6 Best Workout Shorts for Women

6 Best Workout Shorts for Women

April 11, 2022

Now that it’s officially Spring, we’re beyond ready to put away cold-weather workout gear and bring out the shorts and tank tops. Every spring and summer fitness wardrobe could use a boost with the perfect pair of gym shorts. 

If you’re ready to refresh your 2022 workout regimen, read our guide on the importance of having the right workout wear and how to select the ideal athletic shorts.

Why Choosing the Right Workout Gear Pays Off Every Time

Don’t just reach for the nearest or cheapest apparel! There are important differences in quality, purpose, breathability, and sturdiness to keep in mind.

  • Quality and Durability

Inexpensive workout or lounge clothes at the local superstore may suffice in a pinch, but they may not have the durability to support your fitness routine week after week.

A pair of workout shorts goes through a lot and needs to stand up to regular use, lots of movement, and frequent washing. Instead of cycling through pair after pair of cheap shorts, invest in shorts that will stay comfortable and intact long-term.

Pay attention to the type and quality of fabrics, durable and non-abrasive stitching, and high-caliber design. 

  • Specialized Use (Gym, Running, etc.)

The activities you do most often might have a significant impact on what shorts you get.

Shorts you’d wear to the gym for lifting might differ from what you wear to dance or yoga class or an outdoor run, hike, soccer practice, bike ride, or rock climb.

The environment you exercise in determines the level of wear and tear, and different exercises involve various ranges of motion.

Be conscious about your lifestyle and means of staying fit, and whether you need to opt for flexibility, breathability, durability, fit, and/or coverage.

  • Airflow and Sweat Retention

Especially during strenuous exercises, sweat and elevated body temperatures will factor in. You want to remain cool and dry for a comfortable, distraction-free experience.

Most worthwhile athletic wear contains breathable, minimally absorptive fabrics that maximize airflow to wick away moisture without becoming too damp.

  • Fit

Size, shape, and stretch are a big deal when crafting workout wear that fits and flatters active women’s bodies while feeling super comfortable.

When shopping for the best athletic shorts, women should keep fit in mind. Shorts that fit correctly will stay put in all the right places with the right amount of give and help you feel your best and stay on-task.

How to Shop for Workout Shorts Online

Here are some tips for shopping online for women’s athletic shorts that fit, last, and complement your lifestyle while keeping you cool and dry:

  • Read reviews to learn what other women think about a given site, brand, or garment
  • Think about what you like and dislike about the women’s workout shorts you’ve tried before 
  • Opt for sites and brands with reliable sizing charts and reasonable return/exchange policies in case something doesn’t fit

How should workout shorts fit?

Athletic shorts for women should have a flexible waistband that fits securely but not too tight. They should have just enough room everywhere else to facilitate unrestricted movement without migration and fuss.

Your personal preferences and needs determine the amount of stretch, coverage, and room, but here’s how to get your hip and waist measurements for sizing shorts:

  • Using a tape measure, find the circumference around the widest part of your hips
  • Wrap the tape measure around your waist, which is typically the halfway point between the top of the hips and the bottom rib, just above the belly button
  • Get an idea of the inseam length of a pair of shorts by finding where the measurement falls on the uppermost part of the inner thigh

What are the best workout shorts for women?

As you search for your next favorite pair of workout shorts, here are our favorite women’s shorts for workouts: 

1. Fast & Free Women’s Crossfit Shorts

The Fast & Free Crossfit short balances leg freedom and a contoured fit that never feels bulky. They’re ride-up-free, thanks to a soft, stretchy waistband that won’t budge no matter how you're moving. 

Best Shorts For Range of Motion

The low rise, short, three-inch inseam and body-skimming fit with four-direction stretch make these shorts perfect for running and cross-training.


  • Stretchy and breathable brief liner
  • Interior waist drawcord
  • Interior waistband pocket

Why Customers Love It

Jess says: “The wide waistband and built-in liner… makes them comfortable and functional. They don't roll down or bunch up, no matter what activity you're doing. Plus they look so cute they provide a little extra motivation to get active. I have a pair in every color.”

Get it here

2. Excel Women’s Workout Shorts

The Excel women’s workout short brings you the best elements of comfort, mobility, and style in a short that maximizes functionality and confidence.

The Best Gym Shorts

For high-intensity workouts at the gym, you can’t go wrong with these stretchy, mid-rise, lightweight shorts that fit like a second skin and feature a five-inch inseam.


