The most frustrating moment after buying a new pair of gym shorts is finding out they aren’t squat proof and are now just destined to be worn only on days when you aren’t deadlift or squatting.
The best squat proof shorts are the Virus High Rise Box Shorts. Squat proof shorts can often be too thick, too compressive around the thighs or the waist. However, these Virus shorts are extremely lightweight, stretchy, have a supportive high waist band and are designed in a flattering and stylish way, making them the best option.
While most companies will claim their shorts or leggings are squat proof, the true test comes once you actually put them on. Some brands are consistently squat proof while some will have certain products perform better than others.
In this article, I have picked out the best pairs of shorts to review, all of which are squat proof and loved by powerlifters, crossfitters and gym-goers alike.
I will also go through what features to look out for when shopping for shorts to ensure they are both squat proof and meet any other preferences you may have.
Table of Contents
The Biggest 3 Factors To Consider For Squat Proof Shorts
Squat proof shorts really just mean that once you squat down you can rest assured that there is nothing showing through the material. In order for a brand to achieve this there are a couple things to keep in mind.
If it’s your first time trying a pair of shorts from a certain brand it’s always best to opt for darker colours like black or navy blue. Some companies will completely miss the mark in making their lighter colours squat proof but the darker options will pass the test!
Therefore, when in doubt go dark, and if you’re looking to venture out check out reviews of those who have purchased specific designs and colours.
The thickness of the material and the type of the material will largely be responsible for how sheer the shorts will be. One of the most important materials that will help ensure a squat proof pair of shorts is spandex, or a similar material.
Most shorts known for being squat proof are a combination including spandex. I would strongly advise staying clear of cotton blends or polyester that isn’t mixed with spandex (sometimes referred to as elastane or lycra).
While most shorts won’t look sheer when you first put them on, they become sheer as you come to the bottom of the squat. This may be also because the cut is not right for your body type and the material is forced to stretch too much once you squat down.
Shorts that are cut too narrow or are restrictive around the hips will not fare well for those with wider hips. Therefore, the sizing of the shorts needs to have enough flexibility for all body types in order to be squat proof across the board. Also ensure you buy true to your size or size up in ones that are advertised as “compressive.”
4 Reviews for Squat Proof Shorts
The 4 best squat proof shorts are:
- Virus High Rise Box Shorts
- Feed Me, Fight Me Women’s Core Shorts
- Born Primitive Double Take Booty Shorts
- Amazon HLTPRO Women’s High Waist Yoga Workout Biker Shorts
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VIRUS High Rise Box Shorts – Best Overall Shorts
|Comes in 4 options
|Comes in 4 options, all darker patterns and squat proof as a result.
|75% Nylon, 25% Spandex. High spandex percentage, mixed with nylon instead of polyester making for an extremely lightweight and stretchy material.
|Sizing chart takes into account thigh size, leg holes are generous, high waist without too much compression to prevent rolling.
|$44 – not cheap but still within market price.
These Virus shorts are one of the best training shorts I have ever put on and I believe it’s largely due to the material blend plus the non-compressive high rise waist.
The waist band itself is wide and comes right up to your belly button without squeezing tightly or cutting into your stomach at an awkward spot. It is also super thin so it won’t add extra bulk when you put on your lifting belt, which is a huge plus.
The fabric, which is uniquely nylon and spandex, is so lightweight it feels like you’re barely wearing anything. They will definitely help you stay cool even on the most humid days.
The shorts are also very flattering because the leg holes are not elastic and won’t press into your thighs and the 2.5” inseam gives your hips all the freedom they need to move.
While they don’t come in a ton of colour options, the designs they do have are quite stylish and I especially like the mesh detailing on the side. I can’t see how they wouldn’t become a staple pair of shorts in anyone’s closet.
If you are someone who prefers a longer inseam, these may not be the shorts for you; however, they are squat proof, sweat proof, lightweight and super flattering for any body type!
