When it comes to mixed martial arts, combat sport, or any physical activity at all, being comfortable in what you’re wearing is one of the biggest keys to your success.
When you’re in the right attire, you feel flexible, your body can breathe, and you don’t have to spend any time focusing on discomfort or pain from wearing the wrong stuff.
If there’s one key piece of clothing for MMA, it has to be a pair of quality shorts, and whether you’re just starting with your practice or have been in the ring for years, it’s a worthy investment that will pay off the first time you wear them.
Choosing the best shorts for MMA training is one of the easier parts of being a martial artist, but with so many great options out there, it can be hard to narrow them down.
What are the best shorts for MMA?
There are lots of reputable brands out there known for making combat sports attire, but the key feature to look for is comfort.
A good MMA short needs to fit well, allow you a full range of motion, not have any unnecessary extras, and be durable enough to last through countless hours of fighting and practice.
When you’re in the market for a new pair of the best MMA fight shorts, not just any pair will do. With so many features to look for and a need to find the fit that’s perfect for you, it can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve searched far and wide for the favorites of fighters everywhere to come up with a definitive list of the best shorts in every category, and with prices that are affordable no matter your budget.
While it’s perfectly fine to wear a normal pair of gym shorts or swimming trunks to practice MMA, you’ll find that your skills and flexibility are severely lacking when you do.
You wouldn’t enter into any other sport without wearing the right attire, and MMA is the same. To ensure you get the perfect fit, we’ve come up with the best MMA training shorts for every scenario.
Best MMA Shorts – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Shorts Overall: Sanabul MMA Shorts
- Size: 30 – 38
- Fit: Regular
- Protection: N/A
If your best MMA shorts budget is low, we have good news for you with the Sanabul MMA Shorts. Priced exceptionally well compared to its competition, these shorts are highly functional, comfortable, and fit perfectly for everything you’ll need them to do.
These are in a classic MMA style that has an uncluttered look and no unnecessary extras so you’ll feel comfortable whether you’re grappling with an opponent or training with a heavy bag.
According to customers, these shorts had the perfect comfort level that they needed for their MMA practice, and they found that they enjoyed wearing them so much that they got a second pair for everyday use.
The shorts were form-fitting enough to know they weren’t going to fall down on you, but baggy in the right places to give breathability. Your range of motion was exceptional as if you were wearing nothing at all, and it has open seams that help with this flexibility.
Another thing that people liked was how nondescript the shorts were and that they didn’t feature a lot of bling.
If you’re someone who prefers their MMA clothes to be low key and you don’t want logos and other fancy details on them, you’ll love this about the Sanabul shorts as well.
Although there are lots of colors to choose from, there’s really nothing else noticeable about these shorts, which is ideal for people who don’t want to stand out.
The sizing of these shorts was the only downside, and there were a few reviewers who had to return theirs for another size. According to others, the shorts are a lot bigger than a standard fit so you’ll have to shop for one below if you want them to be comfortable.
Having baggy shorts is never a good feeling when you’re doing MMA as you don’t want to be worried about pulling them up when you’re trying to focus.
The Sanabul MMA Shorts are made with 100% polyester so they’re soft and stretchy, and even if you’re training in warmer climates you won’t notice the heat.
The sizes range from a 30 to a 38 waist which covers most people, and they’re tight where they need to be without enough freedom to move around.
To close the shorts, it uses a hook and loop system so you never have to worry about them coming loose, and they’ll stay firmly on no matter how much energy you put into your practice.
To get your hands on the top-rated Sanabul MMA Shorts, head to Amazon for the discounted price of around $20 a pair, which includes free shipping to your door.
You’ll be eligible for free returns as well, so if you’re not happy with the fit, you can send them back and try again for no extra cost.
These are our absolute favorites when it comes to the best all-rounded MMA short, and no matter what you’re doing that day in your practice, they’ll serve you well.
Best MMA Compression Shorts: Diamond MMA Compression Short
- Size: Small to XX-Large
- Fit: Tight
- Protection: Groin protector
If you like to wear a compression short under your regular shorts to give you the added benefits in combat, the Diamond MMA Compression Short is the way to go.
These shorts keep your muscles warm so you avoid injury, stop irritation and rashes, and wick away moisture, all without sacrificing on comfort and flexibility.
They come with a compression cup and jock system for protection during training, and in sizes from small to extra-extra-large so they’re guaranteed to fit every fighter.
The best thing about these shorts is this unique cup protection system it offers, replacing the need for a cup altogether. Diamond MMA has developed a special patent-pending design that means you’ll be protected from all angles, and it prevents both lateral and vertical movement of the cup.
This alone makes it the best choice for a compression short, and you’ll never have to worry about the safety of your goods when you’re wearing them.
The comfort level of these shorts is second to none which is a nice change for a compression short and you won’t feel restricted or like your circulation is cut off.
Compared to others that feel as though they’re riding up in the wrong areas and distracting you from the task at hand, these are made with premium spandex so you’ll be comfortable in every position and all kinds of weather.
