outdoor Voices Hudson Shorts cost $58, and customers can pay in biweekly installments. The company also operates a 45-day returns policy.

Best organic: Everlane The Track Long Sweatshort

  • Number of sizes: six
  • Fit: high rise
  • Material: organic cotton
  • Price: $49

These Everlane The Track Long Sweatshorts are made from organic cotton and are machine washable.

Other features include:

  • an elasticated waistband
  • a high rise design
  • side pockets

The shorts are only available in black.

Everlane’s The Track Long Sweatshorts cost $49, and customers can pay in installments. The company also offers a 30-day returns guarantee.

Best fitted: Jed North Agile Bodybuilding Shorts

  • Number of sizes: six
  • Fit: slim fit
  • Material: polyester and spandex
  • Price: $30

These Jed North Agile Bodybuilding Shorts feature a slim-fitting polyester and spandex design.

Other features include:

  • super soft material
  • a ribbed waistband with drawcord
  • two side pockets with zippers

People can choose from nine different colors, including:

  • black
  • grey
  • red
  • blue

The Jed North Agile Bodybuilding Shorts cost around $30, and the company operates a 30-day returns policy.

Best breathable: Hylete Iris Shorts

  • Number of sizes: five
  • Fit: fitted
  • Material: nylon, polyester, and spandex
  • Price: $58

Hylete Iris Shortsare made from a lightweight fabric consisting of nylon, polyester, and spandex. They also contain a breathable liner for optimal ventilation.

The shorts also feature the following:

  • a smooth fit
  • a high-stretch waistband
  • zipped pockets

The shorts are available in the following five colors:

  • gray
  • navy
  • pink
  • blue/gray
  • gray/white

These Hylete Iris shorts cost $58. When buying directly from the brand site, customers can pay in four interest-free installments. The company operates a 60-day returns policy.

The table below compares the 10 different gym shorts according to their key features:

MaterialType of fabricFitNumber of sizesPrice
Under Armour Raid 2.0 ShortsPolyester and elastane Lightweight, moisture-wicking, and quick-dryingRegular and tallEight $35
Nike Flex Stride Shorts50% recycled polyester fibersLightweight, breathable, and stretchyStandard Five $54-66
Lululemon Pace Breaker Shortlycra, polyester, and elastaneLightweight, ,moisture-wicking, and stretchyStreamlined Seven $78-97
Vuori Banks Shortrecycled polyester and elastaneQuick-drying, stretchy, and anti-odor designclassicSix $68
Designed 2 Move Shorts by AdidaspolyesterMoisture-wicking and elasticregularEight $15-35
Hudson Shorts by Outdoor Voicesrecycled polyester and SpandexLightweight, quick-drying, and stretchymid-riseEight $58
Everlane Track Long Sweatshortorganic cottonElastic waistband and organicHigh riseSix $49
Jed North Agile Bodybuilding Shortspolyester and spandexTight and softSlim fitSix $30
Hylete Iris Shortsnylon, polyester, and spandexLightweight and breathableFitted Five $58

Below are some factors to consider when purchasing gym shorts.

  • Comfort: Gym shorts should feel loose enough to allow free range of movement. Shorts with flat seams can also help to prevent chafing.
  • Breathability: People should opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics with ventilation panels that allow air to circulate around the body.
  • Moisture-wicking properties: Some shorts may feature materials or technology that wick moisture away from the body.
  • Built-in liners: According to anecdotal reports from online reviewers, built-in liners in gym shorts provide extra comfort and support. However, some people may prefer no lining for extra breathability.
  • Pockets: People who exercise outdoors often may benefit from inner or zipped pockets that allow them to carry items safely.
  • Functionality: People may want to look for gym shorts with functions specific to the workout or sport they participate in the most. Alternatively, they can purchase gym shorts that are suitable for a range of activities.
  • Length: People can choose from a range of lengths to suit their personal preference and type of exercise.
  • Sustainability: Some shorts feature recycled or sustainable materials. People may also want to consider purchasing from companies with sustainable manufacturing policies.

Below are some potential pros and cons of wearing gym shorts for workouts:


According to a 2017 study, professional sports clothing with moisture-wicking properties may help improve performance by:

  • dissipating sweat
  • controlling body temperature
  • increasing exercise duration

Wearing sportswear may also have a psychological effect. A 2015 study refers to the term “enclothed cognition,” which describes how wearing certain clothes or accessories can affect how people behave. With this in mind, it is possible that wearing certain sportswear may boost motivation and physical performance. However, there are currently no studies to support this theory.


Some studies suggest that wearing sportswear that favors aesthetics over functionality may negatively affect performance.

A 2020 study of 80 females ages 18–35 investigated whether clothing style could affect participants’ performance on a motor skills task. The researchers compared performance across two groups of participants; one that wore tight, revealing sportswear, and one that wore loose, concealing sportswear.

The study showed that the group wearing loose, concealing sportswear achieved better performance results than the participants wearing tight, revealing clothing. The researchers suggest that revealing clothing may lead a person to have a greater awareness of their body, which may draw cognitive resources away from motor tasks.

Given the findings of this study, a person may want to consider purchasing gym shorts that have a looser fit. Alternatively, they could try pairing their shorts with a loose shirt or other loose items of clothing.

However, it is important to note that further studies are necessary to confirm the effects of the above study on exercise and sporting performance.

Below are some alternatives to gym shorts that people may want to consider:

  • Compression shorts: A person may choose to wear compression shorts alone or under other sportswear. These shorts apply extra pressure to the upper leg area, which may help reduce muscle pain, damage, and inflammation. Learn about the best compression shorts here.
  • Leggings: A 2019 study found that compression leggings may promote a faster recovery after exercise. People may wish to wear leggings underneath shorts or on their own. Learn about the best compression leggings here.
  • Sports trousers: There is a wide range of sports trousers on the market, with options for lightweight, breathable materials, as well as thicker, thermal materials. The type a person chooses will depend on their chosen activity.
  • Cycling shorts: Manufacturers design cycling shorts specifically to offer greater support, padding, and comfort for when riding indoor or outdoor bikes.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about gym shorts:

What is the best material for gym shorts?

The National Institute on Aging recommends wearing lightweight shorts constructed from a moisture-wicking material. Loose clothing may be best for certain sports, such as basketball.

How does clothing affect workout performance?

A 2016 study suggests that compression clothing, such as shorts, socks, and tights, may benefit runners. Such clothing may help reduce muscle pain and inflammation and speed up recovery.

What features should I look for in gym shorts?

When purchasing gym shorts, a person should look for features that best suit their needs.

Some features to consider include:

  • the material type and its properties, such as:
    • stretch and maneuverability
    • breathability
    • moisture-wicking properties
  • whether the design is loose or fitted
  • whether the design features pockets for safely storing items

Gym shorts with lightweight, breathable fabrics and moisture-wicking properties can help keep the body cool during exercise. This may have a positive effect on athletic performance.

Extra features to consider when purchasing gym shorts include high-stretch materials, anti-odor technology, and zipped pockets.

The type of gym shorts a person chooses will depend partly on the type of sport or activity they undertake. Some people may prefer an alternative to gym shorts, such as compression shorts, leggings, or sports trousers.