The Best Shorts for Basketball

They say the clothes make the man. We’re here to tell you they’re wrong. No basketball uniform is going to turn you into Lebron James, Michael Jordan or even the 12th man on the bench. On the other hand, if you love to play, it’s important to have comfortable gear. Let’s have a look at some of the best basketball shorts to make your game time more relaxing.

A Bit of History

Shorts have gone through many stylistic changes over the years. Throughout most of the NBA’s history, in fact, they were the short version that we see in pictures of Bird, Jordan, Chamberlain, Russell and earlier.

Michael Jordan not only set scoring records, he also started the change in style. He liked to wear his Tar Heels college shorts under his Bulls uniform, and so requested uniform shorts that were longer and baggier. From there on, the trend spread. As far as we know, every player now wears the knee-lengths uniform shorts that became popular in the late 1980s.

Do you know who was the last to cling to the old “short shorts?” Hint – he’s a Hall of Famer! Another hint – he never won a championship. Ok, we won’t keep you in suspense. It was John Stockton, point guard for the Utah Jazz. He retired in 2003 – so those revealing trunks haven’t been gone from the leg for that long, after all.

What To Look For in Basketball Shorts

The shorts you wear don’t have a highly functional purpose, other than to keep you covered. In organized play, of course they’re also part of your uniform and help identify you to teammates, opponents, refs and fans. But the main thing to look for is shorts that don’t make you uncomfortable.

For this, the material used to make the shorts is important. You want a lightweight material that won’t annoy your skin or weigh you down. You also want to make sure that it’s a breathable material and that it is moisture-wicking so that your sweat is drawn away from your skin and quickly evaporates, rather than sticking in your trunks.

Another factor is of course size. Obvious, right? Just be sure to have shorts that fit comfortably all the way around. Remember that most shorts have drawstrings to adjust the waist. That way if you have to choose a bigger waist to get the right size for your legs, you can easily move up a waist size or two. Just don’t go too big or you’ll have to put up with relentless teasing if they drop to your ankles while you go up for a block!

Most shorts are knee-length but there’s no requirement for that. Go with what feels comfortable.

Finally – there’s style. Unless they’re for a team uniform, go with what you like. Express yourself! There are shorts available in all colors and designs.

Materials Used in Basketball Shorts

Basketball shorts are generally made of one of three types of material: cotton, polyester, or a blend.

Cotton is really comfortable, and great if you’re playing in a cold gym or outdoors in early Spring or late Fall. However, it’s a bit heavier and it tends to hold your sweat. It’ll cling to your body and become uncomfortable after a while. However, it does tend to be a bit cheaper than other materials.

Polyester is not a natural material. But it has a lot of advantages and is probably the most common material used for gym clothes – even if some brands use their own names for it. It’s breathable and light, letting your sweat evaporate. Polyester is not as durable as cotton and will wear out sooner. And unfortunately, it does tend to harbor more odor-causing bacteria that comes from your sweat.

Hybrid blends are used sometimes and combine these two and sometimes others. They have a higher pricer point in general. The blend is intended to help keep moisture away.

Mesh shorts provided more breathability but the material itself doesn’t help wick the moisture away. However, they’re usually more affordable.

The Top Basketball Shorts

Champion Men’s Crossover Shorts

champion men's basketball shorts

 These 100% polyester shorts help provide all you need in shorts. They’ll keep you cool and comfortable from the first jump to the final buzzer.

They have a drawstring for adjusting the waist size for comfort. They also feature pockets – not much use during the game, but if you are coming right to the court and leaving in the same clothes or even just running to the corner store at the half, they come in handy.

Champion may not be the “in” brand – but when you’re this comfortable, who cares?

adidas Men’s Basketball 3G Speed 2.0 Shorts

adidas basketball shorts

This Adidas product does feature moisture-wicking polyester, helping to keep you cool. The elastic waistband and drawstring make them adjustable to your size and preferences. For convenience, they also have pockets on each side. The 12-inch inseam brings them to the knees of most people of average size.

Adidas offers these shorts in a wide variety of colors.

TopTie Men’s Basketball Shorts

toptie men's basketball shorts

TopTie offers these worthy shorts that are made from “viscose” polyester, which is great for wicking. So you’ll stay cool and dry! An 11-inch inseam is designed to bring them to the top of the knees of a person of average leg length.

There have been a few reports that sizes are mislabeled. They don’t seem to run small or large – there have been reports of both. Just be careful when you order and check right away that you got what you were expecting.

Under Armour Men’s Baseline Basketball Shorts

under armour baskelball shorts

Even though a recent marketing survey shows that adolescents see Under Armour as an “old” brand, sometimes oldies are the best. The comfortable shorts with a 12” inseam are made of polyester and weigh a mere 5 ounces.

These are great at drawing the sweat away from your skin. They come in sizes from Small to 3XL and have a drawstring for customization.

POINT 3 DRYV Baller 2.0 Men’s Dry Hand Zone Basketball Shorts

point 3 basketball short

Last but not least, these trunks front Point 3 are another great choice for keeping you comfortable on court and off. They do have a shorter inseam – from 6 to 9 inches – which might not be to your liking. However, they feature a lightweight pad on each hip where you can quickly dry the sweat off your hands! The pads don’t limit your mobility or weigh you down, so it’s really a great addition.


Being comfortable while shooting hoops is essential to enjoying the game. A good pair of shorts is designed to keep moisture off your skin and give you freedom of movement. And of course, you can show off your style at the same time!

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