5 Best Athleisure Brands for Men in 2021: Laid Back Modern Style

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jan 18, 2021

If there’s one thing WFH life taught us, it’s that a comfortable pair of pants shouldn’t be taken for granted. But with so many new athleisure brands popping up, how do you know which brand is the best?

We’ve put in the time shopping with dozens of companies, and these are our clear picks of the best athleisure brands for men.

Balance of Style and Comfort
  • Our top brand for the more casual side of things
  • Streetwear inspiration that’s good for exercise too
  • Our favorite item is: The Stadium Jogger
Fitness Focused
  • Excellent workout shorts in a variety of styles, lined and unlined
  • Laid back California aesthetic
  • Our favorite item is: Kore Short
Widest Variety of Clothes
  • Workout and lifestyle apparel
  • Pick clothes based on activity: yoga, running, commuting, etc.
  • Our favorite item is: Commuter Pant
Classic Style
  • Simple, classic muted colors—less technical looking
  • Mystery box available
  • Our favorite item is: All Over Shorts
Outdoorsy
  • Best if your leisure is a long hike
  • Long history of technical fabric expertise
  • Our favorite item is: Evolution Pant

American fashion was already trending toward athleisure, and 2020 pushed the style into the mainstream. 

Along with the boom in joggers and comfortable shorts came dozens of new brands: some great, others not so great. 

I know it can be difficult to tell one brand from another when everything is online. Luckily, I’ve had a chance to try several of the top athleisure brands for men and this list reflects the best of the best.

These brands crush it on quality, style, and customer service. Let’s get into it.

What is Athleisure?

Athleisure is a trend in style toward more comfortable clothing made from technical fabrics that’s also flattering. 

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Rather than baggy workout shorts and huge oversized throwaway cotton t-shirts, great athleisure brands create clothes that fit well, but still allow the kind of flexibility you need to get a killer workout. 

When you wear athleisure, you’re sending a message: fitness and style are important to me. Basically, you know how to take care of yourself. Some guys might be intimidated by trying to find the right fit with suits or fancy shoes, so athleisure offers an easy way to look sharp without trying too hard. 

5 Best Athleisure Brands for Men

1. Public Rec

Public Rec Better than Down Bomber and Joggers

Public Rec has a bit of street-style influence. The Chicago based brand has city life ingrained into its aesthetic. With muted charcoal and navy as their two predominant color options, it would be easy to build an entire casual wardrobe from this brand alone. 

They made the top of our 6 Best Joggers for Men post, and also landed #1 on our Most Comfortable Shorts post, too. 

I’ve been wearing pieces from Public Rec for about a year and a half now, and the quality is nearly the same as when it first showed up: no pilling, sagging, or weird stretching. 

If you’re interested in exploring the athleisure look, make sure you search through Public Rec’s catalogue. In my eyes, they offer the best combination of quality, style, durability, and value.

What I Like

  • I like their consistent colorways—it’s easy to pick up multiple pieces because they all match effortlessly.

  • They’re slowly building out an entire stylish athleisure line, including jackets, vests, shirts, and bags. 

  • Free shipping and free 45-day return window.

What I Don’t Like

  • Their shorts are decent for workouts, but they feel more built for style and casual outfits. 

What Other Reviewers Say

From professional to crowdsourced reviews, there’s no shortage of positivity around Public Rec. Many reviewers mention it’s their third or fourth time shopping with the brand, which is always a good sign. 

There are some negative comments around international shipping and returns. Some countries have import taxes, so if you’re living outside the US, you’ll want to factor import duties into your budget.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for an athleisure brand that nails the casual Saturday vibe, Public Rec is my favorite. 

While you can absolutely wear their clothes for a workout (I’ve done it several times), they’re really best suited for running errands, hitting the park with friends, kickbacks, and chill days at the local brewery. 

Looking for a recommendation? Check out the Public Rec Stadium Jogger. The cuffed ankle and breathable fabric is the perfect balance of sleek and chill.

Public Rec

If you’re a fan of understated essentials, high-quality design features, and being legs-up comfortable at all times, you’ll be a fan of Public Rec.

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2. Vuori

model pushing tire while wearing vuori kore workout shorts

Vuori is another huge name in the athleisure space. They started with a focus on workout shorts and have been growing ever since. 

I’m still partial to their workout shorts, which come in a huge variety of styles, colors, and have lined and unlined options. 

But their lineup isn’t limited to workout clothes. They offer climbing pants, button down shirts, and more.

What I Like

  • The Kore workout short is the first flattering workout short I’ve ever had—it’s stylish enough to wear out.

