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Hands-On: Keap Shorts Review

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. We received compensation and courtesy product from Keap in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own. Learn more.

William Barton

Style, Grooming, Fitness, Boots, Workwear

William has been covering men's style, grooming, and fitness topics for The Adult Man since 2018 as both a writer and photographer. Based in North Carolina, he's also the face of premier men's boots website BootSpy.com and the popular BootSpy YouTube channel. If William could only wear one outfit for the rest of his life, it'd be slim blue jeans, a green fitted oxford shirt, Chelsea boots, and a nice watch. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2024
8 min read
Keap Shorts Review

Sure, there are plenty of shorts with pockets, so is Keap really doing anything different? Or is it all a gimmick?

Our Keap review takes a close look at the brand to see if their athletic shorts are worth your investment.

Unlimited pocket power
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: Keap

Bottom line: Keap’s innovative pocket design is really effective at keeping your phone in your pocket. Their Active short has become my go to for workouts at the gym---especially on bench press day when I go for a set and don’t want to pick my phone and keys off the floor.

Ratings: The Adult Man Image/IconDesign The Adult Man Image/IconQuality of Materials The Adult Man Image/IconValue for Money The Adult Man Image/IconCraftsmanship The Adult Man Image/IconCustomer Service The Adult Man Image/IconSustainability
  • The pockets are deep and designed in a way that truly prevents your phone from falling out (which is big on bench day)
  • The fit of the Active short is modern and has that laid back California-style activewear vibe
  • Sizing options range all the way from S to 4XL, so you can find your perfect fit
  • Customer service is top-notch---consistent emails through every step of the delivery process (which was quick, too)
  • More of a personal opinion, but the Original short was a bit too baggy for my taste with a 9” inseam

In third grade, I wore a pair of shorts and my crush called me “chicken legs.”

I didn’t wear shorts again until I was 27, and it was for a staff-student basketball game. One of my colleagues immediately called me “chicken legs.”

I didn’t wear shorts again until 2020, or as I call it “The Great Seclusion.” There was no one around to call me anything. 

I’ve finally won. 

And one of the brands that’s been helping me show my calves to the public the past few weeks is Keap: maker of athletic shorts with pockets specifically designed to keep your phone, keys, and wallet in place. 

So are the shorts legit? Or do they come up…sh…short? (sorry)

What Is Keap Athletics?

closeup Keap original short in navy

Keap Athletics was founded after Patrick Millegan had his phone fall out of his pocket one damn time too many.

Launched in 2014 as a Kickstarter, Keap quickly found success and was able to bring deep-pocketed gym shorts to the people. That first design is now called “The Original.”

After years of nurturing the brand as a side passion project, demand started to pick up, and Patrick found himself driving to the mailbox every day to ship out new orders. 

model wearing Keap active workout shorts in black

Millegan went all in and designed a second offering, “The Active,” and recently relaunched the brand. 

The common thread between both “The Original” and “The Active” is that they have a special pocket design. While the pockets are deep and wide, the opening is smaller, and completely vertical. The idea is, when you take a seat, your phone/wallet/keys/passport to Margaritaville doesn’t fall out. 

But do they really work? That’s exactly what we’re going to find out today. 

Keap Athletics

Keap makes workout shorts with pockets deep enough, you can fit a full wine bottle in them (when you need it, you need it). The way the pockets are designed, you don't ever have to worry about your phone falling out again.

Shop Keap

Things to Consider Before Buying

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How often do you wear gym shorts? And what are you doing when you’re wearing them? 

Keap’s strength is in the pocket design, but if you never really use your pockets, then it may not be worthwhile. 

I know some guys wear gym shorts out on errands, and if that’s you, then these shorts can be really handy—you don’t have to worry so much about losing your wallet as you sit down in your car seat.

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A post shared by Keap Athletics (@keapathletics)

For me, The Active short has been a big plus in the gym because I usually keep my keys and phone in my pocket unless I’m doing something more CrossFit style. 

So they’re great for excursions into the outside world, though you may not get the full benefit if you’re just wearing them around the house where you can set your phone anywhere. 

My Hands-On Review

At the time of writing, Keap has two offerings: The Active, and The Original. Of the two, The Active is a better match for my style and daily activities, so I’ll start there. 

The Active

closeup of model putting keys in keap gym shorts pocket

The newest addition to Keap’s lineup, The Active is designed to be a better workout short. 

They come in two colors: black, and olive (I picked up both). The 2-inch waistband immediately jumped out at me as I put them on. That extra security is excellent for HIIT style workouts like box jumps, jump rope, or sprints, so I’ve already slotted these shorts into my Tuesday and Thursday routine. They’re still my least favorite days, but having a solid pair of shorts helps.

Keap active shorts in green with workout equipment

The Active has Keap’s signature front pocket design: deep and wide with a smaller 4-inch opening at the top. This makes it virtually impossible for your phone or wallet to fall out in day-to-day activity. 

The Active also features a zippered back pocket, which is great for a gym pass, or anything you want to stay extra secure throughout your workout. 

Keap active workout shorts in green back pocket

I like that the drawstring is sewn in (same for The Original), as I haven’t had to fish for the string after washing and drying, which happens more often than I’d like to admit. 

As far as the performance of The Active goes, I’m a big fan. The gusseted crotch and polyester blend fabric does an excellent job in a wide variety of workouts. It’s sweat wicking, stretchy, and most importantly doesn’t outline my ding-a-ling. Hey, just being honest here. 

