MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, is a high intensity sport that warrants the correct clothing. What you wear when training or competing in MMA can determine not only your comfort levels but also how well you perform.
Just as a footballer needs their kit, or a cyclist needs theirs, an MMA fighter (whether competitive or for fitness), needs the right outfit. Shorts are one of the most popular garments worn by practitioners of MMA.
Whilst normal gym shorts or lounge shorts may do the job, they will certainly not do the job as well as is needed. It’d be like cutting steak with a spoon. Sure, it may just about do the job, but is it going to do it well? No!
The same thing applies to shorts for MMA. if you’re gonna do the job, you may as well do it properly.
So, “what are MMA shorts?” we hear you ask.
We are going to answer that question for you throughout this article.
In fact, we are going to take that answer one step further and show you five of the best MMA shorts we could find. We have tried and tested them so you don’t have to.
Each one has a review and pro and cons list so you can feel confident that whatever you choose from our list will be of excellent quality.
As if that wasn’t enough we have also compiled a handy Buyers’ Guide to show you exactly what features you need to look out for when buying your own MMA shorts.Our article aims to provide you with the information you need for buying the Best MMA Shorts around. So, if you are in the market for a new pair, or you’re just starting your MMA journey and want the right kit, then this article is for you!
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick - Under Armour Men's HeatGear Compression Shorts
This pair of shorts from Under Armour just had to be our top pick. Here’s why we liked them so much:
- They are made with anti-sweat and anti-odor technology to protect you from bacterial growth even after the most intense training sessions
- They feel as comfortable as being naked - trust us that’s a good thing. Comfort is key when you are training MMA.
- They give you excellent levels of movement and flexibility
- They are free of outer hardware, making them the perfect choice for grappling
OUR TOP PICK
The first pair of MMA shorts on our list had to be these Compression Shorts by Under Armour. They are made from a durable and lightweight HeatGear fabric.
They provide excellent levels of ventilation due to the stretch-mesh gusset. They also ensure that you get comfort in areas that are prone to high levels of abrasion.
The shorts stretch in four directions ensuring you have excellent levels of flexibility and mobility when you fight and practice.
They stick tight to you but don’t let that make you think that they will be uncomfortable, but they could not be further from this. They feel like a second skin on you.
They are anti-odor and they wick sweat really easily to prevent the growth of microbes that can cause odors. They have no pockets and other outer hardware so they are safe for grappling.
- Anti-sweat and anti-odor material to prevent the growth of microbes
- Free of any dangerous pockets, loops, and hardware
- They feel as free as being naked thanks to how comfortable they are against your skin
- They are flexible and give you an excellent range of movement for kicks and other moves
- The material is super strong and durable but still feel lightweight
- The material can be a little thin and some people have found it a little see-through in some areas
These shorts are the perfect medium between compression and classic MMA shorts.
They are a tighter fit than the classic ‘Muay Thai’ style shorts, but looser than compression shorts that stick tightly to your skin.
They are available in a variety of colors, with the color appearing on the band around the waist and the seams.
They give you an excellent range of movement, ensuring you are not inhibited by any of your moves.
The material is durable and breathable, with the ability to stretch four ways.
They have also been treated with a microbial treatment to ensure that bacteria growth cannot happen and that no odors form through sweating.
- Excellent quality material
- True to size fitting
- Suitable for grappling
- Breathable fabric that doesn’t restrict your range of movement
- Antimicrobial treatment on the material to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria
- Some people found that the crotch rides too high for their needs. Of course, this will depend on your shape and preferred fit but it is worth bearing in mind
A great choice for those that want to use their MMA shorts for other forms of exercise too.
These shorts by Hawk Sports are made from an extra lightweight material that is breathable and durable to ensure that you get excellent levels of ventilation when wearing them.
Comfort is key when partaking in MMA and these shorts ensure that you can move freely without restriction.
