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Top High Waist Workout Shorts For Women (Our Top Picks)

By Tami Smith

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When it comes to working out, there are two camps: Team Shorts and Team Leggings. That’s just the way the majority of us ladies roll.

For me, it’s very rare to catch me in a pair of leggings while working out. I am team shorts all day long. This means my closet is packed with all kinds of workout shorts. I’ve tried them all and know for a fact that not every pair is created equally.

One of my prerequisites for a great pair of workout shorts is that they have a high waist. I mean, how did we ever get on the low-waisted bandwagon and can we please ensure we never go back?

Seriously, high-waisted workout bottoms of any kind are by far the most flattering and most comfortable style for the majority of women. Unless your body is nearly flawless (which no ones is nor should we chase that), you want shorts that fit and flatter your body so that you can feel confident to actually wear them.

So if you’re ready to “wear the damn shorts!” in the gym and you’re looking for the best high-waisted options, I have you covered. I’m giving you my top choices for workout shorts with a high waist that fit and flatter all body types and the reasons why I chose them. 

Remember, you get what you pay for, so if you’re looking for the cheapest options from Amazon, you might want to browse over there. I have burned through enough pairs of cheap shorts to know that the investment you make into a high-quality pair from a reputable brand is 100% worth it.

Buying Guide and Our Top-Rated High Waist Workout Shorts For Women

Product Name

Price

Material Fabric

Key Features

Women’s Amplify Shorts - 1st Phorm

$60

78% Nylon, 22% Spandex

Flattering high waist fit, 4-way stretch, zippered side pockets, zippered center back pocket

Trainer Shorts - Maven Thread

$45

95% Nylon, 5% Spandex

2 side pockets, underwear liner, high waisted

Clean Elevation Shorty - Vuori

$54

87% Polyester, 13% Elastane

No-slip legging fit, high rise 6" inseam, full coverage support, hidden zip pocket, moisture wicking

Women’s Aspire Short - 1st Phorm

$45

80% Nylon, 20% Spandex

Sweat wicking material, detailed seaming that is flattering, 4" inseam, fold over waistband with no elastic

Drawstring Contrast Mesh 2-in-1 Shorts - Halara

$29.95

96% Polyester, 4% Elastane

4-way stretch, moisture wicking, customizable sizing, 2-in-1 shorts

Seamless Ribbed Series Shorts - Astoria Activewear

$65.99

75% Nylon, 25% Spandex

Excellent support, full coverage, custom ribbed nylon and spandex blend

What To Look For When Choosing High Waisted Workout Shorts

working out with high waist shorts

We all know that we can’t just trust any old pair of shorts; we need to be on the lookout for a few key components that ensure their greatness. Let’s review my top criteria next.

Fit

The high waist alone doesn’t ensure a good fit, you also need your shorts to fit well in the hips and thighs, this is especially true for women with a curvy figure. If you’re looking for workout shorts for thick thighs, the options on this list will have you covered because they all feature a high, cinched waist that flatters with ample room in the hips and thighs to accommodate bodies of all sizes. As women, we want our shorts to hug in all the right places, cover all the right places, and allow us to crush our workouts.

Flexibility

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried on some pretty ill-fitting shorts before. You know the ones that have a super high waist that’s basically stiff and constricting as a board? While they may look cute, they’re certainly not comfortable nor are they functional enough to actually workout in. You need a pair of shorts that allows your whole body to move freely while still offering support.

Staying Power

Is there anything worse than workout shorts that are constantly riding up during your workout? Seriously, it can feel so frustrating to constantly be adjusting your shorts, not to mention a giant waste of your time and energy. What you need are shorts that stay in place and don’t ride up into places that they shouldn’t.

Function

Whether you’re running, walking, lifting, or doing a HIIT workout, you need your shorts to provide the functionality you need for all your workouts.

Brand/Company Reputation

This might not be the first thing you think about when selecting a pair of shorts, but I believe it to be super important. I’ve hit the easy button plenty of times and grabbed what cheap shorts I could find and have always been unimpressed with the quality and fit. Even if a pair appears great at first, I am always disappointed when they inevitably start to break down and wear within a couple of weeks. A high-quality brand that takes pride in its products is a good sign that you’re investing in shorts with integrity and that will last.

My Best Choices for High Waisted Workout Shorts

Here they are, my favorite pairs of high-waisted workout shorts along with a full explanation of why I chose them.

#1. Women’s Amplify Shorts - 1st Phorm

1st phorm amplify short high wasited

The Women’s Amplify Shorts from 1st Phorm are the epitome of an amazing pair of workout shorts. Whether you’re running, lifting, or playing outside with your kids, these shorts have you covered.

Made from durable, 4-way stretch women material and featuring a casual, relaxed but and a high waist, these shorts fit like a glove. Plus, there’s an inner sweat-wicking liner that provides a touch of compression and coverage without interfering with your work. And the cherry on top is the fact that there are large, zippered pockets discreetly located on both sides of the shorts for even more versatility.

I own these shorts in every color and wear them constantly. They’re ridiculously comfortable, very flattering, and keep me feeling cool and confident in the gym and at home.

Pros

  • High waist that hit just above the belly button
  • Inner compression layer that’s ultra-soft and comfortable
  • Modest inseam for plenty of coverage
  • Multiple color options 
  • Zippered pockets
  • Drawstring waist for a personalized fit
  • Amazing brand with a very worthy mission that you’ll feel great about supporting

Cons

  • If you are between sizes, consider going up 1 size for a looser fit
  • The Nylon shell can make a “swishing” noise

#2. Trainer Shorts - Maven Thread

maven thread trainer shorts high waist

Maven Thread recently released these high-waisted, ultra-flattering Trainer Shorts and they just might be my favorite from the brand to date. These beautifully made shorts feature a flattering high-rise waistband that’s thick and trendy and that hit just above the belly button.

