Depending on your preferred type of workout, you’re going to need different kinds of shorts. For example, if you like to run, you might want split shorts or some that are not as long, so the extra fabric doesn’t get caught up between your legs and slow you down.
If you’re going to the gym to lift weights, on the other hand, you’ll want shorts that are a little bit longer or ones that have a liner. That way you can keep things comfortable and classy when you lie down to bench press or do any leg raises on the mats.
We spoke with five personal trainers about the pairs of shorts they reach for every day. Each trainer looks for something slightly different — the right length, number of pockets, a soft feel that holds up after hundreds of washes. Here are the five pairs of shorts they swear by.
Ten Thousand Interval Shorts
“The simplicity and refined minimalist details are what I love the most,” Mike Aidala, personal coach and founder of the MAST Method, says. “I used to be into more flashy gym wear, but now it’s all about not letting my workout clothes distract me from my actual workout.” Pick from a 7- or 9-inch inseam, liner or linerless and then six colors ranging from black to blue to grey. These sweat-wicking shorts move with you as you attempt that handstand for the fifteenth or fiftieth time.
Rhone Mako Short
Rhone’s Mako shorts are 7-inches long and come lined, or unlined — the DWR finish and sweat-wicking interior keep you dry, while the media pocket fits phones that are smaller than an iPhone Plus. “These shorts are relatively indestructible and incredibly comfortable. A standout feature is the media pocket inside the front pocket that helps keep my phone from bouncing all around when I exercise or go for a run,” Rick Richey, owner of Independent Training Spot and Recover in New York, says. He’s been a trainer since 2002 and finds the inspirational quote inside each pair of shorts meaningful.
Nike Fast 2" Shorts
Rich Velazquez, a coach and COO at Mile High Run Club in NYC, recommends the Nike Split short — a typical choice for dedicated runners. “They’re lightweight and provide a full range of motion for running strides,” he explains. While it might take a bit to get used to wearing shorts with split sides, these shorts are ideal for activities like hopping on a treadmill for interval hill workouts.
Hannah Eden Fitness Men's Performance Shorts
“I love that the pockets are discreet yet adequate enough to manage my keys, wallet and other small items without adding bulk to the fit,” says Gideon Akande, a two-time Chicago Golden Gloves champ and Men’s Health Next Top Trainer. “These shorts look great in a variety of settings, making it easy to switch from chill mode to go mode in an instant!” He also appreciates the supportive built-in liner and four-way stretch, for freedom of movement no matter what kind of workout you tackle.
“There’s only one brand I wear for my workouts, and that’s Birddogs,” says Dariusz Stankiewicz, co-founder of Body Evolved in NYC. “They come in three different short lengths. It's a huge deal because for my runs and squatting days I want shorts shorter, so that I don’t have to deal with extra material hanging down. For my casual workouts, I wear them little longer.” The cheeky brand's gym shorts are available in 17 colors and patterns the three lengths are 6-inch, 8-inch and 9.25-inch.
Nike Fly Short
“Anytime I can flow in new gear while in class, is a recipe for continued success,” says Kyle Jones, wellness pro and co-host of the Off the Strength podcast. The slightly longer Y7 x Nike Fly shorts are ideal for poses like Downward Dog and Pigeon because there’s some added coverage. “These shorts are perfect for yoga, because they give you the freedom of a baggy basketball short, but the chic style and look of modern athleisure wear. The shorts are functional for performance and can be easily layered with quarter length compression pants for trendy purposes.”