Athletics Shorts | Which Type Should You Buy?

When it comes to athletic shorts, what comes to the minds of most athletes is baseball. On the other hand, when it comes to picking the best athletic shorts in the market, there are myriad options to choose from ranging from training to performance shorts.


Athletic shorts have come a long way since their inception. In fact, some athletic shorts are better than others when it comes to performance. This article will identify the athletic shorts that are beneficial for athletic performance while also identifying athletic shorts that athletes should consider passing on when shopping for athletic gear. I am usually in the gym or the office so if you want to know what sort of joggers to wear to work, I got you.

Athletic short types

All Around shorts

When choosing athletic shorts, 6 different types are available with each having unique benefits and purposes. The number of athletic shorts available in the market can seem overwhelming to a consumer. However, these shorts tend to suit various athletic activities that are paramount to most athletes.

So, in this guide, we’ll list some of the most common athletic short types alongside their benefits.

1. Compression Athletic Short:


These are also called spandex shorts. However, spandex shorts are stretcher and less form-fitting than compression shorts. These athletic shorts provide compression over specific body parts, enhancing circulation and muscle support and protection from trauma.

Compression athletic shorts can be beneficial for athletic performance and injury prevention.

For instance, compression shorts are very tight around the skin, so they do not move. This prevents chaffing.

The lack of stretch can also mean they work against muscle pulling by limiting the freedom of the joints. Spandex and compression shorts are ideal for most sports. They can even be worn under other looser shorts for different activities.

Still, these shorts are designed to wick away moisture (sweat), making them ideal for even the hardest of workouts. However, you need to ensure the tight shorts do not violate the dress code of the place you are using them such as commercial gyms.


2. Bike Athletic Shorts:


These shorts, as the name implies, are designed for cycling. They have special padding on the perineum – which comes in contact with the bike – to protect against soreness and injury. This is also why athletic bike shorts have a chamois pad at the butt area built into them.


Generally, cycling shorts are designed to be aerodynamic and support the cyclist while also reducing wind drag. These athletic shorts are made from various materials, but they typically have a tighter fit than other shorts to minimize air resistance. Among the bike shorts, there are compression, bib biking, and waist biking shorts.

These shorts differ in use, with serious cyclists preferring compression shorts while recreational cyclists go for the more comfortable bike shorts.

Bike shorts are usually padded at the butt area, where the saddle’s fiction is maximum. Bicycle racers say that they prefer ride shorts because they increase comfort during rides. They can stay out longer and reduce post-ride recovery time with these shorts.


Bike shorts are best used for cycling and suitable for other sports such as running or climbing. They usually have inbuilt underwear and are as tight as spandex shorts. This ensures they move together with your body, reducing chaffing. The fabric used is also specially designed not to get caught on the bike’s parts.


Those shorts are divided into two; waist and bib shorts. The two types are similar in most aspects. However, bib shorts are strapped, with the straps going over the rider’s shoulder to hold the short up. This is beneficial in preventing the short from riding down, a problem inherent in waist shorts.


3. Basketball Athletic Short:


These shorts are specially designed for wearing in the pitch, although you can wear them in other sporting activities.

They are specifically longer and baggier than shorts worn for other sports to enable the player to make a wide range of motion. No piece of fabric is supposed to constrain the player’s lateral movements.

The baggy and longer design was introduced in the ’90s, under the influence of hip-hop. This hasn’t changed to date.

Basketball athletic shorts are typically made from a lightweight material that helps to wick moisture away from the skin, preventing chafing and discomfort while also reducing the overall weight of the basketball athletic shorts.

Basketball athletic shorts also feature mesh panels to increase ventilation and help to cool down an athlete’s body.



4. Running Athletic Short:

The distance short


Running athletic shorts are lightweight and breathable to allow excess heat and moisture to escape.

Running athletic shorts also feature reflective elements for visibility during night runs.

These are available in different lengths and styles, with female shorts mainly being shorter than those for male athletes.

Running shorts are further subdivided into V-notch and Split running shorts.

V-notch shorts are loosely fitting compared to other types of running shorts. They, therefore, provide a higher degree of flexibility. Split running shorts are even better in terms of flexibility, so ensure you try both to see what fits you better.

Split shorts feature two overlapping fabrics that are not sewn into one layer. It’s like two pairs of shorts joined at the waistline.

Split and V-notch shorts are designed with or without a liner.


With a Liner


Liners are supportive and help reduce or even prevent chaffing. The liner allows the player to wear them without underwear. These liners are not so dependable as the quality deteriorates as you wash them. It’s not uncommon for legs to start chaffing after a few washes, and sometimes, the powder or moisturizer solution does not help.

The only chance you have here is to buy a lined short from a reputable brand. Do not go for anything below mid-range.


Without a Liner


These shorts are for experienced players. The lack of liner reduces the short’s weight and heat management capabilities, which makes them unsuitable for anything other than competitive games.


They also feature a functional fly with a single button at the front. Liner-free running shorts are mostly worn over spandex or compression style shorts to prevent chaffing.


