What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women

When it comes to hitting the gym, having the right workout attire can greatly enhance your comfort and performance. Among the essential items for your gym wardrobe, shorts are a popular choice for women due to their breathability and freedom of movement. In this guide, we’ll explore the factors to consider when selecting the perfect pair of gym shorts and provide recommendations to help you feel confident and ready to conquer your fitness routine.


Gym shorts are a versatile and comfortable choice for women who engage in various workouts, from cardio and strength training to yoga and more. They allow your skin to breathe and offer ease of movement, making them an ideal option for any fitness activity.

Why Choosing the Right Gym Shorts Matters

Selecting the right pair of gym shorts is not just about aesthetics; it directly impacts your workout experience. Ill-fitting shorts can lead to distractions, discomfort, and even hinder your performance. On the other hand, well-fitted shorts that cater to your workout needs can boost your confidence and allow you to focus solely on your training.

Key Considerations for Selecting Gym Shorts


Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics such as polyester blends or nylon. These materials help wick away sweat, keeping you dry and comfortable during intense workouts.

Fit and Length

Choose a fit that allows for a full range of motion without being overly loose or restrictive. The length is a matter of personal preference – options range from shorter inseams for greater freedom to longer styles for added coverage.


Look for gym shorts with a comfortable waistband that stays in place during movement. A wide, elastic waistband can provide a secure fit without digging into your skin.

Range of Motion

Your gym shorts should move with you without riding up or causing chafing. Test the range of motion by doing a few dynamic movements in the fitting room.

Types of Gym Shorts

Running Shorts

What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women
What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women

Running shorts are typically lightweight and feature a split or curved hem for unrestricted movement. They are great for high-intensity workouts and cardio sessions.

Compression Shorts

What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women
What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women

Compression shorts offer a snug fit and provide muscle support. They are an excellent choice for activities that involve quick movements and changes in direction.

Biker Shorts

What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women

Biker shorts are longer and provide more coverage. They are a popular choice for yoga, Pilates, and activities where you want to feel secure and comfortable.

Athletic Shorts

What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women
What Shorts to Wear to the Gym: A Guide for Women

Athletic shorts come in various lengths and styles. They often have a looser fit and are suitable for a wide range of workouts.

Styling Your Gym Shorts

Layering Options

Pair your gym shorts with a comfortable sports bra or moisture-wicking tank top for a complete workout outfit. Layering can help you adapt to temperature changes during your session.

Choosing Colors and Patterns

Opt for colors and patterns that resonate with your personal style. Bright colors and patterns can add a fun and energetic vibe to your gym attire.

Top Brands for Gym Shorts

Some well-regarded brands for quality gym shorts include Nike, Lululemon, Under Armour, Adidas, and Athleta. These brands offer a variety of styles and features to cater to different preferences.

Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Gym Shorts

  • Do: Choose shorts that provide comfort and allow free movement.
  • Don’t: Wear shorts that are too tight or restrictive, hindering your range of motion.
  • Do: Consider the specific activity when selecting shorts (e.g., choose compression shorts for high-intensity workouts).
  • Don’t: Overlook the importance of a good fit and moisture-wicking properties.

Caring for Your Gym Shorts

To extend the lifespan of your gym shorts, follow the care instructions on the label. Generally, it’s best to wash them in cold water and avoid using fabric softeners that can affect their moisture-wicking abilities.


Selecting the right gym shorts is an important aspect of preparing for a successful workout. By considering factors like fabric, fit, and your specific workout needs, you can find shorts that keep you comfortable and confident as you pursue your fitness goals.


Q1: Can I wear cotton shorts to the gym?

A: While cotton is comfortable, it may not be the best choice for intense workouts since it doesn’t wick away sweat as effectively as other materials.

Q2: Are compression shorts only for professional athletes?

A: No, compression shorts can benefit anyone engaging in activities that involve quick movements, such as HIIT workouts or running.

Q3: Can I wear gym shorts for non-exercise activities?

A: Yes, gym shorts can be comfortable for casual activities as well, but consider the length and style based on the occasion.

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