- Lightweight material
- High waisted
- Squat Proof
- Sleek design, mesh detailing
- Darker colours designs
- Short (2.5”) inseam
- A little pricier
Feed Me, Fight Me – Women’s Core Shorts – Best Shorts with Pockets
|Comes in 4 options
|2 colour options, black or oxblood. Both squat proof, but limited options.
|87% Polyester, 13% Spandex, stretchy enough for squats.
|3” inseam is a bit longer but not long enough to restrict the thighs, has pockets, mid-rise waist band (may feel less secure).
|$42, comparable to other high performance brands.
The Feed Me, Fight Me company makes lots of squat proof shorts, but their women’s core shorts are a great basic and functional design that has a nice mid-length inseam and pockets for your convenience.
If a 4” inseam feels too long or restrictive for your thighs and the 2.5” feels a tad too short, these shorts will win you over with their 3” inseam. In addition, if you’re not a fan of higher rise bottoms then these shorts are perfect as they sit at a mid-rise spot under the belly button. This will also make sure your shorts aren’t adding bulk under your lifting belt!
The pockets are also great for keeping small valuables or maybe a slip of paper with your workout of the day or any notes for your coach.
They come in a black and red colour, and while the options are limited, they make for a great staple piece to wear over and over again. They are also priced a bit lower than some of the pricier options mentioned in this article.
- Lightweight, sweat wicking material
- 3” inseam is a middle ground between 2.5” and 4”
- Squat Proof
- Limited colour options
- Mid-rise waist
Born Primitive Double Take Booty Shorts – Best For Sweaty Workouts
|Comes in 4 options
|Lots of fun patterns, no solid colours however. All are squat proof.
|87% Nylon, 13% Lycra, super lightweight and stretchy as a result. Has a lining to make them squat proof.
|3.5” inseam for a mid-range length. Lower cut but does have a wide waistband to help it stay in place.
|$42, comparable to other brands
The Born Primitive Double Take Booty Shorts are one of the best squat proof shorts that sit a bit lower on the waist and are great for super sweaty workouts.
With a 3.5” inseam you will get a full inch of extra fabric between your legs to prevent any chafing when compared to the Virus shorts. However, they are still short enough to not constrict your legs or make you feel really hot.
In addition, if you don’t care for a high waist band, these shorts have a mid-rise waist, but it is still thick enough to prevent the shorts from rolling down. A slightly lower cut waist will also help you stay a bit cooler when compared to the 4” waist band or high waisted shorts like the HTLPRO from Amazon.
These shorts are not only squat proof, but they are lightweight, have a slightly longer inseam with a non-compressive leg hole for optimal comfort and are likely to become a favourite.
- Mid-length inseam
- Wider waist band
- Very lightweight material
- Lined and squat proof
- No solid colour options
HLTPRO Women's High Waist Yoga Workout Biker Shorts – Best Value
|Comes in 4 options
|Comes in couple colours and prints, all dark but likely all squat proof as a result.
|92% Polyester, 8% Spandex. Buttery soft feel, very comfortable, less sweat wicking and thick.
|Zero compression, true to size, likely to fit most body shapes. 4” inseam and waistband for good coverage.
|$12-20; cheapest squat proof shorts on the market.
If budget is your main concern, you can still thankfully find squat proof shorts on Amazon! The HLTPRO high waisted shorts passed the squat test in a navy blue colour and the material was so incredibly soft on the skin.
These shorts are good to be worn everyday because of how soft and non-compressive they feel. Some previous complaints say they are too tight on the legs, however, the shorts have been updated from a 100% polyester fabric to a polyester and spandex blend which has given the new version a lot more room for stretch.
The inseam and waist band are comparable to the best overall shorts reviewed above, at a much lower price point. They also have pockets that are conveniently deep enough to fit a phone because of the longer inseam.
The biggest drawback with these shorts is the material. While it does feel buttery and smooth, it is pretty thick. A combination of a high waistband and long inseam with a thicker, less sweat resistant material may result in sweatier workouts.However, if that isn’t something that bothers you, this is a great value option you’re sure to love.
