CrossFit/Workout Shorts Buyer’s Guide

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A topic that’s so near and dear to my heart: gym style.  Long gone are the days where you could just show up to the gym wearing basketball shorts and an old t-shirt, or even god forbid an old t-shirt you cut up to make a stringer tank or muscle shirt out of.  As our fitness evolves, our clothing and style has to as well.  Some might think this is a ridiculous topic. I mean, you’re just at the gym to get sweaty and dirty anyways right?  Yeah, but some might want to be more comfortable doing that, and just because you’re at the gym doesn’t mean you can’t look decent.  Some shorts are also more functional than others, try squatting in some basketball shorts and you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Once you go above the knee you can’t go back.

Here’s a quick buyer’s guide for most of the top brands for when it comes to all your gym short needs.  I won’t be doing tops, mainly because I think most of the t-shirts out there are fine to workout in, if you even workout in t-shirts.  For all of these shorts, I wear a medium/32.  You can’t go wrong with any of the choices here, but some are better than others.

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Reebok CrossFit Shorts:

These particular shorts were actually given to me as a tester project, but like all Reebok shorts, I’m not a huge fan.  The fabric is the same thing I’ve come across on most shorts in their line-up.  They’re not horrible shorts as they do dry pretty quickly, the fabric is durable and flexible but not the most soft/comfortable, sizing is pretty spot on, and for these particular models, there is one pocket.  I think the major downside to Reebok’s CrossFit shorts is their absurd pricing; I don’t know how much these actually cost but others like it retail for around $80 (and can get up to $175, wtf?!).  That’s saying you’re paying full retail and not getting any kind of discount, which most people will be doing.  The value just isn’t there and the products aren’t that great. I would only purchase these if you’re getting a pretty sizable discount.

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Hylete Cross-Training Shorts 2.0:

A solid offering in the training short line-up.  The material is soft and very stretchy, though a little thick for my tastes.  Hylete also increased the size of the TWO ZIPPERED side pockets to accommodate wallets and larger cellphones. Sizing runs a little large, no real elastic waistband or velcro, only the drawstring and the natural stretch of the fabric are there to keep these on.  At $70 retail, they’re a little bit on the expensive side, but with the trainer/compete team discount (easy to apply for and get) they would be a great deal for 40% off.  Not to mention Hylete runs deals all the time for their products.

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Virus AirFlex Training Short:

Honestly, I’m a big fan of Virus’ compression gear to wear while I work out.  Don’t knock working out in just compression pants until you’ve tried it; it’s liberating.  Their shorts offer the same high quality materials and fit.  The waistband uses elastic, drawstring, and velcro to stay up for a super comfortable fit. The fabric is light, flexes well and is very comfortable.  Styling is also great and not overdone; the piping on the seams adds contrast and a refined look to the shorts.  They’ve got only a single zippered pocket, making them not the best day to day short, but perfect for the gym or if you’re a light traveller.  Not cheap at $64 bucks a pair, but you’re getting quality shorts for that price.

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Athletic Recon Shorts:

One of my favorite new training brands (co-founder of Paul Frank).  Everything in their collection is not only stylish, but functional.  The materials used are very light and pliable making doing pretty much anything in them a good idea.  The shorts pictured don’t have two side pockets, but every other short I have from them do, making them great for day to day activities. as well as for the gym  The downside to the light fabric is that they sometimes can get scratched up easily.  Sizing is spot on with the shorts and they have elastic waistbands with drawstrings to ensure a perfect fit.  Pricing can ranges around $60, but you can always find them at the local SoCal competitions selling their products at extremely competitive prices.  Stock up when you can.

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Nike Vapor 8″ Woven Shorts:

Finally Nike is back in the game, or cares enough about “our” game to make products for it.  These shorts were provided to me when Nike sent me the MetCon 1’s to test, and I have to say, leave it to Nike to come with it.  I haven’t really worn Nike shorts since my GloboGym days when I just wore basketball shorts to workout.  They’ve come a long way since and now these are some of my favorite training shorts.  The fabric is light but doesn’t feel like it would get damaged cycling cleans, there are two side pockets, the fabric is water repellant and has little holes to help the short breathe easier.  The styling is minimal but the shorts don’t look gaudy which is a plus.  If there was anything I would add to these shorts, it would be slits on the sides to accommodate squats a little better.  Not cheap at $65 a pair, but they’re good for the money, and they’re Nike.

