gym short material


Have you ever gone to the gym feeling like your shorts just aren’t right for your workout? Nothing kills your motivation faster than shorts that ride up during squats or soak through sweat during cardio. It’s time to choose your champion—the perfect pair of gym shorts for every workout. Whether you’re pounding the treadmill, pumping iron, or stretching it out in yoga, the material your shorts are made of matters.

Cotton may be comfortable, but it won’t cut it for high-intensity or endurance training. For weightlifting, you’ll want shorts with stretch and durability. Yoga demands breathable and unrestrictive fabrics that move with your body. And cardio requires moisture-wicking, quick-drying materials so you’re not a hot mess by the end of your workout.

How to start a fitness clothing line: Read on to discover the 9 best gym short fabric types for every activity and find your new favorite shorts.

What Material are Gym Shorts Made of?

To find out the answer to the question, “What kind of material is used for gym shorts?” when comparing pairs of athletic shorts, look at the label or description sewn into the seam. This is all the information you require for the workout shorts materials guide:

Cotton Gym Shorts: Best for Casual Workouts

gym short material

Cotton performance fabric for gym shorts is perfect for casual workouts like walking, jogging, or biking. Cotton is a natural fiber that breathes well and is extremely comfortable against the skin. However, once cotton gets wet with sweat, it stays wet. For high-intensity interval training or sports, cotton may not be the best choice since it won’t keep you dry.

Look for mid-thigh to knee-length cotton shorts with an elastic waistband. Elastic waistbands are flexible and move with your body, so the shorts won’t slip or slide during activity. Loose-fitting cotton shorts also provide more airflow and range of motion.

If you prefer fitted shorts, opt for cotton-spandex blend gym shorts. The spandex provides stretch that will hug your body while still being breathable. A cotton blend in gym shorts can also work well and may be more affordable. Just be sure any synthetic material is also breathable. Pick a neutral hue for maximum adaptability; you can wear it with any sports top.

A casual fitness wardrobe must include comfy cotton gym shorts, whether you’re hitting the gym or taking a stroll around your surrounding area. They’ll keep you feeling cool and relaxed during your favorite easygoing workouts.

Mesh Gym Shorts: Ideal for High-Intensity Training

gym short material

Mesh gym shorts are ideal for high-intensity training when you want to stay cool and comfortable.


Mesh is an extremely breathable material for athletic shorts, allowing air to circulate so you stay dry during tough workouts. The loose-fitting, lightweight material won’t stick to your body and cause chafing or overheating.


Mesh shorts allow you to move freely and fully extend your range of motion during workouts. The flexible fabric won’t restrict your movement during dynamic training.


You stay dry and sweat-free because mesh wicks moisture away from your body. During vigorous intervals, you won’t feel heavy because the quick-drying fabric absorbs and evaporatively releases sweat.

For high-intensity training where performance and comfort are a priority, mesh fabric for athletic shorts is a winning choice. Stay cool, dry, and unrestricted with mesh—your new go-to for hardcore workouts.


Moisture-wicking cotton is a popular gym short material for cardio and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Cotton-Polyester Blends

Cotton-polyester blend shorts are lightweight and breathable, and they help keep you comfortable during intense sweat sessions. The polyester fibers wick moisture away from your skin, while the cotton provides softness. These versatile and budget-friendly shorts make them a great all-around choice for most workouts.

Some recommended options include:

  • Nike Dry Shorts
  • Under Armor Tech shorts
  • Adidas Tiro shorts

For hot yoga or bikram, moisture-wicking shorts are a must to keep you dry through demanding poses in a heated room. Breathable mesh panels or liners and shorter inseam lengths will prevent overheating. Moisture-wicking fabrics like polypropylene or nylon blends are excellent for yoga, as they dry quickly and prevent sweat buildup.


Poly-Dri fabric is ideal for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit training. You’ll stay dry and cool thanks to the lightweight, breathable mesh material that wicks moisture away from your body. During explosive exercises, the flexible and loose fit won’t impede your movement.

Poly-Dri shorts are also very durable and long-lasting. The polyester blend stands up well to repeated washings without losing shape. For the ultimate in comfort, look for a pair with a seamless construction and a tagless waistband. A reinforced gusseted crotch and flatlock seams prevent chafing when you’re working up a sweat.

