The 13 Best Sweat Shorts for Cute and Comfy Workouts

We love Summersalt’s French Terry Lounge Short and Lululemon’s City Sweat Short

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Verywell Fit / Amelia Manley

Whether you’re headed to the gym or studio, running errands, or lounging around the house, sweat shorts are a great addition to your warm-weather wardrobe. “These shorts are more breathable and airy and don’t stick to you like leggings, which allows you to stay cool during workouts without having to worry about sweat stains,” Sabrina Sarabella, NASM-certified personal trainer and ACE-certified group fitness instructor, says.

Reviewed & Approved

Summersalt's French Terry Short is one of our top choices thanks to its fashion-forward design and all-day comfort. We also loved Lululemon's City Sweat Short for its comfortable, sweat-wicking material.

Sweat shorts come in a variety of materials, lengths, and styles, and the best shorts for you will depend on personal choice and desired function. But, according to our experts, certain aspects of a short make it stand out. “Look for details such as waistband drawstring, the width of waistband, pockets, and whether or not they include additional design details like front pleats,” Nicole Battafarano, Product Manager at Women’s Lifestyle Apparel at New Balance Athletics, Inc, says.

To find the best sweat shorts on the market, we interviewed experts in fitness and activewear to learn more about what makes a quality sweat short. We then researched over 50 sweat shorts and evaluated them for design, material, length, fit, function, and price.

According to our research, here are the best sweat shorts on the market.

Best Women’s Overall: Summersalt The Softest French Terry Lounge Shorts

4.9
Summersalt The Softest French Terry Lounge Shorts

Summersalt

Pros
  • Big pockets

  • Wide, adjustable waistband

  • Soft and breathable

Cons
  • Not as dressy as other options

Made from buttery-soft sustainable beech wood, cotton, and spandex, Summersalt’s The Softest French Terry Lounge Shorts offer a trifecta of function, comfort, and fashion—which is why they topped our list.

We love that the breathable material and wide, adjustable waistband keep you cool and help the shorts stay in place while you squat, bend, or lift. The big pockets, stylish design, and super soft material make them a great option for post-workout coffee with a friend or lounging after you sweat.

The shorts come in sizes XS to 2XL in traditional black or white, along with three gorgeous colors and designs for those looking for a bolder look.

Sizes: XS–2XL | Inseam Length: 4.5–5-inches | Material: 65% TENCEL Lyocell, 18% Cotton, 11% TENCEL Modal, 6% Spandex | Pockets: Yes, front

Best Men’s Overall: Lululemon City Sweat Short 9"

4.9
Lululemon City Sweat Short 9"

Lululemon

Pros
  • Adjustable waistband

  • Breathable

  • Sweat-wicking

Cons
  • Expensive

Lululemon is known for its quality materials paired with function and design, and the City Sweat Shorts for men are no exception. Made with sweat-wicking, quick-drying, breathable French terry material that contains some Lycra for shape retention, these shorts move with you through your workout routine.

The 9-inch design lands just above the knee for most men, giving good coverage even as you lunge or jump, while the waistband drawstring helps keep the shorts in place.

The shorts come in sizes XL to XXL in black and light gray.

Sizes: XL–2XL | Inseam Length: 9 inches | Material: French terry with Lycra | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Unisex: New Balance Uni-ssentials French Terry Short

New Balance Uni-ssentials French Terry Short

New Balance

Pros
  • Flat drawstring waistband

  • Sustainably sourced materials

Cons
  • Limited colors

For people looking for a gender-inclusive design, the New Balance Uni-ssentials French Terry shorts are a go-to option for comfort and function. The boxy fit keeps you cool and comfortable for any workout, while the flat drawstring waistband keeps shorts secure while you move. 

These shorts meet New Balance’s green leaf standard, meaning 50 percent or more of the materials are environmentally preferred, as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. They come in unisex sizing, U1 through U5, which are approximately sizes XS through 2XL.