5. Swim Athletic Short:

Swimming athletic shorts

These athletic shorts have fabrics designed to reduce drag in the water while also being gentle on the skin. This way, they don’t irritate your body when worn under a bathing suit top.


Swim athletic shorts typically aren’t seen much outside of the pool or beach, as they don’t look as good as regular athletic shorts and aren’t as comfortable for warmer weather uses.


6. All-Purpose Shorts:


These athletic shorts are designed for multiple sports applications.


Athletic shorts of this type will typically be made from the same lightweight materials as other types of athletic shorts. They feature an elastic waistband and drawstrings to adjust the tightness, breathable mesh panels to increase ventilation and reflective elements for visibility in low-light conditions.

All-purpose shorts are available in various lengths but are most commonly seen in knee-length or thigh-length versions.

Different Types of Athletic Shorts Materials


It’s also essential to keep the athletic shorts’ fabric in mind. Athletic shorts have materials that help promote airflow and reduce heat against the skin.


Other athletic shorts have a tighter fit that can have significant advantages for athletic activities but may appear uncomfortable over long periods.


1) Cotton


Cotton is a natural fiber with a soft texture that’s gentle on your skin. Cotton-based sports apparel usually isn’t moisture-wicking or quick-drying, which causes chafing. In some cases, moisturizers or even talcum powder won’t help. Wear compression or spandex shorts under the cotton to reduce chaffing.

2) Nylon


Nylon is a synthetic fiber that is often used in athletic clothing. Nylon-based materials are usually moisture-wicking and quick-drying, making them ideal for workouts. The fabric is also smooth and thus reduces chaffing. Nylon is breathable and lightweight, making it a good option for athletes.


3) Polyester


Polyester is breathable and durable. Athletic shorts made with polyester often have a brushed finish on the inside for comfort. It’s also a highly affordable material and resists UV damage and stains. Polyester athletic shorts are also resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage, so the fit remains consistent after multiple washes. The only downside is the strong smell that’s often hard to clear, even with multiple washes.

4) Spandex


Spandex is a synthetic fiber often mixed with other materials to create stretchable fabrics. Spandex offers a lot of stretch and recovery, making it an ideal athletic cloth fabric. This material wick’s away moisture and keeps you dry throughout your workout.

5) Polypropylene


Polypropylene is a synthetic fiber used to make lightweight and quick-drying garments. This material is very similar to nylon but is less expensive. Polypropylene is also soft and does not irritate the skin.

6) Bamboo


Bamboo is a natural fiber that has become popular in athletic clothing. It is known for its moisture-wicking, breathability, and eco-friendliness. Bamboo fabrics are also known for their soft and smooth texture.


7) Mesh

Mesh is a breathable material made from fine strands of synthetic nylon or polyester. It is mainly used in short liners and has many small holes to allow airflow.


Athletic Shorts Buying Guide:


Although athletic shorts come in various shapes and sizes, it’s crucial that you find shorts that fit an athlete well. Athletic shorts that are too tight can cause chafing and discomfort, while those that are too loose can become a hindrance during athletic activity.


i. Type of fabric


The material used is an essential factor to consider when choosing a pair of athletic shorts. Natural materials like cotton hold more sweat than synthetic materials and lead to chafing. They are thus ideal for light workouts.

On the other hand, synthetic materials like nylon are moisture-wicking and quick-drying, making them ideal for intense workouts. Modern synthetic materials combine all the required aspects of fabric, making it perfect for an athlete.


ii. The length of the athletic shorts

Athletic shorts come in different lengths such as knee-length or just above the knee-length. Considering the weather you want to wear them in, it’s crucial that you consider length as a primary factor. For instance, during winter, it might be good to have longer athletic shorts. On the other hand, if it’s during a hot summer day, shorts that have above knee-length are ideal.


iii. Type of sport


The type of sport you are playing determines the athletic short you go for. For instance, knee-length athletic shorts are usually preferred for playing baseball or tennis. They offer protection from your knees to your hips and have an extensive range of motion. If you are swimming, you’ll want a swimsuit bottom with shorts over it.


iv. Liner/No liner

Another key factor to consider when purchasing athletic shorts is whether they have an inbuilt liner or not. Athletic shorts can come with a built-in liner or without a liner. Athletic shorts with a built-in liner tend to be more supportive and ideal for running or sports that involve a lot of movement. Athletic shorts without a liner are best for biking or golfing, where build-in protections are not required.

Final Words


Finding suitable athletic shorts can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that each athletic short type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Athletes should consider their specific needs before purchasing to ensure that they are getting the most out of their athletic shorts.

At Ten Thousand, we focus on creating high-quality athletic shorts for athletes of all levels. Our compression athletic shorts provide muscle support and help reduce the risk of injuries, while our running athletic shorts are designed to be lightweight and breathable. We also have a variety of other athletic shorts, including cycling athletic shorts, swimming athletic shorts, and locker room athletic shorts.

No matter what your athletic needs may be, Ten Thousand has the perfect athletic shorts for you. Visit our website today to learn more about our products and how we can help you reach your athletic goals.

Visit the store and use ALLEN at checkout to get 15% off your purchase!



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