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LifeAsRX Standard Shorts:

Doesn’t look like they’re making these shorts anymore.  They were pretty good shorts overall, a bit long, but pretty standard boardshorts with 4-way stretch. DSC02945

WOD Gear Throwbacks:

Another favorite short among the CrossFit crowd, and for good reason, they’re great.  Fabric isn’t the lightest but is 4-way stretch, has a 4″ slit on the sides for extra mobility, drawstrings inside the waistband along with a velcro enclosure to help keep the shorts on you.  These shorts can really take a beating and look new for workouts to come.  The inseam could be a little bit shorter but since the slits on the side are there, it’s not a big huge issue.  At $55 they’re priced lower than pretty much all the other shorts I’ve talked about today, making them one of the better deals if you’re looking for some solid workout shorts, if the boardshort look is your style.

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Lululemon Core Shorts:

The hype is real, son.  Lululemon shorts are my favorite shorts to wear, day in and day out.  The fabric is ultra comfortable and super stretchy, the Core shorts have two nicely sized pockets, there’s all sorts of cool styling they offer.  You really can’t go wrong.  Some like to knock Lulu because their prices are higher, but these shorts are $58 dollars and that’s cheaper than most the shorts I’ve gone over.  If you’re in the gym as much as I am, you owe it to yourself to at least try them out.  It’s going to ruin you though, you probably won’t ever want to wear your non-Lulu shorts ever again.  The big downside is that the shorts are easily frayed, I’ve had a broken finger nail pull catch and pull threads out of my shorts, multiple times.DSC02938Myles Apparel Everyday Short:

The last short on my list is another favorite of mine.  Myles Apparel is a relatively newcomer to the athletic short game and only offer one short, two lengths, and 6 colors.  The best part about these shorts is that they’re totally wearable, everyday.  The fabric isn’t light, but it’s durable, is 4-way stretch, and you can literally wipe beads of water off it.  Two side pockets make everyday activities easy, the shorts are tailored to fit your body better, the waistband is elastic but does have a drawstring if you want to tighten the fit further.  I wish these shorts had a side slit for mobility, but the standard 8″ inseam doesn’t go past my knees anyways. Myles also includes a zippered bag that you can toss your stinky gear into with the purchase of their shorts. $58 falls right in line with Lulu, but with more durability.

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12 thoughts on “CrossFit/Workout Shorts Buyer’s Guide”

    1. I have a pair of Rogue fight shorts and the don’t really get used because they’re not versatile enough. They just aren’t flexible, the waistband or fabric isn’t comfortable, and there aren’t any pockets.

  1. Meant to comment here a long time ago. The folks in my gym love lulu, and I held out for about 15 months of doing crossfit. I had been told they were great, and I’d read what you wrote about them. I got my first pair after Murph this year, and then picked up two more pair. Then sold the hyletes I had, and the reeboks, so I could buy more lulu. Damn, the core shorts are awesome. Now there are others I want to try but am afraid too, lol. Spot on review man. Kudos to many of the reviews I’ve found helpful.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Derek. Lulu’s are great, once you go towards the nicer end of the clothing spectrum, its really hard to go back. Check out Rhone, it’s even better than Lulu. Use code: ML15 for 15% off. Happy shopping!

  2. I’m addicted to Lululemon core shorts, but for whatever reason those Virus Airflex shorts have been calling me lately. My only hangup is that their site says they need to be air dried. Do you do that, or do they go in the dryer like the rest of your gym gear? I really don’t want to drop $65 and then ruin them the first time they get washed and I forget to pull them out as everything else (including all the lulu) goes into the dryer.

      1. I have left them in the dryer before, but I try to hang dry as much as possible. You can put em in the dryer on tumble low and I think that’s fine.

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