Here Are the Best Tennis Shorts for Men, According to Pro Players
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Jack Sock has seen his fair share of tennis shorts. Beginning his professional career in 2009, the 30-year-old reached a career high of eighth in the world and continues to flummox the best players from around the globe. But even he has endured matches while wearing sweaty, baggy bottoms that distract from his game rather than elevate. “Thick materials tend to hold moisture and make the shorts feel heavier as I’m running around the court, which slows me down,” he says. And so, if you’re on the fence as to whether you should buy a new pair of tennis shorts or hold on to those mesh knee-length numbers you’ve been wearing since junior varsity basketball, take a page out of Sock’s book. “I either threw them in my closet,” he says of the inferior tennis shorts, “or maybe passed them along to my brother.”
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In speaking with some of the best tennis players, coaches, and influencers in the sport, one thing is key in a tennis short: weight, or lack thereof. Sock, who joined Lululemon in 2022 to launch the Canadian company’s tennis-specific apparel, emphasizes that anything you wear should feel like it’s barely there. “Light and airy,” he says. Inseam is a consideration, too. For some, height may also be a factor — the taller the player, the longer the inseam — though this is a matter of preference. (Sock, at 6-foot-3, prefers a 7-inch short, although others we spoke with prefer as long as 9 inches and as high as 5.)
Finally, the most controversial issue we heard was a preference for shorts with or without a built-in liner (either a boxer brief or brief-style). A liner is convenient, though going liner-less allows the wearer to choose his preferred tech brief for ultimate control. However, the latter would mean that you’d have to already own quality tech underwear or purchase them, which adds to cost.
In terms of price, a quality pair of tennis shorts will cost about $60, though some on our list preferred more general-purpose shorts made by modern athletic outfitters. (These can be more expensive, with some approaching $100.) Regardless, for everyone we interviewed, longevity was a key consideration — higher-end shorts mentioned here should be expected to endure years of faithful wear before tear.
THE BEST, FROM THE NEWEST
Lululemon Vented Tennis Short 6"
Plenty of companies make tennis shorts, but Lululemon built its offerings from the ground up with direct input from modern players like Sock and others who are on the courts every day. “Lululemon has been extremely receptive to my feedback on material and feel of outfits on the court,” he says. “These fabrics absorb moisture so well and still feel lightweight even when drenched with sweat.” Credit the perforations in its ultra-lightweight fabric, which increase surface area for evaporation.
The 6-inch inseam of the Vented Tennis Short may give some pause, but on-body, they provide greater-than-expected coverage thanks to a built-in compression short liner, which lengthens the fit while remaining visible below the outer short. Sock also loves it for eliminating items on his packing list. “I don’t have to pack tennis shorts and an additional pair of compression shorts to wear underneath each pair,” he adds. “Saving space [and] time packing for long trips is a game-changer.”
SO UGLY IT'S GREAT
Adidas Melbourne Ergo Tennis Graphic Shorts
Many guys prefer solid colors with shorts, according to Harry Tong, a 30-year veteran of the tennis industry and founder of the Tennis Spin YouTube channel. But for some, patterns are both memorable and a way to take yourself less seriously. “Patterns bring attention,” Tong says. Adidas may make its popular Ergo Tennis shorts in solid colors, but it also releases a few eye-catching patterns every year, making it one of our favorites for standing out in a crowd.
PRO VS. JOE
Vuori Banks Short
Vuori made its name for well-fitting, multi-use pieces, and it recently signed a sponsorship with top-50 American Marcos Giron. But everymen are also finding its shorts, like the Banks, to be the perfect court attire. Winston Du, a YouTuber from Orange County, California, finds its unlined silhouette in the 5-inch inseam particularly flattering. “It really shows off your legs, especially if you’ve got some muscle,” he says.
Brady Zero Weight Short
Tom Brady’s eponymous brand may be most closely associated with the football star himself, but among the company’s first nine collegiate athletes was a tennis player, proving its hard-court bona fides. This liner-less short fits slim while its lightweight fabric moves water to the point where you barely feel it. “The more sweat you’re holding in the short, the heavier the short is, and the more uncomfortable you are,” says Wkwesi Williams, a former Davis Cup competitor and current coach in Beverly Hills, California.
PARTY ALL THE TIME
Laurel Canyon Tennis Club Love All Recycled Unisexy Shorts
Williams openly admits he wouldn’t wear the Unixexy in a competitive match. But all matches aren’t necessarily competitive. The fashion-forward Laurel Canyon made these shorts with recycled polyester sourced from water bottles. “The sustainability is really, really nice,” he says.
Wilson Sportswear Tournament Short 7"
For the core-est of the core, Williams loves the Tournament Short 7”. Its built-in compression liner adds both support during a high-intensity match and a warming feeling on chilly mornings. “Honestly, it just feels better,” he says. “Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but it’s that extra sense of security.”
Sergio Tacchini Supermac Tennis Short Archivio-Gardenia
Heritage brands are having a moment, and Sergio Tacchini, an Italian brand founded in the ‘60s, outfitted entire generations of greats, including John McEnroe and Pete Sampras. Its shorter inseam may be shocking for some, but for those who love the legacy the brand has earned, it’s a vibe. “I’m looking for something practical,” says Beckett Chung, a 26-year-old YouTuber in Winnipeg, Manitoba, “but if I can get something that hearkens back to tennis heritage, then I’ll go for that.”
COUNTRY CLUB CLASSIC
Greyson Running Wolf Short
Greyson may be best known in the golf space, but the brand has pushed in plenty of chips to sponsor rising American tennis star J.J. Wolf, who is currently ranked in the top 50 in the world. Another multi-use short appropriate for the gym or trail, its deep pockets hold balls securely between points while shedding sweat on even the hottest days.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tennis Shorts
My favorite shorts don’t have pockets. Will this be a big deal?
You wouldn’t think so — just tuck a ball into the waistband, or leave it lying on the court, right? But even the pros only make 60 to 70 percent of their first serves, meaning you will likely be fishing along the back of the court frequently over the course of a match, or dropping the spare ball from your waistband over the course of an energetic point. (According to the rules, a dropped ball during play the first time is a replay of the point, and the second infraction is a loss of the point.) So do yourself a favor: get pockets.
It’s a cool morning. Can I wear my favorite tights under my tennis shorts?
Certainly, and even pros sometimes do this. However, some, ahem, well-endowed men may still need to incorporate a brief under their tights, under their shorts, for the support, the combination of which can add significant bulk. “I really need the ball support when I’m playing,” says Chung — and he’s not referencing the fuzzy yellow ones.
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