15 top-rated athletic shorts to boost your at-home workouts
Your workout is only as good as your gear.
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There’s no feeling like putting on your first pair of workout shorts of the season. It’s as if you’ve got an air conditioner blowing directly on your legs when you need it most. Comfort aside, the right type of shorts can boost your workout performance by improving range of motion and keep you from dripping sweat all over the floor. No one wants to trip over their own sweat like it’s a banana peel in a cartoon.
Not all shorts are created equal: Bike shorts help provide compression, running shorts drape loosely over your legs to give you that barely-there feeling, and all-purpose shorts can help you transition seamlessly from the mat to the mall and the track to the terrace. Not sure where to start? We've searched the Internet for 15 of the highest-rated women's and men's athletic shorts that are getting reviewers through their at-home workouts below.
Women's athletic shorts
1. These Lululemon running shorts
Our e-commerce editor Courtney Campbell swears by Lululemon’s Tracker shorts to get her through everything from leisurely jogs to half-marathons. She loves how they don’t cause any irritation because of how loose-fitting they are around the thighs, and they dry super quickly—be it from sweat or a downpour. Thanks to its adjustable drawcord, you’ll never have to re-adjust your waistband mid-run. Courtney isn’t alone in her obsession: The shorts have maintained a 4-star rating with over 1,000 reviews, with customers raving at how well they accommodate bigger or muscular thighs.
2. These pearly pink bike shorts from Bandier
Bike shorts don’t need to look—or feel—like intimidating gear that takes hours to squeeze over your skin. These blushing beauties from Bandier have won over our trending editor Amanda Tarlton, who’s obsessed with them in legging form since you can wear them both to work out and run errands. She says "they're super versatile, which I think makes them well worth the price." Because anyone can be an influencer with the right matching set, pair it with the All Access Chorus Bra that features eight-way stretch compression and a trendy Y-shaped back for low-impact workouts like yoga and Pilates.
3. These popular Athleta shorts
I love a budget-friendly version of a higher-end apparel brand, so I was thrilled to learn these best-sellers with a 4.8 rating from Athleta feature most of the perks inherent in Lululemon shorts. They feature a light-as-air stretch fabric, a side zipper for storing valuables, and a wraparound drawstring that stays put. Reviewers who typically shy away from a built-in brief actually appreciate the one included here since it doesn’t feel overly constricting, and they equally love the general fit of the shorts: “These shorts are quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to items for running. They are so light and airy. Love the cute print. They are just the right length. I barely feel them while running. I bought them in another color because I like them so much. Definitely recommend! They seem to fit true to size. I'm usually an XS in Athleta, but I sized up to a small just because I like my running shorts a bit looser. The XS still fit, though. Buy these!”
4. These speed-inducing shorts from Lululemon
I have a habit (maybe rightfully so) of attributing my athletic performance to the gear I’m wearing. It speaks volumes to me that while wearing Lulu’s Speed-Up short, I beat my half marathon personal record by 17 minutes, compared to the year before when I wore Wunder Under Crops (no shade to those, though, but they didn’t exactly promote lots of ventilation). Because I’m only 5’3, the four-inch inseam covers enough of my thigh to prevent irritation on grueling runs and the discrete front and back pockets are life-savers. Plus, the medium rise does have the compact, suck-it-in feel of a high-rise short, which I’m always looking for when high-intensity training.
5. These classic Soffe shorts you can’t help but cheer for
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say I spend every day, all day, in Soffe shorts. They were originally designed for high-intensity activity like cheerleading, but I don’t have high enough ceilings (or, let’s be honest, agility) for a back handspring. They have a thick, flattering elastic that you can roll up or down depending on the inseam you’re looking for, with a comfy, fairly straightforward cotton and polyester blend material (it’s not sweat-wicking, but the darker colors hide any moisture). I have performed every type of workout imaginable in them, from HIIT/Tabata, to yoga, Pilates, running, learning Tik Tok choreographies, and chasing my cats. Here’s how versatile they are: I jogged to my friend’s house who was nursing a baby while wearing the exact same shorts. These come in 94 colors, and I have unfortunately only owned 27.
6. These gender-bending Nike running shorts
You’re not looking at any runner-ups here: These best-selling Nike shorts, which are available in 20 colors, take first place at Dick’s Sporting Goods for their mesh panelling to promote ventilation, and their quick-dry fabric, hidden pocket, and “perfect” length, according to many reviewers. Though the shorts fall under the women’s section, numerous male-identifying customers have noted how much they got out of these shorts, from at-home workouts to longer runs. Says one reviewer: “Bought in multiple colors because I loved them so much. Fit true to size and like the new slightly wider waist band from previous years' styles.”
7. These ‘80s-inspired shorts
All that’s missing from the picture are leg warmers, a leotard, crimped hair, and shimmery blue eyeshadow. But when I wear mine, I’m rarely doing a Richard Simmons step aerobics tape. I wear them first to clean the house (as my warm-up), and then onto the main event, which is usually Insanity and/or Pure Barre. Made with over 80 percent cotton and a fleece interior, they’re as comfy as can be. Keep in mind: Brandy Melville sells one-size-fits-“all” that usually fits a small or extra small.
