10 Best CrossFit Shorts Tested & Fully Reviewed

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When you’re breathing hard, muscles burning, focused on getting stronger and tougher in a CrossFit workout, the last thing you want to be worrying about is a wardrobe malfunction. Greg Glassman, a former gymnast, developed CrossFit to help people dramatically improve their health and fitness. The result is a scalable, flexible workout accessible to individuals at varying levels of fitness. CrossFit workouts are designed to include a range of functional movements at high intensity. The workouts are fun, varied – and very tough.

A typical CrossFit routine might include performing a set of exercises “AMRAP” or “As Many Reps as Possible”. In order to perform at your best, you need enthusiasm, focus, and a workout outfit that won’t distract you from your fitness goals. The best shorts for CrossFit must have a streamlined fit, allow optimum mobility, wick sweat effectively and resist riding up during your most challenging moves.

Last Updated: May 28, 2018
By Richard Haberkost:

A very current and impressive selection of top quality sorts. We will continue to expand and update your choices to please visit this page regularly. Check out the FAQs for customer questions and enjoy the very good advisory answers.

Epic MMA Gear WOD
  • Epic MMA Gear WOD
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable waistband
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Reebok Super Nasty
  • Reebok Super Nasty
  • 4.5 out of 5
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  • Breathable
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Under Armour HeatGear
  • Under Armour HeatGear
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Color & pattern options
  • Price: See Here

10 Best CrossFit Shorts

 

 

Epic MMA Gear WOD

The stretchy, moisture wicking nylon/spandex composite of these shorts is sure to keep you covered and dry during your CrossFit regimen. These shorts prioritize comfort, and most importantly, won’t ride up during your dynamic moves. A great value option for any CrossFitter.
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Fit
These WOD shorts are designed with CrossFit in mind, with a tight, flattering fit. The nylon/spandex composite fabric will stretch with you to allow a full range of functional movement even during the most dynamic routines. The soft, flat waistband is very comfortable and won’t restrict your movement.

Style
Epic MMA has provided a huge range of color and pattern options for these shorts, and it should be hard not to find an option that fits your personal style preferences. These include more toned-down colors, such as army green, as well as eye-catching prints that will get you hyped to spend more time at the gym.

Durability
The durable fabric shouldn’t lose its tight spandex fit over time. Don’t let the lack of name brand scare you away from these shorts; trust that they are well-made and designed to last.

Breathability
The fabric of these shorts has great moisture-wicking properties.

Extra features
The flatlock stitching of these shorts ensures a streamlined fit and flat seams. The wide, flat waistband is a great addition that significantly improves comfort.

Value
These shorts are an excellent value option, impressive for their quality, functionality and comfortable fit compare to their low price tag. These shorts would be a great option for a beginner CrossFitter, or even an experience athlete looking to spice up their workout wardrobe with fun colors and prints without compromising on garment quality.
Pros
  • Great value
  • Range of colors and patterns
  • Comfortable waistband
  • Won’t ride up
Cons
  • No pocket

Reebok Super Nasty

Reebok’s Super Nasty line is a short with a flattering, athletic fit. The light material is both breathable and water-resistant as it is treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent). The bold, eye-catching designs are perfect for CrossFitters who like loud styles. A small pocket for essentials completes the practical design.
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Fit
The slim design of these Reebok shorts is fitted but not skin-tight, and excels at offering freedom of movement. The light woven material stretches 4 ways and boasts a Durable Water Repellent (DWR), a handy extra if you might need to take the shorts out of the gym into the elements. The waistband is easily secured using a drawstring, to customize the fit to different body types.

Style
Choose from classic colors, such as red and black, or brighter board short prints with the Super Nasty. All designs have a clean, modern look with a variety of style choices to suit a range of personal tastes.

Durability
As the official sponsor of the CrossFit games, Reebok knows what they are doing when it comes to CrossFit apparel, and this is particularly apparent with their Super Nasty shorts. These shorts are built to last.

Breathability
Reebok uses PlayDry technology in these shorts for excellent breathability, ensuring that you’ll be feeling fresh even as you start to sweat. In addition, each leg has a side slit intended for ventilation that will manually help with air circulation through the shorts.

Extra features
A zippered stash pocket at the back of the shorts is a practical extra. Toss your small valuables in the pocket, and no need to worry that they might fall out. Another fun extra is the antimicrobial inner brief in these shorts, to help keep you feeling fresh when you haven’t fit in a laundry trip.

