Gentlemen, hold onto your sweat shorts and welcome the era of the in-between. At present, society sits perched between the pandemic and post-pandemic worlds, as everyone becomes a little more comfortable with going back to normal, whatever that is. Real, maskless, indoor dining normal. Not the new normal we all settled for last summer.
There’s also a more subtle in-between afoot with the shifting of seasons from winter to summer—spring is a lopsided, swaggering balance of these two poles, with temperatures starting off at October levels most mornings before cresting to July in the afternoon and settling back to something like a November evening.
All this in-between-ness requires versatility on every front. As we all reemerge from a cold, dark, isolated winter into the bold new future, it’s worthwhile to reevaluate your sartorial approach to help make the transition seamless. Enter: sweatshorts. If you have them, you probably live in them. If you don’t, we’re here to help.
Consider sweat shorts your wearable buffer for these fascinating times. The name says it all—sweatshorts are an abbreviated iteration of sweatpants, cut shorter for vigorous workouts. As streetwear and athleisure have permeated our definition of dapper, sweatshorts have made the grand leap from exercise to everyday. Beloved for their wide array of styles, their varied uses, and of course, their comfort, sweatshorts are the staple you need this spring (and summer, and fall, and even winter.). From Nike fleece joggers to trendy upstart operations, the vast spectrum of sweatshorts within digital disposal can prove overwhelming.
Here’s all the best sweatshorts to buy right now, so you can get leisurely without breaking a sweat.
The Basics: Getting Started with Sweat Shorts
Sweatshorts come in every material you’d find sweatpants in, like cotton, jersey, and fleece. Each fabric has its own weight and texture to consider—try cotton for lightweight comfort, jersey for its durability, and fleece for its coziness.
For a sweatshort that can live beyond your own four walls, pay attention to where the hem hits. Your shorts should never go below the knee, as this will make you look like the short one. Shorts that are cut too high call vintage basketball uniforms to mind, which is totally cool if that’s your thing. Most guys, however, are going to want shorts that hit their thighs right above the knee. Leg day, anyone?
Every garment has its own individualized details. Consider your preferences for drawstrings, waistbands, and pockets before setting out on your sweatshort mission. While taking time to contemplate, do so from a practical standpoint about the actual utility of the garment, but also from a stylistic standpoint. Helpful features will give the appearance of pragmatism. Snappy accents share your personality.
When to Wear Sweat Shorts
YES: Weekend Outings
Choosing a pair of sweatpant shorts that leverages their innate comfort with kickass style means you can wear your easygoing ensemble at the beach, the park, or even to brunch. Yes, you heard us right! There’s currently sweatshorts on the market suitable for eggs and bacon and bottomless drinks with those friends you haven’t seen in months.
YES: Afternoon Errands
Whether you live in a city where grocery trips are a social event or a more remote locale where shopping can be done in private, sweatpant shorts are an easy grab-and-go option for all your errands. They’re comfortable like sweatpants, but their more streamlined silhouette allows them to feel more polished.
YES: Lazy Sunday
As the months warm up, wake up your tired loungewear. Descended from sweatpants, sweatpant shorts have relaxation baked into their DNA. Whether you’re playing games or watching the game, sweatshorts are your stay-at-home staple for every lazy Sunday (or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday.)
NO: Family engagements
Alas, fiduciary duty requires that we offer at least one piece of guidance as to where this versatile staple should (probably) not be worn. Unfortunately, it’s best to keep your beloved sweatpant shorts at home when visiting loved ones for reasons aside from those mentioned above. That means no celebratory dinners, no baby showers or more serious events that might go in a scrapbook. It’s best to let your sweatshorts commemorate their own kind of moments: those which are cozy and casual.
Five Sweat Shorts for All Four Seasons
Mid-Length Heavy Jersey Shorts by Los Angeles Apparel
If you’re looking for a sturdy staple to take you through all four cardinal seasons and their in-between bits with trend worthy minimalism, then look no further than South Central LA-based (and very ethical!) retailer Los Angeles Apparel. Their mid-length sweat shorts sit at that coveted zone just above your knee for your most flattering fit. This silhouette comes in a full range of standard sizes and eleven versatile hues to suit any style.