Some recommended HIIT shorts in Poly-Dri or a similar poly-mesh fabric include the Champion C9 Duo Dry Workout Shorts, the Under Armor Speedpocket shorts, and the Adidas Own the Run shorts. Any of these would be an excellent choice for your high-energy, calorie-crushing workouts.


When your workout involves a lot of movement, spandex is key. You can perform exercises with your entire range of motion because this elastic, form-fitting material stretches with your body.

Spandex is a synthetic microfiber gym short material with remarkable elasticity that is also referred to as elastane or Lycra. Shorts made primarily of spandex will move with your body, providing comfort and flexibility during dynamic workouts. Spandex blends well with other fibers like polyester or nylon, which help the shorts retain their shape. For high-intensity interval training or kickboxing, spandex is a must.

Look for shorts with a high spandex content, around 80–95%. This will ensure maximum stretch and mobility. Spandex can get hot, so mesh panels, open sides, or moisture-wicking fabrics are good for breathability. If you prefer loose shorts but still want lots of stretch, choose a pair with spandex in the waistband and side panels. This provides flexibility where you need it most, with a looser fit overall. For workouts where you’re constantly on the move, spandex shorts are the ultimate champion.


Nylon gym shorts are perfect for high-intensity workouts that make you sweat. Synthetic and hydrophobic, nylon wicks moisture away from your skin to keep you comfortable and dry. The fabric is lightweight and breathable, enabling optimal flexibility and range of motion.

Nylon gym shorts are ideal for activities like:

  • Running
  • HIIT (high-intensity interval training)
  • Bootcamp
  • Crossfit

Look for nylon shorts with mesh panels or linings for extra breathability. Elastic waistbands also provide flexibility and comfort. Pockets are useful for stashing small essentials, and reflective details help with visibility for early morning or late-night workouts.

For hot yoga or Pilates, nylon shorts may not provide enough coverage. But for cardio, HIIT, and other sweat-inducing exercises, nylon gym shorts will keep you feeling cool and unrestricted.

Compression Gym Shorts: Top Pick for Running and Cycling

gym short material

For high-intensity workouts like running, cycling, and HIIT, compression fabric for workout shorts is your best friend. Compression shorts are form-fitting and provide targeted support for your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. They improve circulation, reducing muscle fatigue and soreness so you can push yourself further during your workout.

In addition to being incredibly breathable and moisture-wicking, compression shorts also keep you cozy and dry. It is ideal for long runs and bike rides because of its compressive fit, which lessens chafing and friction. Compression shorts can also double as a base layer under looser gym shorts.

Some recommended compression short brands for runners and cyclists include Under Armor, Nike Pro, and 2XU. For the best compression and performance, look for shorts that provide 15–30 mmHg of pressure. The higher the mmHg rating, the more compression the shorts will provide. Compression gym shorts will have you feeling supported and ready to smash your records.

Polyester Gym Shorts: Great for Swimming and Water Sports

gym short material

A popular, breathable, and lightweight synthetic material for gym shorts is polyester. For swimming and other water sports, polyester workout shorts are an excellent option because they dry quickly and can withstand damage from saltwater and chlorine.

Comfortable and Practical

Polyester gym shorts will keep you comfortable during intense water-based workouts. They’re light, stretchy, and designed for active movement. The synthetic fabric is also very durable and long-lasting.


To keep you dry, polyester is great at wicking moisture away from your body. Polyester shorts will draw perspiration and water from your skin as you swim or participate in water sports and transfer it to the fabric’s outer surface, where it can evaporate. To remain comfortable during aerobic exercise, where you’re likely to perspire, this breathability is crucial.

Chlorine and Salt Resistant

Because polyester is a synthetic material, it stands up well to exposure to chlorine, salt, and chemicals in pool water or seawater. Even after frequent washings and use, the fabric won’t fade, stretch out, or break. For the athlete who spends a lot of time in the water, polyester gym shorts are an excellent purchase.

Polyester gym shorts offer comfort, practicality, and durability for swimming, water aerobics, surfing, or any active water sport. They’ll keep up with your most intense aquatic workouts while wicking away moisture and standing up to the challenges of chlorinated or saltwater conditions. For water-based exercise, polyester can’t be beaten.