Value
A more expensive short that is well worth its price tag for the CrossFit enthusiast, given the high quality, durability, and plethora of technical features included with these shorts.
Pros
  • Very breathable
  • Bright colors
  • Durable
  • DWR treated material
Cons
  • Pricier

Under Armour HeatGear

Under Armour has designed a polyester/elastane composite short with a compression fit intended to help muscle power. The ultralight HeatGear fabric features Under Armour’s proprietary moisture transport system and anti-odor technology, sure to keep you cool and dry as you’re busting out reps in your workout. The wide, flat waistband is a comfortable finishing touch to the design.
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Fit
The compression fit of these shorts, combined with a shorter inseam, makes the HeatGear shorty a great choice for the confident CrossFitter willing to let some skin show. The snug fit won’t ride up, so you won’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions. These shorts may run small.

Style
Under Armour has gone with bright, bold patterns and prints for these shorts. You can have some fun picking out a pattern in your favorite color that will let you express yourself through your workout outfit.

Durability
The Under Armour name comes with a connotation of quality, and these shorts promise to be durable. As always with compression garments, following the washing and care instructions will be important for maintaining the shorts’ function.

Breathability
The HeatGear fabric of these shorts is super-light but doesn’t skimp on venting power. The moisture transport system is built to wick sweat quickly and keep you dry and cool as you sweat through those most difficult last sets.

Extra features
The wide, flat waistband of these shorts is constructed with comfort in mind. As the HeatGear shorty has a compression fit, it doesn’t include any pockets, as objects placed inside might be uncomfortable or distracting.

Value
These shorts are a great technical piece of clothing, with a superior fabric to vent heat, that come at a very attractive price. These are a great value choice both for the serious CrossFitter and the CrossFit newbie.
Pros
  • Great value
  • Good heat venting
  • Variety of colors and patterns
Cons
  • No pocket

Nike Flex

Nike Flex training shorts are a CrossFit staple. The Flex fabric is designed to stretch with your body and provide an optimal range of motion. These shorts don’t skimp on comfort, with an elasticated waistband, and the small inside pocket comes in handy to store small items.
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Fit
Aptly named, the Nike Flex shorts have a relaxed fit that moves with the body, but allows some breathing room. In the women’s model, a knit inner fabric holds tighter to the legs. The elastic waistband is designed with comfort in mind, offering a flexible fit. The side slit on each leg is a smart addition to reduce the risk of chafe.

Style
Nike knows how to create a classic, flattering style and they’ve excelled with the Flex shorts. These shorts come in a variety of colors, both bold and more toned-down, so CrossFitters of different styles are sure to find a personal preference.

Durability
These shorts are well-made and like other options with a relaxed fit, don’t run the risk of losing compression over time. The material is DWR treated, and you may need to reapply a DWR coating after too many washes.

Breathability
Nike Flex fabric is airy and breathable, and the relaxed fit won’t trap sweat.

Extra features
The hidden inside pocket in these shorts is the perfect place to store small essentials.

Value
These moderately priced shorts are a comfort favorite that are perfect for those fans of the classic Nike designs.
Pros
  • Hidden pocket
  • Breathable
  • Relaxed fit
Cons
  • No adjustable waistband

CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator

A performance short that won’t fail to keep you cool. These CW-X shorts are engineered with special mesh ventilation panels that will shed heat, as well as a Coolmax crotch liner. The compression fit offers better support for IT band and hip flexors, while the hi-rise fit includes an abdominal support panel.
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Fit
The polyester spandex blend of these shorts includes 4-way stretch, although the compression fit keeps a snug grip on the athlete’s body. In particular, those prone to injury should take a look at this option: the compression technology emphasizes support for the IT band and hip flexors, promoting stability to enhance functional movement. Unlike many comparable shorts, the Stabilyx shorts have a hi-rise fit, again providing additional stability in the torso region with an abdominal support panel. The drawstring closure at the waist means you can customize your fit, too, and the long inseam gives all-around coverage.

Style
These black shorts, with contrasting mesh panels on the quadriceps, look polished and professional. There may not be any bold colors in the design, but you’ll still be turning heads.

Durability
CW-X is one of the best names on the market for compression wear, and they won’t compromise on quality here. These shorts are designed to last. Take care to pay attention to the washing instructions to maintain the compression fit of your shorts. They’ll last the best if you don’t put them through the tumble dryer.

