Choosing the correct gym shorts for your weekly workout shouldn’t be taken lightly – as they can often be the difference between a sub-standard and a successful fitness session. While it can be argued that runners will require athletic mesh gym shorts that are spacious with a high cut to reduce overheating (and maximising movement), those who put themselves through studio and gym workouts will need a longer leg and coverage for those angled stretches and lunges.
If you’re training indoors you may also want to think about breathable fabrics that draw moisture away from your skin, leaving you feeling fresh and dry, both during and after exercise. And, just as importantly, you’ll want a pair (or pairs) that are stylish, so as to give the message you’re as serious about your workouts as you are your wardrobe – a statement of intent.
But which gym shorts are making waves in the international market right now, and what separates one from the other? With so much choice and quality available, we’ve put together this guide to help you discover some of the best active gym shorts designs from around the world – all made by the most celebrated sports houses – created to strike that fine balance between performance and style.
Some helpful DMARGE stories about workout and gym clothing
Frequently Asked Questions About Gym Shorts
Here are our top picks so you can find a pair of the best mesh workout gym shorts.
The clue is in the name for this British startup sportswear brand. Founded in 2012 and taking serious advantage of social media as an advertising platform, Gymshark has grown exponentially to become one of the leading brands for gym apparel.
With such an extensive range of high-performance gym shorts, picking out a pair isn’t always easy, but if we had to choose one style, the Critical Short would be our pick. With a roomy regular fit and being made from a fabric blend that includes elastane for some added stretch, they’ll accompany you everywhere you need to go.
Rhone is an American sports athletic apparel brand that was set up in 2014. It is inspired by the Rhone River that passes through Switzerland and France, an aesthetically beautiful stretch of water that links multiple communities together.
One of their standout pieces is the Mako Unlined workout shorts, designed for those who enjoy variety in their exercise, from yoga and gym to hiking and running. They are made from a four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric, and feature a media pocket for small music devices. However, all of Rhone’s gym shorts are pretty impressive, so pick the ones best for you.
New Zealand-American company, Allbirds, is dedicated to creating eco-friendly footwear and apparel made from sustainable resources. Founded in 2016, this eco-friendly company is renowned for their extremely comfortable and stylish shoes that are made with only renewable and recycled materials.
Allbirds has recently branched out into activewear and now stocks lightweight, breathable gym shorts with a hint of stretch. Made with sustainable materials, the Natural Run Short wicks moisture, dries quickly, and features a relaxed fit with a 7” inseam. Available in a few colour options, these gym shorts are perfect for running, training, or any kind of sport.
Set up in 2013, one year after CEO Tyler Haney graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York, Outdoor Voices is a real American success story. It has gone on to become a beacon for high-quality sportswear in the mid-range price bracket.
Their Rec Shorts have a 7” inseam and are made for both running and gym workouts. They’re lightweight, stylish and stretchable, and are available in four well-considered colourways that will effortlessly slip into your existing sportswear collection. Although, we highly recommend checking out all of their gym shorts, as most of them have similar awesome features.
When Lululemon Athletica was set up in Vancouver, Canada back in 1998 their aim was simple – to create technical athletic apparel around a community hub, promoting healthy living for both men and women.
Lululemon has a fantastic range of men’s gym shorts, but they all tend to cater for one specific sport or workout, so you’ll have to go for the workout shorts designed for whatever workout you prefer. If we had to single one out though, Lululemon’s Pace Breaker short is a versatile short made for the serious fitness fanatic who demands comfort and performance.
Suitable for both running and training, they’re made using lightweight, quick-drying fabrics that can be worn comfortably with or without leggings for year-round practicality. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re super stretchable – helping you conquer any type of terrain with maximum movement.
Designed and made in California, Leorêver is unquestionably a premium athletic menswear brand. For your slightly larger investment compared to some other brands, you do receive some incredibly luxurious materials in return, along with handcrafted quality.
The Eighth Avenue Quad gym Short is made from a silky-feeling and stretchy Micro Modal Blend fabric, derived from the cellulose of Beech trees. It’s incredibly breathable and comfortable, and is environmentally friendly. You’ll be looking and feeling a million bucks when pumping some iron.
