How to Wear Soccer Shorts? (This Is How!)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Playing in Europe has made me realize that not everyone wears their soccer shorts the same way at all. 

Quite simply, American players tend to wear shorter shorts than players in other countries. I’ve found myself often wearing my own shorts rather than team-issued shorts for training because of this. 

But, how exactly should you wear soccer shorts?

Let’s unpack soccer short wearing by breaking down:

  • Rules of the game about shorts
  • The purpose of shorts in soccer
  • What makes soccer shorts soccer shorts
  • How to find your perfect pair

Read on to find out everything you need to know about wearing soccer shorts. 

Kharkiv Ukraine September 18 2019 Bernardo Silva football player of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League match vs Shakhtar at Metalist Stadium
Kharkiv Ukraine September 18 2019 Bernardo Silva football player of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League match vs Shakhtar at Metalist Stadium

Do Soccer Players Have to Wear Shorts?

If you’ve ever watched a soccer match played in the cold, you may have been surprised that the players were still wearing shorts. 

Do soccer players have to wear shorts?

According to FIFA rules 

The compulsory equipment of a player comprises the following separate items:

-a shirt with sleeves





The FA

This means that yes, soccer players have to wear shorts in the game. Technically, they are not allowed to wear pants. However, you may see that some leagues or levels will allow players to wear leggings under their shorts, or even pants in some cases. 

Why Do You Wear Shorts in Soccer?

One of the main reasons why soccer players wear shorts is because they are required to for their uniforms. Shorts are part of the gameday kit, so players wear them. 

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However, this isn’t the only reason. 

Soccer shorts are comfortable, especially for covering the long distance that players run. Soccer players typically run between seven and nine miles per game, and shorts are ideal for this. 

Compared to baggy pants (like sweat pants), soccer shorts are light, comfortable, and not restrictive. They allow players to seamlessly perform the necessary movements, like jogging, sprinting, cutting, and ball handling. 

What Kind of Shorts Do You Wear for Soccer?

SheBelieves Cup Final with USA vs Brazil at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida on March 5 2019. Photo Credit Marty Jean Louis
SheBelieves Cup Final with USA vs Brazil at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida on March 5 2019.

For soccer, you wear soccer shorts. For those who are newer to the sport, this may come as a surprise, but there are shorts specifically designed for soccer. Professional players and most serious youth players wear soccer shorts.

However, if you forgot soccer shorts or are just trying out the sport casually you may not have soccer shorts. This is not the end of the world! You may still find it suitable to play with:

  • Running shorts
  • Basketball shorts (if not too long)
  • General athletic shorts 

How are Soccer Shorts Different?

While some other types of athletic shorts may do the job in a pinch, they are not the ideal option. Soccer shorts are different, which is why they are made for the sport.

Here are a few common qualities of soccer shorts:

  • Lightweight, breathable material
  • Not the “slippery” material that some running shorts have
  • Generally shorter than 7 inches
  • Loose-fitting without being baggy 

Can You Wear Soccer Shorts to the Gym?

What if you have a gym session before or after training? Can you wear soccer shorts to the gym?

Absolutely! Soccer shorts are suitable for gym workouts and activities. Many soccer players wear their soccer shorts to the gym and field training. 

The good news about wearing soccer shorts to the gym is that you won’t need as many specific types of shorts. Soccer shorts are optimal for the sport, but suitable for many other kinds of workouts. 

Check out this video of FC Barcelona player Memphis Depay doing his gym rehab/workout in soccer shorts!

What Do Soccer Players Wear Under Their Shorts?

Once you have the right shorts, what should you wear under soccer shorts?

Typically, soccer players wear “spandex”, or fitted undershorts underneath their soccer shorts. These provide additional protection and also keep you covered if the shorts slide up during play. 

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Both men and women may wear spandex in the length of their choice. Many common soccer brands make spandex/undershorts options for soccer shorts. 

It’s important to note that some leagues require the color of spandex to match the color of the gameday shorts! Keep this in mind as you shop for your soccer gear

Why Do You Wear Spandex Under Soccer Shorts

Here are a few reasons to wear spandex under soccer shorts:

  • They ensure adequate coverage under white/light shorts
  • They help you to feel secure and prevent any slip outs
  • To protect against turf burn when sliding 
  • Added warmth

Why Do Soccer Players Tuck Their Shorts Up?

Many soccer players do not wear their shorts as-is. Instead, some will roll them up and even tuck the bottom parts of the shorts up to make them shorter. 

