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, colours 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…
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These are the best gym shorts for men
|UA Vanish Woven Shorts
|Tracksmith Session Shorts
|Saxx Underwear Gainmaker Shorts
|Lululemon License To Train Lined 7-Inch Short
|Brooks Sherpa 5-Inch 2-in-1 Short
|Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7-Inch Shorts
1. UA Vanish Woven Shorts For Men
Best gym shorts for men
Reviewed by Isaac Williams
|UA Vanish (ultra-light durable woven fabric)
|Perforated panels for ventilation; 4-way stretch material; elastic waistband with pull draw; open hand pockets; notched hem
|S/M – XXL
|8 colours available
Under Armour kit is always reliable, and these gym shorts were made to make your workouts as comfortable as possible, featuring temperature-regulating Heat Gear tech and a breathable mesh detail – which came in handy during our sweaty workouts.
We also found there to be plenty of coverage from these 8in shorts, and the fit was first class. Overall, these are the best gym shorts for men that we’ve tested.
2. Tracksmith Session Shorts
Best gym shorts for mixed workouts
Reviewed by Laurence McJannet
|86% nylon, 14% elastane / lining 89% polyester, 11% elastane
|Zippered back pocket, hidden inside pocket; 4-way stretch material; elastic waistband with internal drawstring; split side seams
|5-inch or 7-inch
|XS – XXL
|Berry, emerald, sea pine, wine, navy, charcoal, black
Available in a 5-inch or 7-inch inseam, these Session shorts from Tracksmith look as sharp as they perform. It may look like an out-and-out running short but with antimicrobial liner, split seams and stretch fabric they’ll easily cope with cardio and cross training workouts too. We think they’re some of the best shorts for men who like to mix up their workouts.
3. Saxx Underwear Gainmaker Shorts
Best gym shorts for comfort
Reviewed by Stephen Adams
|88% recycled polyester, 12% elastane
|2 front pockets, 1 with zip; 4-way stretch material; elastic waistband with internal drawstring; BallPark Pouch liner; notched hem
|S – XXL
Featuring a relaxed-fit shell with 4-way stretch fabric, there’s loads of room to manoeuvre in these multi-sport shorts. Invisible FlatOut seams and the amusingly named BallPark Pouch liner make these one of the comfiest gym shorts for men we’ve tested, whether you’re weight lifting, rock climbing or pavement pounding.
4. Lululemon License To Train Lined 7-Inch Short
Best gym shorts for coverage
Reviewed by Stephen Adams
|Inside or out draw-cord waistband; quick-drying mesh waistband; secure pockets; 2.5-inch split outer seam; abrasion-resistant
|XS – XXL
|Black, white, raw linen, tactile print anchor black, arctic green, smoky topaz, bronze green, crest
These do-it-all 7-inch shorts from Lululemon combine all-day comfort and impressive durability. They’d work just as well out on a hiking trail as they would in the gym, and with a wealth of stylish colours wouldn’t look out of place for your post-workout coffee stop either.
They’re packed with features, too, including a reversible draw-cord waistband, secret elasticated pocket and split outer seam, as well as a Lycra/Luxtreme lining that acts like a pair of compression tights. They may not be the lightest pair of 7-inch shorts, but we really appreciated their versatility.
- Read our full Lululemon License To Train Lined 7in Short review
5. Brooks Sherpa 5-Inch 2-in-1 Short
Best gym shorts for versatility
Reviewed by Kieran Alger
|Integrated boxer liner; flat waistband; 4-way stretch fabric; 3 pockets with key loop
|XS – XXL
|10 colours available
These 5-inch Brooks Sherpas are a more versatile version of the classic race-fit Sherpa 3-inch split shorts. They share the same silky, lightweight four-way stretchy shell outer with a perforated inner short, but these give extra coverage lower down your leg.
They have a soft, sweat-wicking boxer liner with flat, chafe-free seams and numerous perforations, and we found them extremely cool and comfortable. That’s helped by a wide, soft pressure-free waistband that won’t roll or cinch at your waist.
- Read our full Brooks Sherpa 5-Inch 2-in-1 Short review
6. Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7-Inch Shorts
Best gym shorts for sustainability
Reviewed by Isaac Williams
|95% polyester, 5% spandex
|Lightweight, quick-dry fabric; side pockets; interior drawcord
|S – XXL
A versatile pair of shorts that look great, but style is paired with substance in the form of ultra-lightweight design, quick-drying fabric and complete freedom of movement.
The two things we liked most about the Daybreak shorts are its two deep side pockets and the stretchy polyester/spandex construction which provides complete freedom of movement.
As with all Gym + Coffee kit, there’s a genuine commitment to sustainability, with the brand shaping its Net Zero strategy.
- Read our full Gym + Coffee Daybreak 7-Inch Shorts review
How we tested the best gym shorts for men
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 also considered the range of sizes and colours, as well as style and suitability for wearing them outside the gym.
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.