Sizes: U1–U5 (XS–2XL) | Inseam Length: Not specified | Material: Cotton and polyester | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Size Range: Girlfriend Collective Biome 50/50 Sweat Short

Girlfriend Collective Biome 50/50 Sweat Short

Girlfriend Collective

Pros
  • Eco-friendly

  • Multiple colors

  • Side vents for easy movement

Cons
  • Thick material

We love Girlfriend Collective for their inclusive sizing, quality design, and eco-friendly focus, and their 50/50 Sweat Shorts offer all that and more. With a shorter (2 ¼-inch) inseam, they give you just enough coverage while letting your legs breathe while you move. The high-rise, adjustable waistband keeps things in place and comfortable so you can move with confidence.

The slightly heavier material makes these a good choice for lighter activities like walking or gentle yoga, but they may be a little warm for more intense exercise. They come in six colors and are made from 50 percent Texloop RCOT Primo Recycled Cotton and 50 percent organic cotton and are 100 percent biodegradable.

Sizes: XSS–6XL | Inseam Length: 2.25 inches | Material: Recycled cotton and organic cotton | Pockets: Yes, on seam

Best Women’s Budget: H&M Sweatshorts

H&M Sweatshorts

H&M

Pros
  • Adjustable waistband

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Not sweat wicking

The H&M Sweat Shorts are affordable, comfortable, and functional. The wide waistband keeps shorts secure, and the drawstring allows you to switch between a tighter and more relaxed fit.

The side pockets have enough room for your keys or phone while you’re at the gym and can fit a credit card for running errands afterward. Because they’re made from cotton and polyester, they are not as breathable as other options on our list but work great for walking, gentle yoga, or other lighter activities.

Sizes: XS–2XL | Inseam Length: Not specified | Materials: Cotton and polyester | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Men’s Budget: Adidas Essentials French Terry Camo-Print Shorts

Adidas Essentials French Terry Camo-Print Shorts

Adidas

Pros
  • Eco-friendly

  • Relaxed fit

Cons
  • Limited colors

Adidas’ Essentials French Terry Camo Print Short proves that a good pair of sweat shorts don’t have to break the bank. The relaxed fit paired with the drawstring waist offers comfort and style, whether you’re hitting the basketball court with friends or lounging on the couch with Netflix.

As a bonus, they’re made with recycled materials, including production scraps and household waste, reducing the environmental impact of buying new clothes.

Sizes: S–2XL | Inseam Length: Not specified | Materials: Cotton, recycled polyester, viscose, French terry | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Organic: Everlane Track Sweat Short

Everlane Track Sweat Short

Everlane

Pros
  • Relaxed fit

  • Large pockets

  • Sturdy, structured material

Cons
  • Thick material

Everlane’s Track Sweat Short pairs stylish design qualities like gorgeous colors and the bright white drawstring with functionality, including pockets large enough to fit a smartphone and wide leg openings meant to move with you.

The thicker material offers a sturdy, structured fit, though it may be a little too warm for higher-intensity exercise. These shorts are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

We absolutely love Everlane’s commitment to ethical sourcing and transparent pricing, meaning they partner with factories that offer fair wages, good working conditions, and use quality materials while keeping prices reasonable by removing the typical retail markup.

Sizes: XXS–XL | Inseam Length: 4.5 inches | Materials: Organic cotton | Pockets: Yes, side

Best High-Waisted: Aerie On My Way High Waisted Short

Aerie On My Way High Waisted Short

Aerie

Pros
  • Wide waistband

  • Raw hem for style

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • No drawstring

For comfortable, simple, and budget-friendly shorts, the Aerie On My Way High Waisted Sweat Shorts are a good choice. The high and wide waistband offers comfort and function, keeping them in place while you move, and the raw, curved hem design gives these shorts a bit of flare.

The shorts are part of Aerie’s Real Good collection, meaning they are made with some recycled materials. They come in four neutral colors and can be paired with a workout top or T-shirt for a flexible, easy style.