On the downside though, they’re expensive, and along with the high cost, you’ll find that the waistband might not sit quite right at all times.
This is a short that might require a couple tries to get it right which means you’ll be taking advantage of the free returns on offer to try and get the perfect fit.
If the waistband feels loose but all other parts are fitting well, you can probably get away with it as long as it’s not annoying you, but we’d recommend shopping for the next size down.
The Diamond MMA Compression Short has been made for serious martial artists, with everything from the military-grade elastics to the specially designed groin defense.
The cup features a co-molded elastomer and a polycarbonate core so it offers the absolute in protective gear. They’re limited on color though, with only a blue and black design on offer, but a stylish one nonetheless.
The fit is tight but comfortable and depending on where you hold more weight, you’ll want to check out their size chart to see what’s best.
If you’re after a quality pair of compression shorts and want to know you’ll be protected no matter what, the Diamon MMA Compression Short has to be it.
Although they’re expensive, you’ll be getting your money’s worth when you feel how supportive these shorts are. Amazon also offers free returns in case you don’t like the fit and with a design that’s built to last for years, it’s worth spending some time getting them right.
Runner Up: Shock Doctor Compression Shorts
- Size: Small to XX-Large (adult), Small to Large (boys)
- Fit: Tight
- Protection: Groin protection
If you need a good pair of shorts but don’t want to spend a fortune buying them, the best budget MMA shorts in this style has to be from Shock Doctor.
With three unique designs of white, black, and one boasting the American flag, you can choose exactly what suits your style.
These shorts are made with moisture-wicking materials that keep you cool and the cup is positioned in a natural position between the legs that give it a closer and more protective fit.
The best thing about the Shock Doctor Compression Shorts is the flexibility of them, even with the cup included. With a vented and bio shaped design, you won’t even feel it there but will rest easy knowing it’s doing its job protecting you.
This is especially helpful for MMA training and practice as you want to move swiftly and freely, which these shorts allow you to do.
There are a lot more sizes to choose from with these compression shorts which is an added bonus and regardless of your body type, you’ll be guaranteed the perfect fit.
You can get either men’s sizes from small to extra extra large, as well as sizes for boys and teenagers.
Smaller men that struggle usually to find something in their size will have a greater selection and something that fits them better if they shop from the youth section, and this comfort has the potential to elevate your practice significantly.
Because these shorts are cheaper, you can expect some minor differences in quality and comfort, so don’t expect them to be the premium product.
As they’re not marketed and made specifically for martial arts, they might not be as ideal, so keep that in mind when you shop. If you want something specifically made for the movements and unique practice that is MMA, you should look around for one just for this sport.
The Shock Doctor Compression Shorts use a four-way stretch fabric so even though they’re tight and supportive, they’re not restrictive.
As well as being a good choice for martial arts, you can use your shorts for playing sports like softball and baseball, or even working out at the gym.
As a tight-fitting short, you need to get the size right, so aim for the next size up if your measurements are closer to the maximum end of the chart offered by Shock Doctor.
There’s no need to spend a fortune on your first pair of compression shorts for MMA, and these from Shock Doctor prove you can still get protection and comfort on a budget.
Amazon offers free shipping and free returns which can give you peace of mind about getting the right size for your martial arts practice.
Best MMA Training Shorts: Hawk Sports All Purpose Shorts
- Size: 30 – 40”
- Fit: Loose
- Protection: N/A
When you’re training for MMA, you need a short that’s going to be comfortable and flexible, but also one that can let you do it all.
Whether you’re on the bag or sparring, a training short has to be versatile, and with that in mind, we’ve chosen the Hawk Sports All Purpose Shorts.
Just as the name suggests, they’re good for everything and made with a breathable and fast dry material that makes them ideal for breaking a sweat.
These are some of the cheapest MMA-friendly shorts on the market which means no matter your budget, you’ll be able to have something tailor-made for your training program.
Customers were thrilled at the quality considering these shorts come with a five-year replacement warranty, which is usually very hard to find in a garment this cheap.
Another great feature was the double stitching on the lycra stretch panels which reinforces their strength even more. If you move around a lot and put your shorts through a lot of wear, you’ll never have to give a second thought of whether or not they’ll hold up.
For serious martial artists especially, this would sum up the ferocity of most of their training sessions.
On the negative side of things though, they weren’t the most comfortable fit, even when it seemed to be the right size.
They’re made with a stretch fabric that is nice against the skin but some people found either the waistband or the thighs didn’t correspond with the rest of the garment for their body.
This means they were having to adjust it sometimes through their practice if it started to ride up, which was an unnecessary distraction.
The Hawk Sports All Purpose Shorts are made with hook and loop Velcro closure so you can get them as tight as needed and they come in sizes from 30 to 40 inches at the waist.
The material is a 125sgm stretch micro fabric that fees lightweight and ensures you’re able to breathe. The shorts also feature a hidden pocket for a mouth guard or other small item, and no other pockets so they’re ideal for grappling and other up-close training.
Hawk Sports offers a five-year replacement warranty on their garments and a free returns policy available when you shop on Amazon.
