We’re not short of advice when it comes to selecting the perfect pair of gym shorts. The right pair of shorts will flatter your form, show off your pins, and provide technical function to help you make the most of your workout.
Why wear gym shorts?
The main priority with any gym wear should be comfort, the last thing you want is the clothes you're wearing distracting you from the job in hand. Gym shorts are made to be comfortable and move with your body. Elasticated waistbands offer a supportive and personalised fit that can help you make the most of your training.
Range of motion
Shorts allow the flexibility for a good range of motion as your legs are left unrestricted. Particularly for exercises such as squats, shorts are often favoured as the legs are left easily visible to check form, plus additional support can be worn around the knees without a barrier of material.
Gym shorts are incredibly versatile, they can be worn for both high intensity and low intensity workouts, from classes to resistance training.
Rather obviously, shorts are more effective in warmer climates as they offer less coverage and a loose fit.
There is plenty of variety in gym shorts, which makes them a popular choice for most workout wardrobes as they can easily be styled into your gym attire.
Gym shorts are typically made of Nylon which is quick drying, to optimise performance, reduce chafing and keep a comfortable fit.
Material Choices for Gym Shorts
|Nylon||Nylon is thin and lightweight, it wicks sweat away quickly and dries fast. Many runners opt for nylon shorts over cotton as after a distance session cotton would grow heavy with sweat. Nylon can also have rip resisting properties, making it a strong and durable material.|
|Cotton||Cotton is often picked for gym shorts as it is the most comfortable against the skin. It is particularly good for resistance training where there won't be lots of chafing or perspiration risk, and comfort is prioritised over function. Cotton loses its shape after continuous wear.|
|Cotton Blends||Cotton blends combine the comfort and feel of cotton with the technical function of other materials. Combining cotton and spandex allows cotton to retain its shape and elasticity.|
|Spandex||Spandex has 4 way stretch properties and is often used in compression shorts, cycling shorts and running shorts. Spandex is great for keeping you covered in compromising positions such as yoga or gymnastics. It is less likely to ride up you legs and moulds to your shape.|
|Microfiber||Microfibers are small synthetic fibres woven into cloth. Microfiber fabrics are lightweight and fast drying, making them an increasingly popular choice for workout shorts, although it is most popular in swim shorts as it dries quickly.|
Styles of Workout Shorts
Whilst a lot of the decision making for style of workout short will come down to personal preference, there are a few reasons why you might opt for a particular fit. There are three main categories when it comes to shorts tailoring:
Mens Athletic Shorts
Athletic shorts are built for all purposes, designed as multi-functional they often have elasticated or drawstring waists for a personalised fit. These shorts are made with soft materials, designed to fit loosely with the maximum freedom of movement. They tend to cut off around mid thigh allowing coverage throughout various movements. These shorts are best worn during gym sessions but can easily be transferred into day wear for those who have an active lifestyle.
Womens Gym Shorts
Similar to the mens shorts, womens gym shorts usually opt for a drawstring or elasticated waist, but are generally shorter in length sitting on the upper to mid thigh. Often these shorts will feature underwear lining which protects dignity whilst preventing chafing and wicking moisture.
Womens Zumba Shorts
These are a loose fit style of short made famous by hip hop dancers, designed to sit on the knee or just below. They are usually cotton for comfort and loose fitting to create swing and the illusion of more movement as the body moves.
Men's and Women's Compression Shorts
Compression shorts are designed to cling tightly to the body made with spandex or spandex blend fabrics. Compression shorts keep the muscles warm to prevent muscle strain and fatigue and wick sweat away from the body to prevent chafing and rashes. These are often a popular choice for running and cycling as they provide a streamlined fit which will shield against the wind and enhance performance.
Special Purpose Shorts
Speciality shorts worn by professional athletes and sports enthusiasts feature tailoring which makes them well-suited to the wearer's sport of choice.
Cycling shorts: Cycling shorts are cut like compression shorts, but they have an extra purpose. A pocket at the crotch is inserted for padding to avoid discomfort from the seat on long rides named a chamois. This padding can be purchased separately or in some shorts comes built in to protect against soreness and chafing.
Running Shorts: Running shorts are typically shorter in length than gym shorts, and elite athletes will even be seen in running briefs, designed to allow comfort in full stride when running. They are usually loose fitting and may contain a supportive brief to protect against chafing and wind chill.They also tend to contain pockets for storing valuables.
How short is too short?
Too long and they’re in the way, too short and you’re showing your scrotum. It’s a dangerous game to play.
Gym shorts are designed to allow freedom of movement, but they shouldn’t allow freedom of anything else. To save yourself any embarrassment in the gym, give your shorts a trial run before you buy them. Try squatting, lunging, twisting and bending over, if all of these can be done without you flashing, you should be able to walk, run, squat and deadlift with your modesty in check.
Whilst some argue their short shorts are essential for the best range of motion in the gym, others think that short shorts are a sight for sore eyes. What do you think, is it okay to flash the extra flesh?
What to look for in gym shorts
Good gym shorts need to be ready to move, to be sweated in, to be screwed up in a gym bag and washed at least twice more than any other shorts. That’s a lot to ask of an item of clothing, so it’s important to find the right fit.
To test for quality in gym shorts the best test is at their seams. Good quality seams will be sturdy and straight, if you give them a little tug they will maintain their form and will not gap. If the shorts pass this test next look for the pockets, shorts of higher quality tend to use more fabrics, they’re not worried about creating the shorts as cheaply as possible. Deep pockets require more cloth, but have greater function allowing the storage of keys and other valuables. Shorts with a liner or gusset also enhance training and suggest a higher level of quality.
Gym Shorts Size Guide
Mens Gym Shorts Size Guide
|Size Range||Waist (inches)|
Womens Gym Shorts Size Guide
|Size||UK Size||Waist (cm)||Hip (cm)|
Shorts are a great practical choice for gym wear and the right pair will keep you confident and comfortable in your sport.