The 10 Best 5-Inch (and Below) Workout Shorts for Men

Welcome to sweaty thigh summer

June 18, 2024 9:13 am
A model running in Tracksmith's Twilight Shorts.
How short can you go?

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There’s a memorable scene in Challengers where Art and Patrick are having a tense conversation ass-naked in a sauna. When I say I have thought about that scene at least once a day since seeing the film, I’m not exaggerating. What my mind aimlessly wanders to, and then fixates on — while I’m at the office, on my morning walks, cooking dinner — from that particular scene is John O’Connor’s thick, bare, sweaty thigh. I recall instinctively sucking my teeth when it graced the movie theater screen.

I have been a long admirer of the male upper thigh, and have written an excessive number of odes to it.

A few years ago, the rest of the internet and I encouraged you to ditch your 7″ and 9″ inseam shorts and swim trunks in favor of a length more flattering, one that clocks in at or under 5 inches. Thankfully that sentiment is still going strong three years later.

We can attribute our little short short renaissance to a few male celebrities. Milo Ventimiglia, actor and my childhood celebrity crush, made headlines back in 2021 after stepping out of the gym in a pair of teeny weeny gym shorts. While he claims that his shorts weren’t as short as they appeared (they were just pulled up high, he has said), Milo’s very bare and very toned quads set off alarm bells, signifying the beginning of a Hot Thigh Summer that year.

But more recently, Irish hottie Paul Mescal of Normal People acclaim predicted this year’s Hot Thigh Summer when he stepped out one New York City night this past February in a pair of 3″ inseam shorts (and blessed us again just yesterday in a pair of striped Gucci shorts at Milan Fashion Week). Chris Pine has similarly embraced short shorts this year on the red carpet, notably these high-waisted corduroy shorts as part of his press looks for the film Pool Man. All of this is to say, 5 inches is, yet again, this summer’s official inseam. (But please, go below if you must).

With all this talk of massive, honey-glazed ham thighs, you might be interested in growing yours this summer. Obviously, you’ll need the workout shorts in which to do so.

So without further ado, below are ten incredibly sexy, thigh-baring gym and running shorts — none of which are over 5 inches in length — so you can give Patrick Zweig’s thighs a run for their money.

The Best 5-Inch Workout Shorts for Men

Vuori’s top-rated Kore Short is loaded with performance properties that make the 5″ short primed for any sport or workout. It keeps sweat and B.O. at bay thanks to moisture-wicking, anti-odor and quick-drying properties, while the four-way stretch fabric offers a soft, lightweight feel. The 5″ inseam gives the short a cleaner-looking athletic fit while granting more freedom of movement, and it even includes a breathable boxer-brief liner for maximum comfort.

If you’re looking to go the extra distance in record time, you need to go an extra inch (or two) up your thigh. With a 3″ inseam and Nike’s Dri-FIT technology, this bold short delivers exceptional mobility and lightweight, moisture-wicking comfort.

No doubt lululemon has this pair of lined shorts marked “popular gift” because wives and girlfriends are gifting them to their S.O.s. We wanna see you in these shorts! And you’ll wanna sweat in them. Designed for high-intensity workouts, training and running, lululemon’s Pace Breaker stretchy performance shorts feature ventilation, distraction-free pockets and a soft inner waistband, so you can focus on that workout.

Tracksmith designed these casual 5″ running shorts for lighter workouts and when you don’t wanna scandalize someone’s grandma at the grocery store like you might in the brand’s 3″ Twilight Split Shorts. They feature the same lightweight fabric, Polygiene liner and three pockets as the split shorts but with a longer, laid-back style. The micro-mesh, four-way stretch fabric enhances airflow and dries almost instantly while the short’s white trim and various flattering colorways add a nice retro touch.

Get to lifting in Gymshark’s itty bitty teeny weeny blue quad shorts. Oh, and they’re not just for looks — these retro-inspired 4″ inseam shorts feature an unrestrictive lifting silhouette so you can really show off at the gym, plus an adjustable drawcord waistband and open side pockets.

With zippered pockets, a t-shirt loop and light-as-a-feather construction, Rhone’s Extra Mile Short will, well, help you go that extra mile, with ease.

Field-tested on core athletes, Ten Thousand’s minimalist, lightest-weight short is engineered for sprints, long runs and every other kind of grueling workout. The Session Short’s unique pocket system keeps essentials secure and sequestered while its anti-chafe and anti-odor boxer brief liner, keeps everything else in order.

If you’re looking for just a simple, reliable 5″ inch gym short Outdoor Voices’ High Stride is a must-have. With a built-in shorts liner, hidden phone pocket and lightweight 100% recycled polyester fabric, these sexy workout shorts will get the job done.

Makers of our favorite running shoe, On also has a score of top-notch apparel — including these versatile training shorts, which are stacked with multiple pockets to keep essentials secure, a soft elastic waistband for comfort and stretchy construction and plenty of side slits for full range of motion.

Not ready to bare it all just yet? No problem. You can still be a part of the trend with this 5″ performance number from Alo, that includes a built-in compression short.

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