  • With lined and unlined versions of their shorts, you can choose what’s most supportive and comfortable.

  • Free returns.

What I Don’t Like

  • They have a limited deep winter selection.

What Other Reviewers Say

Vuori averages a 4.7 with over 1,900 reviews on their site. Folks are happy with the laid back California aesthetic the brand offers.

Some people swear by the workout shorts and won’t shop with any other brand. The only negative feedback I could find is from customers who are either shorter or taller than average. Many of their pants only have one inseam length that’s best suited for guys between 5’7” and 6’2”.

The Verdict

California fitness fashion is a real thing. And Vuori is one of the main players behind the look. 

The brand’s collection of workout clothes is beloved, and they’ve taken that momentum to create new pieces centered around an active lifestyle. So whether you like to get out in nature or you’re just looking to get a cup of coffee around the corner, Vuori has something for you.

Looking for a recommendation? Check out the Vuori Kore Short. I picked up a lined version and it instantly became my Monday, leg day, favorite workout short. Plus, when summer hits, these are extremely breathable and they look stylish, too.

Vuori

Vuori’s lineup of performance-wear looks and feels good. Their sizes are on the small side, so if you’re in between, go larger. Their customer service is on-point so you can focus on getting clothes that take you from the gym to the lake to a Sunday stroll.

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3. Rhone

rhone review model wearing blue rhone shirt notch tee

Like Vuori, Rhone also got their start with workout shorts. But Rhone has been expanding more into the business casual space with products like their Commuter Pants. 

They have the slimmest fits of any of the brands on this list, which is nice if you’re muscular. The brand has also been the quickest to build out a huge selection of socks, underwear, business-casual wear, workout apparel, and more.

What I Like

  • Their Commuter Pants look like chinos but have all the benefits of technical apparel.

  • Pick up undershirts, underwear, socks, and other essentials here, too. 

  • Free two day shipping and free returns.

What I Don’t Like

  • Stick with their popular items, as some new releases could use more refinement. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Rhone notched a 4.8 star average with over 2,100 reviews. Reviewers talk a lot about the fit, quality, and versatility of the clothes. Though there were a few negative comments about the sizing of their Notch-tee being a bit too large.

The Verdict

Rhone is an excellent brand to shop with if you want your workout clothes and commuter clothes all from the same source. 

Consider Rhone the jack of all trades in this roundup. They have a little bit of everything. 

Of course, the end of that saying is master of none. I still prefer Public Rec for the casual clothes and Vuori for the workout clothes. However, a big part of that is the aesthetic of each. You may find that Rhone’s style is more suited for you. In that case, go for it—the quality is excellent and they’re a pleasure to shop with.

Looking for a recommendation? Try the Rhone Commuter Pant. It’s the best technical fabric chino-replacement I’ve tried. It’s slim fitting, looks great, and is super comfortable.


4. Olivers

olivers review mens apparel

I don’t know how else to put this, but Olivers has that sort of sexy dad vibe. So if you’re a sexy dad, check them out. 

While brands like Public Rec and Rhone have edgier clothes, Olivers keeps things super simple. Their workout shorts have a drawstring and two pockets—no fancy zippers or hidden pouches. 

If you’re looking for no-frills technical fabric apparel that’s flattering and durable, check out Olivers.

What I Like

  • Olivers carried a lot of lighter colors if you’re interested in going beyond the standard grey and blue color palette.

  • Of all the brands here, Olivers is the simplest in construction and style. 

  • Cool mystery boxes that allow you to save cash on multiple items.

What I Don’t Like

  • Their All Over Short is very slim. It’s great if you want to show off your muscular thighs, but if you’ve got large glutes, it shows.

What Other Reviewers Say

Olivers has a 4.8-star average with over 300 reviews on their site. Reviewers love the simplicity of the clothes—they have a certain style that you’ll recognize right away. Some people had issues with pilling in certain items, but Olivers is quick to respond and fix any issues with credits and replacements.

The Verdict

Olivers ditches the neon patterns that defined the early 2000s and instead sticks to classic muted colors and excellent fits. 

If you let your hard work do the talking, then Olivers Apparel is an excellent brand for you. 

Looking for a recommendation? My favorite item is the Olivers All Over Short. It’s quite slim-fitting, so if you have large glutes like me, get a size larger than normal. Still, these shorts will make your thighs look buff, which is awesome.

Olivers

Technical fabric clothes for the modern man. If your ideal workout doesn't include neon shorts with a gigantic logo, Olivers has you covered.