Founded in 2007, Alo Yoga began with one simple goal: to create the best yoga gear. Having achieved that reputation quite quickly, the brand then expanded their range and began to create fashion-forward activewear that’s also high-performing.
Alo Yoga has a huge range of gym shorts that are moisture-wicking and are designed to withstand even the toughest of workouts. Available in multiple styles and colours, Alo Yoga makes some of the best gym shorts on the market.
Founded with bodybuilders in particular in mind, Barbell Apparel offers clothing in extended sizes to accommodate larger than life muscles. Understanding that bigger guys may struggle to find quality clothing that fits them, Barbell produces both gym and everyday clothing.
Barbell’s gym shorts are specifically designed to combat the frustration and disappointment many men face when shopping for the perfect workout shorts. Created for men with athletic legs, their men’s workout shorts feature one of the most comfortable fits that will move with you. Ultra-light, high-performance, and exceptional quality fabric means their workout shorts always feel ultra-comfortable.
The Phantom Short is one such pair that can be used across multiple areas. Moisture-wicking, crafted from Barbell’s Flextek fabric for ultimate comfort, and with plenty of pockets and zippers to keep essentials close, they’re a perfect all-rounder.
Another gym clothing brand for those of a more muscular build is Australian-based Echt. A fair chunk of the company’s catalogue is intended for use both in and out of the gym, being made from predominantly fleece materials for added comfort on lazy weekend mornings.
Echt’s range of gym shorts feature classic silhouettes that’ll allow you to use the gym shorts for a variety of workouts. Echt’s gym shorts manage to effectively wick sweat away from your body while providing all-day comfort. Reinforced seams mean they won’t fail you when you’re on the squat rack and zipped pockets will keep your keys and phone close to hand. What more could you ask for?
This Swiss brand may have all things runner-related running through its veins, but being of an athletic persuasion, On Running’s clothing is more than suitable for the gym environment.
These Hybrid Shorts are possibly some of the best around. A little pricier than some competitors, you actually get two pairs of shorts. An outer lightweight pair and an inner pair of compression shorts connect together, or can be worn separately. Both have pockets to increase versatility, and both are made from premium materials that not only help you when running, but provide adequate stretch and breathability when in the gym.
With Kate Hudson on the list of co-founders, Fabletics isn’t just another start-up looking to make a quick buck. The American sportswear company means serious business, and has seen serious growth since its founding in 2013.
With products such as the Franchise Short, it’s easy to see why. Well-styled and providing everything you could need from a capable gym short: stretch, sweat wicking properties, pockets and a breathable lining (and available in multiple lengths), they exhibit all the qualities you need.
Ten Thousand has made it its mission to produce and deliver simple, essential pieces of workout gear, using premium fabrics. Their D2C approach means you can make some great savings too, compared to some of the bigger-name brands.
The Interval short is a great all-rounder, being lightweight and stretchy enough to be used for wherever you see fit. You can have them lined or unlined, and you can choose from a range of inseam lengths, allowing you to custom-build the perfect pair of gym shorts.
While Californian brand Vuori may appeal more to those who practice yoga thanks to its unashamedly laid-back style, the very fact clothing offers great amount of stretch and breathability lends it to being worn in the gym too.
Vuori’s gym shorts are built with innovative design and stacked with technical features; comfortably created for your active life. With more versatile gym shorts, Vuori’s range comprises go-anywhere, do-anything type gym shorts. They feature anti-odour, moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties meaning you can comfortably wear them for several days in a row without feeling too dirty. Available in an extended range of sizes and in multiple good-looking colour options, Vuori’s got some of the best men’s gym shorts on the market.
Californian brand Olivers Apparel provides stylish performance solutions for the modern athlete, reimagining athletic sports clothing for the 21st century. They specialise in pants, tees and mid-layers that look and feel great whether you’re covering distance or winding down post-workout.
Their All Over Shorts are an ideal example of this, made to accompany you on a variety of adventures from walking and running to trekking and gym sessions. They’re made from a four-way stretch, water-repellent fabric and feature a handy inner pocket for your car or house key. Available in different lengths, colours, and the option to get them either lined or unlined, Olivers Apparel’s All Over Short are perfect for any workout.
What Canadian brand Reigning Champ seems to do better than most is design sportswear that easily crosses over into casual street fashion. They look back to move forward and create multi-functional pieces that appeal to both athletes and lovers of classic streetwear.
