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Soccer Shorts Vs. Basketball Shorts | A Comprehensive Comparison

Soccer Shorts Vs. Basketball Shorts | A Comprehensive Comparison

Generally, every type of sport has its unique design of specific equipment used during play. One of such equipment is the shorts.

Be it soccer, tennis, basketball, or volleyball, shorts of varying lengths and designs are used in these different types of sporting genres.

The choice of short length and design is usually determined by the mobility needs of the game. When examining these shorts, you will notice a difference in the material used for production, the length, and an overall difference in texture.

However, this article focuses mainly on the types of shorts used in soccer and basketball. Here, we will highlight the possibility of using either in soccer.

Soccer Shorts Vs. Basketball Shorts

Often soccer players have been seen adapting equipment meant for other sporting cultures for the game of soccer.

As long as the equipment in question is in line with the laid down standards for use in the game, exploring options could be the key to having an edge.

1. Soccer shorts

As you know, soccer requires a lot of sprinting, and as a result, the shorts used are expected to be lightweight and comfy. Heavy fabric makes it difficult for the player to run and move with the ball. It must also be breathable to reduce the amount of sweat generated.

The usual length you will find for shorts is about 7 inches, which is usually above the knee. Depending on player preference, you may find shorts that are a bit shorter than this length, but rarely will you find players using longer lengths.

man wears black soccer shorts dribbling a soccer ball between cones

The need for speed and agility in soccer makes the use of light and stretchy material essential. You will find that these shorts also possess moisture-wicking properties that allow for easy shedding of moisture and general aeration.

In practice games, longer shorts can be used. However, due to the length of a soccer game, it is advisable to stick with the 7 inches long shorts.


  • Durability

With the many movements and contacts in soccer, it is essential to have a kit to withstand stress and strain. Therefore, soccer shorts are built with soft and elastic materials such that they regain their initial shape when stretched and pulled.

Also, with the back and forth running in a match, much heat is generated. The material used in creating soccer shorts ensures that this sweat is wicked away.

  • Comfort

Another merit of soccer shorts is the comfort that it gives. To play freely and perform at the highest level, a soccer player needs well-fitted shorts. The shorts should be flexible enough to permit running, jumping, and sliding motions.

Soccer shorts give a natural feel allowing the player to move freely and accurately. In addition, some shorts have adjustable strings that accommodate the increase in size over some time.

a girl in red jersey dribbling a ball

  • Lightweight

Soccer shorts are lightweight, enabling quicker movements. This feature ensures that players do not get dragged back by the weight of the shorts. Generally, the principle is that the lighter you are, the quicker you can move.

Soccer shorts are designed so that the weight of the short itself is almost negligible compared to other materials such as the cleats and the shin guard. Thus, even when they absorb moisture, they shed them easily and maintain their quality after use.

  • Breathability

Generally, most soccer shorts are breathable. This means they are designed to allow the passage of air through the fabric. It also easily gives off the sweat generated by the player’s movement.

group of men practicing soccer

  • Safety

The safety of players should not be compromised in any way. This is why soccer shorts are created to ensure players’ protection.

For example, when making tackles, players slide through patches of grass and could get injured. Soccer shorts help to prevent the occurrence of this nature.

  • Team unity

Soccer shorts are part of the uniform used in matches, and they help the player create a visual representation of the team.

Alongside the jerseys, shorts are also important for fans watching the match at home and in the stadium. This allows them to identify and differentiate the teams easily.

soccer player in white uniform chasing a ball in soccer match


  • Tight fitting

The major drawback of soccer shorts is that some products are tight-fitting. Players are required to tuck in their jerseys. However, because of this discomfort, many prefer to leave it flying once they get on the pitch.

Tight-fitting clothes generally cause a lot of difficulties when moving constantly, and an excessive measure of force could also lead to quicker wear and tear of the shorts.

  • Poor aesthetic and limited use

Little thought is given to the design of soccer shorts. As a result, they possess a little aesthetic quality and can rarely be used outside the soccer field. They usually come in plain colors matching the jerseys.

two girls in a soccer match

Types of Soccer Shorts

Soccer shorts differ for male and female players. Also, the shorts used in training and live matches differ.

