Last Updated on January 12, 2021
A controversial issue among MMA fighters, especially newbies, is whether to get MMA shorts or use regular gym shorts in training and matches.
The thing is, while regular shorts can work almost as fine, they just don’t cut it.
Why are they important, you might ask?
Well... MMA shorts, first and foremost, give you a cool feeling that you are in the right gear, even similar to what your MMA idols wear.
Wearing the proper shorts for your sport, be it MMA or no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is safer and more comfortable compared to wearing gym shorts. Not to mention that they are more durable since they are specially designed to rough use, that is, combat sports.
Apparently, some folks might still not be convinced.
So, in this article, I’ll discuss what makes MMA shorts safer, more comfortable, and different. Then, I’ll explain its different styles to help you decide which one suits your personality and fighting style best.
Now, let’s get into the best MMA shorts review.
- The 10 Best MMA Shorts Reviewed
- 1. Hayabusa Chikara 4 MMA Shorts
- 2. Diamond MMA Compression MMA Shorts
- 3. RDX Training MMA Shorts
- 4. Elite Sports MMA Shorts
- 5. Venum Camo Hero MMA Shorts
- 6. Gold BJJ No-Gi BJJ Shorts
- 7. Meister MMA Board Shorts
- 8. Meister MMA Rush Compression MMA Shorts
- 9. Anthem Athletics Resilience MMA Shorts
- 10. Sanabul Essential MMA Shorts
- Styles Of MMA Shorts
- Why Do You Need MMA Shorts Instead Of Traditional Gym Shorts?
The 10 Best MMA Shorts Reviewed
1. Hayabusa Chikara 4 MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best Overall
First on the list is the Chikara 4 MMA shorts by Hayabusa. Hayabusa is a reputable martial arts brand for the quality and aesthetics of their products, and they also dominate the MMA shorts market.
The Chikara 4 is the latest of the Chikara series, and just one of the many other styles of quality MMA shorts Hayabusa has available for its customers.
As expected from Hayabusa, its design is top-notch. It has a minimalistic, yet attractive board style design that comes in four (4) colors to give you a variety of options.
Essentially, the shorts are made to take the worst beating from MMA, jiu-jitsu, or kickboxing training sessions. They are made with a tough, yet easy-on-the-skin fabric that has reinforced seams all-around the shorts to prevent ripping or fraying.
Also, Chikara 4 offers impressive comfort and range of motion on the mat. First, they are knee-length shorts, so fighters who don’t like revealing shorts can feel comfortable.
For in-fight effectiveness, it has a stretch panel that allows you to throw kicks without restriction. Plus, slits on each side of the shorts provide extra ease of movement.
Unlike regular board shorts, the crotch area is stretchy and ventilated, which is a very important feature.
On another hand, it incorporates a silicone waistband with a drawstring and a Velcro closure to make sure the shorts stay on your waist in the heat of a fight. The silicone material makes it snug as well as comfortable on the waist.
- Stylish design
- Good for tall users
- Available in four (4) colors (Blue, black, grey, and red).
- Sizes range from S - XXL (30-“38”) to fit all users
- Impressive mobility and stability
- Large name imprint might be a turn off for some people
If you are looking to spend on a quality product, Chikara 4 is a good choice. These shorts are long-lasting and offer unrestricted movement during training, at a price that’s worth it.
2. Diamond MMA Compression MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best in Comfort
Diamond MMA, are not only a good brand, but also have one of the best selling MMA shorts, which is their athletic compression shorts with groin protection.
The Diamond MMA compression shorts are arguably the best and most complete MMA fight shorts for those who have the heart to wear them in training.
It combines a top-of-the-line “jock and cup” system with military-grade spandex for ultimate protection, mobility, and comfort.
Its 4-strap “jock and cup” system protects the groin from hits without any uneasy movement of the cup in the shorts like in many other brands. Also, its cup is made with flexible polycarbonate (same material in bulletproof glass) and is said to be the best groin protection in the world.
With any compression shorts, you can rest assured you will get an unrestricted range of motion to perform unlimited moves. But the Diamond MMA shorts, unlike many others, lasts longer.
These compression shorts come in a wide range of sizes but have only two colors (black and blue). The sizes range from 28” to as large as 44”, which makes it sizable for most users. Regardless, you should go up one size if you have thick or large thighs for a snug rather than choking fit.
To keep the shorts on the waist at all times, it uses a drawstring to give a custom fit for all waist measurements in each size category (S, M, YM, YL, L YXL, XL, XXL, YL,).
