best athletic shorts

Courtesy of Retailer

IT WASN’T long ago that people only wore athletic shorts in a gym setting, but over the past couple of decades the garment has slowly transitioned into acceptable everyday wear. Today’s athletic shorts are made to be worn as much casually as they are for working out, all-the-while still upholding high levels of performance.

The best athletic shorts below have been curated to reflect all the different types of scenarios one could find themselves in. Need a pair of new pair for long distance running? How about shorts for playing pick-up basketball? Whatever hunt you’re on, you’ll be comfortable knowing your next favorite pair of athletic shorts are only a few steps away from arriving on your doorstep.



  • Best Running Short

    Falmouth Shorts
    Tracksmith

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  • Amazon’s Choice

    2 Pack Gym Workout Shorts
    COOFANDY

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  • Best 5-Inch Inseam

    Pace Breaker Lined
    lululemon

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  • Best 7-Inch Inseam

    Kore Short
    Vuori

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  • Best 9-Inch Inseam

    Mako Short
    Rhone

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What to Look for

Length: Pay close attention to the inseam length when picking out a pair of athletic shorts. If you’re planning to wear them for running, you’ll want something on the shorter side (think 5-inch inseam or less), so there isn’t excess material getting in the way of your strides. For lifting, opt for something longer so you have coverage between your leg and the bench or barbell. A 7-inch inseam is a happy medium if you do a little bit of everything.

Material: There are so many different types of material blends that are being created for athletic shorts. Now, the standard for a good pair of shorts seems to start with premium features like 4-way stretch, water-resistance, odor resistance and moisture-wicking capabilties. Quality athletic shorts are lightweight and breathable too—with many brands going to extra mile to create their own synthetic fabrics or add in their own unique liners. But we also cannot forget to recognize a good ol’ fashioned pair of cotton shorts, a material that’s forever a reliable go-to.

Pockets: Pockets can make or break any pair of shorts or pants, but especially athletic shorts. Most of us work out with our smartphone nowadays, but regular side pockets won’t keep it secure when you’re doing high-impact workouts with lots of movement. Look for zippered pockets that are big enough to hold the essentials like your phone and keys. Or, the holy grail pocket, a liner pouch that will keep your phone securely in place.

Below, secure the styles that speak to you the most and wear them all year long!

Best Running Short

Tracksmith

Falmouth Shorts

Amazon’s Choice

COOFANDY

2 Pack Gym Workout Shorts

Best 5-Inch Inseam

lululemon

Pace Breaker Lined

Best 7-Inch Inseam

Vuori

Kore Short

Best 9-Inch Inseam

Rhone

Mako Short

Best New Athletic Short

Chubbies

Perforated Ultimate Training Shorts

Best Cotton Short

Reigning Champ

Midweight Terry Sweatshort

Best for Training

Ten Thousand

Interval Short

Best Luxe Short

Satisfy Running

Space‑O Distance Shorts

Best for Hiking

On Running

Explorer Shorts

Best for Basketball

Jordan

Dri-FIT Diamond Shorts

Best Budget Pick

Athletic Works

Active Mesh Shorts

Gear and Commerce Editor
John Thompson is the Gear and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where he covers fashion, grooming, gear, and technology.

Senior Commerce Editor
Heath Owens is a Senior Commerce Editor at Hearst Magazines, where he covers home, fashion, tech and gifts for Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Esquire, Delish, Men’s Health, and more.

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