Breathability
The mesh ventilation panels located in the quadriceps region are an innovative way to vent heat in these shorts. CW-X claims that by reducing heat buildup with these shorts, you can also reduce heat-related fatigue in your muscles.

Extra features
The women’s specific design and Coolmax gusseted crotch liner are bonuses to a pair of shorts already packed with technical features.

Value
A pricier pair of shorts that is packed with technical features for the more serious athlete. If you like a sleek style and the stability of a compression fit, you may not need to look further.
Pros
  • Mesh ventilation panels
  • Compression fit for stability
  • Women’s specific design
Cons
  • Pricier
  • Few color options

Reebok Speedwick

The proprietary Reebok Speedwick technology offers great breathability, while the fabric also boasts antimicrobial properties. These slim cut shorts fit well and include a comfort-oriented elastic waistband. The long inseam ensures superior coverage.
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Fit
Comfort is king with the Speedwick shorts. The poly/cotton blend is soft on the skin, and stretches to accommodate movement. These shorts are a good bet for those looking to avoid spandex; they’re unusual in the CrossFit area for their looser fit and stretchy, elasticated waistband. Slim fitting, but they’re flexible to fit many different body types.

Style
A minimalist style makes for a clean design from Reebok, perfect for CrossFitters who don’t like loud designs.

Durability
The serious comfort from this shorts choice should hold up well through washes and wears. The design of the Speedwick line hasn’t changed over several years, indicating that Reebok must be getting something right here.

Breathability
True to their name, the shorts feature Reebok’s Speedwick technology that is engineered to get rid of sweat - fast. The relaxed fit aids with air circulation.

Extra features
The elasticated, contrast-facing waistband is a great bonus when it comes to comfort. You may not want to take these off when you’re done with the workout.

Value
One of the cheapest shorts in Reebok’s arsenal, these shorts are an excellent choice for the casual CrossFitter who is not willing to compromise on comfort.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Relaxed fit
  • Elasticated waistband
Cons
  • No pocket

UN92 Kettlebell Fit

A women’s short with a relaxed fit, the UN92 promises breathable, 4-way stretch fabric that screams comfort. The wide, flat waistband has a drawstring for flexible fit. As a bonus, the small zippered pocket at the back of the waistband can hold essentials such as card and keys.
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Fit
These fitted shorts aren’t skin-tight, offering a more free feeling for those who aren’t fond of compression or tight garments. The inseam, at 3”, offers greater coverage than many spandex options for athletes looking for a more modest experience in the gym. The flat, wide waistband is soft and provides a comfortable fit. The adjustable stretch drawcord allows for a personalized fit, too.

Style
The neutral colors of these shorts are accented by fun design perks, with small decorative kettlebells peppered over the fabric. These shorts are not as form-fitting as many other options, and are great for those looking for a relaxed fit.

Durability
The relaxed fit means that these shorts won’t lose their stretch over time. They’ll fit just as well and maintain comfort over prolonged use.

Breathability
The breathable, water-wicking material will keep you dry during your workout.

Extra features
These shorts offer a handy extra pocket. At the right back waistband, you’ll find a small zippered card and key pocket to hold your necessary small items at the gym. The pocket is invisible and won’t be disruptive.

Value
A mid-priced short that is an excellent option for a dedicated CrossFitter looking for an alternative to compression and spandex shorts. The fun kettlebell print is unique, too.
Pros
  • Wide, comfortable waistband
  • Breathable
  • Fun kettlebell print
  • Small zippered pocket
Cons
  • Less fitted

110 Percent Play Harder Compression

The polypropylene and spandex blend fabric is not only antimicrobial-treated but also offers great moisture wicking properties. The compression fit keeps circulation flowing, while the material promises great 360 degree stretch. These shorts include an innovative cold therapy feature, with reusable ice sheets that slide into corresponding pockets on each leg.
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Fit
These shorts feature a special design of zoned, gradient compression that is designed for optimum circulation and recovery. The tight fit and great stretch ensures that the shorts will move with you for optimum mobility.

Style
The sleek design of these black shorts with white and red lettering will surely get you noticed in the gym. The long rise makes for great coverage and the compression fit highlights muscles.

Durability
110 Percent is a brand trusted for quality, and its Play Harder compression shorts are no exception to this expectation. Expect to be using your shorts for your workouts in the long haul.

Breathability
110 Percent promises superior moisture wicking qualities with the engineering of its blended fabric. That’s important in a compression short, where your sweat should pass quickly from your skin out through the material.