One minor issue is that, to some users, the cup might not be comfortable working around in, however it feels comfortable when using it on the mat or in training.
- Best for groin protection
- Comes with a jockstrap and cup
- Unlimited range of motion
- Durable spandex material
- Wide range of sizes for young and older athletes
- Limited colors
Despite its seemingly high price tag, one thing buyers almost always repeat is that the protection and comfort it offers is well worth it.
3. RDX Training MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best Affordable
RDX Training is another big name brand in the martial arts industry we’ve decided to add in this review. Not just for its name, but the quality and affordability of its board style MMA fight shorts.
Like the Hayabusa Chikara 4, the RDX board style shorts feature a design that’s simple, yet stylish. On the flip side, it has an imposing imprint of the brand name that might not take the fancy of some folks.
The RDX Training shorts are, however, more affordable.
Nevertheless, its quality and functionality is enough reason to consider this product.
The RDX MMA Shorts are built with quality micro-stretch polyester fabric that is not only long-lasting but also has anti-microbial and odor preventing abilities.
For even better durability, the fabric is reinforced with exclusive T3 stitching, which makes it withstand extreme use.
The shorts are shorter than usual (mid-thigh length), and have ergonomic cuts on each side for fluid movement during training.
Also, they have an anatomically aligned inside the area with “silicon printing” for a free and comfy range of motion. On top of that, the crotch also has a Lycra stretch panel that makes it possible to throw kicks or even split with ease.
The RDX shorts have an improved Velcro closure with drawstrings for a zero-slip grip that keeps it on your waist through every training session.
- Durable micro stretch polyester material
- Reinforced T3 stitching
- Wide size range (S-XXL)
- Good customer service
- Short length (half thighs)
All in all, the RDX training MMA shorts make a good option for beginners who want a taste of real fight shorts, since it’s very affordable.
4. Elite Sports MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best for Beginners
Elite Sports is a reputable sporting brand that produces the most affordable gears for even penny-wise customers.
Their MMA shorts are no different and for this reason, easily go out of stock for the kind of value they offer.
Although these shorts are definitely not as good as a Hayabusa or Diamond MMA shorts, they get the job done. Most especially for a beginner or a person that hasn’t used top-of-the-line MMA shorts.
The Elite Sports MMA shorts have a plain design with short slits on each side of the leg. Its 150GSM polyester fabric is lightweight, and non-chaffing, with spandex in the thigh area for a deep range of motion.
Another simple, yet effective feature is its combination of a Velcro closure and drawstring to keep the shorts snug on the waist.
The only issue many customers complain about is that it’s undersized. If you are getting one, go up a size or two of what you were, normally, especially if you have large thighs.
- Plain design
- Two-fold Velcro closure with drawstrings
- Different color options
- Unappealing design
- Measurement categories are undersized
Overall, the Elite MMA shorts offer awesome value for their price. It is a good buy for beginners and those on a budget.
5. Venum Camo Hero MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best for Professionals
Venum is a household name in the MMA sporting gears industry, and they spared no costs to keep it the same way with their Camo Hero shorts.
The Camo Hero shorts are quite expensive, but they breathe perfection to cater to professionals and hobbyists who can afford them.
Just as its name implies, it has an eye-catching camouflage design that is also available in several colors.
The Camo Hero is built with a durable, yet ultra-weight polyester micro fabric for extra comfort and mobility. Better yet, the stitching for the seams is machine-reinforced to guarantee long-lasting use.
Yet another benefit of its material is that its micro-fabric doubles as a thermo-regulator, which uses its mesh panels for better breathability and fast drying.
Like with many other brands, its best to pick a size above your normal size if you have big thighs. In case you worry it might be too large for you, its Velcro closure makes it snug.
For a secure waist grip, it uses as a rare three-fold hook and loop closure system.
- Unique design
- Durable and ultra-lightweight fabric
- Three-way Velcro closure system
- Sizing issues
The Venum Camo Hero is the right choice for those who will spare no costs to get a quality product. It is suitable for training sessions, as well as competitive matches.
6. Gold BJJ No-Gi BJJ Shorts
Our Verdict: Best Lightweight
The Gold BJJ no-gi shorts are not regular MMA shorts but work just as fine for MMA, Muay Thai, wrestling, and other combat sports.
The shorts are made to meet IBJJF standard and cost way less than its closest competitors.
It has a simple design with the name and logo of the brand imprinted on minimally on both legs. Interestingly, the logo doesn’t crack or peel for a long time, unlike other cheaper products.
