One of the biggest reasons why people evade the gym each day is the time and effort it takes them to change into their workout clothes. As simple and mundane as that may sound, a quick alteration in their daily dress code might actually yield a lifestyle change as well. While there might not be any official study conducted on whether or not wearing athleisure shorts increases gym-going, we’re willing to bet that it does indeed make a big difference.
Over the past decade or so, athleisure has been on the up and up, perpetuated even more so by the global pandemic that forced people to reconsider all the time and money they’ve spent on casual attire to get them through their everyday. And after wearing out your favorite pair of pajama pants in just three months’ time, you may have realized that it may be time to invest in some high-quality duds that you can wear around the house, out running errands, to the gym, and then even to bed if you want, and having them work perfectly in each situation. To help you through this modern-day evolution of our style habits, we’ve compiled a guide to the best athleisure shorts for total versatility in your day-to-day wardrobe.
UNIQLO Ultra Stretch Active Shorts
You’d never peg UNIQLO as a budget brand because of the quality it always makes its clothes with. The Japan-based clothing brand does a lot of things well, but comfort is always at the top of the list. Its Ultra Stretch Active Shorts are made from 40% recycled polyester and built with a quick-drying technology and proprietary fabric blend for maximum comfort. This understated athletic silhouette sports a versatile look and comes with zippered pockets that always keep your gear secure, whether you’re at the gym or sitting on the couch.
Outdoor Voices Sunday 7″ Short
Be it gym shorts or everyday comfy shorts, Outdoor Voices’ Sunday 7” Short is comfortable, durable, and stylish. Made from a heathered material comprised of 86% polyester and 14% spandex, this go-to pair looks like something you’d wear to play basketball but has the utility you need for running your daily errands. It utilizes the brand’s Textured Compression technology, which provides a sculpted fit, four-way stretch, and sweat-wicking. Unlike most gym shorts, these come with three pockets, including one on the back.
Mack Weldon Ace Sweatshort
Mack Weldon is known for taking classic, yet basic, styles and giving them the modern treatment with updated materials and technology. Here, the New York-based brand parlays the success and popularity of its famed sweatshirts into sweatshorts. The Ace Sweatshort sports an ultra-soft French terry fabric and the fit of sweatpants (minus the bottom half), which are already great options for everyday versatility. However, as athletic-minded shorts, you’ll find you have a freer range of motion and you won’t be sweating quite as much. They’re also given extra deep pockets for security and a drawstring in front for extra comfort and support.
Myles Everyday Short
Myles Apparel was founded on the mores of fusing traditional gym clothes with streamlined style and utility. If the Everyday Short is any indication, we’d say the brand hit its mark and then some. Finished with a water-repellant coat, the shorts are built with a double-weave fabric that’s been recently updated to make it softer and quieter during your most intense workouts. Likewise, the front pockets are lined with bounce-proof ballistic mesh for added security for your phone, keys, and wallet. To back its guarantee of sturdiness, Myles also gives you a five-year warranty in case anything does rip or tear.
Vuori Kore Unlined Short
Each item sold by Vuori oozes with the ethos of California culture. The Golden State native has always tapped into the coastal lifestyle to become an athleisure staple over the past decade. Its Kore Unlined Short is a take on its flagship Kore, but without the built-in liner. Available in an array of colorways for any outfit or occasion, these shorts should be your go-to for running, lifting, cycling, and everything in between — including grabbing groceries and binge-watching some shows. The sustainable polyester blend includes 48% recycled material for a more conscientious choice.
Western Rise Movement Short
Western Rise’s Movement Short is gifted the same timeless design and fabric innovation that the brand has become known for. Made from 100% stretch polyester from Japan, these shorts supplant the need for gym pants and look great whether you’re on the elliptical or picking up some coffee. What’s more, you can also sport these in the swimming pool since they’re super lightweight and breathable, with a two-way stretch built in. The moisture-wicking, quick-dry finish lets you get in the car soon after without worrying about getting your seats wet.
