Yoga doesn't call for much. It's one of the rare activities that tends to ask you to use less gear (you don't even have to wear socks). But the few basics you do equip yourself with are vital because of yoga's emphasis on form, breath and mindfulness. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable clothing can inhibit all three — especially when it comes to shorts.
Yoga shorts should exhibit a particular set of qualities. They should breathe and wick moisture, even if you never plan to enroll in a hot yoga class. They should also fit well. Yoga shorts tend to fit more closely than running or gym shorts, but a good pair shouldn't be so tight it constricts. Great yoga shorts walk such a Goldilocks-fine line that you can wear them without fear of them slipping down, even during inverted poses. Many yoga shorts, however, contain an integrated liner, just in case.
Most of all, yoga shorts should be comfy. A scratchy seam or misplaced zipper could become annoying enough to pull your mind away from your form and breath, disrupting what's supposed to be both relaxing and invigorating. You won't find such oversights in the buying guide that follows; instead, you'll encounter yoga shorts that can elevate your practice from obligation to Shangri-La.
Ten Thousand emphasizes versatility above all else in the Interval Short, which it made for doing pretty much anything. It's ideal for infrequent yogis who might also want to wear them for running or working out, but it has all the features you'd want in a pair of shorts for yoga too. You can order it with a five-, seven- or nine-inch inseam, and with or without a liner.
With a six-inch inseam, these are the shortest yoga shorts on this list, making them ideal for those who tend to heat up quickly during practice. Made of a nylon/elastene blend, Everlux is Lululemon's fastest-drying fabric — it's also super soft, stretchy and breathable. There's no liner, but there are handy zippered pockets.
Best Budget Option
If you want to save some cash, consider buying a pair of performance briefs to wear beneath whatever athletic shorts you already own. Stance's are soft, stretchy and have a comfy lay-flat waistband. And if you feel the need to upgrade later down the road, you can always buy a liner-free pair of yoga shorts to wear over them.
The Traction Short's interlocking waffle construction helps it win both style and feel points, but it also provides a high degree of breathability. These shorts include a liner.
Best for Lounging
Outdoor Voices makes its linerless Sunday Short with a plush blend of polyester and Spandex. Only-occasionally yogis will still get plenty of use out of it as a go-to for chilling at home.
Best for Workouts
The Lunge is mid-length with its eight-inch inseam, and it includes pockets as well as an integrated liner. Its fabric blend is ultra-soft yet still wicks, making this short great for other activities like CrossFit, too.
Nike's Flex shorts don't include an integrated liner, but they do tend to hug the leg to remain in place, even as they stretch. These shorts also include hand pockets, a hidden zippered pocket and a sweat-wicking, fast-drying design made mainly of recycled polyester fibers.
You can order the Mako unlined or lined, with a 7- or 9-inch inseam, and if you go for that extra layer it'll provide a hint of compression as well as an anti-odor treatment. Gusseted seams, four-way stretch fabric and a quick-drying DWR finish round out the do-it-all value.
Its 10-inch inseam makes the Super Mojo the longest short on this list. It doesn't include a liner, but it does have a wide, comfortable, drawcord-free waistband, and its fabric is soft enough you won't want to take it off.
Best Long Liner
Another great pair of liner briefs is Saxx's Kinetic HD, which features a semi-compression fit that provides tissue support but isn't too tight. These are ideal for wearing while working out and running too.