lululemon Product Guides

Best lululemon Shorts 2023: Options for Workouts + Casual

Whether you're running, doing bootcamps or spin, learn how to pick the best lululemon shorts for you

lululemon shorts last updated: February 14, 2023

In my first “lululemon Explained” post, I broke down all of the different lululemon fabrics used for women’s leggings. Today, we’re going to tackle the best lululemon shorts. It’s getting HOT out there and you’re ready to make the switch from living in your leggings to finding a few comfy pairs of shorts to add to your wardrobe.

There are a couple big factors to consider here – length (aka inseam) and fit. You’ll have to ask yourself a few questions to narrow down your options. Are you looking for a traditional athletic short or something more tight-to-the-body, like a biker short? How short are you comfortable going? Would you prefer a high-rise short or a more traditional medium-rise? Do you want something for a HIIT class, yoga class or a pair of shorts just to kick it around town or at the house?

With so many factors to consider, it can be tough to know where to start when shopping for the best lululemon shorts for you and your life. I’m going to divide our options into categories based on design intent – meaning: what type of activity the short was designed for – and then discuss other factors such as length and rise. We have 3 main design intent categories to explore: High Impact Workouts, Low Impact Workouts and Casual / Everyday Wear.

And here we go …

(Stay tuned, bc I’ll be doing a deep dive into all your options in lululemon skirts soon too!)

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read more about my use of affiliate links here.

High Impact Workouts

So, what exactly qualifies as a high impact workout? Anything with running, jumping, lots of big movements, etc. This can include, but isn’t limited to: CrossFit, OrangeTheory, bootcamp classes, running, etc. I’d include spin classes (FlyWheel, SoulCycle, Peloton, etc) and rowing classes in this category too just bc of the nature of the workouts and type of fabrics you’d want to wear for these workouts.

Next question: Are you looking for a more traditional athletic short look or a tight-to-body “biker short” look?

If you’re looking for a biker short for high impact workouts, you’ve got 2 main options of lululemon shorts: the Base Pace Short and the Wunder Train Short. Both of these shorts are high-rise.

If you’re looking for a more traditional athletic short for high impact workouts, you have 4 lululemon shorts options: the Speed Up Short, the Hotty Hot Short, the Tracker Short and the Track That Short.

During the spring + summer months, lululemon does release a few seasonal options that I’ll link to at the bottom of each category, but I’m going to focus most of my attention on the nine year-round styles.

High Impact, Tight-To-Body

Base Pace Short

Like the first high-impact tight-to-body short released a few years ago (aka the Fast + Free), the Base Pace Short is made of super lightweight, naked-sensation Nulux fabric. This high-rise short comes in two lengths: 6″ and 8″. Although made with the same fabric, there are two key differences between the F+F and the Base Pace. First, the Base Pace doesn’t have side drop-in pockets like the F+F did, although they do still have a small pocket in the back of the waistband. Second, the Base Pace don’t have a seam down the inside of the leg for friction-less movement.

Key Features of Base Pace Shorts:

  • smooth and slick hand-feel
  • naked sensation
  • fabric feels cool against the skin
  • continuous drawstring in the waistband
  • breathable
  • moisture-wicking
  • quick-drying
  • engineered four-way stretch
  • weightless coverage

Wunder Train Short

The Wunder Train Short also comes in three inseam options: a 4″ length, a 6″ length and an 8″ length. The 4″ and 8″ also come in an option called “Contour Fit” which means they are cut more narrowly in the waist with more room through the hips and thighs to fit curves.

I have the WTs in 6″ and have used them mostly for outdoor hikes during the summer. I was late to the game as far as fandom on these shorts bc the bottom seam on the legs really bothered me at first, but I snagged a pair on markdown bc I liked the print and was a pretty quick convert after my first hike in them.

Wunder Trains are made with Everlux fabric, luluelmon’s fastest drying fabric. Everlux was launched in 2017 as a solve for super sweaty studio workouts (think indoor bootcamps, spin classes, etc). So while I, personally, wouldn’t wear these shorts for long distance runs, they’d be great for other high impact workouts and runs under a mile.

Key Features of Wunder Train Shorts:

  • fabric feels cool + sleek against the skin on the inside; feels cottony-soft and brushed on the outside
  • fastest drying lululemon fabric
  • moisture-wicking
  • highly breathable
  • supportive, slightly compressive fit
  • four-way stretch
  • hidden waistband pocket
  • continuous drawstring in the waistband

High Impact, Away-From-Body

Speed Up Short

You have two inseam options for the Speed Up Short: a 2.5″ length and a 4″ length. You also have three rise options: low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise.