Denim Gym Shorts: A Stylish Yet Functional Strength Training Option

gym short material
Back of beautiful sexy model in summer hipster jeans shorts clothes posing in the street.Woman holding colorful cocktail bottle. Fashion woman outdoors. No face

Denim shorts are a stylish yet functional option for strength or weight training. Denim is a durable, odor-resistant gym shorts fabric that can handle everything from squats to deadlifts without tearing.

The thicker denim fabric helps prevent muscle strain by compressing your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes during lifts. Denim gym shorts also have extra reinforcement, like double-stitching at stress points so they can endure repetitive movements without fraying.

If you prefer a looser fit, denim shorts provide flexibility and a full range of motion for exercises like lunges, step-ups, and calf raises. For a slimmer profile, fitted denim gym shorts contour to your body while still allowing you to move freely.

Denim is a breathable, moisture-wicking material that will keep you feeling cool and quick-dry fabric for workout shorts through an intense workout. Look for denim gym shorts with additional features like mesh panels, ventilation holes, or a moisture-wicking liner for added airflow.

Whether you go for a classic blue jean wash or a stylish black pair, denim gym shorts are a fashionable, high-performance option for strength training that will motivate you to push through that extra set. Add in the nostalgic appeal of denim and you’ve got gym shorts that make you look good while crushing your workout.

The best material for gym clothes depends on your specific workout needs and personal preferences. Experiment with various materials and styles until you find the ideal fit. It matters most that you can push your boundaries and feel supported and at ease.

Are Polyester Shorts Good for the Gym?

For good reason, polyester is a synthetic material that is frequently used for sports shorts. Lightweight and breathable, polyester shorts facilitate the removal of perspiration-induced moisture from the body. For intense workouts where you want to stay dry, this makes them perfect.

Polyester shorts are an excellent option for bodyweight or weighted strength training, interval training, and cardio workouts at the gym. They move with your body, allowing a full range of motion. Polyester is also durable and wrinkle-resistant, so your shorts will hold up through many washes and workouts.

Some polyester shorts feature mesh panels for extra breathability in sweaty areas. Look for shorts with a mid-thigh to knee-length inseam and an elastic waistband for maximum comfort. Zippered pockets are useful for holding keys, cards, or a phone.

While polyester is ideal for most gym workouts, like yoga or Pilates, you may prefer a softer, more flexible shorts fabric with some spandex, like nylon. And for outdoor runs on hot days, polyester-spandex blend shorts will provide more ventilation.

So if you’re looking for solid all-around gym shorts that can handle everything from cardio equipment to free weights, polyester is an excellent, affordable option. Find a pair that fits well and flatters your body type, and you’ll have a trusty workout partner for years to come.

How do I choose Gym Shorts?

gym short material

When choosing a custom shorts manufacturer, consider what workout you’ll be doing and the level of flexibility and breathability you need.

For Weightlifting or Cross-Training:

Look for shorts made of cotton, polyester, or nylon blends. These provide durability and stretchable materials in gym shorts for a range of movements. Mesh panels or side slits will increase ventilation. Elastic waistbands are comfortable and adjustable.

For High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Boot Camp Classes:

Lightweight, breathable fabrics like polyester or nylon are ideal for sweaty, heart-pumping workouts. Mesh inserts and a loose, relaxed fit will keep you comfortable. Consider shorts with pockets to securely hold your phone or keys.

For Yoga or Pilates,

Opt for shorts made of cotton, modal, or bamboo fabric in athletic shorts, which provide softness, stretch, and moisture-wicking gym shorts. A fitted but flexible design allows for easy movement. Longer lengths, around mid-thigh, prevent riding up during bending and stretching. Pockets are not necessary and may be distracting.

Ultimately, the best gym shorts for you depend on matching your priorities to the right material and features for your workout.


You now know the insider tip for selecting the ideal gym shorts material for any type of exercise. The type of sports fabric you wear can significantly affect how comfortable and productive you are. Now that you have the resources and understanding, go achieve some success! And never forget, so you can concentrate on reaching your fitness objectives, to wear shorts that will keep you feeling cool and confident during your workout.

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