11 Best Men’s Basketball Shorts of 2020: Athletic Performance, Comfort, & Style (Adult & Youth)

Whether it’s for lounging, playing, or working in, basketball shorts have become a major part of the ordinary man’s wardrobe.  They are so versatile, freeing, and comfortable that they can go from one use to the next without much of a fuss, and that has made them so, so popular.  When it comes to playing the actual game, then, it can get a little bit tough to find exactly what you need because of the plethora of choices that you can now readily find available online.  Today, we are going to help you cut through the clutter and overlook the pairs that just don’t cut it with our buying guide and reviews.  So, sit back, relax, and then get ready to hit the court in a bit!

Top Men’s Basketball Shorts Comparison Chart

NameMaterialPriceWhere to Buy?
Under Armour Men’s Raid ShortsPolyester$$$Check Price on Amazon
Champion Men’s Long Mesh ShortsPolyester$$Check Price on Amazon
Spalding Men’s Extreme Performance ShortsPoly Interlock$Check Price on Amazon
Russell Athletic Men’s Mesh ShortsPolyester$$Check Price on Amazon
Reebok Men’s Mesh Basketball ShortsPolyester$$Check Price on Amazon
Nike Men’s Layup 2 ShortsPolyester$$$Check Price on Amazon
Adidas Men’s Basics 1 ShortsFabric $Check Price on Amazon
Southpole Men’s Basic Basketball Mesh ShortsPolyester$Check Price on Amazon
Real Essentials Men’s 5 Pack ShortsPolyester$$Check Price on Amazon

Men’s Basketball Shorts Buying Guide


The materials that are used to make your basketball shorts are going to end up having a profound impact on how much you enjoyment you get out of them.  Despite nearly all league basketball games being played inside, gyms differ with the degrees of warmness inside.  This means you could be looking for a totally different thing from the next guy.  Furthermore, players that will be playing outside need something else entirely.  We’ll take a look here with the various options available to you. 


If comfort is king, then so, too, is cotton.  Cotton is a great choice for those of us that choose to lounge around in our basketball shorts on the couch all day long during the summer.  They are also awesome when it comes to the cold.  There are few materials that will do quite as well as cotton in this sort of environment, so even if they don’t cover up much in terms of surface area, they will be warm where you need them to be.  The downside to cotton is that it’s not very good when it’s warmer.  Cotton absorbs sweat, eventually seeing the material become heavier.  It also has the tendency to crinkle up, too, which makes you look kind of weird.  The price of cotton is very competitive, despite this, and that’s why it remains a decent choice. 


Polyester is truly one of the most amazing inventions that humans have come upon.  Used in an array of settings, including sports and all other sorts of things, polyester is exceptional at limiting the amount of moisture around you.  Because of this, it’s a great answer for cotton and will be more than adequate on a hot day when you just can’t possibly get enough air into the system.  This means you’re going to be, overall, much less heavy while on the court, since you don’t have that residual sweat weighting you down.  There isn’t a lot of negatives to them, other than possibly the price being higher and the fact that they are a little thinner and might not last as long as other materials.  One final thing to keep in mind is that manufacturers will commonly change the name from Polyester to their own name.  This is just a marketing ploy!


Then you have the hybrid blends, which are seeking to take the best of both worlds and combine them to give you a better experience than a single element could breed.  A lot of times, you will see materials like Spandex, polyester, cotton, and mesh being used.  Mesh is super cheap and is awesome for giving you the ability to breathe, since it’s a bunch of tiny holes after all, but it’s also easier to tear.  That’s why a lot of shorts, at least the better ones, will use it along with the other materials.  By using spandex, for example, you can create a more ‘compressive’ pair of shorts.  This not only makes you feel more freedom while playing but has also been shown to help decrease your likelihood for injury. 


Here is where we are going to take a look at the styles and looks of the modern basketball short.  Things have changed drastically over the years, but in the last couple of years things have taken a turn yet again.  Ten years ago, I would never have thought the current style would be shifting, but the past- as it always does- seems to be repeating itself. 

