The Best Men's 5-Inch Gym Shorts, According to a Trainer

LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Gymshark Arrival 5" Shorts
Nike Flex Stride
EZRUN 5 Inches Running Workout Shorts
Lululemon Pace Breaker Lined Short 5"
Bearbottom Tech Short
The best 5-inch gym shorts for men isolated on a teal background
Shop the best men's 5-inch shorts for a more comfortable workout.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

They had a long run, but it seems that below-the-knee basketball shorts are becoming a thing of the past. And although there's no right or wrong gym short length, men's 5-inch gym shorts are popping up everywhere today.

Video of the Day

What exactly are 5-inch shorts? These gym shorts have a 5-inch inseam, meaning the length of the fabric down the inner thigh is 5 inches long.

Advertisement

This length may be popular for its flattering look, but it's also super functional for working out. It keeps things breezy while making it so much easier to move forward, backward and side to side. That true whether you're into sprint intervals, strength training or yoga. (Nope, there will be no catching your knees on your shorts here.)

Browse our expert-approved top picks and add a pair of these much-beloved 5-inch shorts to your closet.

How We Chose

We chatted with Sam Chan, DPT, CSCS, a New York-based physical therapist and exercise gear fan to get his take on the best men's 5-inch shorts out there right now (plus a few tried-and-true personal favorites). These top picks are based on criteria including:

Advertisement

  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • Versatility

Manufacturers typically make 5-inch shorts for men. However, the main difference between women and men's athletic shorts lies in the clothing size and front fit. Before you buy, read the sizing information to find the best fitting pair for your body.

1. Best for Versatility: Gymshark Arrival 5" Shorts


Advertisement

  • S​​izes: ​XS to 3XL
  • Inner Liner: ​No

Looking for a pair of versatile 5-inch shorts to take you from the gym to the grocery store? Then you should seriously consider these bottoms from Gymshark, recommends Chan.

Thanks to the sweat-wicking material, these dry quick and keep you sweat-free, perfect for any errands you need to accomplish post-workout. Plus, they've got an adjustable waistband, so they'll stay put during strength-training and running workouts.

Unlike some other men's workout shorts, these don't have an inner liner (like a pair of built-in underwear). That's a big plus for those who want their shorts to feel as light and free as possible.

Advertisement

Buy it:Gymshark.com; ​Price: ​$20

3. Best for Running: EZRUN 5 Inches Running Workout Shorts


  • Sizes: ​XS to 3XL
  • Inner Liner: ​Yes

Behold, the best men's running shorts with a 5-inch inseam. Sure, you can wear EZRUN's shorts on a hike or during a strength-training session, but these really shine during a running workout, thanks to their lightweight fabric and supportive liner. The zipper pockets are a big bonus, too.

"It's an extra plus that the pockets have zippers to ensure my keys and wallet don't fall out while I am traveling," Chan says.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ​Price:​ $13.59

4. Best for the Gym: Lululemon Pace Breaker Lined Short 5"

  • Sizes: ​XS to XXL
  • Inner Liner: ​Yes

With their snag-resistant, sweat-wicking fabric, Lululemon's men's athletic shorts are designed for training in the gym — no need to worry about snagging these bottoms on a piece of equipment. These are available in several lengths and their roomier fit gives you a little extra breathing room.

Lulu's shorts also have a zippered pocket, no-bounce pocket, so you won't have to worry about your phone distracting you during your workout.

Buy it:Lululemon.com; ​Price: ​$68

5. Best for Low-Intensity Workouts: Bearbottom Tech Short

  • Sizes: ​S to XXL
  • Inner Liner: ​No

With medium-thickness fabric and no liner, Bearbottom's 5-inch gym shorts are ideal for lower-intensity activities like walking and leisurely hiking. The fabric is soft and moisture-wicking and the shorts are totally tag-free, so you don't have to worry about unwanted skin irritation and chafing.

Chan also likes how durable the fabric is for outdoor strolls. "It's not a great feeling when rocks and branches rip a hole in your brand new pair of shorts," he says.

Buy it:Bearbottom.com;​ Price:​ $45

2. Best for High-Intensity Workouts: Nike Flex Stride

  • Sizes: ​XS to 4XL Tall
  • Inner Liner: ​Yes

One of Chan's personal favorites, these Nike men's running shorts with 5-inch inseam are ideal for long runs and challenging high-intensity workouts. The higher-cut sides offer some extra ventilation, during sweatier sprint. And the Dri-FIT fabric pulls moisture away from your body and dries quickly. Plus the inner liner gives the extra support you need during burpees and box jumps.

These also have reflective details on the sides, which is a protective bonus for anyone who likes to take their runs outside in the nighttime.

Buy it: Nike.com; ​Price: ​$50

5 Things to Look for in the Best Men's 5-Inch Shorts

1. Flexible Fabrics

Training shorts should feel stretchy and flexible so you don't feel like they're restricting your available range of motion, Chan says.

Take a close look at the label or product details online. Fabrics containing made polyester, nylon, Spandex or Lycra is usually best. These materials have a lot of give. Plus, they help pull moisture away from your body, keeping you dry.

It's best to avoid men's athletic shorts that are made of cotton. These absorb moisture, tend to dry slowly and can trap some funk.

2. Liners... or Not

Decide whether or not you want a liner in your bottoms, Chan suggests. Some shorts with 5-inch inseams for men have a built-in liner, a layer of fabric that's kind of like a built-in pair of athletic underwear.

Liners:​ Generally, you want to opt for built-in liners during sweaty or high-impact workouts that include activities running and jumping. These provide extra support and comfort, while the mesh fabric allows for better ventilation. You don't need to wear underwear under athletic shorts with liners.

No Liners:​ Liner-free shorts are ideal for workouts that don't require as much support or ventilation. They're also a good option for when you want to wear your shorts both in the gym and on the go, or if you simply feel more comfortable sticking with your usual underwear.

3. Supportive Waistbands

Most exercise shorts have a drawstring or cord that helps keep them in place while you train, Chan says. These won't usually make or break a pair of bottoms, but it's a nice plus.

Just make sure you look for a pair that doesn't have a super long or bulky chord because these can feel uncomfortable or distracting.

4. Pockets

Chan loves a pair of workout shorts that have pockets, especially if he has to run a few post-workout errands. Pro tip: Look for pockets with a zipper to keep your valuables safe while you run or jump.

Advertisement