Man doing hand cleans in ten thousand interval shorts

Spoiler: the Best Gym Shorts You Can Buy Aren’t from Nike or Adidas

There's a chance Ten Thousand's internet-famous Interval shorts could get you through 10,000 workouts.
By Will Price
May 22, 2024

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When it comes to fitness gear, there seem to be two modes of thought: the guys who wear the same hole-ridden Champion shorts from the early ’90s, and the guys who swear by the latest fitness tech from Nike (or their preferred fitness mega-label). Ten Thousand, at first glance, seems to target both the no-nonsense crowd and the gym fashion police. The company sells many products, but the item that put it on the map is a pair of rather simple-looking bottoms.

The Ten Thousand Interval Short ($64) is meant to be a rugged, nice-looking, and versatile workout short. To get a straightforward take, we asked a group made up of veterans, military, and first responders to wear Ten Thousand shorts to the gym for a month and report back.

This review is a part of Hone Health’s celebration of Veteran’s Day, for which we’ve conscripted a team of military, former military, and first responders from our community to help us rigorously review popular products. 

Ten Thousand Interval Shorts

  • Fit is snug but stretches well
  • Higher quality standard than regular gym shorts
  • Zero signs of wear through multiple workouts and washes
  • Utility pocket
  • Somewhat rigid exterior construction
  • Built-in liner is hit or miss

What Are Ten Thousand Shorts?

The brand doesn’t call the Interval Short its flagship product, but it has essentially become that.

Fundamentally, it’s a workout short that’s meant to be made to a higher quality standard than the rest, and designed to be low-profile and comfortable to boot. It comes in 15+ colors, with or without a liner (we reviewed them with a liner), and you have the option to choose your inseam length (5-, 7-, and 9-inch). It’s got standard hip pockets and a smaller zip pocket to hold keys on a long run. The exterior shell is a lightweight poly-spandex blend and is stiffer to the touch than most. 

Interval Shorts Card Pocket
The tiny zip pocket for car keys or beer cash isn’t what makes Ten Thousand shorts great, but it’s nice to have at the very least.

What’s Good About the Ten Thousand Shorts?

Snug but stretchy

The fit is probably the most important feature of a piece of clothing you’re planning to wear while working out. Too big and you can run into issues with fabric catching on equipment, too tight and you’ll be uncomfortable—more so than you already are putting your body through the wringer. 

Our testing group all reported the fit as true to size and good overall, but with a caveat or two.

David C., who said he’s used to working out in basketball shorts, thought the built-in compression liner fit perfectly, for instance, but the shell of the shorts was a bit snugger than he’d like. Chris L. reported the same about the liner—”The stretch of the internal liner and short was perfect”—and added that the short doesn’t ride up at all. Multiple other testers also mentioned the shorts not riding up no matter what workout they put them through. 

Higher quality standard than regular gym shorts

Every tester—even the one that gave the shorts the lowest rating of the bunch—admired the quality of the Ten Thousand Shorts’ construction.

Though the poly-spandex blend doesn’t sound like anything special on paper, testers said the combo felt more durable, tougher, and like it would last longer than any shorts they had worn before. 

“[Ten Thousand Interval Shorts] felt high quality and handled multiple washes well,” David C. told us. 

James E. said the “material, feel, and craftsmanship” are clear when you hold or wear the shorts.  

Chris L. said the short material is practically water-resistant, too, having run in the rain while wearing them. 

Zero signs of wear through multiple workouts and washes

We asked every tester if there was any sign whatsoever of wear after a month of frequent wearing and washing. All reported no color fading, threading, decal peeling, or any other kind of abrasion. We’ll continue to check in with our testers as time passes, but for now it’s clear the shorts are not going to wither away in the wash. 

Utility pocket

It’s a small feature, but one-half of our testers noted this fun-sized pocket as some variation of “surprisingly useful.”

The utility pocket is a tiny zip pocket that is situated just behind the standard hip pockets. They’re smaller, but they’re more or less water-tight (we’ll call it sweat-tight so no one jumps in a lake expecting their phone to be safe). One tester said he puts his car key fob in there on trail runs and forgets it’s there until he’s done. 

More Workout Gear

What’s Not Good About the Ten Thousand Shorts?

Somewhat rigid exterior

Yes, we are aware listing the rigid construction as a con and praising the short for its rugged durability—which is at least partly owed to its rigid construction—might seem confusing.

Our testers made it clear they liked the short’s weight and feeling of quality, but most said the exterior shell was rigid, which was slightly frustrating. One described it as “kind of crunchy,” which seems apt. Most noted that while the short does stretch as much as you could ever want, it is marginally tighter than they’d like across the butt and thighs in general. Some noted this may simply be personal preference, and none noted that the tightness caused them any discomfort. 

Built-in liner is hit or miss

The one item that did seem to cause some discomfort for some of our testers was the liner. The liner is essentially a built-in compression short and the shorts can be ordered with or without them. We opted to test them with the liner. 

James E. said the liner fit “feels awkward around the thighs” and can feel weird if you wear underwear with them. Jim F. suggested the same, telling us that the liner was just a bit too snug. 

We did have testers that reported no problems (but offered no praise) for the liner. Then there were those that said the liner fit perfectly, didn’t ride up, and was a nice addition to the shorts. 

Our recommendation: if you have your own compression shorts you like wearing while working out, consider the linerless Ten Thousand shorts. If you don’t, get the ones with the liner built-in. 

The Competition

Lululemon Pace Breaker Short

Though Lululemon’s most popular short ($68) is often compared to the Ten Thousand short, they’re not that similar in the larger gym short market. They’re both about the same price and they’re both stretchy, but, having worn both, it’s clear the Lululemon short is better suited for cardio work and HIIT sessions, whereas the Ten Thousand Interval Short is much more durable, and perhaps better suited to the weight room than the track.   

Nike Pro Dri-FIT Flex

Nike has dozens of different gym shorts, but the Dri-FITs Flex ($68) is probably its best one-to-one with the Ten Thousand short. They’re lighter and generally feel a bit cheaper than the Ten Thousand shorts when you wear them, though. They could very well last a long time, but the materials do feel more likely to wear with time.  

Rhone Mako Tech Shorts

Rhone’s shorts ($78) are probably the closest Ten Thousand equivalent we’ve tried. They’re slightly more expensive, but they feel similar in the hand, can be bought lined or unlined, and aren’t overly flashy. We like them a lot, but for the price we still lean toward Ten Thousand’s option. 

The Bottom Line

Our testers really dug the construction, material quality, and durability of the Ten Thousand Interval Short. Most said they would recommend them to a friend, even. But the built-in liner and more rigid exterior were divisive. We recommend them but suggest sizing up if you don’t like a snug fit.