Sizes: XXS–2XL | Inseam Length: Not specified | Materials: 88% cotton, 12% polyester | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Women’s for Exercise: Alo Quilted Arena Boxing Short

Alo Quilted Arena Boxing Short

Alo Yoga

Pros
  • Side slit for easy movement

  • Wide waistband

  • Four-way stretch material

Cons
  • Limited colors

  • Limited sizes

  • Expensive

While most sweat shorts can be worn for some activity, the Alo Quilted Arena Boxing Shorts are designed specifically for exercise. They feature a wide waistband to keep shorts in place, four-way stretch material to move with you, and a side slit for easy movement. The wide leg also lets your thighs breathe and sweat comfortably.

The quilted material adds a little bit of flair to these otherwise neutral shorts, which come in black, white, and gray.

Sizes: XXS–L | Inseam Length: 2.75–4.25 inches | Material: Quilted jacquard fabric knit | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Men’s for Exercise: Outdoor Voices Sunday 7" Short

Outdoor Voices Sunday 7" Short

Outdoor Voices

Pros
  • Good for lounging, errands, and some activity

  • Multiple pockets

  • Midweight

Cons
  • Runs large

Outdoor Voices Sunday 7-inch Shorts are the perfect cross between lounge and exercise shorts. They’re comfortable enough for lazy weekend mornings but are made with enough stretch and compression for a hike, light jog, or weightlifting session. The wide waistband with drawstring will keep them in place as you move.

They’re available in five colors and come with both front and back pockets, giving you enough places to stash a phone, credit card, and keys if you’re wearing them on the go.

Sizes: XS–XL | Inseam Length: 7 inches | Material: Polyester and spandex | Pockets: Yes, side and back

Best for Everyday Wear: Athleta Farallon Short

Athleta Farallon Short

Athleta

Pros
  • Inclusive size range

  • Multiple pockets

  • Organic materials

Cons
  • Heavy material

  • Expensive

The Athleta Farallon shorts are designed for those who want to confidently transition from couch to street without having to change. The thicker, more structured material provides a tailored style that can easily pass at brunch or an afternoon at the park. The breathable cotton still works well for light activities like walking your dog, but the slightly heavier material may make them a little too warm for more intense exercise.

They feature front and back pockets for style and function and a wide adjustable waistband, which keeps them secure while you move. They come in five colors in sizes XXS to 3XL.

Sizes: XXS–3XL | Inseam Length: 4 inches (regular), 4.5 inches (plus) | Material: Organic cotton and spandex | Pockets: Yes, back and front

Best Tall: Tkees The Core Short

Tkees The Core Short

Tkees

Pros
  • Multiple colors

  • Long inseam

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Small pockets

Taller women or those who crave a little more leg coverage will love Tkees’ Core Short. The longer inseam and drop crotch provide comfort and coverage, whether you are working on perfecting your downward dog or headed for a stroll around the block.

They’re made from lightweight cotton terry and come in nine different colors, guaranteeing that this will be your new go-to short.

Sizes: 0 (XS)–5 (XXL) | Inseam Length: Not specified | Material: Cotton | Pockets: Yes, side

Best Petite: Vuori Sunnyside Short

Vuori Sunnyside Short

Vuori

Pros
  • Stylish

  • Organic materials

Cons
  • Narrow waistband

The Vuori Sunnyside Shorts feature a 3-inch inseam, making them a perfect choice for petite women or those who prefer shorter shorts. Made with organic cotton terry, they’re light, comfortable, and sustainable and can easily transition from the gym to a post-workout lounge sesh.

Vuori takes sweat short design up a notch with this staple, with added features like a patterned drawstring, curved front pockets, a single slit back pocket, and a side grommet at the pocket seam. The Vuori Sunnyside Shorts come in four beautiful colors in sizes XXS to 2XL.

Sizes: XXS–2XL | Inseam Length: 3 inches | Material: Organic cotton | Pockets: Yes, side and back

Final Verdict

For an incredibly comfortable, durable, and high-quality sweat short, you can’t go wrong with Summersalt’s The Softest French Terry Lounge Short. These shorts are soft, breathable, and designed to move with you.

