How to choose the best MMA shorts for you

Combat sports and MMA in particular are very accessible as far as gear goes. You need a few pieces of equipment to train properly, but in comparison with some other sports, you don’t need much. No matter what you do though you will need pants.

While training MMA you are going to spend a lot of hours in your shorts, learning and preparing your mind and body for unarmed combat. If you are going to be constantly put in uncomfortable positions, and trust me, you will be daily, it’s wise to spare yourself the inconvenience of improper attire.

Best MMA Shorts

Best overall
How to choose the best MMA shorts for you - Hayabusa Hexagon BJJ shorts best MMA shorts
Ultimate performance shorts
Top of the line brand
Rugged textiles and hardware
Extremely durable
Best value
How to choose the best MMA shorts for you - Sanabul Essential MMA cross training workout shorts best MMA shorts
Amazing price-quality balance
Athletic fit especially for grappling
Stretchy material
Built to last
Best vale tudo style
How to choose the best MMA shorts for you - Venum Gladiator 3.0 Vale Tudo shorts best MMA shorts
Killer looks
Ergonomic seams plus elastic waistband for a perfect fit
Compression technology
Internal pocket for a protective shell

Why do you need special MMA shorts?

Especially for newbies in the gym, the purchase of special shorts for MMA seems unnecessary. After all, you surely have a few pairs of regular sports shorts in your wardrobe. 


In martial arts mobility is king and regular gym shorts are not made for kicking above your head level in mind. Neither are they produced for the constant violent wear and tear of grappling. A proper pair of MMA shorts are much safer, more comfortable, and more durable than regular gym shorts. They also dry out much faster than cotton ones. 

And there is the other thing.

When you see yourself in the right gear, similar to your fight idols, you immediately feel much cooler and better. And if you feel confident, then chances are you actually will perform better.

MMA shorts are as much defined by what they have as with what they don’t have:

  • Pockets (used to collect your partner’s toes when they low kick you)
  • Zippers and buttons
  • Metal or plastic tags

Of course, technically you can train without specialized MMA shorts, but if you are serious about your training you should definitely buy a few pairs and not let some piece of cloth get in the way of your progress. 

If you are already convinced let’s finally start with the models. Here is our choice for the top 3 models you could buy right now.

Things to consider when choosing the best MMA shorts for you

Best MMA Shorts and how to choose

Although all MMA shots come with the purpose of providing the best possible training experience, there are a few different ways to achieve this. People are different and their tastes differ, so there is no “right” choice of the style you should choose. It’s best to try a few out and decide which the right for your personal preference.

Classic vs compression shorts

The main branches of MMA shorts are the classic ones, that like look similar to the well-known board shorts and compression shorts-which are like a skin glove.

Classic shorts are preferred more by strikers as they give the so important full range of motion while also providing some ventilation. A lot of fighters prefer them as they look more “normal”.

On the other hand, compression shorts, provide an unparalleled light feel. They are preferred by BJJ practitioners because they decrease the chance of skin rashes from friction with the mats and partners. After all, the long version compression pants and shirts are called rash guards. 

Another benefit that comes with skin-tight training garments is that they help with blood circulation and muscle recovery, while also keeping the muscles warm.

Compression shorts are also called Vale Tudo shorts. This is because they were made famous by Brazilian fighters who competed in the precursor to mixed martial arts-Vale tudo before storming the world of popular MMA. While regular compression shorts are made to be worn as a base layer, vale tudo shorts are thicker and worn on their own.

Let’s take a closer look at MMA gear addict’s top 3 choices for MMA shorts and a few other worthy competitors for your money.

1. Hayabusa Hexagon BJJ shorts

Hayabusa has really become synonymous with performance as they claim. The brand is the premium choice when it comes to MMA gear and they charge the premium price for it, but everybody who used their products can tell you it’s justified.

The Hexagon shorts have been designed for every need of the MMA athlete in mind. Boxing, grappling, running, lifting, and everything in between, the Hayabusa shorts should be your first choice.

The innovative fabric, stretch panel, and silicone waistband provide no restriction and no friction in grappling. The silicone helm is incredibly effective at keeping the shorts in their place and not letting them slide down. They also have a customizable fit because of the interlocking Velcro and adjustable waistband.

MMA training is very rigorous and the Hexagon shorts are built to last a lot of it. The rugged fabric can withstand everyday practice and if you consider a longer period of time, these more expensive shorts may be actually the better deal if you would otherwise have to buy a few cheaper pairs for the same time.

The hexagon also comes in a couple of different lengths, so there is no real fault that we can point to.

If you want the premium choice with no compromise you can never go wrong with Hayabusa gear. 

  • The ultimate performance short
  • Rugged textiles and hardware
  • the stretch panel, reinforced seams, and silicone waistband
  • Designed for ease of movement without restriction.
  • Inner grip waistband to help lock the shorts in place.
  • Built for peak performance
  • More expensive than the other alternatives

2. Sanabul Essential MMA, cross training workout shorts

These shorts come at a very tempting price and the nearly 3k stellar amazon reviews can guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed if you choose to buy the Sanabul MMA shorts. A lot of beginners will surely pick this option to see for themselves that proper gear is needed to train effectively.

