They’re called basketball shorts for a reason. Contrary to what you might think, shorts that function on the court won’t serve you well at the yoga studio. You wouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes to both would you?
Brands make specific types of shorts for a reason, with different materials, fits and finishes depending on what activity you’re doing – and how intensely you’re doing it.
Before you throw on those Lululemons for spin class, learn about these eight pairs of shorts and snag the appropriate one for your next workout.
BONUS: many of these brands have given SPY readers a discount code to use at checkout, so read on to score yourself a deal.
Whether you’re playing pick-up in the neighborhood or ballin’ on the court, you want to wear shorts that support your athletic movements and fast-paced game.
The DRYV Baller 3.0 shorts from basketball apparel brand, Point 3, offer the benefit of strategically-placed “DRYV” Technology to keep you dry, so the only “swish” you hear is through the basket.
These shorts feature a moisture-wicking material that’s infused with four-way stretch, for ease of movement. A ventilated stretch mesh gusset in the crotch allows for ultimate breathability and flexibility.
Made in a more tailored fit with a 9” inseam, the DRYV Baller shorts are comfortable enough to last you through all four quarters, without bunching up or getting too loose. The silicone-lined elastic waistband helps to hold your shorts in place too.
We’ve paired these Point 3 basketball shorts with their All Day Sleeveless Hoodie. Lightweight and versatile, the angled hood offers clear sightlines and peripheral vision in adverse weather conditions. Constructed of the same four-way stretch, moisture-resistant fabric as the shorts, the sleeveless hoodie’s articulated side seam makes it feel like you’re barely wearing anything, while a hidden chest pocket allows you to stow your phone or other valuables.
Want something a little more snug? Try Point 3’s Fadeaway Long-Sleeve Shooting Shirt, which is perfect as a warm-up shooting shirt or for ballers who prefer sleeves during pick-up. Featuring ventilated heat zones across the neck and back where ballplayers sweat most, it has a scalloped hem and tailored sleeves so nothing gets in the way of your shot.
2. GYM WORKOUT
Don’t look like that guy who’s still wearing his high school gear at the gym. Upgrade to a pair of shorts from prAna.
The versatile Overhold shorts feature a four-way stretch woven fabric, a knit elastic waistband and built-in COOLMAX liner. You’ll have a full range of motion for any activity, knowing that the shorts will hold up to any exercise routine or intensity level.
Grab a matching tank top or sleeveless tee from prAna that will make you feel as good as you look. Another thing to feel good about: prAna’s sustainability promise. By using materials and partnering with companies and factories that adhere to strict guidelines for safety and efficacy, they’re able to make beautiful and functional products in a way that we can all feel good about.
Runners require shorts that allow for easy movement and resiliency. That’s why we like this pair from Fourlaps. The outside of these Advance shorts feature a quick dry, four-way stretch fabric and breathable side panels. Inside, there’s a moisture-wicking liner to keep your boxers dry – even when you’re working up a sweat.
Use these shorts for a training session on the stairs, or take them outside on your nightly run. The shorts are equipped with a reflective logo on the back and two zipped pockets to hold your phone and keys while you’re getting your miles in around the track.
We’ve paired the shorts with this Silver Charge Tee from Fourlaps. Engineered with XT2 Antimicrobial Technology (yes, made with silver), the lightweight material will keep your tee smelling fresh. Built-in cooling zones provide ventilation to keep you from sweating up a storm.
Looking for a Lululemon alternative? Try these Gotham Seacell Tights from Rhone, which Forbes named one of the “Best Men’s Activewear Brands” of 2016.
Breathable and soft, these tights will be your go-to pair to help perfect that pose. Slim-fitting without being offensive, the tights feature ventilation around the knees and thigh. Ankle cuffs help to prevent slippage.
The material is what makes these tights so unique. By modifying a cellulose fiber with harvested seaweed from Iceland, the Gotham SeaCell Tights promote the transfer of essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin E between the fabric and your skin. The fabric feels ultra smooth and stretchy, for a super comfortable, relaxing downward dog.
We’ve paired the tights with this Boston Tee from YOGASMOGA, a brand launched by founders who grew up in the Himalayas, the birthplace and capital of Yoga. This T-shirt is ultrasoft and lightweight, with a relaxed fit that won’t restrict your movement. This “Indus” color is a refined take on orange, adding some brightness – and lightness – to your OM.
Unless you’re competing at the Olympics or a full-fledged surfer, you don’t need anything too fancy for a leisurely swim. Have some fun this summer and try a pair of floral-printed swim trunks, like these ones from Mr. Turk.
The Biscayne Beach Swim Trunk features a slim-fit and quick-drying material, all rendered in a 70s-inspired flower pattern. The shorts come with a drawstring and zipper closure, plus two handy pockets.
Wear these on vacation in Miami, or to the pool party in Beverly Hills. They’re shaped like board shorts, which you’ve worn forever, only updated in a fun and bold print. In other words: they’re as comfortable as anything you’ve owned before, but these florals are not made for wallflowers.
Want to go even bolder? Try these Mr. Turk Montego Bay Trunks. They’re striped, stylish and – at 8 inches in length – a little bit skimpy, too. A drawstring closure keeps everything in place, while the elastomer material provides some much-needed stretch. Wear them with a grey tee to cover up, or wear them on their own with nothing but a healthy dose of confidence.
These colorblock shorts from Rhone are made from a lightweight nylon that won’t soak up the sweat when you’re skipping, taking a spin class, or on the treadmill.
A zippered rear pocket and a mesh pocket help keep your phone snug. The subtle colorblock adds just enough eye catching detail to take these shorts up a notch from basic black — without being annoying.
We’ve paired these shorts with Rhone’s Element Pocket Tee, made from a super soft Pima Cotton blend, that includes a touch of technical fabric and stretch. Trust us when we say this is the most comfortable cardio shirt you’ll find.
7. AT-HOME WORKOUT
Whether you’re doing your planks, push-ups or prepping a protein shake, do it in these Off Duty Shorts from Boden. Made from a loopback cotton jersey and washed for a lived-in look and feel, these shorts feature a herringbone waistband and deep side pockets. They’re like that old pair of college gym shorts you had, only updated with a trimmer fit, an age-appropriate length and cotton-rich yarn for utmost comfort.
Wear the Boden shorts with your favorite cozy T-shirt. We like this tri-blend grey T-shirt from Fourlaps, which will only get softer the more you wash it and break it in.
8. AT-HOME LOUNGING
Shorts aren’t just reserved for exercising. Throw on this pair, from Fourlaps, when you’re just chilling at home, or headed to a friend’s condo for some shuffleboard and (adult) snacks.
These shorts cover the basics for sports – quick dry, four-way stretch, drawstring waistband – but they’re equally presentable for lunch or for running errands as well. If the athleisure look isn’t your thing, throw a casual collared shirt over your outfit to class it up – just a little bit.
Photographer: Michael Buckner
Model: Jeff Thomas at LA Models
Grooming: Shenny Ramirez
Production: Laura Lanktree
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