They’re ideal for people who don’t want to spend big just on their training garments. If you don’t need something fancy for MMA or you’re looking for your first pair of shorts, these are a top contender.
Runner Up: Combat Sports Training MMA Boardshort
- Size: 30 – 40”
- Fit: Loose
- Protection: N/A
If you’re someone who prefers the look and feel of a board short for your MMA training, you’ll love the Combat Sports Training MMA Boardshort.
Designed specifically for martial arts training but with the breathability and comfort that boardshorts are known for, you’re getting the best of both worlds.
These shorts come in sizes between 30″ and 40″ waist and they’re the length of a standard pair of boardshorts but with subtle changes that help their MMA suitability.
Unlike boardshorts that were made for surfing and swimming, some design differences make these perfect for martial arts and has created many happy customers.
The six-inch slit on either side of the shorts gives you a full range of movement during the most crucial movements of MMA. You’ll be able to kick, swing, and strike with your knee even in a pair of boardshorts, which makes them a design revolution.
Another great benefit that customers noticed was the polyester mesh material used to make some parts of the pants, just like you’d find on a standard boardshort.
Not only is this good for breathability which is needed during an intense training session, but they keep moisture away as well, so when you’re working up a sweat it’ll be dried in no time thanks to your MMA friendly boardshorts.
On the downside though, the waistband is an area that could do with some improvement, as a few customers have noticed its discomfort.
Not only is it rigid and thick but it tends to hold sweat when you starting getting hot which takes away from the otherwise superior moisture-wicking properties the rest of the pants had.
This is a different design feature to a board short that uses a tie closure system, but it’s a must-have to keep the pants up and in place, so a necessary disadvantage, unfortunately.
The MMA Training Shorts from Combat Sports Training feature a spring stretch panel in the inseam which gives you freedom of movement.
The shorts close with a hook and loop closure in the waistband and a width that can be adjusted, even if it does get a little hot like we mentioned earlier.
There are five different colors to choose from, all emblazoned with the Combat logo, which is a nice touch that makes you feel like a true MMA star.
If you’re after the comfort of a board short for your next MMA training pants, these lightweight ones from Combat Sports are a great choice. Although some minor details lose them the number one spot, they offer comfort and flexibility that’s hard to find in other martial arts garments.
Commonly Asked Questions on MMA Shorts
When you’re new to the sport of MMA, there’s a lot to learn, and not just about the techniques and fighting styles. Choosing the right garment is essential in combat sports as it can put you at either a serious advantage or disadvantage depending on what you choose.
We’ve answered some FAQs about MMA shorts that beginners have, to point you in the right direction towards what you need for your practice.
What To Look For In MMA Shorts?
A good pair of MMA shorts should allow you to have a full range of motion to perform moves, be breathable and comfortable, stay on during practice, and not have any excess pockets or features that can get in the way.
There are shorts made for specific parts of MMA like grappling or training, and multi-purpose shorts designed to cover all aspects. Depending on your level of practice and preference, you can find short that ticks all of these boxes.
What Makes MMA Shorts Different From Boxing Or Muay Thai?
Shorts made for boxing and Muay Thai are similar in ways to those designed for MMA, but with minor differences that make them ideal for each type of combat sport.
MMA shorts are specifically made for grappling so you need to have something that gives you freedom of movement in the legs, and they often resemble boardshorts or swimming type of short.
Boxing and Muay Thai shorts are usually shorter, or can be a longer style but worn rolled up and better suited to standing and kicking.
What Do MMA Fighters Wear Under Their Shorts?
An MMA fighter usually wears a second pair of shorts underneath, called a compression garment.
These compression shorts have a few advantages for the wearer, including keeping their muscles warm to protect from strains, preventing irritation and rubbing of the skin, and having built-in protection for their grain area with a cup system.
Another short is worn over the top so the fighters don’t have to wear just a compression garment in the ring.
How Tight Should MMA Shorts Be?
Finding a good pair of MMA shorts means one that has a comfortable fit, and they should be tight but not so tight that they’re restricting your movements.
The waistband should be tight so that they stay up, but the legs will have some freedom and should be baggier, making them comfortable enough to wear every day. Underneath, you might choose to wear compression shorts, which has a range of other benefits for the fighter.
The Key to Comfort in Combat
You’d never try to play a game of basketball wearing golf slacks or swim a lap in the pool in a t-shirt, so why would you ever attempt martial arts without the right shorts?
MMA shorts have been specifically designed to help you elevate your practice and be more agile and free-flowing than ever before, and they’re a must-have no matter your skill level.
Whether you’re a beginner and looking for an affordable pair of your first-time shorts, or have been around for years and know specifically what you want in a training garment, our top picks are sure to do the job.
With any one of these, you’ll notice an instant improvement in the way you move and laser focus that’s possible only when you’re wearing comfortable and form-fitting clothes.
MMA is a unique combat sport that requires unique solutions when it comes to garments, and for most, their shorts are the most important thing they’ll wear. With the versatility to do it all from grappling to sparring, just one pair of shorts is all you need to take your martial arts practice to the next level.