High-performance workout shorts give you the freedom to move without chafing or restriction during your gym sessions – here’s our pick of the best gym shorts for men.

Gym shorts are a bit like sports boxers: not the most exciting bit of workout kit for men, but find the best pair and you won’t want to wear anything else.

Conversely, wear the wrong type of shorts and you’ll soon know it. Because if you’ve had the misfortune of wearing an ill-fitting or ill-suited pair you’ll know that the chafing and general discomfort can ruin a workout.

Of course, style is subjective and there are various lengths, colors and materials to choose from. However, most men want a pair that sit an inch or two above the knee (those hard-earned quad muscles deserve some limelight). You also want the shorts material to be light enough to go unnoticed during high-intensity workouts. Though they shouldn’t be so flimsy that your gentleman’s agreement takes centre stage.

Zipped pockets can be good if you prefer to hit the gym sans backpack. But bear in mind that big zips can rattle around, which can be off-putting during vigorous exercises – burpees, for example.

To help make your decision easier, here’s our list of the best gym shorts for men.

How we test the best gym shorts

Our testers put each pair of shorts through their paces over at least a month. They wore them for a mixture of workouts. These ranged from strength work and HIIT sessions to cardio and cross training, with yoga and stretching sessions thrown in for good measure. They put them through multiple washes and tested them for fit, comfort, versatility, durability and coverage.

They also looked for shorts with good sustainability credentials as well as lightweight, stretchy and moisture-wicking fabrics. They considered extra features such as zipped storage, reversible waistbands and drawcord adjustability. They considered the range of sizes and colours, as well as style and suitability for wearing them outside the gym.

These are the best gym shorts for men

Competition is fierce in this category but we think the Vuori Kore Short makes pretty good on its claim to be ‘one short for every sport’. They’re comfortable yet durable enough for everything from gym-based workouts, to Sunday strolls to the local cafe.

Other gym shorts recommendations

Best for mixed workoutsSurprisingly for a company focused on athletic track wear, the Tracksmith Session Shorts get our vote for those who like to mix up their sessions. A split seam and comfy stretch fabric help it cope with all kinds of cardio and cross-training.
Best for sustainabilityAll Gym + Coffee’s apparel adheres to its Net Zero strategy and the Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7-Inch Shorts are no different. These ultra-lightweight shorts are ideal for intense, sweaty sessions or outdoor summer workouts too.
Vuori Kore Short

1. Vuori Kore Short

Men’s Fitness verdict

Versatile and comfortable shorts for any activity or casual wear. Perfect for holiday packing, offering both functionality and style.
  • Great versatility
  • Super soft breathable liner briefs
  • Plenty of stretch and flex
  • No phone-friendly pockets
  • No flat seams on the liners

Reviewed by Kieran Alger

Materials:88% polyester, 12% elastane
Features:Soft and stretchy inner lining; elasticated waistband with drawcord; deep side pockets and additional back pocket with velcro fastening;
Colours:21 colours and patterns available

Vuori specializes in versatile workout gear blending functionality with style. The Kore Shorts epitomize this ethos, transitioning effortlessly from casual hangouts to intense workouts. Crafted from a soft, breathable four-way stretch fabric made of recycled materials, these shorts offer comfort and mobility. Available in various lengths and with or without a liner, they cater to individual preferences.

Featuring three pockets, including two side pockets and a small back pocket, they provide minimal storage. Despite this, their elastic drawstring waistband ensures a secure fit. Tested through various activities from gym sessions to outdoor runs, the shorts excelled in comfort and flexibility. The boxer-style liner, though lacking flat seams, effectively manages sweat and offers support without being restrictive.

While lacking ample storage, the Vuori Kore Shorts shine in comfort and versatility, making them a solid choice for both active pursuits and casual wear.

Man wearing a pair of Lululemon License to Train

2. Lululemon License To Train Lined 7-Inch Short

Men’s Fitness verdict

The shorts offered a good, streamlined fit, without being overly tight. They hold up well to all manner of gym-based exercises and allow for complete range of movement.
  • Heavy duty
  • Flexible material great for gym exercises
  • Various pockets
  • Compression lining sits close to knee

Reviewed by Stephen Adams

Materials:Lycra™, Luxtreme™
Features:Inside or out draw-cord waistband, quick-drying mesh waistband, secure pockets,
2.5-inch split outer seam, abrasion-resistant
Sizes:XS – XXL
Colours:Black, white, raw linen, tactile print anchor black, arctic green, smoky topaz,
bronze green, crest

The Lululemon License To Train Shorts offer a combination of functionality and comfort that I found impressive. With a weighty yet secure waistband and inner lining shorts crafted from stretchy fabric, they provided just the right amount of compression during my workouts. I appreciated the thoughtful design features, such as the reversible drawstring that minimized bulk and the ample pockets for storing essentials.