Lululemon’s City Sweat Short 9” is another great option, thanks to its breathable, sweat-wicking material that will keep you moving with confidence and comfort.

How We Selected the Best Sweat Shorts

We started our journey to find the best sweat shorts on the market by interviewing the experts—we spoke to two trainers/group fitness instructors and a product manager at a large fitness apparel company. We asked these experts what to look for in a quality sweat short.

With these expert insights in mind, we then conducted a thorough search for the best sweat shorts by reviewing over 50 pairs of sweat shorts from multiple quality retailers. We picked our top options based on the quality of material, fit, length, sizes available, design, presence of pockets, and waistband details. To choose our top picks, we also read countless customer reviews and evaluated each product for other design features as well as price. 

What to Look for When Buying Sweat Shorts

Material

Most sweat shorts are made with cotton or French terry, “which feel great and breathe well,” says Kim Yawitz, RD, owner of Two Six Fitness in St. Louis, MO. Some come with added spandex, Lycra, polyester, or other materials to add stretch or structure. If you’re planning to sweat in your sweat shorts, you’ll want a lighter fabric that can move with you, but for lounging or running errands (or if you tend to get cold), you may prefer a thicker short with a little more structure.

Length of Inseam

Sweat shorts come in varying lengths, ranging from 2.5-inch inseams to 9-inch inseams. Shorter inseams allow your legs to breathe a bit more and may be preferred on warmer days or during sweatier workouts. 

Longer inseams offer more coverage and may be better suited if you’re doing a lot of bending or inversions, such as in yoga or Pilates. 

Fit

“Shorts marketed toward men typically have a roomier [boxy] fit, while women’s shorts are often shorter and more fitted and sometimes have a higher waist,” Yawitz says. But like length, the fit is a matter of personal preference. “There’s no law stating that men can’t wear shorts designed for women or vice versa,” Yawitz says. 

Waistband

Sweat shorts range from low- to mid- to high-rise and feature narrow to wide waistbands. “High-waist details can look flattering,” Battafarano says. Wider waistbands can help keep shorts in place while you move, but some of that is also up to personal preference. Drawstrings are useful because they allow you to adjust the waist tighter while you exercise but loosen it up a bit for lounging.

Pockets

Pockets not only add to the style but are also important if you need to keep anything with you while you exercise. Most (but not all) sweat shorts have pockets, but some are bigger than others. If you need to fit a smartphone, you’ll want to look for larger pockets, but if you only need to store something small like a key or credit card, then smaller pockets will do.

Design

While functional details are most important, most people also want to look and feel great while they move. Sweat shorts range from a simple box cut short to those with more design features, like front and back pockets, raw edges, and side slits that can elevate your look.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are sweat shorts good for running?

    Sweat shorts are not great for running. “Instead, I recommend lightweight shorts made from wicking material for high-intensity exercise like running because sweat shorts can get heavy and cause chafing if you sweat a lot. Sweat shorts typically aren't lined, which means they’re not very supportive for men,” Yawitz says. 

    If you do want to wear them for running, Sarabella recommends putting spandex or bike shorts underneath to limit chafing.

  • How long should sweat shorts be?

    “The length and fit of shorts is a matter of personal preference. Three- or 5-inch inseams are typically standard for women and 7- to 9-inch inseams for men,” says Battafarano.

  • How to clean and care for sweat shorts

    It’s best to read the label on the inside of the shorts since the care instructions will depend on the type of material used. In general, Battafarano recommends “machine wash cold with like colors then tumble dry low. For best results, wash inside out.” Some brands say a cool iron is OK, but others say to avoid ironing, so always read the label carefully.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer and fellow exercise enthusiast, Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RD, LDN, thoroughly researches every product she recommends and only recommends products that meet the qualities that experts suggest are important. She also favors products that have received top reviews from those who have tried them.

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