  • Four-way stretch woven fabric
  • Interior waist drawcord
  • Interior waistband pocket

Why Customers Love It

Margaret H. thinks, “These are the perfect workout shorts! Running, yoga, pilates, boot camp, lifting… anything goes!”

Get it here

3. Sheva Training Short

From the field to your running route, the soft Sheva training short adds comfort, mobility, and versatility to your workout with a body-skimming fit and total leg freedom.

The Best Running Shorts for Women

These lightweight running shorts have two pockets that allow you to go for unencumbered runs with all your essentials by your side.


  • Smooth fabric for unrestricted hip and leg movement
  • Lay-flat knit waistband
  • Stretchy, breathable mesh liner
  • High-rise for more comfort and coverage
  • Zippered side pocket and interior waistband pocket

Why Customers Love It

Ali writes: “I've worn a lot of shorts. I've also bought and returned a lot of shorts. I'm 38 and have played soccer all my life. I still play, as well as coach at a couple gyms and love to be active myself. These shorts are by far the most comfortable and best fitting.”

Get it here

4. Indie Sport Short

Wearing the Indie sport short, you can enjoy the peace of mind of greater coverage without sacrificing flexibility or flow. There’s just enough fabric to keep you focused on your workout without bulk or bunching, plus an easy fit on the hip and thigh.

Best Workout Shorts for an Active Summer

This is your classic high-rise gym short that strikes the optimum balance of mobility and added coverage. The stretch and fit through the hips and thighs accommodate strong bodies. 


  • Woven four-direction stretch fabric
  • Five-inch inseam
  • Interior waist drawcord

Why Customers Love It

Sara K. shared: “Love these shorts! They’re such a good length and cover what I want covered. It’s nice they’re a little longer in the back and they don’t hug my legs. Perfect material that isn’t see-through and enough stretch. So glad I found these.”

Get it here

5. Triple V Women’s Athletic Shorts

For women on the move, Triple V women’s athletic shorts have a loose fit without being oversized. 

The Best Shorts for Everyday Utility

These versatile and flattering shorts take you and your necessities from every day to coaching/training to post-practice coffee runs without skipping a beat.


  • Mid-rise
  • Four-inch inseam
  • Two front pockets and one zippered back pocket
  • Smooth, double-layered knit waistband with drawcord

Why Customers Love It

Beverly Y. comments, “So comfy and simple style. I use these shorts to work out or Coach in. They’re amazing!”

Get it here

6. Slide Force Women’s Spandex Shorts

The Slide Force women’s spandex short has the perfect length, rise, seams, and stretch to stay in place without squeezing or irritation. 

Best Spandex Shorts

Whether it’s your base layer or your stand-alone short, you can trust Slide Force to comfortably stay put while running, jumping, lifting, or going about your day.


  • Body-contouring fit without squeezing
  • Layers
  • Soft, moisture-wicking brushed stretch fabric
  • Double-layer side panel
  • Six-inch inseam
  • Smooth, microfilament flatlock stitched seams for chafe prevention

Why Customers Love It

Chelsea says, “I wear these under my shorts when I play soccer. They are amazing because once I put them on I never have to mess with them (ie pulling them down or up, etc). They are soft and comfy and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who has had trouble with spandex while playing!”

Get it here

FAQs About Workout Shorts

How to style athletic shorts

Spandex shorts like Slide Force are making a big fashion comeback, often paired with stylish sneakers and a graphic tee shirt, oversized button-down or flannel. Get creative with it!

How should athletic shorts fit? 

Athletic shorts should fit snug enough to stay in place but provide enough mobility for whatever movements you need to do during your fitness routine.

What to wear with athletic shorts 

A simple tee shirt goes great with a pair of workout shorts to stop at the coffee shop or grocery store. But for exercising, look for breathable, properly fitting workout clothes for women, including tops, sports bras, and socks.

Are tight workout shorts OK for women?

Tight workout shorts aren’t everyone’s thing — and that’s okay. Spandex that fits and moves with you like a second skin can be a great option, but workout shorts should never be so tight that they uncomfortably squeeze or restrict you.

Is it better to work out in shorts or leggings?

Many people prefer leggings for training, running, yoga, and other activities, but shorts are great for indoors or in warm weather, especially if you need to stay cool. It’s up to you!

When do you wear your favorite pair of gym shorts?

Do you have a go-to pair of shorts for workouts? What makes them just right? How do you style your workout shorts for the everyday?

Show us your best gear and looks on Instagram @goalfive. Stop by to shop for our best workout shorts for women, and start this Spring and Summer as your most active and confident self! 

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