Both men and women may do this, but it is often seen more with female players. There are several reasons why a player may tuck the shorts up including:

  • To make them shorter
  • So that they feel more comfortable 
  • To alter the shape of the shorts
  • Personal preference
  • Style/trend 

Interestingly enough, it’s not just soccer players tucking their shorts in. Many professional basketball players are also doing so. Overall, there is a modern trend to showing a bit more leg, even for guys. 

According to a Vice article on the topic,

it is increasingly a fad among soccer players to tuck up a single short leg to intimidate opponents with one’s quad muscles, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin does

Roll Your Baggy Shorts Up, Because Thighs Are In by Casey Johnston

Soccer Shorts vs Basketball Shorts

youth basketball players in uniform

As mentioned,  basketball shorts may work alright for some recreational soccer play, but they are not ideal.

For new players or parents of young kids, it may be confusing what the difference really is. 

Let’s take a closer look at soccer shorts vs basketball shorts:

  • Soccer shorts are lighter
  • Soccer shorts are shorter, under 7 inches
  • Single-layer, may include underwear lining, basketball shorts are often double lined
  • More durable than shorts designed for indoor use 
  • Allow for maximum range of movement 

What are The Best Soccer Shorts?

Soccer player on toes showing cleats socks shorts with player behhind

Sometimes, you are not able to choose which shorts you wear. When it comes to games and even some team training, you may be required to wear team-issued shorts. However, when you can choose which shorts to wear you, of course, want to wear the best ones. 

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There’s no one answer to “what are the best soccer shorts.” It depends on your personal preference, body type, and more. 

Still, there are a few fan favorites that many players tend to prefer. Here are some of the top soccer shorts to consider:

Under Armour Men’s Golazo 2.0 Soccer ShortAdidas Tastigo 17 Soccer ShortsUnder Armour Golazo 2.0 Soccer Shorts
Adidas Performance Men’s Striker Athletic ShortNike Dry Training Shorts Adidas Squadra 17 Soccer Shorts
Adidas Men’s Soccer Parma 16 ShortsAdidas Women’s Parma 16 ShortsAdidas Boys’ Parma 16 Shorts
Nike Men’s Soccer Park II ShortsUnder Armour Women’s Maquina 2.0 Soccer ShortsAdidas Kids’ Tastigo 19 Shorts
The Best Soccer Shorts For Men, Women and Kids

The Bottom Line 

soccer player striking a ball

You need to wear shorts during a soccer game, according to the laws of the game. Some youth leagues may allow kids to wear pants when it’s cold, but ultimately serious soccer players need soccer shorts. 

Soccer shorts are designed for the sport and are best for performance. There are many ways to wear shorts depending on your personal style and preferences. 

The key is to take the time to find quality soccer shorts that you like the fit and feel of. With certain team limitations, this can be hard, but the good news is that there are many options. 

Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade | + posts

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Soccer Products FAQ

Can I Use Running Shoes for Soccer? 

You can play soccer in running shoes, but you won’t have the best performance unless you wear cleats or soccer boots.

Why are soccer balls black and white?

Soccer balls are traditionally black and white because when soccer was first shown on TV it was in black and white, so the mix of black and white on the balls helped viewers see the ball easier. 

How hard and what pressure should a soccer ball be?

The FIFA regulations say that the soccer balls should have a pressure between 8.81757 psi (0.6 atm) and 16.1655 psi (1.1 atm). If you’re playing soccer with friends, then opt for a pressure amount from the lower range.

What is the size of goals in soccer?

5-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-7 and under-8 soccer games
7-A-Side has dimensions that are 12-ft wide by 6-ft high again. Such soccer goals are for under-9 and under-10 soccer games
9-A-Side has dimensions that are 16-ft wide by 7-ft high. Such soccer goals are for under-11 and under-12 soccer game
11-A-Side or full-size soccer goal has dimensions that are 24-ft wide by 8-ft high for the under-15 and over. Whereas, for the under-13 and under-14, it is 21 ft wide by 7-ft high

What is the soccer ball size and weight for each age group?

Size 1 - 3 years or under - 18 to 20 inches - 195 to 205 grams
Size 2 - 3 to 5 years - 20 to 22 inches - U4 - 250 to 280 grams
Size 3 - 5 to 8 years - 23 to 24 inches - U5 to U8 - 300 to 320 grams
Size 4 - 8 to 12 years - 25 to 26 inches - U8 to U12 - 350 to 390 grams
Size 5 - More than 12 years - 27 to 28 inches - U12 to Pro - 410 to 450 grams

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