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Best Women's Athletic Shorts

Wearing the right shorts while working out will give you the full range of motion that you need, whether you're weight lifting, doing cardio, attending a class, or however you get your sweat on. Here are the best options that will be able to keep up with you this year.

Exercise shorts are an important investment for women who like to run, or who enjoy tennis, volleyball, basketball or any other forms of exercise - and all sport shorts are different. Whether you want something that moves as fast as you do in a spin class, or something light, loose and airy for an outdoor run, comfort while working out is a huge priority. Sweating is hard enough without unnecessary leg chafing.

Choosing the proper workout short is not an easy task due to the various determinant factors such as the shorts’ material, the size of its pockets, or the style of the shorts. There are many expensive brands which promise all these qualities, making the decision-making process even more important - not to mention the fact that you don't want to spend a fortune on workout clothes. There are a few selected brands that we've placed here that will narrow down your search for outfitting the ultimate exercise session.

Shorts are an important investment for women who run, enjoy tennis, volleyball, basketball or any other exercise like yoga and pilates - and all sport shorts are different.

What should be considered before buying a pair of athletic shorts?

  • Pockets  The pockets ought to be big enough to accommodate a phone or some money. But there is such a thing as too big of a pocket. An oversized pocket will dangle as one runs or jumps, and cause small, but unnecessary distractions. Zipper pockets to hold valuables are preferred.
  • Material.  The most obvious quality of a desirable material is its breathability and sweat absorption capability. Another consideration should be how the fabric looks and feels on your body. Anything that's too constricting around the mid-section may be comfortable to stand upright in, but feel too tight mid-crunch, so aim for a stretchy, synthetic material.
  • Length.  Finding the perfect length for your activity is important. For example, long baggy athletic shorts might not be very convenient for yoga because as you stretch, they will ride up your legs. Choose a length that fits the day’s exercising plans. 
  • Fit.  Wide legs may be a bit bulky with active sporting activities like tennis. A short with minimal space between the fabric and the skin will allow you to cool off while ridding bacteria of a breeding ground.

1) Nike Tempo available for $39 on Amazon

Key features
  • Comfortable
  • Drying lining
  • Stylish

This particular Nike short is an icon for the brand’s women’s sporting shorts. Its design is an inspiration of the classic traditional track shorts. This short’s interior material keeps you dry and comfy in heavy workout sessions like long-distance running.

The all-time Nike favorite sells at an affordable price of a little over $20.

Image Source: Amazon

What makes these shorts good for athletes?

This short is perfect for intense exercises due to the mesh side panels that increase breathability. It's loose fitting at the bottom to allow air to flow through as the workout intensifies. The three inch, curved hem is suitable for a wide array of routines, including advanced yoga. It follows the natural shape of the thigh and allows free strides, squats, and stretches. The short’s drawcord keeps it intact despite the type of the workout routine.

In comparison to Nike’s Eclipse shorts, Nike Tempo may gain more sale momentum if it adapts its stretching quality. This will increase ones flexibility during a workout.

What's not so good about this shorts?

Nike Tempo does not have a very flattering shape. It is common for women to perceive these shorts as having a shape that strongly imitates a diaper, because the groin of the shorts is quite baggy and unflattering on most body types. The shorts’ non-stretchy material is also limiting to most women who prefer extra flexibility while working out.

Pros:
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable fabric
  • Wide color selection
Cons:
  • Non-stretchy
  • Too wide for some exercise movements
  • Non-flattering shape

2) Soffe Juniors' Team Shorty available for $18 on Amazon

Key features
  • Plenty of color options
  • High quality
  • Durable

Soffe began manufacturing and selling sports attire to the military and college institutions in 1946. The brand later specialized in producing military gears, hence has a proven record of producing high quality, durable sporting pieces.

The Soffe Junior Team Shorty costs almost $20. It comes in a wide array of colors and prints that are fun and vivid for a spicy workout look. These shorts are great for a wide age range, and a wide array of sporting activities.

Image Source: Amazon

What makes these shorts good for athletes?

The sides have a mesh lining that maximizes breathability. The waist’s drawcord helps to maintain a tight fit during intense workouts. The short is perfect for outdoor training sessions, like biking, due to a length that allows flexible movements. It has stylish, white binding, and a polyester microfiber exterior.

Soffe’s Junior Ranger shorts are a fun contrast from the Team Shorty Shorts. The Ranger shorts have a more breathable material that almost feels as though one is wearing a very light fabric. This fabric, however, is see-through, so one may need to wear a longer undergarment to train in the outdoors.

What's not so good about this shorts?