The shorts are free (baggy) but do not get in the way in training, and it ends just above the knees. Like regular MMA shorts, they have side slits on each side but are shorter than that of MMA shorts.
Also, it doesn’t have a Velcro strap and uses only a drawstring and an elastic waistband, to stay snug on the waist.
- Cheaper than its closest competitors
- IBJJF standard
- Long-lasting graphic imprint
- Baggy style
- Drawstring only
The Gold BJJ shorts are made with a super light polyester blend that dries fast and wicks sweat off. The fabric is also a 4-way stretch, which makes it flexible and safe to perform rolls, grappling, or kicks.
7. Meister MMA Board Shorts
Our Verdict: Best for Breathability
Meister MMA is a popular MMA gear brand, and the Dragon Hybrid are their main MMA fight shorts.
Like you’d expect, it has a large Dragon graphics on one leg with athletic cuts on each side for fluid movement. The shorts are also knee-length, which is good but is only available in white.
The shorts are typically board shorts with a polyester and nylon blend that guarantees durability, flexibility, and breathability. The material holds its shape, and the inside of each leg has nylon flex panels for better mobility.
Although it has double-stitched seams for a firm hold, a few users have complained that it has a rough finish.
Like most MMA shorts, it features a drawstring and closures, coupled with an elastic waistband to keep it snug on the waist.
- Good material
- Drawstring and Velcro closure with elastic waistband
- Its dragon graphic will not crack or peel from a few washes
- Available in only one color – white
The Meister Dragon Hybrid offers all the necessary features you hope to find in MMA shorts and at an affordable price. The main decision for you to make is if you can live with its design and one-way color (white).
8. Meister MMA Rush Compression MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best in Durability
The Meister MMA Rush compression shorts are one of the most popular MMA shorts at the moment, and the reason isn’t so far-fetched.
First, it’s very versatile. It is used for just about any combat sports from MMA to no-gi BJJ as shorts or underwear, even in other sports.
Also, it has a lycra microfiber material that is not only stretchy but also able to withstand all the beating it will take during fights. Plus, its seams are double-stitched for even more durability.
As you’d expect from compression shorts, the Meister shorts fit tightly and have an elastic waistband for a more comfortable fit around the waist.
For good hygiene, the fabric wicks sweat off and are also odor proof. However, it is important you wash the red version separately, even before use because it bleeds badly on other clothes.
For those who feel inconvenient in compression pants, it has an in-built cup compartment with Velcro closure that fits most cups. Despite this, many users have had minor issues with the pocket not keeping a cup well in place.
- Great value for money
- In-built cup compartment
- Sleek and stretchy fabric
- Double-stitched for improved durability
- Available in only black and red
- Red color bleeds badly
- In-built pocket doesn’t hold cups perfectly
Finally, what makes the Meister Rush compression pants really popular is how cheap they cost for so much value.
9. Anthem Athletics Resilience MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best in Style
The Resilience MMA Shorts from Anthem Athletics is very popular with over 400 pairs sold and given positive reviews.
It is also the most styled product in this review with over 20 designs to choose from, so you never run out of options.
The shorts are classic board style MMA shorts and its sewn with durability in mind. Its material is tear-resistant, wicks off moisture, and the Anthem Athletics logo won’t peel or crack anytime soon.
For flexibility and unrestricted range of motion, it has long side slits on each side and also has a 4-way stretch crotch area.
With its two-fold Velcro closure and long drawstring, the shorts always stay on the waist even under intense grappling and rolling sessions.
The only issue, which is also common in other MMA shorts, is its sizing. They are designed to fit your true size and not pant size. In most cases, you have to order a size up to get your perfect fit.
- Over 20 designs available
- IBJJF standard
- Long-lasting material
- Fast drying and anti-moisture
- Fabric feels flimsy to some users
Regardless, the overall design of the Resilience shorts makes them suitable for MMA, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, CrossFit, and a host of other sports. On another hand, these quality shorts won’t put a hole in your pocket.
10. Sanabul Essential MMA Shorts
Our Verdict: Best for Mobility
The Sanabul Essential MMA shorts are one of the cheapest online and make a good choice for beginners.
The Sanabul Shorts have an almost plain design with only small sublimated graphics of the brand name and their logo.
The shorts are less baggy than traditional shorts but not as fitted as most MMA board shorts. But they are designed to fit without hindering movement. Consequently, its side slits are cut very short, since there is already enough mobility.
For flexibility and longevity, the shorts are made with a thick 4-way stretch fabric, which is tough, but comfortable enough to use in any combat sports. Also, it uses a flat-lock seam stitching that prevents the shorts from reaping or fraying.
