Best cheap athletic shorts


Athletic shorts before the 1980s were very short, but loose-fit shorts were popularized by NBA stars like Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

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Which cheap athletic shorts are best?

Finding a pair of cheap athletic shorts is fairly easy. With more and more brands using synthetic fibers, this apparel has become more and more affordable. But with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to make the right purchase. It’s important to find the right materials, style and price point. 

The best cheap athletic shorts are the Loose-Fit Performance Shorts from the Amazon Essentials collection. These cheap athletic shorts come in a two-pack and are made with 100% polyester, which makes them an affordable yet durable choice.

What to know before you buy cheap athletics shorts


Gone are the days of 100%-cotton athletic shorts. The vast majority now are made with polyester. This gives you the advantage of keeping cool and comfortable while engaging in intense athletic activity. Cotton not only causes chafing but collects moisture as well — not ideal for activities that involve fast movements and a lot of sweating. Spandex is another popular material in cheap athletic shorts because of its moisture-wicking abilities. Spandex also conforms to your body, which makes working out, playing basketball or running far more comfortable. 


You may not think there are many style options when it comes to cheap athletic shorts. However, you can find all kinds of designs. The most common rule of thumb is to buy shorts that will sit two inches above your knees. If you’re a runner, you may want the length to be even shorter to allow for more movement in your legs. Basketball players tend to prefer more flexible shorts that sit above the knee for the same reason. Another common style are training shorts with attached spandex liners. These shorts are great for daily gym-goers who want something that doesn’t require an extra layer of underwear.


Of course, you’ll find solid colors such as red, blue, black and white, but more stylish brands offer shades in between, such as Apricot Gold and Camo Green. Layered shorts with spandex liners often have one color for the spandex and another for the shorts themselves. This allows you to mix and match your colors and add an extra element of style.

What to look for in quality cheap athletic shorts


Comfortability is everything when it comes to cheap athletic shorts. The last thing you want to worry about while you’re lifting weights is how annoying the material of your shorts is. Polyester shorts are very soft and provide an excellent level of comfort. This is not only due to their softness, but because of polyester’s ability to remove moisture from your body. Polyester also works to keep your body cool by letting air flow freely through the fabric. 


Durability can be an issue with cheap athletic shorts. After all, you’re purchasing a product that’s inherently made with less attention to detail than more expensive versions. Luckily, athletic shorts don’t require much to be durable. Most athletic shorts are made with polyester, a synthetic fiber that’s quite long-lasting. All high-quality cheap athletic shorts will be made with polyester because the fibers don’t split like cotton or other natural materials. 


Finding a pair of affordable athletic shorts is easy. Polyester is inexpensive to manufacture, so the end product can sell for a lower price. Most cheap athletic shorts cost less than $20. You can even find two-packs that sell for the same price. As long as you’re buying shorts made of mostly polyester, they almost certainly will be of decent quality and come at an affordable price.

How much you can expect to spend on cheap athletic shorts

Cheap athletic shorts cost between $17-$23. 

Cheap athletic shorts FAQ

Are cheap athletic shorts good for yoga?

A. Yes! In fact, many pairs of cheap athletic shorts are designed specifically for yoga. These shorts are often made with spandex and nylon to contour the body and allow for maximum stretchiness.

How should I wash cheap athletic shorts?

A. Materials like polyesters, nylon and spandex should be washed very carefully. While these materials are durable, they can degrade over time when washed in harsh chemicals or hot water and put in tumble dryers. It’s best to wash them on low settings with warm water and let them air dry. 

What are the best cheap athletic shorts to buy?

Top cheap athletic shorts

Amazon Essentials Performance Shorts

Amazon Essentials Performance Shorts

What you need to know: This affordable set has two 100% polyester pairs of shorts with a roomy fit that sits just above the knee.

What you’ll love: Amazon offers multiple colors, allowing you to buy two pairs in two different colors. These shorts are also lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking. 

What you should consider: They can become frayed after washing in hot water.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cheap athletic shorts for the money

Willit Women’s Yoga Hiking Running Shorts

Willit Women’s Yoga Hiking Running Shorts

What you need to know: These cheap athletic shorts are designed with running in mind. They use 80% nylon for comfort and 20% spandex for flexibility. 

What you’ll love: They come in a wide variety of colors, including a tie-dye blue-and-white camo. You’ll find two hand pockets on each side and a drawstring to adjust the waistline.

What you should consider: There is no lining on these shorts and they may show an underwear line. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Leidowei Men's 2-in-1 Workout Shorts

Leidowei Men’s 2-in-1 Workout Shorts

What you need to know: The Leidowei 2-in-1 shorts are perfect for daily and casual gym-goers who want to stay comfortable and cool while working out. 

What you’ll love: Both the outer shorts and inner lining are made with a combination of polyester and spandex. There’s also a hidden phone pocket on the inner lining.

What you should consider: These shorts may be damaged when dried in a tumble dryer. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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