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The Best Sweatshorts, According to Stylish Comfy People

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

When it got too hot to work from home in sweatpants, many of us turned to an equally comfortable but far less suffocating solution: sweatshorts. Like your favorite cutoffs, sweatshorts should be supercomfortable and make your butt look great. And right now, they’re crazy popular. Nearly every clothing brand you can think of makes a version of the loungewear basic in a wide array of colors and lengths. To find the best sweatshorts for men and women, we talked to a bunch of stylish people about the ones they wear and love.

The best men’s sweatshorts

In a previous version of this story, Wooden Sleepers owner Brian Davis recommended these Todd Snyder x Champion shorts to us for their versatility. “They’re comfy enough to lounge around at home but considered enough for an emergency ice-cream run,” he said. When we asked him for an update on his navy pair, he says he still keeps the “top-notch” shorts in rotation and that they’ve faded and worn in nicely.

Fashion and style director Donnell Baldwin of Mr. Baldwin Style told us about these luxe sweatshorts from British menswear brand Sunspel, which is mostly known for its impossibly soft T-shirts (worn by the likes of John Mayer). In a previous version of this story, Baldwin said Sunspel’s sweatshorts are supersoft like its tees. “Before owning anything from Sunspel, I was like, What’s the big deal? Then I got to test them out, and I was like, Oh, never mind. This is something different.”

Baldwin says he’s been gravitating toward more abbreviated lengths “to show off the gains if you’re doing squats and stuff.” He owns this seven-and-a-half-inch knit pair from Faherty, which are just a hair shorter than the Sunspels, above, he says, and super-comfortable to wear while styling. “They’ve been washed and washed and washed to be supersoft,” he says.

New York City–based artist Steve “Sweatpants” Irby told us this green pair with a drawstring waistband is his favorite in a previous version of this story. “I think Daily Paper sweatshorts are the best. The cut, the material, and just how clean they are with pretty much any fit easily makes them my favorite pair out,” he said.

Irby also said he likes this option from Carhartt WIP. “I’m more of a classic New Yorker, so basketball shorts will always be my go-to. But I do own a couple of Carhartt WIP sweatshorts, mainly because they are too cozy to be denied,” he says.

Arvin Goods co-founder and creative director Harry Fricker said he opts for sweatshorts made from sustainable materials in a previous version of this story. “Outerknown is making strides in the material space for all of its products. I love my Hightide sweatshorts. The deep pockets and terry toweling make them feel pretty much like wearing a beach towel,” he says.

The best women’s sweatshorts

Dr. Jenna Frush, an emergency medicine physician and former college basketball player, says she’s owned these Steel City fleece sweatshorts for more than two years and still loves them, especially since they’re from a local brand based in Pittsburgh, where her mother is from. Frush says she likes the drawstring closure and the basketball-short-like length she calls “just long enough.” They’re available in three colors.

Former Strategist writer Chloe Anello said in a previous version of this story that she wears these thick sweatshorts from Mate the Label with a sweatshirt when walking her dog on cooler nights. She said they’re very soft and have pockets big enough to fit her phone on walks: “Also I like that you can tighten the waist from the inside so you don’t have the strings hanging down in the front.”

After Strategist writer Lauren Ro wrote about these “supercute” Le Bonne Shoppe basketball shorts in her baby registry redo, senior editor Winnie Yang picked up two pairs in khaki and charcoal — and now wears them all the time. Yang says the shorts aren’t constricting thanks to the elastic waistband, which she found to be super-comfortable postpartum. Plus, she says the flared shape is flattering and functional; because they fit over a knee brace, Yang notes they’ve been great during her recovery from ACL reconstruction.

As an IT cybersecurity specialist who works from home, Emily Yee says she tried out a lot of sweatshorts during the pandemic when she was doing nothing but Chloe Ting workouts. Of all of them, she says she still likes these men’s Adidas shorts best for their deep zippered pockets that go way deeper than women’s. She says they’re also thick enough to not show her underwear but still breezy enough to wear while running errands on hot days.

After receiving these shorts as a gift, Strategist junior writer Brenley Goertzen says she wears them all the time as pajamas but also while running errands, walking her dog, or working from home. With an oversize fit, high waist, and adjustable drawstring closure, the shorts are very flattering — Goertzen says the cut makes her look taller and the muted, neutral color goes with anything.

Vox Creative associate editor Alexis Gaskin says shorts aren’t always her best friend due to chafing, but she notes this pair from Athleta is an exception. She says she likes that the bottoms have a drawstring at the waist for a tighter fit and that the leg is open so her thighs aren’t constricted. Plus, there are “real, deep pockets,” so she can wear them out and about without bringing a purse. Gaskin notes that she’s found Athleta’s sizing to skew slightly large — a 3X will likely fit a size 24/26 because the drawstring waist offers extended room.

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The Best Sweatshorts, According to Stylish Comfy People