The right pair of shorts are so deliciously easy breezy when it comes to working out. There’s something about the air on your skin and the freedom of movement that simply can’t be beat!
On the flip side, the wrong pair of workout shorts can be physically uncomfortable, a little too *ahem* revealing, or make you feel self-conscious. Shorts that you constantly have to adjust and fuss with are going to take away from your ability to focus on your workout.
Fortunately workout shorts have come a long way since the teeny tiny jogging shorts, baggy basketball shorts, and totally un-breathable “performance” fabrics of the past. There are many more and much better options – even multiple lengths to choose from (yay!) – so you can get all the comfort and performance you need.
Before we continue let’s get one thing straight. If you…
- Feel self-conscious in shorts
- Don’t like showing your legs
- Are haunted by the fear of accidentally flashing someone
- Just don’t like shorts, period
…then skip it! It doesn’t matter if it’s 110 degrees outside. You don’t have to wear shorts unless you feel comfortable in them. If you do like to rock shorts, then read on for more information about picking the perfect pair.
Shorts that don’t come up short on performance.
Sorry, couldn’t resist that pun. Let’s start with the obvious: shorts help to keep you nice and cool. Whether it’s hot outside or you just ramp up your body temperature ripping through your workout, it’s nice to have apparel that lets your skin breathe and cool down.
If you’ve got sensitive skin, then allowing your legs to breathe while you’re working up a sweat is a helpful way to avoid skin irritation. For some folks trapping in or holding moisture close to the skin can cause issues. Throw on a pair of shorts and your sensitive skin will thank you.
When it comes to fabric, it’s best to steer clear of 100% cotton and thick or silky fabrics which can hold onto moisture and become…swampy. Yuck. Instead, go for a technical fabric that is designed to wick moisture, dry quickly, and is lightweight.
Your preferred material may change based on the type of shorts. For example, jogging shorts are often lightweight polyester or a poly blend. Compression shorts, on the other hand, are usually a blend of spandex and either polyester or nylon.
What shorts are chic now?
Bike shorts are fully having a moment right now. For better or for worse, they’ve come back in style in full force.
Bike shorts are like wearing half a pair of leggings. You get compression around your thighs and tummy while still being free and airy from the knees down. You’ll also love bike shorts because you don’t have to worry about them shifting around or showing your skivvies. Those suckers stay put!
For those of us who like the compression of bike shorts but not the length, shorties are another option. Not everybody is comfortable in shorties. They’re skin tight and quite short (hence the name). Think volleyball shorts. They don’t leave much to the imagination, but they are very comfortable and let your legs breathe. If you have the confidence to wear shorties then we say go for it.
The great thing about shorties or bike shorts for CrossFit is that they don’t ride up or shift around when you lift, run or jump.
A fabulous trend is the combination of bike shorts or shorties with nylon or poly running shorts. These two-in-one designs give you the stick-to-itiveness of bike shorts/shorties with the modesty of running shorts that don’t hug your curves so tightly.
Another trend we love that sports brands are finally paying attention to is different lengths of athletic shorts. Some people like shorter shorts, some like longer shorts. If you prefer shorter lengths, then 2 or 3 inch hems will work for you. If you prefer longer lengths, then opt for 4 inches or longer.
What shorts look best on you?
Any sweaty Betty looks best in the shorts that make her feel comfortable. That’s always priority #1. Try different materials and designs to see what feels best on your legs. Those of us with thicker thighs may prefer compression shorts and longer styles that don’t ride up. For those with trimmer legs, shorties and looser fabrics can work well.
What to do when shorts make you feel half-naked.
Sometimes wearing shorts – especially workout shorts – can feel like you’re putting the goods on display. If you’ve never felt this, then we sincerely congratulate you on being a body positivity role model! For the rest of us, there are a few ways to make you feel less “naked” in shorts.
You can layer compression shorts or bike shorts under a shorter, looser pair to get the best of both worlds. Longer hem lengths can be a more modest option as well. You can also “balance out” your look by wearing looser fitting and/or long-sleeved tops.
We think you look fit and stylish as heck in your shorts! You earned those quads, hammies and calves and if you feel good showing them off then good on you. The right pair of shorts can keep you covered in the right places and simultaneously cool and free to move in the right places so you can get in your best workout.
Always remember the cardinal rule of fitness fashion: choose pieces that are functional and have fun!