8. These essential biking/yoga shorts from Alo
It makes sense to invest in an athleisure brand with a strong track record of producing durable, comfortable garments since these Alo Yoga bike shorts will get a considerable amount of wear. Anyone who owns a piece of activewear by Alo Yoga will tell you it’s the comfiest piece of clothing they own. In fact, on a Zoom call with e-commerce editor Courtney Campbell, she didn’t skip a beat when she responded with Alo Yoga after I asked her to tell me her favorite yoga brand (we take our work seriously here at Reviewed). These shorts are made of moisture-wicking antimicrobial fabric and contain a front-smoothing panel to hide any commando-induced camel toe. Reviewers find them to be extremely flattering, breathable, and obedient (i.e.: they stay in place throughout your workout).
Men's athletic shorts
9. These versatile Under Armour shorts
Think of these as the shorts you can live in all day: They feature sun protection so you can take your workouts to the streets, anti-odor technology to prevent the growth of microbes, and HeatGear fabric that, unlike its name suggests, will keep you cool throughout your training. Available in 14 styles, their 4,600 Amazon ratings indicate ultimate satisfaction with these shorts: price, fit, style, and comfort.
10. These Columbia hiking shorts
If you’re looking to take your at-home workout outside, throw on Columbia’s top-rated hiking shorts and hit up the nearest trail. Sensible enough for a long hike and light enough for a casual stroll, these shorts contain Omni-Wick™ fabric, which is said to pull moisture off your body. A built-in belt and elastic optimizes your fit so you can stay focused, and they include a nylon ripstop fabric of SPF 50 to keep your thighs protected. Plus, they contain so many deep pockets (five, to be exact), that they'll help you offload some weight from your backpack. With a 4.5-star rating and nearly 900 reviews on REI, it’s no surprise many customers found these to fit perfectly for all their athletic pursuits.
11. These 2-in-1 Chubbies compression shorts
We love Chubbies for their ability to infuse humor and whimsy into the most unlikely scenarios (read: men’s swim trunk designs), and thankfully, they extend that same level of detail to their athletic shorts. If you’re not the type to sport straight-up compression shorts, the Quests come with an added breezy layer for the ultimate at-home workout experience whether you’re holding a plank for an ungodly amount of time or leg pressing your entire couch (see image above). From reviews like “worth every cent” to “most comfortable pair of shorts I've owned”, it’s safe to say you’ll be living in these shorts this summer. Sizes are notoriously limited when shopping at Chubbies since their products fly off their virtual shelves, so you’ll want to get in on this gear, stat.
12. These hybrid shorts from Old Navy
Whether you’re (bench) pressed for time or just haven’t figured out your schedule for the day yet, you’ll always be safe with this pair of highly-rated hybrid shorts that do it all: Go-Dry Shade technology protects you from sun and sweat, an elastic and tag-free waistband provides added comfort, and four-way stretch has you covered when you’re sneaking in some laps in the neighbor’s pool or lifting weights to your favorite podcast. With a nine-inch inseam, they won’t expose too much skin, making them ideal for a post-workout beer, brunch or BBQ, according to customers.
13. These Champion shorts with over 7,700 reviews
Perfect for both lay-ups, laying down, and any type of high-intensity workout, these classic mesh shorts with over 7,700 reviews and a (nearly) 5-star rating are breathable and reliable. They come in 22 colors starting at 10 bucks, so like Pokemon, you gotta buy ‘em all. Before you do, consider this reviewer’s handy sizing advice “I'm 6'1, 175lbs with a 34 inch waist. I'm a very fit guy. I work out 4-5 times a week. And the mediums fit me perfectly. I also have pretty big legs, and they give me plenty of room, even with a medium size. If you have muscular thighs, but you're in the 32-36 waist range, these will still fit you perfectly. The elastic band and infinite draw-string are nice touches to these athletic shorts as well. I love them so much, I bought 3 pairs!”
14. These super comfortable Patagonia shorts
Made with quick-drying recycled nylon, an elastic waistband and a rear flap pocket, these top-selling shorts are perfect for swimming—be it in the pool or in your own sweat. They come in 13 different varieties from solid bright colors to nature-inspired patterns. Like all Patagonia products, those who made these shorts earned a fair wage for their labor. For a little more coverage, toggle over to the seven-inch inseam. One customer who titled their review with “insane comfort” says, “I just got my pair today and was so excited to put them on and they didn't disappoint at all! I don't want to take them off! the best shorts I've ever owned.”
15. These aerodynamic compression shorts
These might look like swim shorts to replace those ill-fitting trunks whose pockets fill up with so much water you can barely get a lap in—and trust me, they are! But if you don’t have access to a pool all season, they work perfectly for other activities, according to the shorts’ 800 reviewers on Swim Outlet. One said, “I find this suit perfect for its compression aspects during solo backyard workouts on my mound as a hardball pitcher...it will be part of my uniform when play resumes. If it puts 5 mph on my fastball what do you think it’ll do when I pound out laps? Bring it Phelps!” With a drawstring waist, and a performance-enhancing Lycra material the brand claims stands up to chlorine, sunscreen and body heat better than standard Spandex, they’ll be your go-to shorts all summer long.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.