Their range of shorts are ideal for both strenuous workouts and casual, laidback days. Most shorts are mid-thigh length and have a regular fit, meaning these shorts are extremely versatile and can be worn for a number of activities. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Reigning Champ gym shorts; they’re classy, comfortable and seriously on-trend.
New Balance is no stranger to the workout scene. While the company may have been founded producing orthotic shoes and insoles providing arch support, it has since expanded into one of the world’s biggest sportswear manufacturers.
New Balance’s range of top-of-the-line gym shorts designed will take your game – no matter what it is – to the next level. If you’re looking to seamlessly blend functionality with fashion, durability and enhanced performance, look no further – their collection of men’s gym shorts are designed with what matters most in mind, your goals.
This British-based sports and nutrition company doesn’t just supply the supplements you need to help make those gains, but has a complete range of clothing to back it up. Prices are super affordable and with a range of styles on offer across all collections, you’ll have a brand new workout wardrobe in no time.
From comfortable rest day favorites, to four-way stretch performance workout shorts, Myprotein’s gym shorts range has something for every activity; you’re guaranteed to find your perfect fit. None of their workout shorts are over US$50, but they still are ridiculously high-quality with moisture-wicking and soft, comfortable fabrics. Myprotein might not have the branding appeal afforded to some others on this list, but when you’re hitting new PBs in a pair that cost a fraction of others in the gym, who cares?
Under Armour made its name in the 90s, creating performance sports undergarments that kept US football players cool, dry and light when performing – wicking away moisture build-up. Now they produce sports clothing across a range of disciplines, including these UA Launch SW 7” workout shorts for those who a serious about running.
This ultra-light running aid has been created with stretch woven fabric for unrestricted movement, with an inner mesh lining promoting optimum breathability. They’re also quick-drying, with added reflective detailing for when the light falls yet the challenge remains.
Another of the sportswear giants is Reebok. Now part of Adidas’ portfolio (it was founded in England), Reebok carved out a niche path, becoming the official sponsor of both UFC and CrossFit, two of the world’s biggest sporting disciplines. Those sponsorships mean Reebok has to provide clothing that is up to the task of working to the highest level, and that’s exactly what you get, with their range of gym shorts for men.
Simple, affordable and versatile, a pair of Reebok gym shorts are all you need for training sessions. All Reebok workout shorts are infused with ultra-lightweight tech to give you freedom of movement. Designed to wick moisture, you’ll keep cool in both style and comfort.
Nike needs little introduction – they’ve led the sportswear revolution for close to 50 years. With a huge range of gym shorts that cater to different workout styles, a pair of Nike gym shorts will leave you feeling fresh, focused and confident during every workout.
Available in a great selection of colours, patterns, and leg lengths, Nike has workout shorts specifically designed for running, yoga, weight training, as well as some versatile gym shorts, if you’re a fella who dabbles in a wide range of workouts.
Ministry of Supply
Ministry of Supply believe that through science they can make you more comfortable and productive; everywhere. Their products are breathable, stretchy, sweatproof, and easy to care for, and impressively come with a lifetime guarantee.
Ministry of Supply’s Newton workout shorts are feather-light and breathable. Moisture-wicking, and featuring S.Cafe Silver threading to help naturally control odour, even after the toughest of workouts, these gym shorts will keep you feeling fresh at the gym.
Founded in 2015, Gym King is dedicated to producing smart streetwear and activewear. The global brand is based in the UK, and is renowned for their high-quality yet stylish clothing for both men and women.
Gym King has a fantastic selection of gym shorts made with premium moisture wicking fabrics. Available in a variety of styles, fits, and colours, Gym King’s performance workout shorts are perfect for any kind of workout.
American lifestyle brand, RVCA is transcending the boundaries of traditional action sports apparel with its design-driven approach. All of RVCA’s sports apparel is made to last with high-performing fabrics that’ll take your workouts to the next level.
RVCA has an extensive range of men’s shorts with mesh shorts, lined shorts, stretch shorts, sweat shorts, and many more styles on offer. All feature moisture-wicking properties. With multiple colours and lengths available too, no matter what type of gym short you’re after, RVCA will have it.