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Certain features of gym shorts, such as moisture-wicking properties and breathable fabrics, may help regulate body temperature and potentially improve performance.

Comfort, durability, and range of movement are other important factors to consider when choosing gym shorts.

This article explores the health benefits and downsides of wearing gym shorts, a range of gym short options, and key features to look for when buying them.

Wearing gym shorts may offer several health benefits, although they may hinder performance in some people.

Pros

Professional sports clothing with moisture-wicking properties may help improve performance by lowering the volume of sweat, controlling body temperature, and increasing exercise duration.

The researchers also found that a reduction in skin temperature resulted in a positive physiological response in athletes.

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.

Following this idea of enclothed cognition, it is possible that wearing certain sportswear may help people perform better or feel more motivated. However, there is no study to support this conclusively, and scientists need to carry out more research in this area.

Cons

Some studies show that wearing sportswear focusing more on aesthetics than functionality may negatively affect motor performance.

A 2020 study of 80 females aged 18–35 years compared the athletic performance of participants who wore tight, revealing sportswear with the performance of those wearing loose, concealing sportswear.

The group wearing loose, concealing sportswear had better performance results than the group wearing tight, revealing clothing when carrying out motor tasks.

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.

Therefore, if a person wants to wear gym shorts, they may want to choose a pair they do not consider to be revealing, or they could pair them with a loose shirt or other loose clothing.

However, this study is not conclusive about the effects of gym shorts on performance. More studies are needed to investigate the relationship between apparel, including gym shorts, and sports performance.

There are many factors to consider before purchasing gym shorts, which can affect performance, comfort, and functionality.

  • Comfort: Look for shorts that feel loose enough to allow free range of movement, with features that prevent chafing, such as flat seams.
  • Breathability: Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics with ventilation panels to allow sweat to evaporate and escape more easily.
  • Moisture-wicking: Look for materials or technology that wick moisture to draw away sweat and keep shorts feeling drier.
  • Functionality: People may want to look for gym shorts designed for the workout or sport they participate in the most. Alternatively, they can purchase them to suit a variety of exercises.
  • Built-in liners: According to anecdotal reports by online reviewers, built-in liners in gym shorts provide extra comfort and support. However, some people may prefer no lining for extra breathability.
  • Pockets: If a person exercises outside often and wishes to carry items, such as keys or phones, they should consider zipped or inner pockets to keep these valuables safe.
  • Length: People can choose from a range of lengths to suit their preferences and type of exercise.
  • Sustainability: Consider shorts made with recycled or sustainable materials, or buy from companies with sustainable manufacturing policies.

Here are six gym shorts to help a person level up their exercise routine.

Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.

Under Armour Raid 10-inch Shorts

According to the product website, features of the Under Armour Raid 10-inch Shorts include:

  • loose, streamlined fit
  • available in regular or tall fit
  • 100% polyester
  • quick-drying, moisture-wicking, lightweight fabric
  • ultraviolet protection factor 30
  • four-way stretch material
  • anti-odor technology
  • elastic waist with drawstring
  • mesh pockets
  • no liner

The Under Armour Raid 10-inch Shorts are available for purchase online.

Nike Flex Stride Shorts

According to the product website, features of the Nike Flex Stride Shorts include:

  • lightweight material
  • rear ventilation for breathability
  • zipped back pocket, plus side pockets
  • brief liner with inner pocket
  • narrow waistband with drawstring
  • flexible stretch fabric for movement
  • drying technology to wick moisture
  • reflective elements
  • made with a minimum of 50% recycled polyester

The Nike Flex Stride Shorts are available for purchase online.

Lululemon Pace Breaker 7-inch Short

According to the product website, features of the Lululemon Pace Breaker 7″ shorts include:

  • lightweight fabric
  • four-way stretch fabric
  • moisture-wicking
  • made from Lycra and 100% recycled polyester
  • streamlined fit
  • zipped pockets
  • choose from a range of color and pattern options
  • five size options and three length options

Lululemon also offer the Pace Breaker shorts with a liner.

The Lululemon Pace Breaker 7-inch Short is available for purchase online.

Vuori Banks Short

According to the product website, features of the Vuori Banks Short include:

  • quick-drying material
  • four-way stretch
  • anti-odor
  • made using recycled plastic bottles
  • elastic waistband with drawstring
  • zipped mesh pockets
  • scalloped leg edges
  • range of color options and six size options

The Vuori Banks Short is available for purchase online.

Designed 2 Move 3-Stripes Shorts by Adidas

According to the product website, features of the Designed 2 Move 3-Stripes Shorts include:

  • moisture-wicking material
  • allows free range of movement
  • machine washable on cold
  • regular fit
  • elastic waist with drawstring
  • 100% polyester

The Designed 2 Move 3-Stripes Shorts are available to purchase online.

Hudson 2.5-inch Shorts by Outdoor Voices

  • lightweight fabric
  • quick-drying
  • made from 86% recycled polyester and 14% Spandex
  • wide knit waistband for comfort
  • built-in brief liner
  • machine washable on cold

The Outdoor Voices Hudson 2.5-inch Shorts are available to purchase online.

There are alternatives to gym shorts, including a wide range of sports apparel. These include:

  • Leggings: People may want to wear leggings underneath shorts or on their own. Certain features make them suitable for a variety of activities. Compression leggings may help with faster recovery after exercise.
  • Sports trousers: People can choose from a wide range of options, including breathable, lightweight options or thicker, thermal variants, depending on the temperatures they experience while exercising.
  • Cycling shorts: Specifically designed to offer greater support, padding, and comfort for cycling.
  • Compression shorts: Compression shorts apply extra pressure to the upper leg area, which may help reduce muscle pain, damage, and inflammation.

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.

A person can also consider extra features, such as zipped pockets, anti-odor technology, length, and high-stretch materials, depending on their preferred types of physical activity.