I mentioned this up top, but I like wearing these shorts for more intense HIIT days, but they’re also great for chest days. I’m used to laying down at the bench press and working through my set as my phone falls to the ground. It doesn’t distract me much anymore, but that’s after years of getting used to it. But I don’t have to worry about that now, which has been great. 

handstand in keap active black shorts

Probably my favorite part about The Active is the 7” inseam. It’s shorter and falls well above my knee. This is my preferred style for shorts, as I have larger thighs but small calves. With longer shorts, all my leg muscle is covered but my toothpick calves are out on full display. 

The Active has a modern fit that definitely makes you look like you know your way around a barbell. 

Keap Active Shorts

With a two-inch waist band, sewn in drawstring, and light breathable fabric, the Keap Active shorts are a killer workout partner. We like them for chest day so your phone doesn't fall out of your pocket when you sit down at the bench press.

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The Original

Keap original gym short in navy

The Original is Keap’s first design. They’re essentially basketball shorts, but with a few built in features that separate them from the crummy gym shorts you get standard issue back in high school.

I picked up two pairs, one in navy and the other in grey. They’re both made with 100% polyester with a mesh pattern. 

Keap grey original shorts

They feature the signature Keap pockets, which are critical if you tend to try and take everything from your car to your apartment in a single trip. 

Do you know when you’re maxed out and wish you had an extra hand to help you take those 70lbs of groceries in the house? 

You can literally fit a wine bottle into your Keap pockets—no joke. Obviously, I don’t recommend you plan on carrying a wine bottle in there, but it’s the kind of thing you only need once. But when you need it, you need it. 

They’re really light and comfortable, so I’ve been mainly wearing them around the house for my solid Sunday lounge sessions. 

The Original comes only in a 9” inseam, and like I mentioned above, I’m not the biggest fan of 9” shorts in general. Because I have larger thighs and small calves, a 9” inseam hides all the muscle I’ve built to avoid ever being called chicken legs again. 

model running in Keap original shorts

It’s not really anything specific about Keap, but I’m just not a big fan of 9” basketball shorts. When I look for a pair of gym shorts, I want something to wear for my runs and weightlifting, and I much prefer The Active for that. 

Still, the pockets on The Original perform just as well, and they also feature the solid 2” waist band and sewn-in drawstrings. 

Keap workout gym short original in navy

Those elements definitely lift The Original above normal gym shorts, though I’m going to stick with The Active

Keap Original Shorts

Whether you're on the court or on the couch, these 9.5" shorts are a solid play. The fit is a bit looser than the Active, so if you want the seam to fall down to your knee (but not below) these are the shorts for you.

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What do Other Reviewers Say? 

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With nearly 100 reviews at the time of writing on the Keap site, I was able to gather some intel on what other buyers are saying about the brand. 

A lot of reviewers had a similar sentiment as me, preferring The Active for it’s 7” inseam and modern fit. 

Though I did see several reviewers mention The Original as a better choice for their athletic builds—I’m assuming these are stockier guys with large thighs and large calves to match. 

What was consistent across all reviews was the love for the pockets. Even folks with AirPods in their pockets were able to keep track of both buds. That’s no easy feat. 

My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • The pockets are deep, but the narrow vertical opening makes it nearly impossible for your phone or wallet to fall out. It saves a ton of distraction in the gym for me. 

  • I love the more trim, modern fit of The Active short, and it has that laid back California style that is wearable on warm Saturday’s out running errands. 

  • There’s a wide variety of sizes, from S to 4XL, so almost everyone can find their perfect fit. 

  • Keap has some of the best customer service I’ve experienced—the founder is just a quick email away and their automated shipping updates let you know where your package is the moment you order. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I’m not a huge fan of 9” inseam shorts—I feel they’re a bit too baggy, and The Original only comes in 9”, so I’m keeping it for lounging purposes mainly. 

Who is Keap for?

Keap offers the perfect gym shorts for you if you’ve just replaced the cracked glass of your iPhone for the last time. The. Last. Time.

The Verdict

With Keap’s innovative pocket design, The Active and The Original shorts are an excellent addition to your workout routine rotation. 

I’m much more partial to The Active. I really enjoy the fit of the 7” inseam and slimmer thighs. I felt the 9” Original short was a bit too baggy for me, but you can take a look at the pictures and decide whether the style is right for you.

That said, there’s no denying how effective the pockets are. I can do a handstand in these shorts and not have anything fall out. 

The thick 2” waistband is great for keeping the shorts secure on my waist, so I can bust through HIIT workouts without hiking my breeches once. I’ve also been enjoying the fact that I can lay down on a bench press without picking my phone off the ground at the end of my set. 

Keap Athletics

Keap makes workout shorts with pockets deep enough, you can fit a full wine bottle in them (when you need it, you need it). The way the pockets are designed, you don't ever have to worry about your phone falling out again.

Shop Keap


What do you wear under gym shorts?

You can wear regular boxer briefs under gym shorts, but if you want to have maximum support, pair your gym shorts with compression shorts underneath.

Can I wear gym clothes to swim?

Yes, you can wear gym clothes to swim. If you plan on swimming more than once in a season, it’s better to get a pair of board shorts or swim-specific clothing. But you won’t ruin your gym clothes by taking a dip in the river with them.

Are 7” shorts too short?

7” shorts are a fantastic average length for most guys. 9” shorts come down to the knee, and 5” shorts will short a good deal of thigh. 7” shorts hit a nice balance by falling a few inches above your knee without ever reaching too high on the leg.