8 Best Gym Shorts for Men 2022 | The Strategist – New York Magazine

8 Best Gym Shorts for Men 2022 | The Strategist – New York Magazine

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Finding the right pair of gym shorts sounds simple enough. Most guys just want a pair that they can sweat in and forget about. But with gym clothing growing more innovative and activity-specific, there are a lot of variables to consider when buying a new pair, like liners, inseam lengths, and moisture-wicking. There’s no one universal pair for everyone, of course, but after testing dozens over the past few years, it became clear to me that a few key features set the standard for the very best gym shorts. To help your search, we spoke to personal trainers, athletes, and generally active folk about their go-to pairs.


Best overall gym short

Ten Thousand 7-Inch Lined Interval Shorts

$64

Polyester and spandex | Lined or unlined | 5-inch, 7-inch, or 9-inch inseam

These seven-inch-inseam Ten Thousand Interval shorts come as close as you can get to quiver-of-one gym shorts. Shorts with a seven-inch inseam are the most popular among the guys we spoke to, with eight telling us they exercise in this style, but the Intervals also come in two other inseam lengths: five- and nine-inch. (Five-inch shorts are the second-most-popular length of the guys we spoke to.) They come recommended by three stylish men: personal trainer Ariel Brill, multisport athlete Nik Karbelnikoff, and former Strategist associate editor Daniel Varghese. Brill loves the “lightweight stretch fabric” of the Interval short, which he says would be great for any sort of “heavy lifting at the gym.” Karbelnikoff likes that these shorts are tough enough for CrossFit and gym workouts but also have the mobility and comfort needed for a six-mile run. “They are my go-to shorts, no matter what I’m training for. The liners never ride up, and I love having pockets for everyday use,” he says. But if you prefer to skip the built-in liner, but they’re also available without it. In the year and a half that I’ve been testing the Intervals, I’ve worn them not only for workouts and runs, but also for summer hikes and beach trips, and they show no signs of wear. For those reasons — and the wide size range, from XS to XXL — we think the Intervals are among the best investments you can make when it comes to gym apparel.

$64


at Huckberry

Buy

$68


at Ten Thousand

Buy



Best less expensive overall gym short

Nike Flex Stride 5-Inch Brief Running Shorts


From
$50

Polyester, nylon, and spandex | Lined or unlined | 5-inch or 7-inch inseam

This unlined five-inch pair from Nike came recommended to us by personal trainer Chris Legitime of LegitFitNYC and Jackson Howard, an editor at publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Even without a lining, Legitime says the shorts are still “tight in terms of securing the hip,” but the lack of a liner means they’re “not tight on the groin or quads, making them super-breathable and flexible for hip movements,” he explains. While Legitime says he’s not so interested in how shorts look, Howard adds that these “ridiculously lightweight” shorts do have some aesthetic benefits too. “They make my butt look really good,” he says. He wears his pair — which he has had for more than two years — for “running, yoga, or just flopping around the house.” The shorts also have four pockets: one zippered back pocket, two on the side, and a liner drop-in pocket. Given that the Flex Strides come in 14 different sizes (XS–4XL Tall), a seven-inch inseam, and a lined version as well, we think they’re a worthy contender for your next go-to pair of workout shorts, especially for the price.


From
$50


at Nike

Buy

$50


at Nordstrom

Buy



Best gym shorts for running

Tracksmith Session Shorts

$68

Nylon, elastane, polyester, and spandex | Lined | 5-inch or 7-inch inseam

Boston-based running brand Tracksmith makes some of the most stylish and unfussy active apparel available today, and its Session shorts are no exception. The Session shorts feel most at home during runs, of course, but they work just as well for sweaty, aerobic gym sessions. Drew Westphal, who works in digital marketing, says he has also worn these lined shorts to do yoga, Pilates, and “a lot of stretching at home to help my golf game.” While they’ve been comfortable for all of his workouts, Westphal says the real appeal of the shorts may be their lesser-known branding and interesting colors, which range from “espresso” (dark brown) to “forest” (dark green) to “wine” (dark red). “You probably won’t see another person wearing these,” he says. They’re also available in a five-inch inseam.

