7 Best Workout Shorts for Men for Warmer Weather

Updated: May 27, 2021

Warmer-weather workout shorts should be lightweight and moisture-wicking, providing breathability and comfort while you exercise.

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Workout shorts for warmer weather

When temperatures rise and seasons shift, you often need to consider how the elements will affect your workout.

Your choice of exercise clothing makes a difference in how comfortable you are and, when it comes to sweltering temps, whether you overheat when exercising outdoors.

If your workout clothes don’t have the right features for that particular season, it can affect your level of performance, says Rob Pambrun, a celebrity trainer and fitness consultant.

“In early spring, you may have been able to wear a thick tracksuit for your afternoon jog, but if you want to maintain the same level of endurance and stamina [in the summertime], you’ll have to make a few changes to your wardrobe and your exercise routine,” he says.

Summer workout gear tends to be much more versatile, says Caleb Backe, a certified personal trainer and health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics.

“You can wear warmer-weather workout clothes on the street as well as in the gym,” he says. “You can go for a run or a bike ride in the same T-shirt and shorts you wore to go pick up groceries, without as much advance planning required.”

What to look for in warm-weather workout shorts

Fashion may be a consideration when you’re shopping for workout clothes, but fitness pros also recommend focusing on five key features of warm-weather exercise shorts.

Breathable fabric

During the hotter days of summer, it’s especially important that your workout shorts are made from a breathable fabric to keep your body cool.

“Shorts that are manufactured with a combination of polyester, nylon, and micro-modal are sweat-wicking, comfortable, and durable,” says Pambrun. They’re also good picks for breathable workout duds.

(These are the best workout shoes for men.)

Lightweight material

When shopping for shorts for warmer weather, it’s important to seek out a material that is lightweight.

“If your workout shorts are made of a material that is too heavy, air cannot circulate throughout, and the hot air generated from all your efforts will trap moisture in the fabric and actually become heavier the longer you work out,” explains Roger Adams, a personal trainer and owner of Eat Right Fitness.

He recommends seeking out workout shorts made out of polyester, nylon, and spandex blends, which are all lightweight and breathable.

Moisture-wicking capabilities

It’s also important that your shorts have moisture-wicking capabilities, says Adams.

“If a material is moisture wicking, the fabric prevents the accumulation of sweat on your skin by pulling it off the surface and dispersing it throughout the material of the fabric,” he explains. “This increases the surface area where the sweat is located and allows for it to dry quicker.”

He recommends reaching for synthetic fibers, such as spandex and polyester, which will wick sweat off your skin and into the fabric. Not only can sweat be uncomfortable, but when it remains on your skin, it can increase the likelihood of chafing.

Built-in pockets

Especially in the summer, when you tend to be outdoors more often, it’s important to have workout shorts that allow you to store your personal items, such as your keys, a credit card, and your cell phone.

“While many people have an armband to carry their phone, you want to be fully hands free so you can focus your energies on working out,” says Backe.

That’s trickier in the summer than it is in colder months. But pockets are a practical solution.

“Since you’re less likely to be wearing a hoodie or jacket in the heat, it’s helpful to have a place to stash your essentials without worrying about misplacing anything,” he says.

(These are the best black leggings with pockets.)

Appropriate sizing

It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: wearing the proper size shorts is important for both comfort and endurance.

“Shorts that lack inner support or are too loose can oftentimes cause skin-on-skin friction, eventually leading to painful chafing,” Pambrun says.

Yes, the color of your shorts matters

At least it matters in the daytime.

According to Backe, darker colors tend to absorb more ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun than lighter colors.

“When your clothes absorb UV rays, this means the rays are less likely to reach your skin,” he says. “Stay safe and wear brighter colors when working out on sunnier days.”

That’s right: dark or vivid colors are best for daytime workouts.

(These are the fitness myths that can damage your health.)

How should workout shorts fit?

You want your clothes to be comfortable. But they’ll do you no favors if they fit improperly. Well-fitted workout clothes allow you to efficiently perform your physical activity.

According to Adams, men‘s workout shorts should allow for plenty of movement, so he recommends against shorts that are too tight.

“When there is room for movement, there is room for air flow, which allows for cooling of the skin, better movement, and a more-comfortable workout,” he says.

The only exception? Compression shorts.

