Shorts are an essential piece of MMA training equipment and one of the first things you'll need. They let you kick high without obstruction, roll around freely, and won't stick to your skin once you are dripping with sweat, something that you can't say for general fitness clothing. But how to choose out of all the styles, models, and designs? We are here to help you narrow your choice and eliminate possible confusion.
Best MMA Shorts
Best Budget MMA Shorts
Best MMA Compression Shorts
Six-way stretch fabric
Best MMA Shorts
Made from high-quality 100% polyester, with a rubberized waistband, multiple flex panels, and excellent stitching, the XMartial MMA shorts are equal in quality to the big-name brands.
But their options of classic MMA shorts styles, hybrid shorts, and hybrid shorts without Velcro make the variety of choice greater than other brands. The stitching is extremely robust, and the legs have slits for freedom of movement.
I've trained in these and found I had no movement restrictions and never had to readjust them when striking or grappling.
Further, XMartial are unchallenged in wicked shorts designs which you can also add your own. You can see why the Xmartial MMA custom shorts rank number one on our list.
We have done an in-depth XMartial shorts review if you want to learn more and see more pictures. But there’s a reason Sweet Science of Fighting has chosen XMartial to create a partnership and co-branded MMA shorts. They are damn good shorts!
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XMartial MMA Shorts
Best Budget MMA Shorts
Luckily for us, budget options are excellent and provide everything you need for training at a very reasonable price. Sanabul is the king of great budget offerings, and their Essential model is our choice as the best budget MMA shorts.
They do what is required of them and are comfortable, lightweight, and reasonably durable. The side slits allow for good movement, and the materials are good quality. They won't tear on the second training session, and generally, every design decision follows the standards in the industry.
For a third of the price of most other models, it's hard to look for negatives, but the design is too plain. But rest assured, the Sanabul Essential MMA Shorts will be a perfect fit for beginners and advanced fighters looking for something simple and inexpensive.
Sanabul Essential MMA Shorts
Best Compression MMA Shorts
However, some models are intended to be worn as outer shorts. The Diamond Cup is the best groin protector, and its importance can't be overstated. The cup is also offered in a set with great compression shorts that match overall quality.
The most significant benefit is that you get a jock strap, compression shorts, and outer shorts, all in a single product. The downside of it is that it will cost you as much as it would buy three products.
Still, if you like wearing skin-tight shorts as an outer pair and want the best groin cup, The Diamond MMA compression shorts may be your best choice.
Best Custom MMA Shorts
Besides fighters' actual skills, fight apparel has long been one way to show their personalities and be memorable. Even if you are not a professional fighter, having some personality in your training is always nice. So XMartial makes it on our list again.
We’ve already covered the excellent quality of their shorts. But they are one of the only brands that allows anyone to customize their shorts. Putting your name, symbols, or team logo on your shorts is a way to show pride and respect for them.
XMartial Custom MMA shorts
Best Hayabusa MMA shorts
The material is 100% polyester, which is excellent in itself. Still, Hayabusa has employed a unique construction that makes these shorts indestructible, at least in their words.
The reinforced seams also help reinforce this claim. The closure method is interlocking Velcro straps and a drawstring. The waistband is lined with silicone to keep the shorts from moving.
While not the flashiest design, you can still buy Hexagon in a few different colors. If you are in the market for hybrid shorts, very few choices are as good as the Hayabusa Hexagon shorts.
Best MMA Shorts For Kicking
The only drawback is the usual large waistband found in classic Thai-style shorts, which is less than ideal when grappling. The Anthem Athletic offering, however, is more balanced, combines traditional features with a more modern design, and can also be used in MMA.
Anthem has been on the market since 2016, and their shorts are proven and well-reviewed everywhere. Another key bonus is that they maintain a relatively low price, giving them an excellent price-to-value ratio.
They are also offered in many sizes for men and women and multiple color options. The many sizing options also make them suitable for big guys who have difficulty finding shorts in their size.
Best Venum MMA shorts
These Vale Tudo-style shorts compress the muscles, aiding in the warm-up and recovery phases. The mobility and flexibility are excellent, as are the 87% polyester and 13% spandex materials. You can wear compression shorts like these under another pair. Still, they are also very suitable for external use, and the gladiator graphic is eye-catching.
Best MMA Grappling shorts
Atribus BJJ Shorts
These shorts are IBJJF-legal, so you can be confident you can use them in any no-gi competition.
The Atribus BJJ shorts have no Velcro or other hardware to get in the way while rolling. The material is produced to be stretched in all four directions and is very flexible. While this model focuses on grappling, the features make them excellent for striking and MMA.
Best RDX MMA shorts
The closure is done by an interlocking drawstring that holds them in place. A nice touch is the small inner pocket that cannot get in the way when striking or grappling but can also be used to put your mouthguard box, for example. The overall design and aesthetic are very subtle, making the RDX shorts suitable for other sports activities outside martial arts.
How To Pick The Best MMA Shorts
Picking the best MMA shorts for you is a matter of personal preference, feel, and taste. They aim to allow unhindered movement and comfort while you train or fight.
But different models take different approaches to that, each with its strong points and drawbacks.
The most important thing you need to consider is the type of shorts you want to wear while training. Unlike other sports, there are several different types of shorts heavily used in MMA, depending on personal preference and background. It's best to experiment with different styles in the gym before settling on one. Let's see what the most popular options are.
Classic MMA Shorts
Classic MMA shorts are board shorts without pockets and with side slits. They are wide and long, have a Velcro closure, and a drawstring to adjust the tightness. The length is usually around the knee.
These board-style shorts were heavily used in the 2000s but are no longer very popular and have given way to the more modern compression or hybrid shorts.
Hybrid Style Shorts
Hybrid MMA shorts are the most popular among fighters and enthusiasts alike. They are mid-thigh length, loose but not too wide, and have wide slits to allow full movement of the legs when striking and rolling on the mats.
The enclosure of most models is also a hybrid one and includes a drawstring and Velcro on the front and elastic bands on the sides and back. Many manufacturers also offer models without any Velcro for improved comfort and flexibility.
Compressions Style Shorts
Compression shorts are skin-tight and offer the least weight and the most mobility. A bonus is the compression properties, which help with blood flow and can increase your performance, even if only by a tiny bit.
But many fighters feel uncomfortable with the look of compression shorts and prefer some of the more traditional styles. Underwear compression shorts for performance and a pair of hybrid shorts on top of them for aesthetics is a popular option.
Muay Thai shorts
You can also choose Muay Thai shorts for MMA training, and fighters from that background may stick to what they are used to even when transitioning to mixed martial arts. Muay Thai shorts are short and wide and allow completely unrestricted kicks, knees, and checks.
They are very similar in size to some of the shorter hybrid shorts, and only the extra wide waistband makes them less than ideal once you need to work on the ground.
Getting the right shorts size is the most challenging aspect of finding the perfect pair. Not only do sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but you may have to pick different sizes for different types within the same manufacturer (for example, compression shorts and Muay Thai shorts).
This is why it's crucial to follow the sizing guide provided by the manufacturer if you don't have the option to try them on in person. Usually, a sizing guide for shorts has at least two measurements.
It works with your measurements, so following that will usually get a good result. Still, it's worth browsing through user reviews and seeing if the products match the sizing table.
Most MMA shorts are made from some combination of spandex and polyester. Polyester is much better because it doesn't absorb as much sweat and dries faster. The combination of materials is the most important factor for comfort and durability. Lighter materials may be more comfortable but will last less, and vice versa.
Muay Thai shorts are made from satin or nylon, with satin being the far better-quality material. Of course, the craftsmanship is also vital to the overall feel and longevity of the shorts, and more expensive pairs tend to be much better.
Frequently Asked MMA Shorts Questions
Do You Need MMA Shorts?
While you don't technically "need" MMA shorts, your life in the gym will be much better with them. Every sport has its equipment that is designed to allow effortless practice. MMA shorts are defined not only by what they have but also by what they lack: pockets, zippers, and tags.
All of these features have the potential to injure yourself or your partners and have no place on the shorts you train in.
The design and materials used in MMA shorts aim to let your legs move freely in any position and not gather too much sweat. You can go to training in some regular shorts, but I guarantee you they will have some features that are not suitable for MMA.
What Types Of Shorts Are The Best
This is all down to personal preference and aesthetics. If one single style were the best, all professional fighters would use it. Try a few pairs, switch between board shorts, hybrid shorts, and compression shorts, and see which one fits you the best.
XMartial MMA Shorts
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