October 30, 2020

Activewear trends tend to emphasize shorts that show plenty of skin and keep gym-goers focused on that pumped beach-body look. Just look at any celebrity fitness ad or Instagram influencer to see that shorts are the status-quo in any beach or poolside setting.

There’s no denying the appeal of surf-inspired board shorts or thigh-high alternatives, but those garments often don’t provide the complete coverage we need when working out.

Temperatures drop, the weather gets rough, and many of us need athletic pants that extend all the way down to the ankle without sacrificing performance or comfort. 

Let’s look into the top 5 factors that make the perfect workout pant and give you some tips to help select the best fabrics and fit for your needs.  

1. Cool, Flexible Fabrics

It doesn’t matter what your fitness goal may be: weight loss, muscle gain, or a road race win - the fabric of your athletic pants makes a big difference in how you perform in each workout. 

Let’s check out a few of the best fabrics to look for in your next pair of athletic pants:

  • Polyester: The long-standing champ of performance activewear, this synthetic material offers a ton of flexibility and moisture-wicking action to see you through the toughest workouts. Polyester keeps you cool in hot weather and warms you up when temperatures drop, making it the ultimate all-around material for athletic pants. 
  • Spandex: It’s not just for those ladies in the ‘80s workout VHS tapes. This synthetic material is a stretchy superstar in all types of activewear, including athletic pants. Just 5% spandex, and you’ll notice a difference in 4-dimensional stretch. 
  • Polypropylene: When the weather gets cold, windy, and rainy, you’ll want to throw on a pair of athletic pants that’s up for the task. This material is highly flexible and resistant to all kinds of nasty weather, so it’s perfect for the hardcore crowd that can’t miss an outdoor workout session.

  • 2. Fits That Keep You Moving

    Even if you have pants made of the world’s best fabric, they won’t do you any good unless they fit right and give your body maximum range of motion in every workout.

    Most guys have no problem finding athletic tees or long-sleeve shirts that fit properly since we can tell immediately whether the top provides the right feel in the arms, shoulders, and back. The feedback is instant, and it’s a yes-or-no response in a matter of seconds. 

    But when shopping for pants, it’s a less intuitive process since our day-to-day activities are not nearly as diverse and demanding as leg day at the gym or a challenging CrossFit class. You may try on a pair of sweatpants at the store and like how they feel, only to find that they don’t allow you to squat that heavy weight or fully stretch out before a jog. 

    The most reliable way to find the best-fitting athletic pants is to get into the store and try them on for yourself. Don’t just flex in front of the mirror in the changing room - get out and move around, performing every necessary movement to determine if it’s the right choice.

    If you’re shopping online, be sure to thoroughly scan all return and exchange policies and read as many reviews as possible to gain intel on how each piece will fit. 

    Today’s online retailers do a great job of giving you the info you need to make a buy, so don’t hesitate to take the e-commerce route when looking for athletic pants. 

    3. Ready For Any Weather

    In a world with perfect weather, everyone would wear shorts 24/7, right? Not necessarily, since long athletic pants serve a real purpose for warming up our muscles, joints, and tendons before a heavy workout. That’s why pro athletes wear full coverage clothes before the big game as they jog around and loosen up.

    Of course, perfect weather is far from reality, and athletic pants are a crucial aspect of any workout wardrobe during fall, winter, and spring months, even if you live in a sunny state. 

    The truth is that in the morning and evening, temperatures are not conducive to a great outdoor workout, and even if you’re a gym-goer, getting to and from the club requires some coverage to stay comfortable. 

    Factor in rain, wind, snow, and sleet, and you better have a warm set of athletic pants to help you brave those conditions on the way to the gym. 

    That means that 100% cotton sweatpants are out of the picture for anyone living in a rainy part of the world since just a bit of precipitation can leave you soggy and damp for your entire workout. That’s no good for performance, comfort, or smell.

    Instead, you want athletic pants made primarily of polyester or polypropylene, with a bit of spandex or nylon thrown in for extra stretch and moisture-wicking capability. 

    In addition to weatherproof materials, you’re also going to need some storage for your phone, cards, and keys when navigating your way to the workout spot. Since you don’t want those precious items to fall out, deep pockets and zippers are a necessity.

    The bottom line is that any kind of weather can be thrown your way and threaten to dismantle your routine, so plan ahead with athletic pants that have the materials and features you need to stay on track with your goals 365 days a year.   

    4. Modern Shapes And Styles

    With the right materials and a comfortable fit, you might feel unstoppable when working out in your favorite pair of athletic pants. The problem is that many sweatpants and track pants simply don’t look that great and feature outdated styles that can make you look out of touch. 

    Whether you like it or not, athleisure is a real fashion trend like any other, and looking good at the gym is almost as important as working out for health and fitness. 

    With that in mind, here are a few of the key fashion trends to keep in mind when purchasing athletic pants in 2020 and beyond. 

  • Sweatpants: A slim cut is the presiding trend in the world of men’s fashion, and sweatpants are no exception. There should be no bagginess, no bunching, and no excess material. Just straight, slimming lines that accentuate your legs without constricting movement or attracting unwanted attention to certain areas.  
  • Track Pants: Less is more when it comes to track pants, and just a few sleek seams are all you need for an understated look. The best track pants give you just enough room to move around comfortably and don’t flap in the wind when you get up to speed. There should be minimal bunching at the ankle, with less than an inch of extra material. 
  • Casual Chinos: Even the most dedicated workout warriors need to dress up now and then but may not be willing to let go of their favorite activewear fabrics. We understand completely, which is why our nicer pants collection features those stretchy, cool materials and athletic fits while giving you that clean, business-casual chino look. 

  • As with all aspects of personal style, it’s ultimately up to you which clothes you think look best. However, the styles described here are definitely on-trend if you need some direction for your next purchase. 

    If you need some more inspiration, don’t hesitate to browse social media and see what the big fitness influencers are wearing. You can pull off the latest looks without spending a fortune. 

    5. Reliable, Ethical Production

    You may have the perfect pair of athletic pants in mind that meet all of the above criteria, but when it comes time to buy, make sure you purchase from a producer who cares about the economy and the environment. Far too many retailers fall short on this front. 

    We need to face the harsh truth about how American companies use overseas facilities to manufacture their products and change our practices to avoid perpetuating bad working conditions and sourcing practices. It doesn’t take much research to discover the downsides of “fast fashion.”

    The best thing you can do to move things in the right direction is to buy your activewear from companies that produce clothes in the United States, pay workers fair wages, and are 100% transparent about their supply chains and environmental standards. 

    Not only will you be doing your part for ethical economics, but you’ll also often get a better product at the end of the day and feel good about wearing clothes made by people who truly care. 


    Selecting the best athletic pants for your needs can be trickier than it looks. You need to account for the right materials, a comfortable fit, weather-resistant features, modern styling, and it all needs to come from an ethical manufacturer you trust on every level.

    Follow these guidelines, and you’ll track down the perfect pair of athletic pants in no time.