Sweatpants were originally intended for athletic pursuits. Today, those pursuits are mostly achieved from the couch, in search of which channel has the game on — sweatpants are simply the go-to pair of bottoms for many. They’re perfect for chillin’ at home, working from home or heading out to meet friends.
Sweat... Shorts? Seriously?
If you want the comfort of your beloved sweatpants without emphasizing the sweat part, especially now that the weather’s heating up, sweat shorts are the logical choice. The basis for a good pair of sweat shorts is a comfortable and durable jersey or terry-cloth fabric. It’s stretchy, has a comfortable drape and is the perfect lounge-friendly material. Whether it’s a pair of no-nonsense heather grey joints or an over-the-top pair with luxury materials, there are a ton to choose from.
What to Look Out for
Your sweat shorts need two things: thickness and structure. If they're too thin, they'll look like boxers. If they have no structure, they'll sag like a diaper. Don't get me wrong, though, an oversized pair can be both big and well-built. There are a few of those on this list, but your best bet is a well-fitting pair with an appropriate weight.
The Best Sweat Shorts
Drawing on vintage sportswear, these shorts are made from garment-dyed French Terry polished off with finished hems, patch pockets and an adjustable waistband. Plus, they were made with the company that invented the sweatshirt, Champion. Literally, they did.
Sure, you might be hesitant to spend $155 on a pair of sweat shorts you could replicate with sweatpants and scissors. The raw hem, however, isn't shaggy nor sloppy. These heavyweight, 100-percent cotton shorts appear already worn, but that only makes them better once on. Soft, sturdy and that right mix of distressed and designer, get these if you know you're going to get a few seasons out of 'em.
It's OK. Relax. You haven't stumbled into a portal that sent you back to the days of cargo shorts, Hollister shirts and mall dates. There are plenty of good options at Abercrombie & Fitch nowadays. They might've axed the designer who dragged them from their grave, but his refinements remain. Get yourself these simple sweat shorts, which, shockingly, don't have a logo anywhere on them. They're soft, sun-faded and appropriately short.
Everlane's simple French Terry sweatshorts, which they call The Track Short, feature a thick, elasticated waistband with a hidden string, slimmer legs and deep, useful pockets.
Gray is the most popular sweatshirt color. Why not buy a pair of sweat shorts to match? If gray isn't your go-to, Colorful Standard has dozens of other colors to choose from.
Yes, the brand might specialize in T-shirts, but Buck Mason's Interloop Sweat Shorts prove they've broadened their scope. Cut from a mid-weight cotton French Terry described as "dense," these don't shrink and certainly don't slouch. These are the "Oh, wow, I'm shocked these are sweat shorts!" option.
Designed with an eco-conscious blend of recycled polyester and organic cotton, Outerknown’s Hightide Sweatshorts are as durable as they are comfortable. These are soft on the inside and out and the zippered rear pocket ensures you won’t lose your wallet.
Original Equipment is American Trench's new retro sportswear line. It's inspired by and made in several hardworking cities, like Detroit, New York and Philadelphia, where the brand is based. You'll find things like T-shirts, sweatshirts, mesh shorts and sweat shorts (pictured here, of course).
Sweat shorts don't have to be baggy. These, which sit halfway down the thigh, have a slimmer, trimmer profile similar to a sturdier pair of cotton shorts. The terry texture, however, adds interest so these don't just look like boxers.
Made in Los Angeles using a sturdy 14-ounce fleece, these come with requisite hand and rear pockets as well as a stretchy elasticated drawstring waist. You can grab ’em in four different colors, too, if this muted navy sweat isn't for you.
Italic makes its products in factories trusted by designer labels, but they sell their iterations at less than half their price. These sweatshorts, for example, were made by the same people who make Kith and Stüssy's shorts.
Made from a mix of cotton and hemp, these short's material makeup help them breathe and retain their shape. Available in three super-washed colors, these are perfect length — 7 inches.
Jungmaven's Lounge Shorts are cut from loopback hemp and organic cotton-blend jersey dyed a delicate, pretty purple — although one would argue it's probably more like lilac than eggplant. These come thicker throughout and with an oversized drawstring.