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The Best Gym Shorts According to 5 Personal Trainers

These five pairs of shorts deserve a spot in your gym wardrobe, whether you lift weights, do yoga, run, HIIT or box.

Ten Thousand

No matter your preferred type of workout, you’re going to need the proper pair of shorts for that activity. If you like to run, you might want split shorts or something that’s not as long, so the extra fabric doesn’t get caught up between your legs and slow you down. Whereas if you’re going to the gym to lift weights, you’ll likely want shorts that are a little bit longer, so you don’t have to worry about showing too much skin 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.

Nike Split 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. While it might take a bit to get used to wearing shorts with split sides, “they’re lightweight and provide a full range of motion for running strife,” Velazquez says. These shorts are ideal when you’re hopping on a treadmill for interval hill workouts.

Buy Now: $35

Ten Thousand Interval Shorts

“The simplicity and refined minimalist details [of the Ten Thousand Interval shorts] 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.

Buy Now: $58+

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.

Buy Now: $68


“There’s only one brand I wear for my workouts, and that’s Birddogs,” Dariusz Stankiewicz, co-founder of Body Evolved in NYC, says. “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. [While] for my casual workouts — walk to the gym and head to brunch to meet friends — I wear them little longer and still look casual enough after to meet people and hang out.” The cheeky brand creates one type of shorts and offers them in over 40 colors and patterns and three lengths: 6-inch, 8-inch or 9.25-inch.

Buy Now: $60

Nike Fly Short

“Anytime I can flow in new gear while in class, is a recipe for continued success,” Kyle Jones, Y7 Williamsburg Studio Manager and Personal Training, says. The Nike Fly shorts are typically a little longer, which is ideal for poses like Downward Dog and Pigeon — 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.”

Buy Now: $65

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