They are more fitted than traditional MMA board shorts and are designed to fit without any hindrance of movement. The short’s open seams and four-way stretching really provide a full range of motion. Standard seams also have the unpleasant tendency to trap limbs, so no need to worry about that either.

The material use for the Sanabul is thicker than some of the other options and provides very good durability without even considering the tempting price point.  The thickness does not take away from the flexibility and comfort.

The manufacturer also boasts that the material was also treated to reduce bacterial and fungal growth.

The very clean design comes a bit bland for some people. There are 7 color options, but they are only for the waistband, otherwise, the shorts are plain black. This is in stark contrast to most other brand’s brash and bold stylings.  

  • Clean look
  • Best value by far
  • Pull-on closure
  • A lot of color options
  • Surprisingly durable
  • A huge amount of good reviews
  • The design is too plain

3. Venum Gladiator 3.0 Vale Tudo shorts

Venum has quickly become a household name when it comes to MMA gear. They recently landed a huge deal to provide the gear for all UFC fighters which means that if they are still not the most famous fight brand in the world they will soon be.

You can make a full list only with Venum, but our choice for this list is the Gladiator 3.0 Vale Tudo shorts. The slick design with a gladiator image catches the eye the moment you see the shorts without falling into the trap of being too corny.

Besides great looks, these shorts have a very durable material that will take you through many hard sessions. The fabric is a 4-way stretch and extends the natural movement of the body while the elastic waistline keeps them where they are supposed to stay.

With the Gladiator you also get the benefits of the Venum Compression technology compressing your muscles. This will helps with a faster warm-up, optimized performance, and better recovery.

  • Great design
  • 87% Polyester – 13% Spandex: soft and resistant fabric
  • Cuts designed to increase mobility and flexibility.
  • internal pocket for a protective shell.
  • Venum dry tech
  • Ultralight
  • Vale tudo shorts exposure not for everyone

4. RDX MMA shortsoves

RDX is another of the big brand names in combat gear. They come from England and offer affordable alternatives to the US and Japanese gear without sacrificing the quality.

Their MMA shorts come in a simple, but stylish design. As with all their products the brand name sits large and proud on the product which is not liked universally. The RDX shorts are a quality product nonetheless.

The band has both Velcro and an interlocking drawstring. RDX calls this strong grip and it allows for a perfect fit on your waist.

Another internal name for RDX is the T3 stitching to the micro stretch polyester fabric which ensures increased strength and durability of the shorts.

The side cuts are even more ergonomic than usual cuts in shorts of this type which brings unparalleled flexibility.  

  • Strong waistband for a perfect fit
  • Quality durable fabric
  • Affordable
  • Wide size ranges
  • Reinforced T3 stitching
  • No elasticity

5. Anthem Athletics infinity muay thai shorts

Anthem is not so widely known among the pros, but they are very popular on amazon and that is for a reason. They have a few very popular models on the platform, but we’ve chosen to highlight the hybrid model.

Hybrid shorts are an evolution of MMA board shorts and muay Thai shorts fusing together the best of both. They are heavily favored by strikers because they offer the freedom of muay Thai shorts, without their drawbacks when it comes to grappling. Plus they look the coolest of all the styles.

Anthem’s model is a great combination of classic styling and modern performance. They are produced from ultra-high grade, lightweight, tear-resistant microfiber. The elastic waistband has a drawstring on it, as opposed to most traditional muay thai models, and can be adjusted to suit you perfectly.

These shorts are amazing for striking classes and will definitely bring your round kick level by a couple of levels, but have in mind that the short length is not perfectly suited for grappling. 

  • The high-grade microfiber material
  • Great for kickboxing and muay Thai
  • Great price-value
  • Aggressive side slits
  • Hybrid shorts
  • Allow great mobility
  • Not so good for grappling

6. Meister MMA Rush

If you want to try vale tudo shorts but don’t want to spend a lot of money for Hayabusa or Venum, Meister may have you covered. Their MMA rush model is good and ticks all the right boxes that compression shorts have.

They are very versatile and can be worn for pretty much everything- MMA, BJJ, kickboxing, or strength training. They are made from a premium 4-way stretch polyester material and have smooth interlocking seams. The fabric also prevents bad odors.

  • Very versatile
  • Vale Tudo shorts on a tight budget
  • Sleek and durable fabric
  • Cup compartment
  • Fabric controls muscle temperature
  • Secure fit with elastic waistband
  • The inbuilt pocket does not hold the cup properly

In conclusion

These few models should cover most tastes but of course, there are many, many more options to choose from. Having a few quality pairs of MMA shorts is something you will definitely appreciate if you already haven’t. MMA training is hard enough as it is without having to worry about your gear, so do yourself a favor and pick something from our list.

If you are on the market for Rash Guards you can check out our best Rash Guards reviewed.

Related article: Check out the best grappling dummies for your solo training

Show full profile Plamen Reviewer class="mb10">

I’m a dedicated martial artist from Bulgaria. I have been training for the last 13 years, starting with karate, moving to kickboxing before finally settling to MMA for the last 5 years. I have a few amateur kickboxing fights and currently train with a stable of pro-MMA athletes. I enjoy the finer aspects of fighting, both physical and mental. In MMA Gear addicts, I am intent on helping you choose the right gear.

MMA Gear Addict
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