Furthermore, it has an antimicrobial treatment that quickly dries off sweat after workouts to prevent fungus growth.
For a snug fit on the waist, it uses the popular combination of a drawstring & hook and loop closure.
- Very affordable
- Tight fit
- Thick and flexible build
- Available in seven (7) colors
- Drawstring and Velcro closure for a snug fit
- Different size issues
Overall, these shorts are ideal for beginners and even more experienced users who don’t fancy the screaming designs in more expensive MMA shorts.
Styles Of MMA Shorts
Board Style Shorts
Board style shorts are the most popular kind of MMA shorts and are used in many professional UFC fights.
Typically, they look just like board shorts used for surfing but have been specially modified for use in combat sports.
First, they don’t have any metallic parts, like zippers, and are usually pocket-less for safety and to meet MMA standards. The waist, sometimes elastic, usually has a drawstring and Velcro closure, to ensure it stays up in workouts or matches.
Vale Tudo Shorts
Vale Tudo shorts are very similar to compression pants or shorts with only minor alterations made to them.
More specifically, MMA Vale Tudo shorts usually have more attractive designs and also have cup compartments. Sometimes, some brands sell them alongside cups and jockstraps.
Vale Tudo shorts are the best no-gi shorts since opponents won’t have any extra material to grab onto. Nevertheless, they are also good for MMA fighters.
As the name suggests, it is a combination of the two MMA shorts styles we mentioned above.
It combines the elasticity and tight-fitting of Vale Tudo shorts, with the flamboyant design and fastening of board shorts.
The hybrid shorts offer more users flexibility, comfort, and unrestricted range of motion.
If you like the flexibility of Vale Tudo shorts, but prefer if it were a little baggier for convenience, then hybrid MMA shorts are just what you need.
Why Do You Need MMA Shorts Instead Of Traditional Gym Shorts?
Like I said earlier, wearing MMA shorts for practice is definitely not a necessity. However, in professional matches, it is compulsory for contestants to wear MMA standard shorts.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of reasons why you still need to train in MMA shorts rather than regular ‘ol gym shorts or basketball shorts.
And same with any other sports like with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi, it's an important factor to gear up with the right outfit for some important reasons, too.
First of all, regular shorts aren’t made to withstand the beating MMA shorts will take in their lifetime. Consequently, if you train in regular Nike or Adidas shorts, you will notice it won’t be long before it starts to show signs of wear and tear; the same way as in considering the difference of MMA gloves from regular boxing gloves.
Flexibility And Mobility
MMA shorts are built with combat in mind, that is, kicking, rolling, grappling, and others, which all require a free range of motion.
Unlike most regular shorts, they usually have athletic slits on each side of the leg that gives more mobility. Also, the gusset or crotch area, which is usually prone to ripping in regular shorts is elasticated.
This gives the wearer unrestricted movement with only a little chance of ripping the shorts during training or workouts.
Comfort And Safety
If you’ve practiced with traditional shorts, then you’ll know they don’t stay up well in fights.
That said, the key factor that makes MMA shorts and/or even shorts for Muay Thai stand out from regular shorts is safety and protection; the same way Muay Thai shin guards protect your shin from injury. MMA shorts are designed to keep the wearer and their opponent safe from injuries.
The shorts are designed without pockets because fighters can catch a finger or toe in them in the middle of a fight. Likewise, they don’t have zippers, since traditional shorts with metal zippers pose a lot of danger in combat sports. Of course, this is also true with a pair of boxing shorts.
So before we get to the end of this review, check out this video for some footwork basics:
From this MMA shorts review, you now know how the little difference between MMA shorts and regular shorts can make you train with better mobility, comfort, and safety.
Also, I’ve reviewed several MMA shorts available that are suitable for several users regardless of your budget or shorts design and style. But, as you already know, you tend to get more quality and value from more expensive products.
That being said, if you want to go for the best MMA shorts available, I’ll recommend the Hayabusa Chikara 4. They are knee-length board shorts with slits along each side of the leg to prevent the shorts from hindering movement at all.
Designed for comfort and quality, its polyester fabric is upholstered with stretch panels and reinforced seams, which guarantees flexibility and a long life span. Also, the shorts use a drawstring and Velcro closure system, coupled with a silicone waistband to allow it to stay snug and non-chaffing on the waist.
All in all, the Hayabusa Chikara 4 shorts are great for people who like free knee-length shorts and want a product with the best quality possible.