There’s an underwear liner inside that’s wicked soft and comfortable and made to be super convenient for wearing to the gym. Plus, there are two large side pockets that are big enough to hold your phone, key, and cards all without looking bulky.

Pros

  • Trendy, high-waist that’s ultra-flattering
  • The waistband is not overly tight and constrictive as many similar styles are
  • Modest, 3.5” inseam
  • Perfect for running, lifting, and everything in between
  • Multiple color options

Cons

  • The pockets don’t have zippers
  • Some people don’t like the underwear liner

#3. Clean Elevation Shorty - Vuori

vuori elevation shorts high waisted

If you’re looking for a high-rise training short that has performance in mind, the Clean Elevation Shorty from Vuori is a great pick. These shorts are made of performance stretch knit, a high rise waist, and no side seams so that you get the sleekest fit.

The full coverage support and ultra-silky feel of these shorts make them an ideal choice for all kinds of workouts. Plus, they feature a non-slip design and a 6” inseam that offers plenty of flattering coverage.

Pros

  • 6” inseam for full, flattering coverage
  • Super soft, high-quality material
  • Super high-waisted
  • No side seams for a sleek fit
  • Compressive, but also stretchy and comfortable

Cons

  • No pockets
  • Only a few colors to choose from

#4. Women’s Aspire Short - 1st Phorm

1st phorm aspire short high waist

1st Phorm makes its second appearance on our list because their shorts are truly that good. The Women’s Aspire Shorts are everything your gym shorts dreams are made of. These shorts are constructed from performance-based, sweat-wicking material and feature an ideal inseam length of 4”.

The high, comfortable waistband will keep you sucked in and flattered, hugging you in all the right places. Plus, these shorts contain large pockets on both sides, so you can easily take these from your workout to running errands and have all the functionality you need to make life comfortable and easy.

I own several pairs of the Aspire Shorts and they are my go-to’s when it comes to biker-style training shorts.

Pros

  • Super soft, very high-quality material
  • Elastic-free waistband for an extremely comfortable fit
  • Sweat-wicking material
  • 4” inseam tends to be the sweet spot for most women
  • Pockets on both sides

Cons

  • There are currently only 5 colors, and we’d all like to see more!
  • Taller women might find the 4” inseam to be too short

#5. Drawstring Contrast Mesh 2-in-1 Shorts - Halara

draw string mesh shorts halara

This next pair is from Halara, and they make the perfect workout shorts for women who enjoy a comfortable high waist. Featuring a 2-in-1 style, these have a built-in shorts liner to provide you with extra comfort and protection without feeling restricted.

There’s a drawstring on the waist so that you can adjust it to find your personalized fit. The 4-way stretch material offers ultimate mobility while still maintaining the style and durability that we need in a great pair of shorts. These Halara shorts also feature a very flattering, high-low cut that accentuates your curves in all the right places.

Pros

  • High waist with drawstring adjustability
  • Super flattering cut
  • 2-in-1 style so you’re comfortable and protected in the gym
  • No bunching up
  • Lots of colors to choose from
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Might feel on the shorter side for those who are taller or prefer more coverage
  • Not the highest quality materials

#6. Seamless Ribbed Series Shorts - Astoria Activewear

seamless ribbed shorts astoria high waist

The Seamless Ribbed Series Shorts from Astoria Activewear are perfect for those who want a high waist and a curve-hugging design. With a mixture of Nylon and Spandex, these shorts are ideal for everything from working out to lounging.

The ribbed material creates a uniquely pleasing design that’s still breathable and functional for all kinds of workouts. Plus, the waist comes up high enough to cover your belly button and pairs perfectly with a sports bra or tank, and the drawstring allows you to create the curve-flattering look you want.

Pros

  • The ribbed design is unique and flattering
  • Super high-waist for max coverage
  • Drawstring for a custom fit
  • Soft and comfortable enough for lounging

Cons

  • No pockets
  • This brand tends to run small, so size up for a more comfortable fit
  • Not a ton of user reviews to go off of

Who Should Try High-Waisted Shorts?

High-waisted shorts are a great option for women who want to look and feel their best in the gym. A high waist allows us to cover and flatter our midsection, which as women, is one of our most common “problem areas.”

With a pair of shorts that feature a high waist, you get to create the curvy silhouette that we all want but don’t necessarily get when we wear shorts that sit at our hips. They tend to elongate our legs and flatter our hips, creating an hourglass shape. Plus, high-waisted shorts just flat-out feel really good for most women.

Final Thoughts

Shorts that have a high waist are super flattering and give us a reason to bust out of our comfort zones and wear the darn shorts! Whether you’re looking for high-waisted workout shorts for wearing to the gym or you need a couple of pairs to wear out on your next run, the options outlined above are hands-down some of the best I’ve found (and I’ve tried dozens).

As with everything in life, you get what you pay for and your willingness to spend a little extra on a pair of high-quality shorts will go a long way. The options above are all worth trying, and I’m confident that you’ll find a pair that feels amazing on your body.

About the author 

Tami Smith

Tami Smith is a certified Nutritionist and an ACE certified fitness trainer, specializing in pre and post-natal fitness. She studied business and earned her bachelor's degree in Business Economics. Tami is a mom of two and women's health advocate. Her passion is to help people live a fit, healthy life through proper nutrition and exercise!

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