Extra features
These shorts offer a unique, innovative feature that is geared towards those who value recovery above all. The shorts come with their own reusable ice sheets. Stick them in the freezer, pull them out right after your workout, and slide them into designated pockets on each leg of the shorts. Then enjoy the benefits of easy post-workout icing on your recovery process.

Value
These shorts are in investment for the recovery-minded athlete. Pay a little more upfront, and you may end up reaping the benefits by avoiding injury down the road.
Pros
  • Very durable
  • Sleek design
  • Comes with reusable ice packs and ice pockets
Cons
  • More expensive

Mizuno MRB Practice

A classic fitted spandex and polyester blend short, these Mizuno practice shorts promise great value. The sleek, understated design won’t be too loud in the gym, but features fun, eye-popping color accents at the waistband. The drylite technology fabric helps sweat to evaporate quickly.
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Fit
These fitted spandex shorts will hug your hips without riding up through a variety of workout moves. The classic fit falls below the belly button, so athletes concerned about higher coverage may want to consider a different fit type.

Style
These sleek black shorts have an understated design that is ramped up with bold color accents. Bright lettering on the waistband and the left thigh advertise the Mizuno logo. Perfect for CrossFitters who don’t want to stand out too much, but could use a cheeky hint of color.

Durability
The comfortable spandex will hold its stretch through many washes. Take care that the bright Mizuno lettering may fade over time, although the shorts’ fit will be maintained.

Breathability
The Mizuno drylite technology is designed to promote rapid evaporation of sweat, to keep you cool and dry as you suffer through those last reps of your CrossFit workout.

Extra features
The spandex design has a streamlined fit and doesn’t include any pockets. The wide, flat waistband helps to keep the shorts in place and won’t create muffin-top.

Value
This is a star option for affordable quality, from a trusted brand known for its high-quality running gear.
Pros
  • Drylite technology vents sweat
  • Streamlined fit
  • Bold color highlights
Cons
  • No pockets
  • Colors may fade over time

5.11 Tactical Recon Vandal

These shorts will withstand the toughest of workouts: engineered by a company that also makes tactical gear for the military, they’re designed to hold up to the most rugged use. Made from 100% lightweight polyester, their 4-way stretch allows for full freedom of movement. They also feature great moisture wicking technology and a bonus of zippered pockets on each side.
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Fit
These shorts are designed to give you enhanced freedom of movement, and won’t hinder your mobility during any CrossFit moves. The fit is relaxed, a great choice if spandex is not your personal preference, but still streamlined for safety and comfort in the gym. Ties at the front to close the shorts allow for a secure fit and some flexibility in waist sizing.

Style
The sleek, modern design comes in classic colors dubbed “Nautical” and “Scorched Earth”, among others. These higher coverage shorts fall just above the knee, and won’t reveal too much during a risky move.

Durability
Made by a company that also manufactures tactical military gear, these shorts will no doubt hold up to the barrage of many workouts over time. The shorts include extra heavy seams that make them stronger and reduce the chance of any tearing during your workout.

Breathability
The proprietary moisture wicking technology from company 5.11 is sure to keep you cool and dry. The fitted but not skin-tight style of these shorts will also promote air circulation to aid your sweat in evaporating.

Extra features
Offset pockets on each side of the shorts are a great option to hold your small essentials that during your workout. Both pockets are zippered to ensure that you’ll stay in possession of your valuables even when bending over.

Value
A pricier option for the CrossFit enthusiast that’s sure to stand the test of time. This is an investment into a workout wardrobe staple that will handle tough workouts time after time.
Pros
  • Two zippered pockets
  • Very breathable
  • Relaxed fit
  • Durable
Cons
  • More expensive
  • No bold colors

 

How We Chose the Best CrossFit Shorts

Fit

CrossFit is infamous for being dynamic and intense, which is why we placed priority on selecting shorts that won’t restrict your freedom of movement. A great pair of shorts for CrossFit should emphasize mobility, while still being fitted enough that extra material won’t interfere with equipment. Some of the choices are tighter spandex or compression wear, while others have a more relaxed fit. All of the options provide adequate coverage and are comfortable, ensuring that you won’t have wardrobe malfunctions interfering with your workout focus.

Style

While functionality is key, you can’t work hard if you don’t feel good. We thought about selecting shorts that come in a variety of styles, including both bold and classic prints and colors. We also favored styles that look sleek and professional. You should be able to find an option that suits your personal style from the range on the list.

