What Are the Best Gym Shorts for Men?

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Though finding a pair of gym shorts seems like a simple task, there are plenty of things to consider: length, range of motion, moisture-wicking, type of exercise, and (of course) cost. And even if you’re just going to your local NYSC, we can’t pretend that style doesn’t come into play as well. We asked 12 fit guys — weekend warriors, CrossFitters, triathletes, and 10K-ers — about the best gym shorts. Preferences can be as individual as shoe size, so we’ve organized the answers based on shorts length and intended use.

Best five-inch gym shorts for running

Outdoor Voices 5” Runner’s High Short
$65, Outdoor Voices

“After I turned 30, I got myself a gym membership (solely for the treadmill), and since I still mostly hate exercise, finding cool workout clothes has been a good motivator. These are cut high enough to show some thigh, but also lined so nothing else shows. I have them in all three colors for easy coordination with tube socks or ball caps or old college tees or whatever else jocks are supposed to wear.” —Jon Roth, style editor, Esquire

Best seven-inch unlined gym shorts for running

Nike Men’s 7” Challenger Short
From $40, Amazon

“They’re just short enough to avoid being baggy without being so short and extreme that I look like a marathon wannabe. They have the ever-crucial side pockets to securely hold things like my iPod. And they have an even-more-crucial-but-rarely-seen interior back pocket that’s a great place for keys, since it’s tight, so the keys don’t jangle around and become all annoying while you’re jogging. The material is also extremely light, they’ve got mesh panels on the side, and they’re lined. Also key: a drawstring that actually stays tied.” —Alan Sytsma, editor, Grub Street

Best seven-inch lined running shorts

Rhone 7” Swift Lined
$88, Rhone

“I am not a liner guy (the shorts come not with a Speedo-esque insert like I’d imagined, but with something akin to a pair of boxer briefs built inside; you’re meant to wear them without underwear), but this lining feels incredible. As you run and sweat, there’s no chafing or rubbing or discomfort — you don’t forget the lining is there, but you do feel like you’re secured in the most sacred of places by a firm-yet-gentle force. It made running eight miles in Prospect Park a breeze.” —Jason Chen, deputy editor, Strategist

Best seven-inch gym shorts for strength training

Under Armour Men’s Launch 7” Shorts
$35, Amazon

“My workouts determine which shorts I wear, and especially when I’m working on my legs, I like to wear these Under Armour thigh-length shorts because of the free range of motion they give. They’re good for box jumps especially. (I also like to see my quad development.)” —Ward Patrick, senior store manager, General Nutrition Centers

Best eight-inch unlined gym shorts for running

Nike Men’s 8” Flex Hyperspeed Woven Shorts
From $25, Amazon

“For me, liners in shorts are supremely overrated. Fabric bunches up. It makes more sense to wear shorts that are light, breathable, and stretchy, and that deal with moisture well. I like these because they never get in the way of what I’m doing.” —Daniel Halioua, grad student, Columbia School of Social Work

Best nine-inch lined gym shorts for yoga

Lululemon 9” Pace Breaker Short
$68, Lululemon

“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. I especially like the inner liner, which has serious moisture-wicking capabilities and keeps everything in place, preventing embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions when I’m teaching inversions.” —Matt Jared, co-founder of yoga and meditation nonprofit, United We Om

Best affordable nine-inch gym shorts for running

Old Navy 9” Go-Dry Running Shorts for Men
$20, Old Navy

“I’ve been doing running in these shorts for a couple years now, and they’re still like new. They fit comfortably on my waist and the sweat drips right off them. The nine-inch seam is perfect for me — they stop right above my knees — and the side vents are helpful when I do squats. I prefer that there’s no liner within either.” —Brent Skidmore, marketing specialist

Best nine-inch compression shorts for triathlons

Zoot M Core Tri 9” Shorts
From $39, Amazon

“I bought these Zoot shorts years ago to train for a sprint triathlon, and they remain my favorite athletic shorts to this day, great for any number of aerobic sports. The elastic pockets are perfect for holding keys or energy gels, the compression fabric gives a nice lift to tired legs, and they’re so light and sleek, you practically forget you’re wearing them.” —Chris Ross, writer

Best gym shorts that are also swim trunks

Vuori Bank Performance Hybrid Shorts
$68, Nordstrom

“I used to wear all Lululemon, but then I got introduced through work to a brand called Vuori. It’s got this Southern California design aesthetic, so the shorts look like you ripped a few waves and then headed to the gym to knock off a few reps. I now live in these high-performance shorts on summer weekends. At this point, Vuori has replaced 95 percent of my gym drawer because the stuff works so well and looks fresh — no boring, basic, black gym-ninja look.” —Brenner Thomas, principal, the Lead PR

Best loose, moisture-wicking gym shorts

Adidas 4KRFT Climalite Graphic Shorts
$40, Spring

“These shorts are lightweight, soft, loose, and don’t ride up. They also have the perfect kind of pockets to carry my iPhone, my keys, and my debit card.” —Kevin McLaughlin, co-founder and partner, Main Stage Public Relations

Best gym shorts for CrossFit

Hybrid Vent v.3.5
$64, 2POOD

“The 2POOD brand is typically associated with CrossFit, probably because CrossFit people tend to wear them everywhere. There’s a reason they’re favored, though: The stretchiness allows for good range of motion, and I like the quick-drying material. I also like that they’re produced small-batch in the U.S.” —Erik Mizell, wealth-management adviser

Best bib shorts for cycling

Rapha Pro Team Bib Shorts II
$270, Rapha

“These bike shorts are incredibly comfortable thanks to a luxurious chamois padding that stays cool in the summer, and they’re also super fast and aerodynamic. You’ll cut ten minutes off your ride to work in them.” —Evan Campisi, creative director

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What Are the Best Gym Shorts for Men?