They close with an inside drawstring, meaning there is no dangerous hardware on the outside of them.
- Made from a very durable material
- They are comfortable to wear even during intense training and fights
- They keep you cool thanks to the excellent ventilation they give you
- Excellent range of movement whatever exercise you are doing
- The cleaning label says hand wash only which may put some people off. That being said, lots of other customers have written reviews detailing how easily they wash in the washing machine.
This classic style pair of MMA shorts from Elite Sports is a great choice if you are looking for a pair that is simple but gets the job done.
The shorts are black but you can choose from a variety of colors for the waistband to suit your preferences.
The material is a good quality microfiber and they are super lightweight to ensure you are as comfortable as possible in your practice or when competing.
They allow for an excellent range of movement thanks to the comfortable fit and elastic waistband. They are also great for grappling.
- A range of color choices for the waistband to suit everyone’s needs
- Non-chafing waistband
- The shorts are tear-resistant
- They allow for an excellent range of movement as well as letting you kick with ease thanks to the side splits
- Some customers have found the shorts to not be ‘true-to-size’. For this reason, you should check the measurements carefully rather than just going by the labeled size.
Last on our list, but by no means least, we have the wonderful Muay Thair/ MMA shorts by Fluory.
These shorts are super colorful, eye-catching, and they are available in a huge range of colors and designs. This means that everyone will find something to suit their preferences.
These are far more of a ‘classic’ style of MMA shorts since they are also used in Muay Thai too.
As such, they are a little shorter and do not stick tight to your skin like the compression shorts on our list.
They are made from super lightweight polyester that has moisture-wicking technology and is tear-resistant.
As well as this, they can provide you with excellent levels of comfort because they do not restrict your ability to move.
- A huge variety of color choices and designs to suit all preferences
- Stretch waistband with drawstring for your comfort
- The material is of excellent quality and they are very durable
- Lots of movement for kicks
- These shorts seem to run a little small, so go by your measurements rather than size. You may even want to size up.
Best MMA Shorts Buying Guide
There are several factors you should consider and features you should look out for when buying MMA shorts. This is because to make sure the shorts are up to the job, you need to make sure they meet some specifications.
Many of the specifications will depend on your personal preferences (such as color, comfort, etc,.), but others are a must-have for all MMA shorts.
Keep on reading our handy Buyers’ Guide to find out more.
Classic vs Compression
The first decision you need to make is whether you want a pair of classic MMA shorts or if you would prefer compression MMA shorts. To delve a little deeper you should understand more about each type.
Classic MMA shorts - these shorts give you an excellent range of movement as well as providing you with adequate ventilation. They are more like the typical Muay Thai shorts that you may be familiar with.
They are made to be far looser, like a normal pair of shorts, and so they do not cling as tightly to your skin. They also tend to have drawstrings so you can adjust them to be tighter or looser depending on your needs.
Compression MMA shorts - these shorts give you the closest feeling to being completely stark naked! Trust us, that’s a good thing, there is nothing more freeing than being naked.
They are super light and non-restrictive, making them a great choice if you incorporate grappling into your MMA style. They stay tight to your skin whilst still allowing you excellent mobility and flexibility. They are a favorite of many UFC fighters, such as Conor McGregor.
Whatever you choose, either classic or compression is your choice. You just need to ensure the choice you make suits your particular style of fighting and comfort levels.
Do they help your flexibility and mobility?
It is integral that your MMA shorts enable you to move freely around the ring or on the mat. An MMA competitor’s worst nightmare is having clothes that restrict their movement.
MMA integrates kicks into many of its signature moves, and so you must ensure that the shorts you choose allow for this. Much of this will come with ensuring that you choose a pair that fits you correctly.
Anything too tight will surely restrict your movement, and if they are too loose, you will be too concerned about making sure they don’t fall down to concentrate on your fight or practice.
There’s a reason weapons aren’t allowed in MMA fights. Our bodies are all we need. So please, do not turn your shorts into a lethal fighting weapon.