The Poly Crepe fiber lining is not very sweat absorbent. They also have a big sizing chart, and one may need to order one size smaller to get a better fitting short.

Pros:
  • Comfortable
  • Nice Color
  • High Quality
Cons:
  • Big sizing chart
  • Baggy leg space
  • Lacks draw strings

3) 90 Degree By Reflex Soft and Comfy Activewear Lounge available for $14 on Amazon

Key features
  • Comfortable
  • Fitting
  • Affordable

These shorts live up to their name because they are excellent for lounging. They are, however, also perfect for running, power walks, and jogging. So they make a great choice for either a day full of errands, or an active trip such as long walks or mild hikes. It is tempting not to live in these shorts even while relaxing at home without any intense activity.

These shorts cost under $20.

Image Source: Amazon

What makes these shorts good for athletes?

They have an inseam of about 5 inches and a four-way stretch. These make them perfect for anyone who may be worried about tightness while stretching. The pockets have a reasonable size that accommodates small items such as money, a wallet, or a phone. The drawstrings and secure cuff leg openings add to the shorts’ firmness by securing them along the waistline.

The fabric is water repellent so these shorts are a great pick for highly humid days or densely foggy mornings.

The short has a sophisticated, chic look that flatters one's silhouette and general aesthetic. Their wide range of colors enables one to pair it with anything from a basic t-shirt to a flattering tank top for a more outdoorsy look.

What's not so good about this shorts?

While these shorts have a flattering and fitting look, they may be too tight for one with fuller upper thighs. The fabric may also be a little sweaty for high-intensity workouts.

Pros:
  • Stylish
  • Fitting
  • Firm
Cons:
  • Not good for high-intensity workouts
  • Too tight for fuller body shapes
  • Mildly breathable material
More on 90 Degree By Reflex Soft and Comfy Activewear Lounge
Buy on Amazon: $14 Read customer reviews Read seller's description

4) Under Armour Fly-By available for $24 on Amazon

Key features
  • Aesthetic
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile

Under Armour is a top, go-to brand for sporting attire. They have a long history of producing high-quality items that are highly durable and aesthetic. The UA Fly-By short is a well thought out design that caters to all the tiny details of a sporty short. It is very comfortable, and has a highly functional, clean looking design to fit many events. These shorts are priced at about $20.

Image Source: Amazon

What makes these shorts good for athletes?

The shorts have large pockets that can hold a phone, wallet, and keys all into one pocket. They offer a generous fit that will allow many body types to enjoy their exercises while wearing them. The breathable, mesh fabric allows for intense training and long distance runs. The elastic waistband offers a long shelf life and extra allowance in case of weight fluctuations. The built-in lining acts as a brief and stops the shorts from being see-through.

Under Armour’s Tech shorts have a similar make for ultimate comfort during training sessions. The built-in anti-odor technology aids in discouraging the growth of microbes.

What's not so good about this shorts?

The only issue for these shorts is the ballooning at the waistband. This makes them slightly baggy when they are tightened. The store’s sizing chart runs a little large, so you may be prompted to order a smaller size to get an exact fitting.

Pros:
  • Has pockets
  • Wide pockets that fit keys, cash and a phone
  • Breathable mesh
Cons:
  • Pockets poke out in some exercises
  • Pocket lacks a zip
  • Lacks draw strings

5) Champion Mesh Short available for $10 on Amazon

Key features
  • Versatile
  • Comfortable
  • High quality design

These particular Champion shorts are convenient to cool you off while getting a work out done. They are must-haves for any female athlete who desires a lightweight short for intense workout activity. Champion Mesh shorts gives just the right amount of comfort and cover for about $10.

Image Source: Amazon

What makes these shorts good for athletes?

These shorts will serve their purpose while doing chores at home or training at gym. They have a cute, short length that will still be considered decent.

It is especially comfortable for anyone who has a difficult time hiding the top of their upper thigh while stretching or lifting their legs at the gym. The perforated mesh offers breathability and a sleek outlook with the inner silk lining.

The elastic waistband expands to adapt to the buyer’s waistline and maintains its elasticity for a long period.

What's not so good about this shorts?

The sizing chart is larger than actual clients’ measurements. It may end up being slightly bigger than desired so you will need to roll up the waistline to prevent sagging.

Pros:
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Minimal chaffing and rubbing
Cons:
  • No pockets
  • No drawstrings
  • Not fitting for wide legs

In conclusion...

While all athletic shorts have good functionality, there are certain key features that determine each one's purpose. 

Most shorts fall under the same price range. The difference arises from each short's unique characteristics. 

It is advisable to check out each short's material, length, and fitting before making a sporting or lounging investment.