  • Men’s soccer shorts
adidas mens Condivo 20 Shorts Black/White X-Large
  • Men's athletic shorts for every day
  • Regular fit for easy wear
  • Drawcord on elastic waist lets you adjust your fit

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These are the type of soccer shorts worn in soccer leagues for men. They are also suitable for leisure and recreational purposes.

Compared to the ones worn by female soccer players, they are a bit longer. The length ranges between 5-7 inches and they have a longer inseam than women’s shorts.

  • Women’s soccer shorts
adidas Women's Tastigo 19 Shorts, Black/White, Small
  • Sweat-wicking soccer shorts for breathable comfort on and off the field
  • Regular fit strikes a comfortable balance between loose and snug
  • Drawcord on waist for an adjustable fit

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These are the more suitable type of soccer shorts worn by female players. They are shorter and lighter than men’s shorts. In most cases, they have inseams ranging from 3.5-7 inches.

2. Basketball Shorts

Basketball shorts are useful as sporting equipment and leisurewear. Like soccer shorts, they are also made with lightweight materials that permit easy movement while staying comfortable throughout the game.

Basketball shorts were initially about the length of soccer shorts, but as the game evolved, the shorts became increasingly longer and baggier as you would find today. As a result, the average length you will find for basketball shorts is about 11 inches.

two girls playing basketball

These shorts are made of polyester and nylon materials which allow for excellent durability. The shorts can undergo a lot of stretching and different ranges of movements.

They are also designed so that sweat is not retained in the shorts as the moisture dries off even during use.

Using basketball shorts for soccer is possible, but it comes with its disadvantages. Both games’ differences and peculiarities somewhat limit their use outside the sport it was intended for.

However, basketball shorts are used as leisurewear and can be worn outside the game. This is not the same for soccer shorts.


  • Improved convenience

When compared to soccer shorts, basketball shorts are more convenient due to their baggier and longer design. This gives the player more room for movement and fresh air.

Taller soccer players who have difficulty using regular soccer shorts can use basketball shorts as a form of leisure wear.

girl dribbles basketball

  • Safety

Basketball shorts are also easy to use and safe to wear. They also help protect the player regardless of the different ranges of movements he or she makes across the field.

Additionally, due to their increased size, they are a better option in cold climates as they help keep the player warm during the game.

Compared to soccer shorts, basketball shorts can be seen as a safer option due to their loose-fitting feature. This is why they are used outside the sport.

  • Greater aesthetic quality

Basketball shorts are more fashionable when compared to soccer shorts. More detail is given to the design of basketball shorts than what you have in soccer shorts. They are not plain like the soccer shorts and come in creative designs.

a team playing basketball wearing orange uniform

  • Can be used as leisurewear

The use of basketball shorts transcends sports. They can be used as leisurewear for indoor purposes or informal outings. Some products have pockets.


  • Size

One of the significant drawbacks of basketball shorts is their size. Basketball is a fast-paced game that sees a lot of tussles for the ball.

The baggy nature of the shorts will make it easier for the opponent to hold you back when you are with the ball.

boy dribbling a basketball through his opponent

  • Weight

Basketball shorts are generally heavier than soccer shorts. Hence, more effort is required on the player’s part when moving.

The added weight slows down the player and wears them out faster. This affects the all-around performance of the soccer player.

  • Speed reduction

Basketball shorts are long and heavier than soccer shorts and it interferes with the running motion of players. As a result, it reduces the speed of the soccer player.

two basketball players in scrimmage during basketball match

  • Pockets

Shorts with pockets are not often used in soccer, as the player has no use for them. Basketball shorts with pockets cannot be used in soccer.

Types of Basketball Shorts

Depending on age, height, and sex, there are several types of basketball shorts to choose from. These include shorts with adjustable drawstrings, shorts with pockets, and other longer product variations.

1. Shorts with adjustable drawstring 

These are basketball shorts that come with a drawstring for adjusting the hip tightness. The drawstring allows for easy adjustments till a perfect fit is achieved. Making adjustments for fitting is key, especially for an athlete in a growing phase.

  • Shorts with pockets

These are shorts used majorly as leisurewear for people who prefer to have pockets in their shorts.

