Best Workout Shorts for Men

As of January 2020


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what we like

  • Fits best for those looking for: A more form fitting athletic short which hits above the knee with optional built-in liner
  • Thin, breathable, quick-drying and durable material
  • 3 well made pockets with one being a very well designed zipper pocket big enough to fit an iPhone 11
  • Available in 7-inch or 9-inch inseams
  • Tight in the right places to provide an athletic cut but also loose in the right places to provide full flexibility for exercises like squats, jumps and lunges
  • Able to purchase with a liner or no liner
  • Liner is quite possibly the best liner of any piece of clothing I have worn. Very breathable yet secure/supportive and does not ride up (which is so hard to find)
  • Nice variety of colors
  • Comfortable yet secure waist band
  • Built in drawstring
  • Reasonably priced given the higher cost of a lot of competitors

keep in mind

  • I’m struggling to think of many things I dislike about this short. At first I was hoping for a slightly tighter fit around the thigh but I’ve come to appreciate that these offer the perfect level of flexibility while still being pretty sleek looking
  • They lack a back pocket which isn’t a big deal if you’re wearing them to the gym but aren’t ideal if you try to get away using these for an activity like playing golf
  • After a week of using a pair, I ended up getting rid of all of my old Lululemon and Nike shorts and started using these exclusively
  • If you’re used to a heavier, more rugged mesh/hoops short material, these might not be best for you. Stick to the T.H.E. Short from Lulu


One of the (many) side effects of the entire world becoming addicted to Instagram is the sudden appearance of a million different athleisure brands. Every time I log on I see at least 2 or 3 ads just for workout shorts. And they are all basically slight variations of each other. Even a lot of West Coast and/or Chinese companies have come out with the exact same looking knockoff design you might always see on IG and created a variety of different shell brands which they use to sell on Amazon or behind Shopify sites.


The one thing most of them share in a common is a slight resemblance to one of the longest standing popular shorts in this space which is Lululemon’s T.H.E. Short. Before Lululemon really came on the scene, we all basically wore either Nike, Adidas, Under Armour hoops/soccer/running shorts. Then Lulu figured out that there is a huge market for yoga/gym junkies who are looking for a short that is better designed and can easily wick away sweat.


Since then, in our opinion, Lulu just hasn’t really innovated much and, when matched against modern competitors, a lot of their shorts designs don’t feel as breathable or fit as nicely. I’m really looking for a short that is form fitting (ie makes my legs look good), light, with pockets, sweat wicking and has the option of a built in liner which doesn’t ride up and is breathable. This doesn’t seem like a lot to ask but you’d be surprised at how hard it is to find the full package.


We’ve tried a lot of the companies that have come onto the scene lately including Vuori, Rhone, Oliver’s and many others. Ten Thousand’s Interval Short was our clear favorite. After wearing the Interval Shorts for a week I donated all my old Lulu and Nike shorts and wear these for all my workouts. I bought the 7″ ones with the built in liner. The liner never rides up and I can sit in these all day without any discomfort. The material is super light and shapes your legs very well. They come with 2 pockets and 1 very well made zippered phone pocket on the hip. They are priced reasonably when compared to competitors and can be bought even cheaper if you buy a pack or use an active coupon code. 

Sizing Tips & FAQs

How does sizing run?

True to size. If you’re a medium in Nike/Adidas/Lulu you will probably be a medium in Ten Thousand.


Should I get the 7″ or 9″ version?

It’s a matter of personal preference. I think the 7″ versions are perfect because I don’t mind showing some thigh and having a pair of shorts that looks a little more fitted. The 9″ versions will hit closer to the knee.


How does the Interval Short compare to the Foundation and Session Shorts?

I’ve tried them all and the Interval was my clear favorite. The Session Short is a lighter version of the Interval’s which might be what you’re looking for if you’re a runner. The issue with the Session Short is that it doesn’t have the 2 standard side pockets which is a non-starter for me. It does have other built in pockets but they are tougher to access by design.


The Foundation Short is more of a boardshort look with a drawcord which wasn’t what I was personally looking for in an everyday gym short. It does make a perfect short for swimming.


Should I get the liner?

I only own pairs with liners and I cannot recommend it more. Yes, you can get the linerless and wear compression shorts underneath but no combination of short/boxer brief I’ve tried has ever compared to the design and fit of the Interval’s. So breathable yet so secure.


Do you wear boxer briefs under the liner?

You don’t have to, but I usually do wear these boxer briefs underneath just because I prefer to wash my shorts every 2 times I use them. Going commando would compel me to wash it every time.


How are Ten Thousand’s shirts and compression shorts?

Check out our current pick for Best Workout Shirt and Best Compression Short where we discuss and compare both.


Can you swim in these?

I definitely do. The material is fast-drying and it has built in liner.


You said the material is pretty thin and form fitted. Will there be a visible dick print?

I can confirm that there will absolutely not be a visible dick print in these unless you maybe buy the linerless versions and go commando. The liner does a perfect job at tucking everything away nicely.

Have another question?

Related Products & Links

Lululemon T.H.E. Short

As mentioned in the above review, Lulu’s T.H.E. Short was one of the OG’s in terms of popularizing a new form of now widely spread workout shorts geared more towards gym rats and those that attend exercise class. For better or for worse, Lulu just hasn’t innovated much in the past few years and these shorts now don’t feel as breathable or well fitting as many competitors that have since hit the market. I got rid of all my remaining Lulu shorts after buying Ten Thousand’s. Lulu’s are still solid but I think you’ll notice a difference between the two in terms of comfort and fit. Nevertheless, Lulu still holds the crown in almost every other workout clothing category including Best Workout Shirt.


Vuori Shorts

We like Vuori, in general, and their Strato Tech Tee was strongly in the running for our Best Workout Shirt. But the shorts don’t offer the same fit and feel that I get from Ten Thousand’s. A few of my friends wear the Kore Short by Vuori religiously and are big fans, but they fit a little baggier. The Banks Shorts, like the Ten Thousand Foundation Short, fits more like a board short than something I’d personally want to wear to the gym or a spin class. If you are looking for a comfortable, looser fitting short, then the Kore Short might be a better choice for you than Ten Thousand.


Champion Mesh Shorts with Pockets

Champion has made a big comeback in recent years as a lot of people like the retro look of the brand. These are the classic ones you probably had in your gym class back in school growing up. They run huge so you need to size down but I keep a few pairs to wear around the house or to bed. They work best when paired with these boxer briefs. If Amazon doesn’t have the color/sizing/price you want, they also can be bought very cheaply from Jiffy Shirts.


Oliver’s Apparel All Over Short

Wasn’t a big fan of the material or the fit and they can start to pill after washing




Have a better suggestion?

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