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5. Western Rise

model putting on quilted jacket 2

Ok, so I understand that everyone has a different definition of leisure. Honestly, I wish I found it relaxing to wake up at 4 in the morning to get to my favorite hiking spot with a mountain bike and a kayak strapped to my Jeep. 

My leisure-time is more centered around a bacon and egg burrito. 

But if you’re the outdoorsy type, you have to check out Western Rise. They’re committed to clothes that are comfortable and functional for the folks who like to get outside on their weekends.

What I Like

  • Think of Western Rise as stylish hiking clothes that don’t look out of place in the city. 

  • There are tons of features in their pants that are excellent for long-term travel, too. 

  • The brand donates a portion of their proceeds to the Western Rivers Association, which protects waters in CA, CO, and ID. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I prefer pants with more taper below the knee.

What Other Reviewers Say

Facebook votes give Western Rise a 4.7-average rating. A lot of different communities seem to gather around the brand: backpackers, long-term travellers, and basically the whole state of Colorado. 

If any of those sound like you, check Western Rise out.

The Verdict

While brands like Public Rec make comfort a priority, Western Rise is a bit more rugged. It’s not that their clothes aren’t comfortable—they are, but they can also take a walk through tall brush and not get ripped by twigs. 

The emphasis for this brand is more functionality. Fit and comfort are both solid with Western Rise, but their true value shines when it comes to travel, camping, and backpacking. 

Looking for a recommendation? Try the Western Rise Evolution Pant. It’s the ideal hiking pant, and it looks great if you’re just hanging in the city for the day, too.

Western Rise

The team behind Western Rise are experts with technical fabrics, and they’ve reimagined wardrobe staples with the modern world in mind. Though they have somewhat limited sizing, you can take these light, packable, and fashionable clothes anywhere.

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5 Cool Athleisure Outfits for Men

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Great athleisure brands have subtle design differences that separates their products from the pack. Everybody knows hoodies are comfortable, but the Public Rec Weekend Full Zip has a high neck-line that’s distinctive and classes up and otherwise common style. 

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Who said workout shorts need to be loose and baggy? The athleisure movement is being driven by fit. Workout shorts can actually look flattering, and brands like Vuori, Rhone, and Olivers show that. 

My favorite workout shorts are from Vuori, with Olivers as a runner up.

Vuori Shorts

Vuori makes a series of shorts, both lined and unlined, that fit perfectly into an active Californian lifestyle.

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Of course, it’s not all about pumping iron. Sometimes you just want a comfortable pair of shorts. After all, leisure is a big part of athleisure. 

The most comfortable pair of shorts I’ve tried is the Public Rec All Day Every Day Short. They’re comfortable enough to throw on for a day of working from home, but they still have a trim silhouette that makes them perfect for a summer kickback. 

Public Rec All Day Every Day Short

It's hard to get more comfortable than Public Rec's All Day Every Day fabric. The drawstring and uber-stretchy fabric make this comfortable enough for a backyard barbecue, but stylish enough for a trip into the city.

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Athleisure doesn’t have to be all workout shorts and sweat-wicking tees. There’s also a wide world of button-ups and chino-replacements. 

A lot of folks are introduced to technical fabrics through joggers and exercise apparel, so if you’ve had a good experience with a brand in the past, try out some of their dressier options.

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It’s a little tough wearing shorts and a t-shirt when the weather turns cold. There are plenty of great jackets in the athleisure world, including the Better Than Down Bomber from Public Rec. Just make sure you pick up a neutral tone like charcoal or navy so you can mix and match your clothes throughout winter. 

Public Rec Better Than Down Bomber

Made with water-repellant Thinsulate, which is proven to beat down as an insulator in study after study. What do you get when you mix science and style? Pure dopeness.

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Relax, You’ll Look Sharp

You can’t go wrong with any of these brands. If you want the best mix of style, function, and value, hit up Public Rec.

If you’re looking for workout apparel, Vuori has a cheery selection, and Rhone is a little more serious. 

To keep things simple, head over to Olivers, and if you’ve got big travel plans in the upcoming year, stop by Western Rise before you go. 

FAQs

Why is athleisure so popular?

Athleisure brands are becoming more popular because their clothes are comfortable and emphasize fit. Athleisure is a great way to communicate to the world that you work out and stay healthy, but you still have a relaxed personality.

Is athleisure still in style?

Athleisure is more in style now in 2021 than it’s ever been. It was taking hold, but with so many people working from home in 2020, more people explored stylish and more comfortable alternatives to office wear.