Over the last year, going to the gym has been fraught with anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic—so fraught that many people simply stopped going. Now, with vaccines rolling out across the world, the prospect of going back to the gym is a welcome possibility for everybody who abandoned their memberships in favor of working out from home.
But now that we’re about to leave the judgment-free home gyms that we’ve become accustomed to and embark on an adventure to the fitness facilities that we used to frequent, it might be a little intimidating to figure out what to wear. No longer can we simply throw on the same old pair of gym shorts, knowing that nobody will see (or smell) them when we’re doing our routines on our own—soon, we’ll be surrounded by other humans while we pump iron or hit the treadmill, and we’ll want to look and feel our best.
While this might be a scary notion to many, we at Willy California are excited about the possibilities. Moving forward, we have an opportunity to present ourselves to the world as men of good taste—but also of practicality. We’ve spent too much time hanging out at home to give ourselves over to the unsightly and uncomfortable trends of the past, and now that we’ve learned to embrace the functional and comfortable, we can learn to incorporate that with the fashionable.
With that in mind, we wanted to provide a quick look at some of the leading trends in gym shorts—so that when you return to the gym (if you haven’t already), you can do so with a sense of confidence and drive that helps you perform at your best.
There was a time when people choosing workout gear favored hardcore technicality over style and comfort—that time has passed (thankfully). Nowadays, people are more concerned with staying comfortable at the gym, because the longer we feel fresh, the longer we can push our bodies to the limit.
That’s why these days, you’ll find that the best workout clothing is designed with your comfort in mind—and gym shorts are no different. Rather than leaving you feeling constrained, your gym shorts should make you feel free to tackle your routine, no matter how difficult it is.
There are several ways in which today’s gym shorts are designed to make you more comfortable:
With fabric technology improving all the time, we keep finding better ways to engineer workout apparel. These days, the best gym clothes are made from ultra-soft, super-flexible materials that stretch and contract with your body. You don’t want your clothing to hold you back—and you certainly don’t want your workout to irreparably stretch your clothing out (or tear it up).
For that reason, some of the best pairs of gym shorts are made of polyester and spandex blends—these performance fabrics are built to effortlessly move with your body as you jump, squat, and lunge through your workout.
Whether you’re a long-distance runner, or a triathlete trying to beat your best time, or even a casual weightlifter trying to stay in shape, the last thing you want is for your clothing to get all sweaty and smelly. For that reason, the best gym shorts these days are made from material that’s engineered to wick moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout the day.
For those unacquainted with the term “moisture-wicking,” moisture-wicking refers to the process of drawing moisture (namely sweat) away from your body and forcing it to quickly dry.
This works in a two-fold process: first, moisture-wicking technology rapidly pulls sweat away from the body and toward the outer surface of the material; second, because the fabric is engineered to repel moisture, any dampness on the material is quickly dried through the natural process of evaporation. As a result of this dual process, your body stays dry—no matter how hard you’re working out.
In the same vein as moisture-wicking materials, antimicrobial fabrics help you stay fresher for longer.
Antimicrobial materials kill or slow the spread of microorganisms—the tiny little life forms that combine with your sweat to contribute to body odor. By stopping these little guys before they get to work, gym shorts made to be antimicrobial can keep you feeling (and smelling) your best throughout a long, hard workout.
Nowadays, people are incorporating fitness apparel into their day-to-day activities. It’s perfectly acceptable for people to wear their yoga pants straight from the studio to meet up with their friends for lunch, and it makes sense, doesn’t it? Not only are workout clothes these days made for comfort, but they also show off the bodies that we’ve been working to build and maintain.
Similarly, the shorts that we wear to the gym should be able to handle our most extreme workouts while also being comfortable and stylish enough for a night on the town. That’s why when you go to the gym, you’ll see fewer men wearing giant, baggy basketball shorts and more men favoring slimmer, clean-cut options.
With performance fabrics that can handle any workout, and a sleek line that helps to highlight developed thighs and glutes, modern gym shorts tend to be incredibly versatile. Along with a workout tee, they make up the perfect ensemble for a hardcore workout; paired with a polo shirt, they can accompany you to the bar for post-workout drinks.
And because workout clothes these days are so comfortable, they can also function as loungewear for lazier days spent at home. With the right pair of gym shorts, you can do almost anything and go almost anywhere.
In order for today’s gym shorts to be so versatile, they’re often designed with key concepts in mind:
Unfortunately for most people’s gym shorts, they’re often relegated to the bottom of a bag while we go about our days. Unless your office allows you to wear shorts on hot days, you may find yourself showing up to the gym with a pair of heavily wrinkled shorts—not a good look.
Luckily, modern fabric technology allows us to make clothing that fights wrinkles at every turn. While this is very useful for those forced to roll up their shorts rather than wear them to work, it’s also ideal for people who want to walk out of the gym and hit the town—no matter what your workout requires, anti-wrinkle fabrics will keep your shorts looking fresh enough to take with you on any outing.
While some workout shorts still favor a longer, baggier, less revealing style, some go in the opposite direction, with skin-tight designs built to show every muscle and cut down on wind resistance. However, most modern workout shorts fall somewhere between the two—neither shapeless nor overly shapely.
Today, the most versatile pairs of gym shorts leave a little room for the fabric to naturally drape itself over your lower half without being baggy and amorphous. Meanwhile, the slimmer cut and subtle curve of modern designs help to highlight the lower body muscles that you’ve been working on (so long as you don’t skip leg day).
Because they’re designed with the functionality of performance workout gear and the appearance of casual (or even semi-formal) menswear, modern men’s athletic shorts can be worn for multiple purposes.
Ultimately, what we wear to the gym has a lot to do with how well we perform once we get there. No matter how intense your workout regimen is, you need a functional ensemble that allows you to do everything you need to in order to achieve your fitness goals. That means that you need clothing that will stretch with you and support you as you move—but that doesn’t mean that you should forget about style.
While your workout gear should be functional, it should also make you look your best—ideally, you’ll look so good that you won’t even want to take them off when you leave the gym.
To that end, Willy California has plenty of options to offer. Our collection includes more technical shorts that are designed with optimal performance in mind—but that are stylish enough to wear around town; we also offer dressier options that feature much more athletic functionality than your average pair of khaki shorts. We even offer incredibly comfortable and casual options meant primarily for lounging around the house (but that are stylish enough to accompany you on a day of running errands).
Whether you’re looking for a pair of shorts that will work for both the office and the golf course, or for a pair of casual athletic shorts that are fashionable enough for that post-workout smoothie date, Willy California is here to help. Check out our collection and see what we have to offer. We’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.