The 8 Best Workout Shorts of 2019

Choose the right pair for your fitness routine

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From baggy gym shorts to compression shorts, workout shorts come in all shapes and sizes, which is good news for fitness lovers who have specific needs and preferences. Choosing the right shorts can mean the difference between a comfortable, successful workout and one that gets cut short due to chafing, irritation, or wardrobe malfunctions.

No matter what kind of workout shorts you prefer, quality and comfort are non-negotiable factors. Beyond that, you should think carefully about what you plan to do in them. While some people are used to wearing the same type of shorts for all different forms of exercise, you may find your workouts to be more effective and comfortable if you wear shorts that are more sport-specific.

We’ve sorted through the options to find the best men’s and women’s shorts for all types of workouts. Check out our round-up of the top workout shorts to find the perfect pair that'll help you get the most out of your exercise.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall for Men: Under Armour Men's Raid 10" Shorts

Under Armour Men's Raid 10

Courtesy of Amazon

Whether you’re working out at the gym or hanging out in the backyard, you’ll feel comfortable in these ultra-soft and lightweight Under Armour Raid Shorts. The shorts’ 4-way stretch construction allows for easy movement in any direction, so these shorts are ideal for all types of exercise. The lightweight UA HeatGear fabric material wicks away sweat and the anti-odor technology fights odor-causing microbes, keeping you cool, fresh, and dry. Fans of the Raid shorts also love the pockets, elastic waistband with drawstring, and the choice of numerous colors. Overall, they’re an excellent choice for comfortable, durable, all-purpose men’s workout shorts.

Best Overall for Women: Nike Women's 5" Attack Training Shorts

Nike Women's 5'' Attack Training Shorts

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods 

Whether you’re running, working out at the gym, or playing on the field or court, you’ll love the performance and comfort of these Nike Attach Training shorts. Nike’s signature Dri-FIT technology wicks away sweat, keeping you dry and cool. These shorts are lightweight and not at all restricting, so they’re a fantastic all-purpose workout short.

Women love the flattering cut and the comfortable, adjustable elastic waistband with drawstring. Overall, they’re perfect for women looking for a pair of high-quality, versatile workout shorts. With an affordable price tag and many colors to choose from, you may want to pick up more than one pair.

Best Budget for Men: Champion Men's Long Mesh Shorts with Pockets

If you’re looking for comfortable, durable, and lightweight men’s workout shorts at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with these Champion Men’s Long Mesh Shorts. They’re made of a lightweight, super soft, mesh material that offers superior ventilation and breathability on hot days. Perfect for all types of sports and activities, these shorts are on the baggy side and hit just above the knee.

They have an elastic waist and drawstring, so you don’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions when you’re working out or playing basketball. The side pockets are perfect for stashing your keys, wallet, or phone. Despite the reasonable price tag, these shorts are extremely durable and won’t wear out or fade. And with so many colors to choose from, you may decide you need more than one pair.

Best Budget for Women: Under Armour Women’s 3” Play Up Shorts

Under Armour Women’s 3” Play Up Shorts

Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

Another excellent and affordable option from Under Armour, these Women’s Play Up Shorts are designed to keep you cool, dry and comfortable during your workouts. Lightweight and extremely breathable, they feature UA’s signature Moisture Transport System that pulls sweat away from your body, keeping you cool and dry. There’s plenty of room to move, so you can perform all types of exercises without feeling restricted.

Women love the short’s flattering fit and the wide, elastic waistband. Available in numerous fun color combinations, the Play Up shorts also feature odor-resistant technology to keep them smelling fresh.

Best Running Shorts for Women: Nike Women's Dry Tempo 3-Inch Running Short

Nike Women's Dry Tempo 3-Inch Running Short

Courtesy of Zappos

These women’s running shorts from Nike are a perennial favorite for women, thanks to their performance, quality, affordability, and comfort. They feature a 3-inch inseam, curved hem and a fully-lined mesh brief that provides superior comfort, excellent coverage, and full range of motion. You’ll stay cool and dry due to the breathable mesh side panels and Nike’s signature Dri-FIT fabric that wicks away sweat.

These lightweight shorts are sure to become your go-to shorts for warm weather outdoor exercise or gym workouts. Available in dozens of colors, they’re so affordable that you may be tempted to buy more than one pair so you don’t have to worry about your favorite shorts being in the laundry pile.

Best Running Shorts for Men: Nike Men’s 7” 2-in-1 Challenger Running Shorts

Although they’re designed for runners, these Nike shorts perform well and are comfortable for many types of exercise. With perforated panels and Nike’s signature Dri-FIT fabric that wicks away sweat, they’ll keep you dry and cool, even in very hot and sweaty conditions. These running shorts feature a 7-inch inseam, providing the right amount of coverage and a built-in inner that offers additional sweat-wicking support, exactly where it’s needed most.

Runners also love the side pockets, which are big enough to hold a phone. The shorts’ inner drawstring waistband allows for a comfortable, adjustable fit. They’re available in several different colors, so you can pick the ones that work best with your style and fitness wardrobe.

Best Compression Shorts: Under Armour HeatGear Long Compression Shorts

If you frequently deal with shorts riding up or bunching during your workouts, these compression shorts from Under Armour will solve your issues. They’re perfect for anyone who wants longer shorts that stay put and don’t chafe. The lightweight, 4-way stretch fabric gives you superb mobility and range of motion, while Under Armour’s compression fit ensures that your shorts won’t ride up or fall down.

These versatile shorts are the perfect length to be worn alone or underneath a baggier pair of shorts. They also feature UA’s Moisture Transport System that wicks away sweat to keep you cool and dry. They’re available in both men’s and women’s versions.

Best for Squats: Jed North Fitted Lifting Men’s Shorts

Men will look forward to leg day at the gym just so they can wear these comfortable, lightweight and extremely functional Jed North shorts. Featuring an athletic fit, they lightly hug the thighs, but still offer plenty of room to move in order to perform perfect, unrestricted squats. The fabric is exceptionally soft and smooth, with lots of stretch and flexibility so you don’t have to worry about rips or tears at the bottom of a squat. There’s room to stash your phone or other essentials in the two wide side pockets with zippers that are easy to open and close.

These comfy shorts allow you to focus on improving your squats rather than paying attention to irritating or uncomfortable clothing. Available in several colors and sizes, the Jed North fitted lifting shorts are shorter than some of the popular baggy shorts, but still provide enough coverage for any exercise.

Our Process

Our writers spent 8 hours researching the most popular workout shorts on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 35 different shorts overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 380 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the shorts themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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