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What are the different types of athletic shorts

There are a lot of different types of athletic shorts out there, designed to suit a wide array of different sporting endeavours. Whether you are a cyclist, basketball player or avid runner, you will be able to find the perfect pair of shorts to help you perform your best. Take a look at the following types of athletic shorts to find the one that suits you best.

Cycling Shorts

If you are an avid cyclist, you know how important a good pair of cycling shorts are. These stretchy skin-tight shorts are designed to keep you comfortable on the bike and help streamline your body so you can cycle at your fastest. With no loose material in sight, you don’t have to worry about fabric snagging as you pedal.


They also have additional padding at the crotch area to prevent chafing. If you’ve ever ridden a bike before, you’ll be familiar with the discomfort that the saddle can bring, especially when riding long distances. 


You may also notice a silicone grip around the leg openings. This is a nifty feature that prevents your cycling shorts from riding up and bunching. 

Basketball Shorts

Basketball is all about agility. You need to be able to dodge, jump and weave your way across the court - and basketball shorts can help with this.


Basketball shorts tend to be made from lightweight, breathable materials that allow for easy movement. They tend to be loose and baggy so you don’t feel restricted as you dribble, shoot and (hopefully) score. 


As the name suggests, basketball shorts are great for basketball, but can also be worn in a casual setting. Because of this, you should be able to get plenty of use out of this style of shorts on and off the court. 


Running Shorts

If pounding the pavement is your preferred way of getting active, you’ll need a quality pair of running shorts. The type of running short you end up choosing will largely depend on the type of running you love to do. If you are a keen trail runner, you might be better suited to longer running shorts for additional protection from the elements such as UV rays and debris. 

However, if you are more into typical road running, you may find short shorts are a better option. This is because they offer maximum ventilation and movement to enable you to stride it out. It is not uncommon to find running shorts with a side split to allow for freedom of movement as you run. In saying this, not everyone loves exposing their entire legs on a run and that is okay! You can always opt for something more of a medium length if this makes you more comfortable. 

Some running shorts come with a built-in liner, which means you don’t have to worry about wearing separate underwear. This is particularly advantageous for long-distance runners, helping to prevent chafing and improve overall performance. 

Whatever style of running shorts you choose, the key is finding a pair that makes you feel comfortable. Check out our blog on what to wear when running for more tips and advice on choosing the right activewear. 

Compression Shorts

If you are serious about fitness, a pair of compression shorts could be for you. Compression shorts are designed to be extremely form-fitting, creating gentle pressure on your glutes, quads and hamstrings. This pressure aids in muscle recovery and blood flow whilst minimising muscle pain. As a result, they tend to be a popular choice among runners. They are also popular for their streamlined design, helping you become more aerodynamic and perform at your best. 

Read our blog on the top 5 benefits of compression clothing to learn more about how compression shorts work. 

Rugby Shorts

Calling all rugby players! Rugby shorts are designed specifically for rugby, enabling you to perform at your very best.


They are relatively short and not too loose, preventing players from grabbing hold of your pants and pulling you back. 


You’ll also find that they are extremely lightweight and allow you to run freely across the field in record time. 

How to choose the right athletic shorts for you

To choose the best athletic shorts for you, you’ll need to consider a variety of factors. Once you’ve mentally gone through the below checklist, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and find your perfect pair. 

Determine what kind of exercise they are for

As we mentioned previously, there are so many different types of athletic shorts for different sports. By determining which sport you need these shorts for, you can narrow down your selection and make the decision easier. 

This should be the first thing on your list. From there, you can narrow it down even further by taking the below points into account. 

Take the material into account

When looking for athletic shorts, it is important they be made from a breathable, comfortable material. However, there won’t be a “one material fits all”, as different materials work best for different purposes. 

For instance, spandex is great for cycling, as it streamlines your silhouette, prevents chafing and moves with your body. Polyester is deemed the best material for basketball players, due to its moisture-wicking properties. Whereas nylon and polyester are popular choices for runners. 

shorts with pocket

short material

short fitting

Decide whether pockets are important to you

For some people, pockets are non-negotiable. If you are an avid runner, pockets may be extremely important for you in particular. For instance, a zippered back pocket makes it easy to store your keys and phone, keeping your hands free as you run. However, a zippered back pocket might be uncomfortable for other sports like yoga, which involves flat-back positions. 

You will also need to think about the type of pocket you want. A zippered pocket will prevent things from falling out as you exercise. If you opt for a pocket without a zipper, you’ll want to make sure that it is a snug fit to prevent your phone from tumbling onto the pavement and breaking. 

Make sure your athletic shorts are a good fit

Sizing is key to comfort. You’ll never feel comfortable if your shorts are constantly sliding down or pinching your skin too tight. The waistband should be snug yet comfortable and the leg openings shouldn’t restrict your movement in any way. 

If buying online, we recommend whipping out the tape measure and referring to our size guides. However, if you can pop in store, this will be the best way to get the fit right on the first try. A good way to test fit is to test your mobility or do a quick spot of cardio. If the shorts ride up or feel uncomfortably tight, they might need a bigger size. If they slip down at all while you move, you might need a smaller size. Ultimately, your shorts should feel like a second skin - so comfy you barely notice you have them on.

Athletic shorts available at Rebel Sport 


Calling all blokes! We’ve got an impressive array of sports shorts to pick from. Browse through all your favourite brands including Nike, Puma, Canterbury, Under Armour, adidas and more. 


Need a pair of women's shorts? We’ve got you covered with workout shorts, running shorts, football shorts and so much more. With so many great brands and designs to choose from, you’ll easily be able to find a pair that suits your style. 

Ready to shop for athletic shorts?

If you’ve reached this point of the guide, you should now feel confident in purchasing the right athletic shorts to add to your activewear collection. At Rebel Sport, we have an impressive selection of both men’s shorts and women's shorts that are sure to tick all your boxes. Whether you need a quality pair of running shorts, basketball shorts or cycling shorts, we’ve got you covered. If you need a little extra help to find the perfect pair of shorts for you, simply reach out to our friendly team at Rebel Sport.