Under Armour Men's Tech Graphic Shorts, Navy, XL
  • UA Tech fabric is quick-drying, ultra-soft & has a more natural feel
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • Encased elastic waistband with internal drawcord

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Longer shorts

Basketball shorts also come in variations 2 inches longer than the regular shorts. These types are baggier and loose, giving more comfort to the player.

Pack of 5 Men's Athletic Basketball Shorts Mesh Quick Dry Activewear with Pockets (Set 3, Large)
  • MAXIMIZE YOUR PERFORMANCE: Dominate the court and crush your workout with these comfy and stylish...
  • STAY COOL AND CONFIDENT: With these shorts' dry fit moisture-wicking technology and breathable...
  • KEEP YOUR STUFF HANDY: Never miss a beat with these shorts' convenient side seam pockets, perfect...

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  • Men and women shorts

Basketball shorts for men have been known to be looser, longer, and with pockets. This is because men are required to tuck in their jerseys in their shorts.

Roadbox Workout Shorts Men Athletic Gym Running Basketball Shorts for Men 7 inch with Pocket for Fitness Sports 2pack
  • ️【High Quality Fabric】 Our mens shorts are made of 14-process fabrics,light and...
  • 【Breathable and Quick Drying】88% polyester + 12% spandex material blend fabric. Make sure you...
  • 【Humanized Double Pocket Design】2-side pockets are convenient for carrying smart phones and some...

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

On the other hand, women’s shorts are softer, shorter in length, made of polyester, and without pockets.

Under Armour Women's Golazo 2.0 Shorts , Black (001)/White , Large
  • Game day product built specifically for the soccer athlete Soft, lightweight fabric delivers the...
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • 4-way stretch construction moves better in every direction

Last update on 2023-11-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

However, it must be mentioned that any player’s shorts to be used depends significantly on the player’s preference. Hence women basketball players can wear men’s shorts.

CharacteristicsSoccer ShortsBasketball shorts

Can Basketball Shorts Be Used For Soccer?

The answer is yes, but only when there are no better options. Due to their similarities, you can use basketball shorts in the place of soccer shorts.

The advantages of using a basketball short for soccer are relatively few making it unnecessary. However, if you experience difficulty using the soccer shorts because of how the groin area is designed, you can try out the basketball shorts.

Differences between Soccer Shorts and Basketball Shorts

As earlier mentioned, due to the similarities in the design of soccer shorts and basketball shorts, they can be used interchangeably. However, there is a difference to watch out for when purchasing these kits.

Depending on your preference and the purpose of the purchase, the following points can help in making the best decision.

1. Design

The significant differences in soccer and basketball shorts’ design lie in their markings and edges. Soccer shorts usually have few colors because the focus is usually to match the jersey color.

On the other hand, basketball shorts are cooler with better details and styled edges. They also come with colorful patterns and designs that make them suitable for the game and as leisurewear.

soccer shorts vs basketball shorts

2. Length

Most soccer shorts don’t go over the knee, making them suitable for long-running. They are usually 5-7 inches long.

Basketball shorts, on the other hand, are about 11 inches. However, it is important to mention that because most basketball players are tall, the shorts still end above their knee or just on their knees.

3. Size

Soccer shorts are generally lightweight and smaller in size with a tighter fitting.

Basketball shorts, on the other hand, are loose and baggier. This makes them heavier when compared to soccer shorts.

two men in a soccer match

4. Material

The material used in producing soccer shorts and basketball shorts is polyester.

However, for more convenience, there are variations of basketball shorts made of a mixture of polyester and nylon materials. These types of materials are used because they do not hold moisture.

5. Function

In soccer, speed, agility, and flexibility are essential attributes for success. Kits used in the sport are geared towards enhancing these attributes.

Soccer entails more running and occasional jumping. Basketball, on the other hand, has a higher occurrence of jumps.

girl jumps high in a basketball match


Soccer shorts are meant for soccer. Likewise, basketball shorts are meant for basketball. Hence, using basketball shorts in soccer is not entirely advisable.

However, preferences differ, and trying out basketball shorts in soccer will not be a total disaster.

The choice to use or not also depends on the height and weight of the player in question. When dealing with special circumstances of unusual size and weight, using basketball shorts may be the only viable option.