What we mean is that in the old days of basketball, the Larry Bird and John Cousy era, you saw players playing with basically what amounted to short shorts on.  They didn’t come much further down than the fingertips, if they did.  This showed off those long legs, and was a real deterrent for many a young man to play basketball back in those days.  Things began to shift in the 90s and have remained the same since then, with shorts that come down to the knees and maybe even a bit lower.  This baggy sort of look is appealing to many because it doesn’t show off much. 

But, things are shifting and what’s old is becoming cool once again.  The short shorts have returned a little bit, with players experiencing more freedom to move about.  They are less baggy and since they have less material, they are lighter to use.  Shoes are getting much lighter as well, so this is not really a huge shock for many inside of the game.  The question for you- and our list- is just how much of an influence is this.  It’s all up to you, but don’t feel limited by the current style choices.  Because you could be at the forefront of the change!

Fitting Yourself

Making sure you pull off the look you are going for, whether it’s the 1950s ‘Chuck Taylor’ look or the modern Kobe Bryant style, is going to depend on how the shorts fit on you.  If they don’t fit the right way, you’re look will suffer and your play might as well.  It may seem silly to suggest this, but looking good actually has been shown to improve on-court performance.  Players play best when they are confident, and if you are unsure about yourself, your game, or your wardrobe, it can have a poor effect on your game.  Here’s a general sizing chart to go by (waist size):

Small: between 28 and 30 inches

Medium: between 32 and 35 inches

Large: between 36 and 38 inches

Extra Large: between 40 and 42 inches

Extra Extra Large: between 44 and 46 inches

These sizes are nice to go by and all, but they don’t tell the whole story.  Sometimes you will find a pair of shorts that just aren’t long enough on you.  The waist will be perfect, but you end up finding yourself feeling a little off and want to go an alternative route.  Instead of doing that, though, you can always go up a size.  This is possible since most basketball shorts have a drawstrings that will let you pull them tighter.  So the waist might in fact be a little bit too big for you, yet it still doesn’t have to be a make or break factor.  Just keep in mind that some shorts don’t have the greatest of drawstrings, so that should be kept in mind.  A lot of players don’t like the shorter look, so going up a size, or even two, is perfectly normal and a good idea. 

Trying on in store is best served to finding out how they fit on you, but that isn’t always something you are able to do.  If you are buying online, you will need to try them on first thing.  If they don’t fit as well as you’d like, then you will have to choose between sending them back or sticking with them. 


Pockets are an aspect of basketball shorts that might not seem like that big of a deal, but they can be very much so.  They are controversial for sports, for sure, because they are a very big distraction for a lot of players, especially the younger ones among us.  When you have pockets, you can push your hands into them.  It can cause them to also not be ready for the ball to come their way.  They also can be pulled on by other players, believe it or not, to slow you down, so that is also something you have to think about.  If it’s an actual official game that is being played, wearing shorts without pockets is really the best call for you.  With that said, pockets are a good idea for someone that needs to carry some things between games.  They are probably going to be just fine in a pickup game sort of situation, since you have a little higher chance of being leisurely there.  It’s all up to you, but pockets can be a decision maker when it’s all said and done for you. 

Reversible Shorts

One way that teams, especially at the recreational level, stick out from each other is by using shorts that reverse.  Reversible shorts are great because you can have two colors, one on each side, and can switch from one to the next very quickly.  It means you don’t have to play shirts versus skins this way, or it means you can just go with all skins on those warmer days if you want to.  This kind is very much open to interpretation.  They can be made with all sorts of different materials.  Some of them will great at wicking away sweat, while others will be less than stellar.  It just depends on them.  Price is also very much dependent on the quality.  Some can be found for super cheap, while others are a bit more expensive.  It really is just a crap shoot to figure them out at times. 


The price of basketball shorts are going to depend solely upon the materials that are used.  In most cases, a pair that uses just one material is going to cost less than those that use multiple materials.  Cotton, the oldest material in the book, as we’ve discussed is cheaper than the rest.  But as you go up the ladder or quality and special elements brought to the table, the price will go up.  Some people are frustrated that shorts, basically half the length of pants, would cost so much, but due to their ability to keep you cool and in the game, it’s easy to see why they do cost so much.  It also should go without saying that shorts from brand names will just cost more than those that are not.  You are also paying for the coolness factor, if you will, so you should expect to fork over some extra money.  With this said, there are deals out there in all corners of the market and if you look hard enough you’ll find something you love for a price you love. 

The Top 9 Men’s Basketball Shorts of 2019 Reviews!

1. Under Armour Men’s Raid Shorts

Starting off our list is a pair of shorts that will literally make any man happy.  With a ton of sizes and lengths, as well as an array of colors to pick from, the options are nearly limitless when it comes to these.  With an all polyester makeup and the use of UA’s patented HeatGear fabric, they will not only be super soft, leading to comfort, but also will be extremely good at wicking away sweat from your body.  They have constructed them to stretch in four different ways, making them versatile and good for other activities as well as playing on the court.  They even have pockets, too, as well as anti-odor tech to cut down on potentially bad smells!  They do fit a bit snug, so be on the watch for that.


  • Lots of choices
  • HeatGear goes to work
  • Stretches all ways imaginable


  • A little snug for some

2. Champion Men’s Long Mesh Shorts

A very comparable pair to those comes in the form of the Champion brand, which isn’t as widely known as a premium brand like UA but is still quite a good choice nonetheless.  With a fully polyester makeup along with mesh, these are light and breathable, too. They have a drawstring closure that does a good job at extending the size a little bit if and when you need to have that done.  Including pockets on the sides and a ton of different colors to pick from as well, these are quite a good choice to get for someone that doesn’t care much about brand loyalty.  The price is something you will really like, with them being much more affordable than a ton of the shorts you’ll see out there.  Be careful since they are a little transparent!


  • Light and comfy
  • Breathes very well
  • Lots of colors


  • See through at times

3. Spalding Men’s Extreme Performance Shorts

You don’t get anywhere near the same amount of colors from these to pick from, but you still get a high quality pair of shorts anyway with them.  With a very relaxed fit, these are intended to give you comfort and be a little bit more on the baggy side of things, unlike some of the trendy shorts that are reducing that.  Another very nice feature is that the inseam is nice and long, meaning it will not be riding high and making you uncomfortable, a real bonus that you want to have.  With pockets on the sides, storing things is also made to be a breeze.  The materials used ensure that the shorts won’t shrink up on you down the line after repeated washing, too, so that is sure to make you all the happier.  The logo does wear off a little over time, representing a possible negative.


  • Just the right amount of bagginess
  • Very relaxed fit
  • Won’t shrink


  • Logo fades away

4. Russell Athletic Men’s Mesh Shorts

With these totally Polyester shorts, both in the inside and outside of them, and an adequate amount of colors to pick from, these are another low price pair that are well worth the look.  In addition to the use of polyester in them, they also use dri-power technology to help wick away the sweat and prevent you from feeling weighed down like you are trudging through water.  These do have an upgrade over some of their other lines by having the pockets included.  The one knock you might make with these is that they are a little bit plain looking compared to others out there. There isn’t much that meets the eye here.  But as far as length goes, this is the way to go.  The Champions we talked about earlier do ride up a little higher, but these are bigger and baggier, so it’s a good choice if that’s the feel and look that you crave.


  • Drying tech
  • Lots of extra room
  • Pockets included


  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing

5. Reebok Men’s Mesh Basketball Shorts

The big names begin to make their mark here with Reebok’s entry to the list.  Performance is a key component in their thinking, but they have not sacrificed fit and comfort with it, doing so by using a relaxed fit in the waistband that won’t let you feel like you are binded into one place while still being secure.  They are made from polyester and mesh as well, so they will air out well and leave you feeling as cool and refreshed as you can be during a game.  With a lot of colors to pick from, as well as a style and look that has been updated with the times, these shorts are right at the top in terms of the overall looks, too.  They even have quick dry fabric to them, making it so that if you do sweat or spill some water on you, it will dry up quickly.  They are a little on the too thin side for some, so keep that in mind.


  • Quick drying fabric
  • Relaxed fit
  • Snug but not tight feel


  • A little thin

6. Nike Men’s Layup 2 Shorts

Nike continues our trend of bigger names with these, their Layup 2, shorts.  These are made from polyester and just look plain cool with the swoosh to them.  There aren’t a lot of colors to pick from, with them sticking mostly to primary colors, but they still look classy and functional.  With an 11 inch inseam, which is bigger than just about all of the shorts out there, you get a ton of mobility while still having coverage to them.  They do have pockets that come with them, though, so they might not be the best choice for a team to pick.  The biggest concern you will have is that they are pretty much see through.  This needs to be addressed, and many people will just be annoyed and would pass them over for this very reason.  They also are less durable, possibly because the thin nature of them affects that as well.


  • Classy look
  • Very comfy
  • Dries out fast


  • Not very durable
  • Fairly transparent

7. Adidas Men’s Basics 1 Shorts

You can always count on Adidas to turn it up a notch on style, and that’s what you get here.  They mix both classic looks with new and hip styles to make them desirable to look at.  With that said, they only have a couple of colors to pick out of here, so that is a bit of a letdown of sorts for you.  With an 11 inch inseam, they are just like the Nikes before with being able to cover you as well as give you great comfort and mobility at the same exact time.  One of the strange quirks of them is that the pockets are located in a strange position, so that should be noted for those that want a very specific look and feel to their shorts.  These are not thin, and they will not rip, either, so that is a big time plus!


  • Inseam makes them comfy
  • Can’t be seen through
  • Classy looks as always


  • Strange pockets
  • Not many colors

8. Southpole Men’s Basic Basketball Mesh Shorts

If you want a more budget friendly option, or to be different from the rest of the pack, then these shorts from Southpole can do that while bringing you many of the same great qualities we have seen from the others so far.  With a fully polyester make up and mesh, these shorts are light, comfy, and will free you to move all over the court.  They even have a few different colors to select from, increasing the chances of you finding whatever it is that you desire most.  One of the things that you will love is that the pockets are really deep and won’t allow stuff to fall out constantly, a major annoyance that can happen with shorts that have shorter pockets built in to them.  They are double layered as well, preventing rips and tears as well as being see through like some others.  This does make them a little heavy, however.


  • Comfy and wicking
  • Pockets are very deep
  • Won’t rip or tear


  • Heavier than most

9. Real Essentials Men’s 5 Pack Shorts

If it’s quantity that you are looking for at a very low price, then this is the way you should turn.  For the price that many shorts come in individually, you can have five here, one for each weekday so you can hit the court.  Made from polyester, these are going to be good at expanding and airing out when compared to the likes of cotton and other sorts of materials. There are some obvious problems with quality, however, with many finding that the drawstring is lost easily.  Others have noted that they do rip as well, so durability is not the all-time greatest with these. But you get what you pay for and it’s all about quantity here!  They also run small for many, so just be aware of that.


  • Very good price
  • Quantity buy
  • Wicks well


  • Not very durable
  • Drawstring has tendency to get lost

Conclusion And Final Men’s Basketball Shorts Recommendations

Basketball shorts have changed a lot down the years, but the basic premise remains the same.  They are used to keep you comfortable and cool on the court, while also aiding your overall athletic performance while playing the game.  It’s really that simple, and sometimes we just lose sight of the picture by being too worried about one aspect.  With that said, basketball shorts are going to range in price, looks, and materials.  The best style for you is going to only come to you after you have decided what exactly you are looking to accomplish and what it is you need.  After our guide today, you’ll be much better positioned to make a good, strong, and informed decision to make your game as best as it can be. 

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