Durability

A pair of shorts is no good if it’s your favorite one day and falling apart the next. Your go-to workout clothes should be reliable. We chose CrossFit shorts with quality construction, often from brands particularly known for the durability and quality of their products.

Breathability

There’s no doubt that CrossFit workouts are tough, even for the experienced gym rat. You may be sweating hard just a few minutes in. When you’re working hard, you shouldn’t have to suffer through the sensation of your own pooling sweat if you’ve got the right workout outfit. A good pair of CrossFit shorts should be very breathable, able to wick sweat away from your skin and keep you cool and dry throughout your challenging workout.

Extra features

Sometimes, that little extra something makes an item of clothing stand out from the crowd. We highlighted CrossFit shorts with handy and practical extra features, from hidden pockets to adjustable waistbands.

Value

The CrossFit workout may not be the only thing that hurts if you’re breaking the bank to buy your workout clothes. Price and functionality shouldn’t have to be a compromise, though, and we’ve looked for the options that will provide you with the best value for your spending.

 

Other Factors to Consider

How much do you sweat?

After an intense workout, do you look like you’ve just been through a downpour, or simply stepped through a light mist? Everyone has different responses to exercise in terms of sweat, and you should plan your workout outfit accordingly. If you’re on the damp side, take note of the options for CrossFit shorts that emphasize breathability. An option without compression fit might be a good choice too, to promote air circulation.

What are your personal style and comfort level?

Are you into bold colors? Tight clothes or roomier? Showing a lot of skin, or more modest? Within the selection of shorts that are appropriate for CrossFit, there is a lot of room for personal preference to help you make your final choice. Think about what design of shorts will make you feel most comfortable and confident while working out in a group setting.

What types of workouts will you be doing, and how often?

What are your fitness goals? If you’re a beginner CrossFitter and are testing the waters, you may want to lean towards the most budget-friendly options. Your workout wardrobe will be less of an investment, and if you may change your mind in the short term you don’t have to worry about durability. If you’re in the gym more often than not, you will likely be putting yourself through the most dynamic moves as your skill improves. You’ll need a pair of shorts that will hold up consistently to a high level of performance, which may be pricier.

How often do you do laundry?

If your laundry pile usually grows to a monstrous heap before you attempt to tackle it, think about selecting a pair of shorts that has antimicrobial fabric. You should still wash them after a few workouts, but you can be less concerned about bacteria growing in the meantime and potentially giving you an infection.

 

FAQS

Q: Why buy shorts specific to CrossFit?

CrossFit combines strength and cardiovascular fitness, and a workout outfit should reflect this. While running shorts will do a great job of venting excess heat and sweat, they may not provide enough coverage or stretch to accommodate the full range of motion and mobility that CrossFit entails.

Q: What style of shorts is best for CrossFit?

CrossFit shorts should be long enough to provide adequate coverage while performing a variety of dynamic movements including jumping, lunging and twisting. At the same time, the shorts should not be too baggy, as any risk of the material interfering with weights or equipment is dangerous. Also, note that CrossFit workouts are intense, and often involve copious amounts of sweat. The best shorts for CrossFit are highly breathable and can wick sweat efficiently to keep you cool and dry during a tough workout.

Q: What are the benefits of compression shorts?

Anecdotal evidence shows that compression garments can aid in recovery, and help to promote blood flow during a workout. Some scientific studies have shown performance benefits in circulation and recovery. These garments can also help with stability, helping to create optimal movement patterns. This is a key reason to use compression wear during CrossFit workouts, where functional movement is the focus of the exercise.

Q: How does antimicrobial material work?

Antimicrobials include several different classes, all designed to kill microorganisms. Fabric can be treated with these special antimicrobial chemicals that will help to stop bacterial microbes from growing on the material. These treated materials can be found in the sports industry as well as in the healthcare industry. If you own shorts made with antimicrobial fabric, you may not have to take as much care to wash them frequently, as the fabric itself will resist the growth of bacteria.

Sources

  1. Melaina Juntti, When Does Compression Wear Actually Work?, Men's Health Magazine, Jan 13, 2018
  2. Leslie Haddad, Antimicrobial Textiles in the Specialty Fabrics Industry, Fabric Manufacturer Blog, Dec 30, 2014
  3. James McDuffy, What is CrossFit?, Fitness Website, Jan 13, 2016
  4. Molly Hurford, Compression Gear’s Impact on Performance and Recovery, Running Website, Feb 25, 2017
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