$68


at Tracksmith

Buy



Best less-expensive gym shorts for running

ASICS Men’s Rival II Shorts


From
$32

Polyester | Lined |4-Inch Inseam

The ASICS Rival II is a favorite of running-obsessive Strategist contributor Steven John. “Whether I’m going for a quick run through my neighborhood or logging miles on a hotel gym’s treadmill, I often choose my ASICS Rival II running shorts,” he writes. “That’s because the lightweight, quick-drying, and secure-fitting shorts are suitable for use in just about any conditions.” These shorts are a great option for guys who want light support from a liner; not a super-tight, compressive fit. “They feature a loose liner that provides a bit of comfort but doesn’t add too much fabric when you’re wearing briefs or compression pants, while the exterior layer is loose enough for a full range of motion.”


From
$32


at Amazon

Buy

$28


at Asics

Buy



Best unlined gym shorts

Lululemon Pace Breaker Short 5-Inch Linerless

$68

Polyester and elastane | Lined or unlined | 5-Inch, 7-Inch, or 9-Inch Inseam

The Pace Breaker short is a Strategist staff favorite, as well as a favorite among stylish men we’ve spoken with over the years. “These shorts have been my go-to for a long time,” says Ralph Lauren creative producer Yale Breslin, who calls himself a “guy who likes to work out.” Like other Lululemon acolytes, he says “the Vancouver-based brand has mastered fit, simplicity, and technology” in creating this unlined pair, which he calls “the ultimate gym shorts.” Their length, according to him, is “not too long and not too short,” making these ideal for his at-home HIIT, yoga, and boot-camp workouts. A smaller detail he appreciates is that the shorts have minimal branding, as Breslin is “not a guy who loves blatant labels.” Lululemon offers both lined and unlined versions in seven- or nine-inch lengths — but the unlined is our favorite. Matt Jared, co-founder of the yoga-and-meditation nonprofit United We Om, is yet another Lululemon Pace Breaker fan, but he prefers the slightly longer nine-inch version. “I wear these shorts when I teach yoga because the fit is loose and relaxed, but they stay in place and don’t pinch no matter what shape I find myself in during class,” he says.

$68


at Lululemon

Buy



Best less-expensive unlined gym shorts

Target All in Motion Unlined Run Shorts

$22

$22

Polyester and spandex | Lined or unlined | 5-inch, 7-inch, or 9-inch inseam
This more affordable unlined pair of seven-inch gym shorts (that seems inspired by the Lululemon pair above) comes recommended by personal trainer Andrew Flores, who says the shorts have been his “go-to for the last six months when I practice Muay Thai or boxing.” Describing the feel, Flores says they have a “great stretch to them, meaning you can perform exercises in all planes of motion without obstruction.” And from a fashion perspective, he says they also “go well with a long-sleeved tee for that post-workout run to the store.” Target offers these in a lined version.

$22


at Target

Buy



Best gym shorts with a liner

Saxx 2N1 Gainmaker Short

$78

$78

Nylon, elastane, polyester, and spandex | Lined | 7-inch or 9-inch inseam

All of the gym shorts on this list are available with liners, but Saxx offers the most comfortable one. “These are my go-to training shorts whether I’m working out at the gym or at home,” says Sean Sewell, a personal trainer who runs the gear-review site Engearment and the online fitness program Mountain Fitness School. Sewell owns “three or four pairs” of the Kinetic Train shorts from Saxx, which have since been discontinued — but these newer Gainmakers offer the same compression and fit as their predecessors. “They’re more expensive, but you’re getting a semi-compression short and a high-quality Lululemon-type gym short,” he explains. Sewell’s favorite part of Saxx shorts is the signature “Ballpark Pouch” liner, which he says “keeps everything in place and provides support.” Saxx also makes a seven-inch version, which some may prefer, but he thinks the nine-inch length “is really comfortable for most men, especially taller men.” If a comfortable, supportive liner is your first priority in gym shorts, then you should consider this pair.

$78


at REI

Buy

$78


at Saxx

Buy



Best gym shorts for yoga

Vuori Lined Kore Shorts, 8 Inches


From
$68

Polyester and elastane | Lined | 7.5-inch inseam

The Kore Shorts’ impressive stretch makes them ideal for activities like yoga and climbing. “Vuori makes some of the most comfortable and durable gym shorts,” according to Brill, who likes the versatility of this pair (which is lined) and says it would be great for any “sport or outdoor activity.” Tim Senesi of the popular YouTube channel Yoga With Tim is also a fan of Vuori and told us its shorts are among his favorites for yoga. “I love anything that fits comfortably and is not too loud of flashy,” says Senesi. The Kore’s liner is less compressive than those of other pairs on this list, so we recommend it for more relaxed workouts.


From
$68


at REI

Buy

$68


at Vuori

Buy


Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

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