The best high-waisted workout shorts

Sports Apparel

Invest in high-waisted workout shorts that have flatlock seams, which are smooth and glide across skin to minimize chafing. Flatlock seams lie flat on the skin and create a streamlined silhouette.

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Which high-waisted workout shorts are best?

High-waisted workout shorts are sleek alternatives to bulky sweatpants and offer a cooler workout experience. Several styles have unique features such as wick-away material or compression properties that support sweaty, intense workouts.

High-waisted workout shorts can be as fashionable as they are functional. Our top choice, CALIA by Carrie Underwood Essential High Rise Bike Shorts, is available in neutral colors as well as snake- and ocean-themed prints.

What to know before you buy high-waisted workout shorts


High-waisted workout shorts styles are dominated by form-fitting bike and yoga shorts, whose smoothing effects create flattering silhouettes. Because they expose more of the leg than full-length workout bottoms, there’s better air circulation to keep wearers cool. Many high-waisted styles are available with more than one inseam length.


Some styles of high-waisted workout shorts have waistbands prone to rolling down, especially during squatting or bending exercises. Other styles may have narrow cuts around the hips and leg holes, making it difficult to find the ideal fit. Finding truly opaque shorts is challenging because those made with thinner materials may appear sheer when they’re stretched out.

What to look for in quality high-waisted workout shorts


Many high-waisted workout shorts are made with blended materials, including cotton, polyester, spandex, Lycra and nylon. Cotton blends are breathable and soft but may shrink or fade with frequent washing. Shorts made entirely with synthetic materials are shrink- and fade-resistant. While they’re flexible to allow for comfortable movement, the elasticity of synthetic fibers may deteriorate over time.


Classic colors for high-waisted workout shorts include the basics: black, navy and gray. They’re neutral and pair well with most workout tops so it’s no surprise they remain some of the bestselling colors for shorts. If you’re partial to a pop of color in your athletic wardrobe, many high-waisted shorts are available in various prints and different colors.


Opacity refers to how effective something is at blocking out light. As far as high-waisted workout shorts are concerned, high-opacity leggings won’t reveal skin or undergarments beneath the shorts.

To determine whether shorts are opaque, many wearers perform the “squat test.” This involves squatting in front of a mirror in a well-lit room to see if the shorts become sheer when the material is stretched.


Like some workout bottoms, high-waisted workout shorts are available with different inseams. The shortest inseams measure 3-4 inches whereas mid-length styles are approximately 5 inches long. The longest inseams measure 7 inches and longer, and there are a handful of styles with 10-inch inseams.

How much you can expect to spend on high-waisted workout shorts

Many cotton-blend high-waisted workout shorts cost $25 and less, whereas styles made with premium stretch materials run between $25-$50. High-waisted workout shorts made by high-end athletic apparel brands can run as high as $75.

High-waisted workout shorts FAQ

How should you wash high-waisted workout shorts?

A. Always follow the care instructions on the tag. With many high-waisted workout shorts, this often includes washing them in cold water with detergent only, then hanging to dry. Refrain from using fabric softeners and dryers, as both may cause materials to deteriorate sooner.

What causes pilling in workout shorts?

A. Pilling usually is the result of wear and tear, particularly in cotton-blend workout shorts. It frequently shows up in high-friction areas such as the inner thighs. It’s not completely preventable, but you can keep pilling under control with electric lint removers.

What are the best high-waisted workout shorts to buy?

Top high-waisted workout shorts

CALIA by Carrie Underwood Essential High Rise Bike Shorts

CALIA by Carrie Underwood Essential High Rise Bike Shorts

What you need to know: A well-made pair, these wide-waist shorts have a flattering seam design.

What you’ll love: This fitted style has a 10-inch inseam, which is longer than most pairs on the market. They’re made with wick-away material to keep wearers cool and dry. The shorts are available in sizes XS through 3X.

What you should consider: Some consumers reported lighter colors of the shorts weren’t opaque like darker colors.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Top high-waisted workout shorts for the money

Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Shorts

Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Shorts

What you need to know: These affordable yoga shorts have four-way stretch so you can flex through yoga poses comfortably.

What you’ll love: The shorts, available in more than a dozen colors, are made with opaque material that passes the squat test. The blended material has a smooth, buttery finish. They have dual side pockets deep enough to fit most smartphones.

What you should consider: Some wearers felt the 5-inch inseam was too short and rode up when they walked.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon.

Worth checking out

Tek Gear 7-Inch High Waisted Shape Shorts

Tek Gear 7-Inch High Waisted Shape Shorts

What you need to know: Simple and versatile, these solid bike shorts are popular for yoga as well as everyday wear.

What you’ll love: The shorts have a compressive fit, which boosts circulation around the quads and glutes. They’re made with a comfortable, flexible blend of nylon, polyester and spandex. The shorts also have a wide, no-roll waistband.

What you should consider: A few people reported that sizing is off and the legs run fairly narrow.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s.

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

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