21 Best Gym and Workout Shorts for Men 2021

Mariana Salvo


Never thought I would say this: I missed the gym. I missed forcing myself out of bed and putting on the best workout shorts (more of this in a bit), a simple tank, and my trusty Nike Revolution 5 sneakers. I missed walking two blocks and entering a climate-controlled environment with every conceivable piece of workout equipment at my disposal. I even missed the awkward stares from passersby as I sang out loud to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy while running on a treadmill. Needless to say, my routine was insurmountably disrupted last year. Now I have to wrestle with a gut and jackets that I just can’t button.

Thankfully, my local gym is back in business, and so is my favorite pair of workout shorts. For me, they are a cut above the rest because of just that, the cut. I like ’em really short. Magnum P.I. short. And there’s a built-in liner to, you know, keep everything in check. The dark color, a shade of deep purple with white piping, also makes me feel good about myself, giving me that extra boost of confidence to run that extra mile, or squat that extra squat. Most important is the material: Nylon with a drawstring and elastic waistband, because my gut.

All this, however, shouldn’t apply to you. I tend to like cardio-based exercises and, as a result, sweat a lot, which is why the moisture-wicking properties of nylon works for me. Polyester, polypropylene, and micromodal also do the trick. But if you’re a bench-press dude and prefer natural fibers, jersey or cotton mesh will be more to your liking. Also, the length of what characterizes the best workout shorts is completely at your discretion. Inseams usually run from four inches to 10, so you can decide how much leg you want to show. Lastly, built-in brief liners and compression inserts aren’t for everyone. Some dudes like to let it hang, and that’s OK.

When it comes to workout shorts for the gym, there are options aplenty. And to help you narrow down your search, we compiled a selection so you can get back to your routine. Now all you have to do is purchase the one that works best for you and commit to actually going.

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Tech Mesh Shorts

Under Armour


Under Armour is still the no-frills fitness brand you know and love. For a solid pair of well-priced shorts, head here to stock up. 

Design 2 Move Climacool Shorts

Adidas knows how to have fun with its clothes without abandoning its purpose as a sports outfitter. The Climacool shorts will keep you comfortable in the heat. 

Embroidered Script Logo Jersey Shorts



If you’re a jersey boy, these basketball shorts from Champion are a slam dunk.  

7″ 2-In-1 Running Shorts

For the lightest feel possible, Nike’s Dri-Fit shorts are not only lightweight, but they’re also perforated for optimal airflow. 

Sonic Performance Shorts



Comfort is key for Zella. Whether you strolling in the park and doing lunges, the brand’s selection of shorts are built to help you move with ease.  

Aero Shorts

If you’re a runner in all conditions, look to shorts that allow that to happen seamlessly. These are water-resistant, and the strategic reflective surface keeps you visible in lower-light situations. 

The ReTech Sport Short



Do you sweat buckets? The moisture-wicking fabric of this short is just what you need. Plus, it has front zipper in case you’re a guy that doesn’t like to pull down. 

Baggies Shorts

If your idea of a workout is more like a hike or another outdoor activity, Patagonia’s the move. The brand’s beloved Baggies shorts hold up well in all environments. 

Outdoor Voices 7-Inch Sunday Short

Outdoor Voices


Outdoor Voices clothes are known for their casual vibe and semi-stealth fitness functionality. Wear the Sunday Shorts any day of the week.

The ReNew Swim Short



In the event that your gym has a pool. Lucky you! 

Twilight Shorts



If you miss the feel of old-school, no-frills gym shorts, these are the high-end version. They feel as soft as, say, underwear, but belong in the gym. 

Kore Shorts



For Vuori, style should never be sacrificed for performance. They should go hand-in-hand—like with these camo shorts.  

Pace Breaker Short 7″ Linerless



Lululemon is not just a phase in the world of fitness; the gear is good. Take these shorts, which come in a variety of eye-catching prints that are simply *chef’s kiss*.

Mako Shorts

And if you’re into something a little more fashion-forward from Rhone, wear these for lifting, running, or all of the above. The shell is water-resistant, too. 

Extend Short 5″



Fourlaps’s expertise is in running, and these shorts prove it. They come with a built-in antimicrobial liner that minimizes odor. 

Kinetic Train Shorts



If you’re a Saxx underwear fan (as you should be), you’ll love the shorts, too. There’s a light compression lining and the brand’s signature ball pouch for keeping everything in its place. 

Bowline Drawstring Shorts



Lululemon’s Bowline short is great for any sort of shorts situation, working out or not. Pack it on trips where you need clothes to work double duty. 

The Gym Short



If a built-in lining is not your thing, this sweat-wicking short, made of 4-way stretch fabric, is what you need. 

7” Unity 2-In-1 Short

Alo Yoga


Yoga or pilates kind of guy? The right shorts are crucial for a comfortable workout. Alo’s expertise in stretchy fabrics and liners means you can fully focus on the activity at hand. 

Hybrid Technical-Shell Training Shorts

Reigning Champ


If you need shorts you can wear for any and every kind of workout, these are your secret weapon. They’re black, perforated, and lined—a killer combination. 

Active Tight Shorts



If you’re a dude that really like to show off at the gym (hey, no judgement), these biker shorts are just for you. 

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