A good pair of workout shorts can make the difference between a pleasant day at the gym and some nasty chafing. That said, they come in a variety of styles, and each style has its own benefits and drawbacks.
So, which ones are the best? We’re about to provide a quick overview of how to find the best workout shorts for your needs.
Workout Short Basics
The main difference between different types of shorts is the length. Different lengths can be ideal for different purposes. However, before we talk about that, there are a few basics that we should go over.
To begin with, workout shorts often come with a length measurement. Unless you’re buying discount shorts from Walmart, you’re going to want to understand how this length is measured. The standard measurement is the inner seam, or the “inseam”. This is the same measurement that’s used for jeans and other pants. It’s calculated by measuring the distance from the bottom of the crotch to the bottom of the leg. If you’re buying online, this gives you an easy way to estimate how the shorts will fit on your body.
Another thing you should be aware of is that workout shorts are generally designed to be worn without underwear. The reason for this is that men’s underwear can tend to chafe during activity, particularly if you’re running. Instead, a form-fitting inner liner ensures a secure, comfortable fit. This lining is typically also designed to wick sweat away from the body.
Should I Wear Compression Shorts?
If your workout shorts don’t have an inner liner, there’s another alternative: compression shorts. These shorts also wick sweat away from the body. And because they’re very tight, they also won’t chafe. In other words, they’re a far preferable alternative to traditional boxers or tightie whities.
Even if your shorts do have an inner liner, there’s another reason you might want to consider compression shorts. Because they’re so tight, they improve blood flow and muscle activation in your legs. If you’re running long distances, they’re well worth considering.
What is the Right Length?
As we mentioned at the outset, the primary difference between different workout shorts is the length. Let’s look at the benefits of short, medium, and long workout shorts.
For our purposes, short shorts have an inseam of 3 to 5 inches. These shorts provide superior ventilation, as well as plenty of range of motion. Because of this, they’re favored by competitive runners. That said, if you wear them during certain gym workouts, your gym-mates might see more than you want them to. Moreover, they look silly, like ‘70s basketball shorts.
Medium-length shorts measure from 5 to 7 inches. They provide a good balance between short and long shorts, and they’re a great choice for gym workouts. They keep you well covered, but they’re still breathable enough to keep you cool while you’re exercising.
Long shorts are any shorts with an inseam of 7 inches or longer. They’re ideal for off-road running, since they protect you from bushes and shrubs. They’re also good for cool weather, since they keep you a bit warmer. Finally, they’re great as multi-purpose shorts. Not only are they long enough to be fashionable outside of a workout context, they’re also roomy enough for pockets.
Conclusion: The Right Shorts For Every Situation
In the final analysis, there’s no single “best” type of workout shorts. It depends on what type of workout you’re doing, and where you’re running. It depends whether you’re running competitively, running off road, or running down a city street. It also depends on what else you’re going to do while you’re wearing them. Regardless, there are plenty of options available.