Zips, metal clasps, long strings, buttons, even plastic pieces of hardware can do some serious damage to you and your opponent. Ensure you do not take that risk by choosing MMA shorts with as little hardware as possible.
You should also make sure that the shorts don’t have any outer pockets or belt loops as yours or your opponent’s fingers can get caught in them during the fight and possibly injure them.
You should be comfortable during your practice. What you deem comfortable is, of course, a personal choice.
We recommend just using your common sense and knowledge of what you usually find most comfortable.
If, so some reason you do not like wearing cotton, then do not choose MMA shorts made from cotton. Perhaps you hate anything that causes compression.
In which case you probably wouldn’t like MMA compression shorts and should choose Classic MMA shorts that will give you more room.
Of course, MMA shorts are designed to be comfortable, but it will ultimately depend on your personal preferences.
Clothes fall down, especially when they are tugged on by someone else.
MMA is a very physical sport, I mean, two people are battling each other in a test of strength trying to get the other to back down and give up. Of course, your clothes may be tugged on, whether accidentally or on purpose.
To avoid any embarrassing mishaps when practicing or competing, you should make sure that your shorts cannot fall down easily. Trust us, it does happen! Sometimes even on live TV or in front of hundreds and thousands of people.
Style and color
This may not seem an important factor to consider, especially for the less fashion-conscious MMA fighters among us. However, there is a lot to be said for the way a person looks. After all, our appearance is the first thing other people get to know about us.
Decide if you want to make a statement with your MMA shorts or if you want to keep it simple and natural. Perhaps you want colors that match your branding if you are a budding UFC fighter.
Or maybe you just want some shorts in your lucky color. Whatever you desire, you are bound to be able to find your perfect pair of MMA shorts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wear Muay Thai shorts in MMA?
You can wear Muay Thai shorts if that’s what makes you feel comfortable. However, you should bear in mind that Muay Thair shorts tend to run a little smaller and are not the best garment for grappling.
You may feel after trying them that actually, MMA shorts are better for those purposes. That being said, if your MMA practice incorporates more Muay Thai than anything else, then feel free to wear Muay Thair shorts.
Do MMA fighters wear cups?
Wearing cups is a requirement for the UFC. we recommend always wearing them, whether you are competing or not.
Make a habit of incorporating your cup into your uniform, even for days when you are just practicing. It is vital that you wear them to protect your crown jewels!
What age is too late for MMA?
For a sport like MMA, the most important thing is that you should be at your prime fitness levels. With this in mind, technically you can practice for fitness purposes at any age.
That being said if you want to compete professionally, many professionals tend to recommend that you do not start later than age 25.
However, there are examples of great MMA fighters who have not started until their 30s, but some of them do have backgrounds in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the like.
Keep in mind that fights and championships may have their own restrictions. Ultimate Fighting Championship requires you to be between 21 and 34 in order to take part.
As you can see, when it comes to choosing the best MMA shorts, there is a wealth of choice for you.
Rather than being overwhelmed by the choice, it is far more beneficial to consider the factors that are important to you from your shorts such as comfort, style, range of movement, and type.
This will allow you to choose your shorts based on your personal needs and not just what other people tell you.
If you follow our handy Buyers’ Guide you will certainly not go wrong.
Of course, we have compiled our wonderful list of the Best Five MMA Shorts we could find. For each of these choices we have considered all of the factors in our Buyers’ Guide, so you can pick any pair from the list and feel assured that they will be the best quality possible.
We hope this article and our reviews for each of the Best MMA Shorts has proved super useful to you. We are sure you are super keen to get one of our choices.
If you still haven’t found your perfect pair from our list, use the Buyers’ Guide to help you find the ideal shorts for your MMA journey.
Remember, if you have any further questions you can check out our frequently asked questions section or have another read through the Buyers’ Guide.