Yoga shorts are a must-have this season, and all year round! Have you got your yoga apparel staple?
A comfortable, versatile, and cool option for your practice, there are bountiful yoga shorts for your buns on the market.
Whether you’re a yoga shorts beginner, an experienced shorts-wearer looking to expand your collection, or an apparel adventurer seeking new styles, this guide will help you find the best yoga shorts. Peachy!
Keep reading to discover:
- A short history
- What are Yoga shorts?
- What yoga shorts are made of
- Why you should get Yoga shorts
- Shortcomings of Yoga shorts
- The best Yoga apparel brands
- Yoga Shorts Recommendations
A short history
As Yoga traces back over two millennia to ancient India, it’s not surprising that modern yoga apparel is far removed from the loose, natural-fiber garments (or no garments at all!) originally worn by yogis.
When Yoga took off in the Western world, practitioners followed the latest fashion trends and attended classes in leotards, tights, baggy t-shirts, or trousers. Unlike in India, spending money on yoga clothes to look good was normalized.
However, it was BKS Iyengar who swapped the dhoti for yoga shorts after his wife Ramani designed a more comfortable alternative to long saris.
Originally met with resistance- being seen as untraditional- they soon became popular for men and women in Iyengar schools.
Yoga bloomers or yoga diapers were later coined by Hugger Mugger and soon other clothing brands jumped on the bandwagon with their own styles of Yoga shorts, including Lululemon– the first company to sell specialized Yoga Pants in 1988.
What are Yoga shorts?
In short, shorts for practicing yoga.Part of the yoga bottoms family, including yoga pants and leggings, yoga shorts sit at the waist and range in length from below the cheeks to the knee.
Yoga shorts can be categorized by style: their fit or the style of yoga they suit best.
Yoga Shorts Styles
#1 Loose fit
Usually with an elasticated waistline, baggier shorts allow space to move around in and for air to flow.
The material can gather and get in the way in some postures, but you’ll feel light and breezy.
#2 Tight fit
Streamline skin-hugging shorts that optimize performance.
The compression effect in the glutes and thighs from the tight fit may take some getting used to before you feel at one with your bottoms.
#3 Ashtanga shorts
Designed for the vigorous vinyasa sequence that generates a lot of body heat, Ashtanga shorts are usually high-waisted and sit at the upper thigh.
They typically have lateral elasticated drawstrings to adjust the length of the short.
#4 Iyengar “Pune” shorts
Similar to Yoga Bloomers, Pune shorts are baggier and usually made from cotton, allowing for space and airflow.
The leg cuffs and elasticated waistbands permit free movement while keeping modesty intact as they stay in place in inversions and t-shirts can be tucked in.
#5 Dhoti shorts
The Dhoti short is a cropped and cooler version of the traditional Indian garment. Made from a single piece of natural fabric, these mid-waist shorts are loose-fitting and breathable. They typically sit on the knee, though shorter versions are available.
What Yoga Shorts are made of
A classic material for sportswear and athleisure, its elasticity allows for a complete range of movement, and it easily absorbs perspiration.
®Lycra is not as breathable as cotton and, as a synthetic material, it is not environmentally friendly.
A plant-based fiber derived from the cellulose of fast-growing trees such as pine, eucalyptus, or bamboo. Viscose clothing is flexible and breathable.
The material itself isn’t toxic or polluting, but the fast-fashion industry incentivizes unsustainable intensive manufacturing.
Polyamide & Elastane
Polyamide, or Nylon, is a synthetic material. Combined with Elastane– an elastic fiber- it creates durable and flexible garments.
However, Nylon clothing needs washing more often as it accumulates odor-producing bacteria, and the chemical manufacturing process is environmentally-taxing.
Recycled polyester (rPET)
rPET is made from single-use plastic bottles, packaging and bags collated from landfills and oceans.
Sportswear brands are using rPET fabrics to create more “sustainable” clothing. While recycling plastics saves 45-55% of energy and 60% of carbon emissions, recycled polyester is non-biodegradable and, when washed, microplastics end up in the ocean.
