What are the Different Types of Workout Shorts?

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  • Written By: Vicki Hogue-Davies
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 15 February 2020
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The types of workout shorts are as extensive as the athletic activities for which they are worn. Special shorts are made for running, walking, swimming and biking. Yoga and bodybuilding also have their own styles of shorts, as do other athletic activities. Workout shorts for both men and women come in a wide variety of styles, fabrics, lengths and textures. They generally are designed to provide comfort and style during exercise, allowing wearers to focus on their workouts and not their clothes.

Workout shorts for runners keep them comfortable over short and long distances. Running shorts come in the traditional looser, elastic waist styles and tight "bun-hugging" styles. They are available in very short lengths or as longer pairs that reach just above the knee. Some feature small pockets for carrying keys, cell phones or other smaller items. Polyesters, polyester blends, spandex and nylon fabrics help ensure that runners feel cool and comfortable.

Made for a comfortable stroll through the neighborhood or a day on the trail, walking shorts can be worn for a variety of occasions. Classic Bermuda shorts and other styles are designed to be worn as semi-casual attire. Styles made of more breathable fabric that wick moisture also fall into the category of walking shorts and are designed for more strenuous walking activities.


Swimming shorts made of quick-drying fabrics keep people looking cool on the sand and in the water. Board shorts, which originated in the surfing lifestyle, come in a variety of colors and prints made for a day on the beach and can be worn by men or women. Fuller coverage bikini bottoms for women also are sometimes referred to as swim shorts.

Padded and unpadded biking shorts are made for cycling on or off the road. Road bike styles typically are made of nylon and spandex to hug the body, prevent chafing and keep riders streamlined. Mountain bike styles of shorts are often fuller in cut and have pockets for storing items during trail rides.

On the mat, yoga shorts for men and women are made with comfortable waistbands and fabrics such as cotton-poly blends to help ensure flexibility. They come in everything from "short shorts" to long knicker styles. Men's styles tend to be looser, and women's are more form-fitting.

Women's bodybuilding short styles often are shorter to show off the bodies being built. Men's might be very short as well or might reach closer to the knee for more of a traditional "gym short" look. Bodybuilding workout shorts generally come in soft, breathable fabrics that allow wearers to move comfortably while lifting weights or using fitness equipment.


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