Back when I used to CrossFit consistently and was in much better shape, these were my go-to shorts. Well, technically I wore an older iteration called Speed Shorts, but #semantics. I have probably 30 pairs of Speed Shorts, so you could say I was a little bit of a fan. All of my Speed Shorts are 2.5″ inseam, but again, I was in much better shape back then; nowadays, I’d opt for a longer inseam.

Key Features of Speed Up Shorts:

  • sweat-wicking
  • four-way stretch
  • leightweight
  • built-in liner
  • zippered back-waistband pocket
  • gel pockets in front-waistband
  • continuous drawstring in waistband

Hotty Hot Short

You have two inseam options for the Hotty Hot Short: a 2.5″ length and a 4″ length. Hotty Hots are available in both low-rise and high-rise options.

These are probably the best selling shorts, I’d say, right now. In both inseams. The leg opening on Hotty Hots is slightly wider than the leg on the Speed Up Shorts, which gives them a more universally flattering fit.

Key Features of Hotty Hot Shorts:

  • sweat-wicking
  • four-way stretch
  • leightweight
  • built-in liner
  • mesh panel for ventilation on the side of the leg
  • reflective details
  • zippered pocket in the seam of the waistband
  • hidden stash pocket in the liner
  • continuous drawstring in waistband

Tracker Short

You have one inseam option for the Tracker Short, a 4″ length, and one rise option which the website describes as low-rise, however I think it fits more like a mid- or high-rise.

Similar to the Hotty Hots, the Trackers are really popular bc of the wider leg opening and universally flattering fit.

Key Features of Tracker Shorts:

  • sweat-wicking
  • leightweight
  • built-in liner
  • continuous drawstring in the waistband
  • side zippered pocket

Track That Short

You have two inseam options for the Track That Short: a 3″ length or a 5″ length. You also have two rise options: mid-rise or high-rise.

Similar to the Hotty Hots and the Trackers, the Track Thats are really popular bc of the wider leg opening and universally flattering fit.

Key Features of Track That Shorts:

  • sweat-wicking
  • leightweight
  • built-in liner
  • continuous drawstring in the waistband
  • side zippered pocket

Seasonal High-Impact Styles of lululemon Shorts:

Low Impact Workouts

Any of the high-impact shorts discussed above could work for low impact workouts, but shorts designed for low impact will not work for high-impact. Keep that in mind as you weigh all your options.

First, let’s define low impact. I’d put yoga, barre, pilates and strength training in this category; anything that doesn’t cause a high amount of friction on the fabric.

The only core short style truly designed for low impact workouts is in the lululemon Align™ Short. The Align Short comes in four inseam options: a 4″ length, a 6″ length (my fav!), an 8″ length and a 10″ length. You also have an option between a high-rise and a super-high-rise waistband.

Another thing you’ll notice with Align Shorts (and Pants) is that some colors are single-lined and some are double-lined; this difference is completely dependent on the color (lighter colors are typically double-lined for additional coverage). One tip to be able to tell the difference online is that the single-lined Aligns are seamless down the outside of the leg while the double-lined Aligns have a seam there.

Align Shorts are made of Nulu fabric, which was launched in 2015 as a “naked sensation” although I don’t think they technically call them that anymore. Now they’re referred to as a “next to nothing” feeling, I think. This is hands-down the best-selling fabric, and my personal favorite for everyday wear (between shorts, special editions and the regular tights, I have at least 15 pairs of Aligns). 

Along with being designed to feel like you aren’t wearing anything (in a good way, I promise!), this fabric has a buttery soft hand-feel … and is very delicate. That means no high-impact workouts or any kind of intense activity since the process used to create that buttery soft sensation makes the fabric susceptible to natural pilling over time and with heavy use. These won’t be the most durable shorts you buy from lululemon, but they’ll probably be your favorite.

Shorts (and leggings) made with Nulu fabric are the top choice for pregnant women. A quick Google search for ‘lululemon pregnancy’ or ‘lululemon pregnancy pants’ will show you how Nulu fabric (and the Aligns specifically) are revolutionizing the field of maternity pants.