Testing the hidden elasticated pocket with my own large smartphone reassured me of its security during vigorous movements. While the shorts offered a snug fit and excellent range of motion, I noticed a slight discomfort over longer distances due to the liner’s position near the knee. Overall, they proved durable and versatile for a variety of gym activities.

Product shot of Tracksmith Session shorts

3. Tracksmith Session Shorts

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Session shorts are certainly stylish but with all the Tracksmith kit we’ve tried, it’s by no means style over substance. They’re comfy and breathable, with UV and antimicrobial protection too.
  • Excellent comfort
  • Smart retro styling
  • UV and antimicrobial protection
  • Fairly expensive

Reviewed by Laurence McJannet

Materials:86% nylon, 14% elastane / lining 89% polyester, 11% elastane
Features:Zippered back pocket, hidden inside pocket, 4-way stretch material,
elastic waistband with internal drawstring, split side seams
Inseam:5-inch or 7-inch
Sizes: XS – XXL
Colours:Berry, emerald, sea pine, wine, navy, charcoal, black

The Tracksmith Session Shorts have become one of my go-to choices for training sessions, living up to their promise of versatility and comfort. Whether I’m pushing through track sprints or venturing on longer off-road adventures, these shorts keep me moving freely and feeling light. The Veloce stretch knit fabric feels incredibly soft against my skin, offering not just comfort but also UV protection, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties.

I appreciate the softer liners, which, unlike the Twilight shorts, boast Polygiene antimicrobial powers to keep things fresh. With handy storage pockets, including a convenient internal drop-in pocket and a spacious rear zippered pocket, they easily accommodate my essentials. Available in a range of sizes and eye-catching colors, they’re not just functional but also make a statement, fitting right in at post-run social gatherings. And for those who prefer a bit more coverage, there’s a 7-inch option available.

A man wearing the Brooks Sherpa 5-inch 2-in-1

4. Brooks Sherpa 5-Inch 2-in-1 Short

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Sherpa 5-inch version is a versatile 2-in-1 running short. It’s loose and breathable and with decent coverage and comfort too. Ideal for longer training miles and post-run cafe stops.
  • Wide, flat waistband
  • Decent storage
  • Hybrid design adds to versatility
  • Heavier than some
  • Items can bounce around in drop-in pockets

Reviewed by Kieran Alger

Features:Integrated boxer liner, flat waistband, 4-way stretch fabric, 3 pockets with key loop
Sizes:XS – XXL
Colours:10 colours available

The Brooks Sherpa 5-inch shorts have become my new running essential, offering a versatile upgrade from the classic 3-inch split design. They retain the silky, lightweight feel of their predecessor but provide extra coverage lower down the leg, which I find perfect for my runs. The soft, sweat-wicking boxer liner with flat seams ensures I stay comfortable and chafe-free, even during longer runs.

What’s more, the perforations keep me cool and dry throughout my workout. The wide, pressure-free waistband is a game-changer, offering support without any annoying rolling or cinching. These shorts effortlessly blend performance and comfort, making them a must-have for any runner’s wardrobe.

Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7- Shorts

5. Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7-Inch Shorts

Men’s Fitness verdict

Style is paired with substance in the form of ultra-lightweight design, quick-drying fabric and complete freedom of movement. At a versatile 7-inch length, they’re ideal for all sports.
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Deep side pockets
  • Simple design pairs with most tops
  • Some will prefer a thicker material for their shorts

Reviewed by Isaac Williams

Material:95% polyester, 5% spandex
Features:Lightweight, quick-dry fabric, side pockets, interior drawcord
Sizes:S – XXL
Colour:Marble grey

Having tested the Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7″ Shorts during various activities, from steady runs to tennis, I’m impressed by their durability despite their lightweight build. The all-grey colorway with a subtle brand logo adds to their appeal, though more color options would be welcome. Gym + Coffee even suggests they’re suitable for swimming, thanks to their rapid-drying nature.

These 7″ shorts offer versatility, sitting just above the knee, making them suitable for various sports and leisure activities. They strike a balance between style and functionality, featuring ultra-lightweight design, quick-drying fabric, and unrestricted movement. Plus, Gym + Coffee’s commitment to sustainability through its Net Zero strategy adds to their appeal.

How to choose the best gym shorts for your workout

The best way to choose the right shorts for your gym workouts is to consider all the workouts you do – and are likely to do. What are the most important features that will help you perform better? Is flexibility of movement most important for your cross training? Is good breathability and moisture-wicking performance paramount for your HIIT and cardio sessions?

You might value support or coverage above all else. Or prefer a lighter, shorter short that you can also wear out on the track. Whatever your preference, you’ll find a short that’s ideal for you in the list above. Your budget will also play a part in your decision. But rest assured – they’re all high performance shorts made to move comfortably with you however intense your workout. And in our testers’ opinions they all offer excellent value for money.