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As all active people know, there’s nothing more uncomfortable than workout shorts that don’t quite feel right. They could be too tight, too short or entirely unpractical. Finding the right pair is, of course, dependent on what kind of exercise you’re doing every day. Gymgoers, for example, might want something a little heavier and longer — shorts to sit in while hitting the weights. Conversely, runners tend to go for a lighter and shorter pair, the kind of silhouette that makes you feel like you’re breezing through your run.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best men’s workout shorts, with a focus on sustainability and celebrity-backed brands.
1. Adidas Aeroready Designed to Move Woven Sport Shorts
BEST MEN’S WORKOUT SHORTS OVERALL
Reasonably priced and reliably tested, Adidas’ Aeroready Designed to Move woven sport shorts are a classic option. The moisture-absorbing fabric and roomy silhouette keep you comfortable — whether you’re in the game or running errands — and the convenient side zip pockets let you stow away keys, cards and your phone.
2. Lululemon Fast & Free Lined Short 6″
BEST FOR RUNNERS
Available in a range of colors, Lululemon’s Fast & Free lined shorts are a favorite among runners for its lightweight, quick-drying and sweat-wicking Nulux fabric with four-way stretch. It has a relaxed fit and a six-inch length for plenty of room in the glutes and thighs, while the brand’s proprietary Out of Mind liner is designed with a 3D-shaped pouch for support. Rounding out the features are zippered pockets and compartments for your phone, energy gels and more.
3. Under Armour Men’s Tech Graphic Shorts
Designed with a loose, light fit, Under Armour’s tech graphic shorts have a convenient pull-on style and a 10-inch inseam. The fabric dries quickly and wicks away sweat, ensuring comfort no matter what you’re doing.
4. Reigning Champ 7-Inch Training Short
BEST FOR TRAINING
Reigning Champ’s seven-inch training shorts are both light and convenient. Slim pockets allow users to store necessary devices without too much movement, while waterproof and four-way stretch material makes for a comfortable fit while sweating. They’re finished with a soft mesh waistband and reinforced side seams.
5. Municipal Sport Utility Shorts
BEST PERFORMANCE SHORTS
The Mark Walhberg-backed brand has a variety of desirable sportswear options, and the Sport Utility Shorts are ideal for basketball and other high-performance activities. The double-layered silhouette hits right above the knee and offers the right amount of stretch, and the side and back pockets are a convenient finishing touch.
6. Ten Thousand Set Short
BEST FOR WATER SPORTS
For workouts in the pool or ocean, or for high-sweat activities, the water-repellent Ten Thousand Set Short is worth checking out. It’s amphibious and features a quick-drying liner and secure pockets, equally useful for a run as for a quick swim. The 6.5-inch inseam allows for mobility, and the lightweight material is designed to be cling-free.
7. Fabletics The One Short
BEST CUSTOMIZABLE OPTIONS
From top Hollywood entrepreneur Kevin Hart’s activewear brand Fabletics, The One short boasts smart features like a towel loop, zippered pockets and hidden compartments. Choose from five- or seven-inch inseams and lined or unlined options, plus find more than a dozen colors and prints to suit your workout style. If you’re not yet a Fabletics VIP member, the label is offering a two-for-$24 deal on shorts. Membership is $60 per month and the price goes toward purchases, and you’ll save 20 to 50 percent off full-priced items.
7. Uniqlo Stretch Active Shorts
BEST AFFORDABLE MEN’S WORKOUT SHORTS
Uniqlo It keeps things basic with these Ultra Stretch Active shorts made of recycled polyester, making them great for everyday wear and your favorite workouts. The Dry-Ex technology and stretchy fabric keep you dry and free to move, and the shorts feature side slits with reflective fabric to keep you visible at night and in foggy settings.
8. Buck Mason Trail Roam Shorts
BEST UTILITARIAN DESIGN
Based on 1960s military shorts, Buck Mason’s quick-drying Trail Roam shorts certainly match the classic style. They’re a little on the shorter side, but if you’re an avid runner, you’ll find them an ideal length. The lining and four-way stretch nylon are comfy, and a sneaky zipper pocket is ideal for key storage.
9. Mack Weldon Stratus 5-Inch Compression Shorts
BEST COMPRESSION SHORTS
Mack Weldon’s Stratus compression shorts are designed for those high-performance workouts, yet are comfortable for daily wear. They feature a five-inch inseam and an eight-inch built-in compression liner “to maximize movement and muscle recovery,” while the lightweight material stays dry, cool and fresh. It boasts zippered side and back pockets and a hidden phone pocket. These shorts also come in standard lined and unlined options if you don’t need the support layer.
10. Nike Dri-Fit Icon Basketball Shorts
BEST MEN’S BASKETBALL SHORTS
Stay cool during that layup in Nike’s Dri-Fit Icon basketball shorts, which are made of a breathable and lightweight sweat-wicking knit fabric.
11. Patagonia Strider Short
BEST SUSTAINABLE WORKOUT SHORTS
With Patagonia, quality is pretty much guaranteed — and that’s not just because of the sustainable practices used to make all of its clothes. The Strider shorts are made of ultra-light water-repelling material, designed to make the shorts dry rapidly. Four pockets add convenience and an external drawcord offers adjustability on the go. Choose from five- or seven-inch inseams and four versatile colors.
12. Gymshark Power Washed 5-Inch Shorts
BEST FOR WEIGHT LIFTING
These five-inch cotton and polyester shorts from Gymshark boast ribbed side panels and triple stitching in those areas where you need a bit more durability and reinforcement while lifting. In addition to the super comfortable fit, these shorts also look stylish outside of the gym.
13. Travis Mathew Starnes Short
BEST FOR GOLF
The durable, four-way stretch and moisture-wicking design make Travis Mathew’s Starnes shorts perfect for golfers. They’re made of lightweight polyester and spandex and feature a nine-inch inseam, while the stretch waistband offers mobility when you’re swinging.
14. Arthur Ashe Sport Logo Shorts
BEST MEN’S WORKOUT SHORTS FOR TENNIS
Whether you’re playing pickleball or classic tennis, these unisex mesh shorts from Arthur Ashe (inspired by the iconic tennis champion of the same name) will keep you comfortable during the match. They have an above-the-knee style, side pockets and a comfortable elastic drawstring waistband, so they’re a good option if you want something retro and functional.
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