Choosing Athletic Shorts

Choosing Athletic Shorts

The team needs the right athletic wear for training and practice, and you begin your search for athletic shorts for indoor or summer training and you don’t know where to start. There are so many options and tech and fabrics. Which ones will perform best under pressure? Which ones are the most durable? How long should they be? How should they fit properly?

Don’t worry, relax. We’ll get you back in the game with the right choice for your sport, team, budget, material type, and more.

Gender-specific or unisex?

Athletic shorts designed for specific genders have different shapes, features, and styles tailored specifically to those genders that can help them run, workout and play more effectively.

  • Women’s shorts: The design of women’s shorts are made to fit a female waist, hips, and thighs more accurately to get the best and most comfortable fit, with shorter inseams and less room in the groin.

  • Men’s shorts: These are cut specifically for the male body. The inseam is longer and most often has a built-in liner at the groin (so that jockstraps are unnecessary)

  • Unisex shorts: This type of short combines cuts of men’s and women’s to get unisex shorts without specific features men’s or women’s have.

What types of shorts are there?

There are general categories for the styles of shorts that are most commonly used.

Compression Shorts

These shorts fit tight to the body like spandex. The snug design can help provide muscle support and tend to offer the most flexibility for running or endurance sports. The lack of any moving, loose fabrics is also what makes them the strongest choice to prevent chafing.

V-Notch Shorts

V-Notch shorts are quickly and easily identifiable by the upside-down V-shape cutout on the side of the leg seams. They’re still one of the most popular choices for runners. The cutout’s design allows a runner the greater range of motion then if the seam was stitched the entire way. These shorts have a looser fit compared to compression shorts. Women’s styles tend to be shorter.

Split Running Shorts

Very similar to V-notch shorts, except the V on their sides are not sewn together. Instead, they’re split and made with overlapping fabric. This allows even more flexibility than the standard V-notch shorts.

Does Fabric Matter?

Fabric choice matters, very much so. You’ll want to be able to get a fabric that’s comfortable for every team member and that can withstand the hard work and physical activities your members go through as well as being put through the wash many times.

Running shorts today come with various different textiles and technologies such as antimicrobial, heat-trapping, and much more.

The most common materials you will encounter are natural and synthetic fabrics.

Natural: Shorts made from natural fibers, like cotton, can offer good stretch and movement for off-field practice. But, when it comes down to the game day or harder training with the team, they don’t hold up to moisture well. Natural fibers old sweat more than they help it evaporate, holding moisture and odor-causing bacteria against the skin and also chafe. Additionally, frequent use in high-heat conditions causes the material to break down faster than synthetic.

Synthetic: These man-made fabrics created shorts usually made of polyester, a polyester-spandex blend or a nylon blend. Polyester provides an excellent fit, stretch, and most importantly, highly advanced moisture-wicking technology that promotes keeping your players cool and dry. This heavily assists in preventing chafing and discomfort, important for athletics so they can perform at their peak. Synthetics last longer, resist high-heat and friction, and can survive through many washes.

What Length Should Athletic Shorts Be?

To know what length to choose, the first thing you should consider is what sort of weather your team or you will be wearing them in. Winter? Summer? Colder climate or always warm, tropical-like climates?

Shorter lengths are best for hot weather or hotter climates and can make a difference. They’re also better for airflow and fewer restrictions. However, longer shorts may be better in colder temperatures and be great for fighting chafing from endurance sports or long-distance runners.

For weight training, even longer—around 9 inches roughly—are recommended.

Liner or No Liner?

A majority of good athletic shorts come with a compression liner and offer excellent support. As a result of a good liner, a pair of shorts with them could offer better moisture-management that wicks sweat away. A liner can keep things dry, cool as well as comfortable while preventing irritation or infections due to poor airflow. Liner’s in men’s shorts are often built to offer sufficient compression and support, so a jockstrap would not be needed.

How do Short Sizes and Types Help Athletes?

Compression shorts or compression liners are becoming more common and popular amidst athletes and runners of all levels. Some fantastic benefits to compression are:
  • Less muscle fatigue and soreness during and after workouts.
  • Enhanced perceived exertion. Athletes training for endurance or extreme sports, lowering their perceived exertion, which leads to a smoother workout. Training sessions that become more bearable improves athletic performance.
  • Better muscle oxygenation through enhanced bloodflow and better recovery
V-Notch and shorter length shorts have the benefits of:
  • More airflow, reducing moisture and friction.
  • Loose fit, though women’s V-notch is shorter.
  • No hindering of leg movements offering more flexibility, convenience, and comfort.
  • Best for situations where airflow and movement is more vital than leg protection.

Choosing the right athletic shorts can be a confusing jumble of facts. By looking out for the various cuts, styles, fabrics, and weighing the pros and cons of each with this article, you should be able to start narrowing down the style that’s best for you or your team. Take consideration into what sports and activity you, or they, will be doing when wearing these the majority of the time so that they can enjoy the best comfort while performing in top condition. This will influence what length and what cut to get that’s right for you.