- Soft and comfortable on skin
- Squat proof
- Not too compressive
- Longer inseam
- Great price
- Thicker material/not as breathable
Squat Proof Shorts: Buying Guide
Why Train in Shorts?
Training in shorts is quite common within the lifting community and it comes down to more than just making a fashion statement.
It helps you stay cool during hotter months. For those who train in warehouse gyms, it’s likely you don’t have A/C and instead have a garage door that opens up and subjects you to the outside temperature. Shorts will be a saving grace in these environments.
It’s easier for some to put on knee sleeves on bare legs. Wearing leggings adds an extra layer of clothing and so pulling up knee sleeves may feel more uncomfortable and adds more bulk around the knees. This does not apply to those with larger calves as leggings help the knee sleeve glide up better.
It’s more similar to lifting in a singlet. If you are a competitive lifter, your competition will always be done in a singlet where the legs are likely bare. While everyday leggings may not make a huge difference in actual performance, it does feel a bit different, especially when it comes to squats. Many, therefore, will train in shorts to control for as many variables as possible.
What Inseam Length is Right For You?
The inseam is the length of the inside of the shorts from the crotch to the end of the leg hole. The most popular inseam lengths among lifters ranges from 2.5” to 4”, however, it’s possible to find shorter or longer, biker style, shorts as well.
If your legs are prone to excessive chafing and you find that takes away from enjoying your workout I would strongly advise opting for inseams that are longer than 3” like the HLTPRO Women's High Waist Yoga Workout Biker Shorts. With a slightly longer pair you will likely have less of a headache with the legs bunching and rolling up.
Shorts with longer inseams can, however, sometimes run the risk of being too compressive on the thighs and so lifters with larger thighs do prefer the shorter cuts just so their legs have room to breathe and move as they wish like in the Virus High Rise Box Shorts. Additionally, if you have cardio-like heavy workouts (i.e. CrossFit), having extra material may just make you sweatier and fool too restricted.
It will always come down to personal preference and what your personal pain points are when training.
High Waisted vs. Low Cut?
Choosing whether a high waist or a low cut is right for you will come down to personal preference. Low cut shorts are popular among crossfitters because it’s all about having less material on your body to prevent excessive sweating, especially during the hotter months.
However, if you are someone who wants to feel supported around the waist, there are high rise options that are built for performance. If you find rolling down of the waistband to be a persistent issue you may need to size up or look for a waistband with less overall compression like the Virus High Rise Box Shorts.
Size Does Matter for Squat Proof Shorts
The easiest way to make a squat proof pair of shorts not squat proof is by buying the wrong size. The farther you stretch the material the more it will become sheer.
Therefore, when looking at a size chart, if your measurements are all over the place make sure you are fitting at least for the correct hip size. While your waist may be smaller, sizing down will almost always be a bad choice unless the reviews state that the pair runs large.
Unfortunately every body is different and, ultimately, some brands may just not cater to your body type if their shorts are all either too loose or too compressive around the hips. That’s why I always recommend getting shorts from brands that specifically cater to lifting athletes since they take muscular proportions into consideration.
Colors to Stay Away From
Black will always be your best friend when it comes to squat proof shorts. If you have black bottoms that are not squat proof, I would steer clear from any other bottoms from that same collection.
In general, darker colours are better and solids will be better as well. Patterns and lighter colours like white, yellow, pink, orange and light blue are much more likely to fail a squat test. However, this is not always the case and some companies make an effort to counteract this reality.
Other Short Reviews
Check out our other short reviews:
While many companies now create squat proof shorts, my top choice would be the Virus High Rise Box Shorts because they are not only opaque but they are lightweight, supportive and designed with a lifting athlete in mind.
These two pairs of shorts come in opaque colours and patterns, generous sizing for athletes with wider hips, and high waisted cuts without excess bulk material to make you feel sweaty.
About The Author
Elena Popadic has worked within the fitness industry for over 6 years, is co-host of the Squats and Thoughts podcast and trains and competes as a powerlifter. She has a BSc in Life Sciences from McMaster University, a Postgrad Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College and is currently pursuing a MSc Occupational Therapy at Western University. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.