Why you should get Yoga shorts
There are lots of perks to having yoga shorts in your wardrobe. Here are just some reasons why yogis love wearing them:
- a cooler option for the summer and practicing outdoors
- more air exposure allows sweat to evaporate in hot yoga and vigorous vinyasa classes
- freer movement
- greater skin contact with the mat increases awareness of posture alignment
- skin-on-skin contact increases grip in postures such as Tree pose, Crow pose variants, Head-to-knee pose variants and poses with Lotus legs
- the knee joint is visible so teachers can more easily correct misalignments in postures, increasing practitioners’ body awareness and helping to avoid injuries
- the body cools down more quickly in Savasana
- you can top up your vitamin D on your way to and from class!
- versatile for use on and off the mat; Vinyasas, bike-riding, relaxing
- wearing shorts can make you feel attractive and increase body confidence!
Shortcomings of Yoga shorts
Like our practice, shorts aren’t perfect! Before bearing all, bear these points in mind:
- skin-on-skin contact can cause pinching or friction burn in certain poses
- skin friction can make it difficult to go in and out of postures with intertwining arms and legs like Embryo Pose
- if your legs get sweaty – or if you moisturized beforehand- you’ll experience more slip than grip!
- yoga shorts may not be considered appropriate in certain yoga schools
- some shorts ride up causing discomfort and the distracting need to constantly adjust the hems
- some yoga shorts don’t leave much to your classmates’ imagination – especially in forward bending poses!
Our top Yoga apparel brands
Standing out with their “Super-specialized yoga attire for serious practitioners” Proyog makes yoga wear from natural, organic fabrics that enhance performance. Ambassadors of the Dhoti shorts, they work with fabric experts to create sustainable garments and ship worldwide.
Shorts prices: $35-75
A conscious start-up from Argentina of “Yogis creating clothes for yogis”. Luleå Mindful offers unique playful designs, shorts of different lengths and ungendered items.
They are a certified B Corporation and their commitment to the environment earned them the title Best for the World 2021.
Shorts prices: $33-39
The pioneer of yoga apparel in the Western world, Lululemon originally focused on women’s yoga wear and now cater to male yogis.
They boast a wide range of shorts made mostly from Nylon and Lycra® elastane. Not without their controversies, Lululemon has pledged to develop more sustainable products.
Shorts prices: $29-79
Creating innovative apparel for athletes and sportspeople since 1972 , Nike offers a wide range of yoga wear for women and men– including a Plus Size range– made of a mix of recycled materials and organic cotton.
Many of the products in the yoga range incorporate Nike’s own moisture-wicking technology, DRI-fit.
Shorts prices: $23-80
Since 1976, this French company has made sport accessible to everyone, opting for innovative and sustainable processes.
They now have stores in across Europe and have created their own branded range of yoga wear called Kimjali.
Shorts prices: $14-56
Our Yoga Shorts Recommendations
#1 The daring dancer
We love the unique homage to microscopic life in Luleå Mindful’s “We are Cells, Fungi & Bacteria” shorts.
Designed especially for Ashtanga, they are also a good option for Vinyasa and hot yoga. $33-35
#2 The traditional tree-hugger
Practice with a clear conscious in Proyog’s Unisex Yoga Dhoti Shorts.
Made from organic cotton and bamboo, they are soft and comfortable so you can move freely in any class. $75
#3 The modest mover
#4 The non-stop Yogi
Rushing from the school run or work, to the gym and then yoga class?
Try these shorts with moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool and dry: Men’s Dri-FIT 7” Yoga Shorts Nike $80 and Women’s High-Rise Short 6”, Lululemon, $64
#5 The body positive Yogi
Feel confident in any pose with Nike’s Women’s High-waisted Yoga Shorts. Choose from 3 colors and sizes. $45
#6 The budget Yogi
If you’re starting out and need more than shorts, here’s what to wear to Yoga class!