Key Features of Align Shorts:

  • buttery soft Nulu fabric
  • naked sensation
  • moisture-wicking
  • four-way stretch
  • breathable
  • hidden waistband pocket
  • comfy AF (I’m not joking when I say I practically live in these shorts)

Seasonal Low-Impact Styles of lululemon Shorts:

Casual / Everyday Wear

As I mentioned above, I wear the Align Shorts on the daily, but there are a few styles designed specifically as casual wear … or in lululemon terms, “on the move” wear.

There are four styles we’ve see consistently the past couple years (the Inner Glow Short, the Softstreme High-Rise Short, the Scuba Short and the Loungeful Short). All of these shorts are high-rise.

Let’s break ’em down a little bit …

Inner Glow High-Rise Short 3″

The Inner Glow Short fits loose, has a high-rise and is so so soft — and I’m so very here for it.

I know I said I wear the Align Shorts basically 24/7 when it’s warm out, but I should qualify that because I actually usual split my time between Aligns and Inner Glows. I snagged every color of Inner Glows that was released during peak quarantine in 2020, and that trend may repeat itself this year – especially with the sneak peak of the Nomad color pair I just saw on reddit.

Softstreme High-Rise Short 4″

If you haven’t had a chance to feel the Softstreme fabric yet, it is truly luxurious. (I’m actually wearing it in the POCC as I write this post.) It’s lightweight, stretchy and very very soft. This fabric is also super versatile – it’s comfy enough for lounging around at home but looks nice enough to dress up for an afternoon out and about.

I will say that although I’ve heard complaints about this fabric staining after contact w water, such as rain, I haven’t personally run into that problem. Any time I’ve noticed water spots, they’ve come out easily in the normal wash cycle.

Key Features of the Softstreme High-Rise Short:

  • peach-fuzz soft texture
  • four-way stretch
  • quick-drying
  • front pockets with interior card sleeve
  • stretchy continuous drawstring at the waist to customize fit

Scuba High-Rise Short 5″

Another great option for the versatility to float between an at-home lounge set and a put-together athlesiure look is the Scuba Short because it pairs so well with the Scuba Oversized sweatshirts.

Key Features of the Scuba High-Rise Short:

  • naturally breathable cotton-blend fleece fabric
  • lightweight warmth
  • front pockets with interior card sleeve
  • wear the drawstring tied on the outside or hide it inside for a flat waistband

Evergreen High-Rise Short 4.5″

Although designed for casual everyday wear, these would also be a great option for light hiking or as a beach, pool, boat coverup bc the Glyde fabric is water-repellent + windproof.

Pairs perfectly with the Evergreen Anorak for matching sets.

Key Features of the Evergreen High-Rise Short:

  • water-repellent
  • windproof
  • cinchable drawstring in waistband
  • front pockets with interior card sleeve

Loungeful High-Rise Short

The Loungeful comes in two inseam options: a 4″ length and a 7″ length. These traditional sweatpant-esque shorts are thicker and a little softer on the inside than the Scuba Shorts.

Key Features of the Loungeful High-Rise Short:

  • naturally breathable
  • four-way stretch
  • soft cotton-blend fleece fabric
  • front pockets with interior card sleeve
  • wear the drawstring tied on the outside or hide it inside for a flat waistband

Seasonal Everyday Styles of lululemon Shorts:

Quick Reference Cheat Sheet of lululemon Shorts

Best ForName of the ShortLengthsRisesFit
High ImpactBase Pace Short6″ + 8″HighTight-to-body; naked sensation
High ImpactWunder Train Short4″, 6″ + 8″HighTight-to-body; gentle compression
High ImpactSpeed Up Short2.5″ + 4″Low, Mid + HighAway-from-the-body
High ImpactHotty Hot Short2.5″ + 4″Low + HighAway-from-the-body
High ImpactTracker Short4″LowAway-from-the-body
High ImpactTrack That Short3″ + 5″Medium + HighAway-from-the-body
Low ImpactAlign Short4″, 6″, 8″ + 10″High + Super HighTight-to-body; naked sensation
CasualInner Glow Short3″HighAway-from-the-body
CasualSoftstreme Short4″HighAway-from-the-body
CasualScuba Short5″HighAway-from-the-body
CasualEvergreen Short 4.5″HighAway-from-the-body
CasualLoungeful Short4″ + 7″HighAway-from-the-body

All stock images are the property of lululemon. The opinions + positions expressed are my own and do not reflect those of lululemon.

Share the Best lululemon Shorts for 2023

0 comments on “Best lululemon Shorts 2023: Options for Workouts + Casual

What's on your mind?

%d bloggers like this: