This is my review of the best basketball referee pants in 2021.

The basketball players are not the only athletes on the court. If you are a basketball referee, then you are probably pretty athletic yourself. It takes a lot of stamina and flexibility to run up and down that court, and then make those calls in real-time.

The athletic requirements of a referee require a lot of movement and therefore require pants that are comfortable and allow them to move freely around the court. It is also usually required that a referee wears a traditional uniform that conforms to a standard that all referees wear in that particular league.

Due to this, it is important for a referee to find pants that are both functional and meet the standard requirements. There are lots of options out there for the typical basketball referee so let’s take a look at some of the best ones.

Quick Summary

  • If you are looking for traditional men’s referee pants, take a look at Smitty Men’s Basketball Premium 4-Way Stretch. These are lightweight, breathable and cut for comfort.
  • For women, you might want to take a look at Smitty Women’s Basketball Premium. These are very similar to the men’s pants listed above, but they are cut for women.
  • If you are refereeing an outdoor game, a scrimmage game, or a less formal rec league game, you may want to choose referee shorts such as these Adult 14 oz. Polyester Shorts. These will keep you cool and comfortable all game long.

Who Should Get This

If you are a basketball referee, you should definitely consider investing in some good referee pants. Most are made to be comfortable when running up and down the court and they also give you a nice professional look.

Whether you are a referee in a rec league or a referee in the NBA, you need to make sure you have the right kind of referee pants. If you don’t plan on doing any refereeing then you may not need these but they are sporty and do look nice.

Most are now made of a combination of polyester and spandex, which give that nice look but also the flexibility to move around.

Best Basketball Referee Pants: What to Consider

Comfort

For basketball referee pants, it is important that they are comfortable. You really need to be able to move around in them. Most of them are made from polyester but look for ones that have a combination of spandex which makes it stretchy and therefore more comfortable.

Breathable

Since you will be doing a lot of running, you want pants that are breathable and help keep you cool. Some have new moisture-wicking technology which makes them breathable, removes sweat and helps keep you cool.

Durability

You want referee pants that are durable and will stand up to the constant action you will see in games. Polyester is very durable so look for pants that have a combination of polyester.

Convenience

This may sound strange for a pair of pants, but for a referee, it can be important. How quickly can you reach into your pocket for a note pad or your spare whistle? A beltless waistband also means you don’t have to worry about a belt that may catch on your whistle or other parts of clothing.

Best Basketball Referee Pants: Top Picks

Here’s a list of my top picks, along with detailed review about the pros and cons of each pant so you are well informed.

1. Smitty Men’s Basketball Premium 4-Way Stretch Pleated Front Officials Pants


These are comfortable, breathable and they look really nice. If you want to look like a professional referee, these are a great choice.

What we like:

  • Pleated front gives that professional look.
  • Slash style pockets make them easy and convenient to access.
  • 3-inch grip waistband means you don’t need a belt.
  • Light-weight.
  • Breathable moisture-wicking technology.
  • Heavy-duty zipper.

What we don’t like:

  • Don’t like the button tab closure on the back pocket. It makes it harder to access the pocket.

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2. Smitty Women’s Basketball Premium 4-Way Stretch Pleated Front Officials Pants


These are very similar to the men’s version but made in a women’s cut. They have the same basic features of the men’s version.

What we like:

  • Slash style pockets make them easy and convenient to access.
  • 3-inch grip waistband means you don’t need a belt.
  • Light-weight.
  • Breathable moisture-wicking technology.
  • Heavy-duty zipper.

What we don’t like:

  • Don’t like the button tab closure on the back pocket. It makes it harder to access the pocket.

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3. Adult 14 oz. Polyester Shorts


If you’re outdoors in hot weather, or just in a more relaxed laid back environment, these are a good option to have. These are comfortable and simple but still give you a referee style and look.

What we like:

  • They are shorts!
  • Comfortable for a hot environment.
  • For shorts, they still have a referee style and look.
  • Made from durable polyester.

What we don’t like:

  • Are not as stretchy as pants made from polyester and spandex.
  • Don’t have moister-wicking technology.

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Useful Tips and Resources

Since most referee pants are made from a combination of polyester and spandex, it is very important to make sure that you care for them properly.

Always make sure to follow the care label on your pants before washing. For garments that contain spandex, it is important to wash them properly so that they retain their elastic qualities.

It is often recommended to hand wash spandex garments and be sure to not use detergents that contain bleach. It is possible to machine wash them but it is also recommended to wash them in a mesh washing bag on a delicate cycle.

Check out this video on how to care for spandex clothing, but again, be sure to follow the instructions on the tag of your particular pair of pants.

Final Words

If you are a basketball referee, you need to make sure you have the proper pants. Basketball referees are athletic and need to be very mobile on the court. They also need to respect the traditions and requirements of the league they are working in.

In most cases that means they should have traditional black basketball referee pants. They need to be both comfortable and practical.

Some of the new technology such as polyester with spandex with moister-wicking properties make this possible, so if you are looking for a new pair of basketball referee pants, I’m sure there are some great choices out there for you.