Jersey means they’re lightweight, but built to last. These sweatpant shorts come ready for action, equipped with a drawcord elastic waistband, two deep front pockets, and one additional back pocket. While Los Angeles Apparel has made their name with clothing that’s intuitive to wear and built to last, the company really shines by living the values they espouse. All their clothing is made with custom dyed, shrink-free, 100% US-grown organic cotton, and their experienced manufacturing employees are paid liveable wages, plus benefits. Like we said, come to Los Angeles Apparel for sturdy staples you can feel good about in more ways than one!
Acid Wash Accents
Tie Dye Sweat Shorts by Faherty
“Faherty is a family-run business fueled by purpose and optimism,” reads the about us information for this clothing company, which specializes in easygoing attire in interesting new styles and colorways. “Our goal: to build a new American legacy by creating high-quality, sustainably-minded, feel-good favorites that will bring you joy to wear.”
Given this mission, it’s no mystery that Faherty has created some of the best sweatshorts on today’s online market. We love these acid washed tie dye shorts for their super-soft cotton terry texture, individually tie dyed so every single pair is utterly unique. With a comfortable elastic waist and handy pockets, these shorts are suitable for daytime social events and more undone occasions. In addition to their ethical focus, Faherty is obviously notable for the distinct style they apply to each classic offering. Check out their understated kaleidoscope ‘Cabana’ pattern for even more options in this fantastic sweatshort shape!
Mens Cargo Sweat Shorts by Nike Sportswear Club
Given the sweatshort’s athletic origins, we’d be remiss to leave out Nike, the undeniable sportswear GOAT. These Nike fleece joggers are functional AF, packing extra room in their cargo pocket to further simplify life for any man in motion. Built from a durable brushed-back fleece, these shorts are a little thicker and perhaps a little warm. Fortunately, Nike tech helps with breathability.
The longer, boxier shape of these particular Nike sweatshorts means they’re better suited for actual activity than for making a sharp style impression. One reviewer writes that these men’s cargo sweat shorts are extremely comfortable, especially for weightlifting. “The fabric inside is very soft and they are really lightweight,” he notes. “The cargo pocket with snap closure is an added bonus. Perfect for holding my keys, wallet and phone without worrying about them falling out while I workout. The regular pockets were also deep enough to hold my phone while I bench without it falling out, which is nice. A lot of workout shorts have shallow pockets and don’t work well for holding anything as you move into different positions.”
Indie Rock Apparel
Loop Back Sweat Shorts by Entireworld
Entireworld has taken the entire world by storm, providing a pioneering brand of casual activewear rendered with an alt-rock, shoegaze type edge. “We’re just a brand, standing in front of a customer, asking you to love us,” their website explains. A design-driven brand with a “sustainable design ethos,” Entireworld offers timeless, painstakingly sourced classics with a modern ease that feels markedly millennial. These sweatshorts are a modification of their iconic ‘Loop Back’ serie,s available in all manner of staples from sweatpants to sweatshirts as well.
Entireworld crafts this array of offerings from lightweight Japanese loop back French terry, a year-round sweatshirt weight, mixed with 15.5% recycled polyester to minimize shrinkage and create that coveted vintage aesthetic. Their Loop Back Sweatshorts are true to size—not too slim, not too loose, with a “soft hand” and “easy drape.” Try them out in situations where you want to make a subtle stylistic impact.
Prepster Color Block
8-Inch Polo Sport Fleece Short by Ralph Lauren
A go-to for the sunset sail and jetset type of crowd, consider Ralph Lauren for more polished takes on the iconic sweat short idea. These fleece sweat shorts from Polo Sport by Ralph Lauren provide all the comfort you’re looking for in more professional, preppy stripes. These throwback cotton shorts are as close as any guy might get to a sweatshort that’s acceptable for family-type gatherings. Keep your persona pressed and coiffed in comfortable style with these colorful fleece sweat shorts from Ralph Lauren, a sweatshort with pop that’ll get you through all the weather changes, literal or proverbial.