Here, I’ll break down and review the best basketball shorts on the current market by going over their traits, uses, and special characteristics.

I am an avid basketball player and shorts wearer. My own experience, mixed with firsthand reviews and in-depth research, allowed me to make informed decisions when choosing the models in this guide.

I believe the Champion Long Mesh to be the best shorts for basketball players because they are soft, breathable, and come with plenty of color choices.

The polyester construction is incredibly lightweight, which increases mobility and allows you to play without being held back. The pockets and internal quick cord add functionality, while their moisture-wicking properties are incredibly useful for those who sweat a lot.

If you want to learn more about the shorts, or if you’re curious about similar top models, check out the following sections.

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This?

Simply put, every single basketball player regardless of level, size, or frequency of play needs premium athletic wear. Shorts are a big part of the game, and getting good ones goes a long way. All position players, from guards to forwards to centers, can use lightweight, tough clothing.

It’s easy to skimp on shorts or just purchase the first ones you come across, but taking the time to pick a specific pair yields good results. While you may favor a specific brand or style, all that matters is that you find the ones that work best for your individual needs.

Best Basketball Shorts: Our Picks

I’ll review the best shorts throughout this section by looking at their traits as well as where they specifically excel.

1. Champion Long Mesh

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key Features: Lightweight. Comfortable feel thanks to the polyester construction. Breathable. Internal quick cord. Moisture-wicking material. Various colors.
  • Closure: Elastic
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces

Lightweight, tough, and breathable, the Long Mesh shorts from Champion give you a little bit of everything. The ventilation is excellent. It works perfectly with the moisture-wicking material to make sure you never overheat or get too sweaty during longer games.

The other area where these excel is their roomy pockets and internal quick cord. Both give you extra functionality and enable you to wear them casually or to the gym without a big hassle. Add on the staggering 28 different colors and you get shorts that you can use day in and day out.

As great as these shorts are, they don’t get the best marks for longevity. They have plenty of durability and strength, but they tend to loosen over time more quickly than other shorts. That’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something you should be aware of when making your purchase.

2. Adidas Crazylight

  • Best for: Comfort
  • Key Features: Soft polyester construction. Drawcord-adjustable waist. Secure custom fit. Side welt pockets. Clean look.
  • Closure: Elastic
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 6.35 ounces

The Crazylight shorts from Adidas are well-rounded, flexible, and comfortable. You never want to have heavy or cumbersome clothing on the court. You want to focus on your game. These come with a lightweight design and soft polyester construction that stay out of the way.

In addition, the shorts have a great fit. Not only do they sit well on your body, but they also utilize a special elastic closure and drawcord to promote adjustability. Even if you experience issues during a game, a quick fix enables you to get right back into the game.

The only aspect some players may not like is the small pockets. That’s not a big issue for players who only wear their shorts during games or practices, but it can be a problem if you’re someone who wants to wear the shorts in places where you need more storage space.

3. Under Armour Perimeter

  • Best for: Casual wear
  • Key Features: Open hand pockets. Elastic waistband with internal drawcord. Great ventilation. Smooth pull on closure. Multiple color options.
  • Closure: Pull on
  • Material: Knit
  • Weight: 10.99 ounces

If you want strong shorts with the durability to hold up on the court and the look to be worn in more casual settings, the Under Armour Perimeter is a great middle ground. Their pull-on closure, textured knit fabric, and open hand pockets, help them excel in numerous situations.

For basketball purposes, the shorts are rather lightweight, feel good against your skin, and are plenty breathable. However, the nice fit and comfortable design make them a great choice for when you want to kick back around the house. There are many different colors to pick from too.

The only issue is that they do run a bit small. You may want to get a size up or spend some time adjusting them when you first get them to figure out the best fit. Even so, that’s a small complaint about such a comfortable and well-rounded clothing item.

4. Nike Dry Training

  • Best for: Ventilation
  • Key Features: Dri-Fit technology with mesh pockets for ventilation. Internal drawstring. Striking appearance. Versatile. Machine washable
  • Closure: Drawstring
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces

The Nike Dry Training shorts, as the name suggests, are a breathable option for players who want something lighter. The excellent Dri-Fit technology has moisture-wicking properties, as do the mesh pockets. The internal drawstring also adds a nice layer of adjustability.

As these shorts are incredibly breathable, they don’t have the best long-term durability. They can handle the trials and tribulations that come with heavy play, but you may see some rips and tears over time. A few of the color options could also be a bit more vibrant. 

5. Under Armour Raid

  • Best for: Protection
  • Key Features: Comfortable. Soft feel. Sweat wicking, quick-drying material. Anti-odor technology. UPF 30 rating. 4-way stretch fabric.
  • Closure: Elastic
  • Material: Polyester, elastane 
  • Weight: 4 ounces

If you want shorts that offer plenty of protection and come with ample durability, the Raids are a good pick. Not only do they have tough 4-way stretch construction, they have a UPF 30 rating as well. Both of those make them especially useful for players that like to ball outside.

If these have one issue it’s that they don’t come with a liner. As their main focus is on toughness, they aren’t quite as versatile as other options. Even so, if you need strength they absolutely excel.

How to Choose The Best Basketball Shorts

Focusing on the following traits will help you pick a pair of premium basketball shorts.

Breathability

One of the most important parts of premium shorts is ventilation. You want to feel free when on the court, as that will enable you to run and sprint to the best of your abilities. Heavy or stuffy shorts hold you back, and can actually hinder your performance as you play.

Getting breathable shorts reduces sweat, which goes a long way in terms of comfort, and actively prevents you from overheating.

Fit

Nearly all basketball shorts are slip-on as a result of their elasticity. However, you still need to find a pair that accurately fits and works with your body. Don’t assume that a waistband means you can use them without issue. Look for the right size, as well as adjustable drawstrings.

Durability

Your shorts also need to be tough. Pay attention to construction, and be sure to find ones that won’t tear or rip from contact. A well-made pair will give you much more bang for your buck. They will last longer and prevent you from having to get new shorts every few months.

FAQs

This section will cover some popular questions about basketball shorts to help you further decide what you want from your pair.

What are Basketball Shorts Made of?

Different brands use different materials. However, most companies stick with something soft and lightweight, such as nylon or polyester. 

What’s the Difference between Training Shorts and Basketball Shorts?

Though they are similar, training shorts tend to be shorter. In addition, they also have more of a focus on compression than basketball shorts do.

Are NBA Shorts Comfortable?

NBA shorts are incredibly comfortable. They are made for long periods of play at the highest level, which means they are lightweight and feel amazing.

What do NBA Players Wear Under Their Shorts?

Though some NBA players only wear shorts, certain players like to wear tights or compression shorts. Those restrict the leg in a way that prevents injury.

Do NBA Players’ Shorts have Pockets?

While game shorts don’t always have pockets, certain models and practice shorts do. That makes it easier to carry around small items as they travel.

What Size are NBA Shorts?

As with any shorts, they come in various sizes. You can get them in extra small all the way up to extra large.

My Verdict

I believe the Champion Long Mesh to be the best basketball shorts on today’s market. They have a lightweight feel that’s both breathable and dry. On top of that, the quick cord gives them an adjustable fit and there are plenty of color options to help match your style.

If you need reliable shorts that look and feel great without wearing down, the Long Mesh is your best bet.