Buck Mason Trail Roam Short
Buck Mason wasn’t always known for its athleisure, but the Los Angeles-based favorite has recently extended its oeuvre of rugged style staples to include the hiking-ready Trail collection. Under the Trail umbrella is the Roam series of nylon shorts and cotton pants. This Roam Short is made with a pre-washed 3.75oz sueded nylon fabric blend that’s insanely durable, with four-way stretch and a water-repellant finish for anything you need to get done, from hiking to bike riding to getting in some reps. With Buck Mason’s outdoors expertise, these athletic shorts don’t look too sporty for those who want to blend in during other activities.
lululemon Bowline Short 5″
Are there any brands that define the word “athleisure” better than lululemon? From the company’s humble roots in Canada to becoming nearly synonymous with the style it helped pioneer, lululemon has built up a variety of options that could go on this list. However, its Bowline 5” Short deserves the spot for its versatility and fashionability, as well as its utility. Made with a ripstop fabric blend of 85% nylon and 15% elastane, these shorts give you an unbelievable stretch and the shorter length provides the breathability you need to last you all day long.
Olivers All Over Short
For Olivers Apparel, style is just as important as functionality. But why not have both? The All Over Short is perfect whether you’re cycling or working from home. As a bonus, if you’re meeting someone for a lunch date, they’ll never guess you’re wearing gym shorts. The 5.5” inseam and versatile color options ensure that these are fashion-forward, while the water-wicking fabric made from 88% nylon and 12% spandex gives you protection whether you’re jogging in the rain or just working up a massive sweat at the gym.
Public Rec All Day Every Day Short
As a brand, Public Rec may have the most diversity in its offerings. Hitting the nail on the head with its stylish dress shirts and running gear, the company also manages to score big with its athleisure as well. The All Day Every Day Short is a shorter version of its flagship pants, going so far as to include a fake fly on the front to fool others into thinking you’re less comfortable than you actually are. The rest of the pants play along as well, with an internal drawstring and a streamlined, tapered silhouette. Both front pockets are zippered for added security and the nylon fabric is soft and ultra-comfortable inside and out.
Rhone 8″ Reign Midweight Short
Rhone’s shorts are some of the best for travel because they pack so light, but also because of their versatility. The 8” inseam on the Reign Midweight Short lets you wear these on the golf course or at any dinner where shorts would be accepted anyway. Built with gusseted seams for mobility, vertical side seams for retaining their shape, and GOLDFUSION anti-odor technology, these shorts display Rhone’s technical prowess when it comes to its clothing’s construction. These are both comfortable enough for the most rugged activity and durable enough to transition to something else.
Reigning Champ 7″ Training Short
Reigning Champ carved out a niche for itself by imbuing streetwear style into athleisure gear. Now, the Vancouver-based brand has continued to allow its design ethos to carry over to its products, making its options some of the most stylish and unique out there. The 7” Training Short is one of the company’s flagship designs, recently adding the soft and breathable mesh waistband and the zig-zag stitching along the side seams. Made from 100% polyester, these unlined shorts are water-repellant and super stretchy, with a sweat-resistant phone pocket and a built-in sleeve for your cards or key.
OUTLIER New Way Five-Fives
OUTLIER’s New Way Five-Fives is the only option on this list that comes with both belt loops and a functioning fly. At first glance, these shorts look like casual khakis, but upon further inspection, the mesh pockets and drawstrings not only let you in on their versatility but prove that they’re truly capable of anything. Built from a proprietary F. Cloth fabric that’s 200 GSM and made with 97% nylon and 3% elastane, these shorts have an incredible 35% two-way stretch and are finished with a DWR treatment. Lightweight and breathable, they can be worn in the water as well.
Tracksmith Longfellow Shorts
While Tracksmith is known for its running clothes, the brand’s Longfellow provides the kind of versatility you’ll need if you’re in a pinch. Don’t let the casual silhouette fool you; these are still running shorts through and through. Made with its proprietary Eliot Stretch, these bottoms are meant to go the long haul for all-day wear. With an inseam of 8.5”, they’re also the longest pair in Tracksmith’s catalog, with a snap closure and a zippered fly, but the inseam panels minimize chafing on your legs and the zippered pocket prevents your gear from popping out while pounding the pavement.
Vollebak Equator Shorts
Vollabak’s Equator Shorts are named after the hottest, most volatile places on Earth for a reason. This silhouette can stand up to any condition, be it heat, rain, or humidity, thanks to its unique fabric makeup. The London-based brand is known for its forward-thinking materials, and here it uses 64% silk-like cotton from the Nile Delta, which is considered one of the lightest and softest materials in the world, which is then paired with 32% polyamide nylon and 4% elastane. Highly breathable with 332 laser-cut vents, the fabric is also UV resistant and sports five secure pockets and belt loops for versatility.
The 20 Best Pieces of Stylish Hiking Gear
If you love the versatility of athleisure shorts, then you’d probably also dare to bring style to the trails. Be a fashion trailblazer on the trails with the help of our guide to the most stylish hiking gear available.