“These tight shorts  are designed to promote blood flow and improve oxygenation of muscle tissue, which can improve athletic performance during short bouts of exercise only,” Adams says.

It’s also important to consider which type of workout you will be performing while wearing these shorts.

Backe recommends that runners and bikers opt for clothes that lean on the fitted side to cut down on wind resistance.

For weight lifters or those doing strength training, he suggests a pair of shorts that has a shorter inseam, which won’t interfere with moves like squats.

(Know someone who likes to bike? These are the best bike shorts for women.)

The best types of shorts for big thighs

If you have larger or more-athletic thighs, you may be more comfortable wearing a compression-type short, depending on the type of workout, according to Adams.

“Short workouts, like in a gym or sprinting workouts, would be a great choice,” he says. “However, longer runs may prove uncomfortable.”

Roomier shorts can also work, but since chafing can be an issue for people with larger thighs, Adams recommends those with built-in thigh liners. “One with a double-layer, thin thigh liner built in to prevent chaffing is a great option for large thighs,” he says.

He recommends making sure that the thigh liner isn’t too tight, which can restrict your movement while you exercise.

(Check out the best compression socks for your feet.)

The best workout shorts for men

Ready to shop expert-recommended workout shorts for warmer weather? Check out these great pairs for men that’ll make summer even more enjoyable.

(Also, here’s the best exercise equipment for home workouts.)

Nike Mens Dry Training Shortsvia amazon.com

Nike Men’s Dry Training Shorts

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Crafted from 100 percent polyester material, these shorts were designed for exercising in the heat.

They feature a drawstring closure for an adjustable fit and Nike’s signature Dri-Fit material, which wicks away sweat as you work out.

They come in a wide range of sizes, from small to 4X-Large Tall, and can be purchased in more than 20 colors and prints.

(Here’s what your sweat says about your health.)

Lululemon Pace Breaker Short 9 Inch Linerlessvia lululemon.com

Lululemon Pace Breaker Short 9-Inch Linerless

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If you’re looking for a pair of workout shorts that are a bit longer in length, Lululemon‘s are a great choice.

“With the seven-inch length, these shorts have a great inner liner to keep chafing at bay and also have great side pockets and a nifty inner pocket to keep things secure when you are running,” says Adams.

Under Armour Pocketed Raid Shortsvia amazon.com

Under Armour Raid Pocketed  Shorts

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You don’t have to worry about these workout shorts being too heavy or allowing sweat to build up. The 100-percent polyester material works to wick away moisture.

They also offer UPF 30+ sun protection, and they’re odor resistant, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious if you have a few errands to run post-workout.

(Here are easy ways to sweat less in summer.)

Reebok Mens Drawstring Shortsvia amazon.com

Reebok Men’s Drawstring Shorts

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These slim-fitting running shorts are made from a quick-dry polyester fabric that wicks away moisture and keeps sweat from sticking to your legs while you work out. They come in more than 25 colors too.

A plus: They include a pocket, which is ideal for carrying a small item.

Ten Thousand Interval Shortvia tenthousand.cc

Ten Thousand Interval Short

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If you’re looking for a pair of shorts that fall a bit shorter on your thigh and won’t get in the way of your quick lifts or movements in the weight room, the Interval Short is a great choice, according to Adams.

“These are cut just right and have both seven-inch and nine-inch inseams as well as side pockets for added storage,” he says. “They also have a narrow waistband that won’t bunch up. This is key when going for those heavy lifts.”

(Here are easy ways to sweat less in summer.)

Vuori Kore Shortvia vuoriclothing.com

Vuori Kore Short

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You can’t go wrong with classic athletic shorts, especially if you’re someone who likes to switch up your workout every now and then.

Adams is a fan of the Kore Shorts for their effectiveness when worn during cross-training workouts.

“There is a built-in liner, so you stay cool, and there are side pockets,” he says. “These have a good above-the-knee length for that in-and-out-of-the-gym look.”

(Find out if you should wear underwear with workout clothes.)

Roadbox Workout Shorts Men Athletic Shortsvia amazon.com

Roadbox Men’s Athletic Shorts

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Thanks to a moisture-wicking fabric made from 88 percent polyester and 12 percent spandex, these workout shorts offer breathability and comfort for hot summer days.

They’re lightweight (only seven ounces) and are soft enough that you shouldn’t experience any friction that could lead to chafing.