January 24, 2023 6 min read

Being short and muscular is a great combination for looking good and showing off your hard work. However, if you’re built like this, you may find it frustrating trying to find clothing that fits, especially pants. Don’t worry, though, we can help you find the best athletic pants for short guys.

There are certain features in clothing that you should look out for when choosing the right fit for your body type. Some of these include vertical presence, style, and pattern. By following our guidelines and tips, you’ll find it easier to get pants that fit you correctly.

What this article covers:

Why It’s Difficult for Short Muscular Guys to Find Clothes That Fit

Short, muscular men often find it difficult to find clothes because the fashion industry designs clothes based on a specific type of model. 

best athletic fit pants for short guys

For traditional men’s clothing, the standard fit model is 6’2'' tall. This suits taller men perfectly, however, the 5’8 men and below suffer because the clothes aren’t designed for their height. Regular men’s clothes are going to be too long and baggy and won’t look right no matter how you wear them. 

Unfortunately, this means you’re left without many choices.

Retailers want to cut costs by making garments for the common denominator. This leaves a gap in the market for shorter men’s clothing.

If you’re a man built with both a short and athletic body, specific styles will flatter you, while others will make you look like you’re wearing clothes either too big or too small.

It’s important to consider the fit that you choose. However, even a well-cut suit in the wrong style can make a shorter man seem out of proportion.

Features in Clothing to Look Out for

Vertical Presence for the Short Man

Most short guys, contrary to popular belief, aren’t trying to look taller. There’s also no reason that they should feel obliged to do so.

It’s not worth your while to try tricks and hacks to attempt to look taller. If you have a muscular physique, you should be trying to dress for your body instead of trying to change it. The right clothing can accentuate your attractive build, instead of hiding it.

best short guys athletic pants

A vertical impression is a smooth visual profile that allows the viewer's eye to travel seamlessly from heels to head. This type of vertical presence can be desirable.

When you think of vertical elements, you think of stripes that go up and down. However, you don’t need to build an entire wardrobe around these strong elements. You just need to make sure that your clothing leaves the heels-to-head journey smooth and unbroken.

Clothes for a Muscular Man

A muscular build is often attractive and desirable. You shouldn’t be shy to show off your physique as there's nothing wrong with choosing clothes that flatter you.

Since you can’t wear Speedos or swimsuits to social events, you will need to take a more subtle approach. The solution is to wear well-fitted clothes that emphasize a muscular shape without pinching or bunching tightly.

Tailored menswear is a good option for men. You can also get clothing to be altered to fit better than off-the-rack options, but as a muscular man, you will always want to avoid anything that hangs too loosely or clings too tightly. 

The best option is to go for menswear that is designed specifically for athletic body types.

Style & Presence for Well-Built Men

best athletic dress pants for short guys

Fortunately, a muscular build is a frame that can suit most styles and patterns. If you have an athletic build, you will have the ability to wear combinations that would be too overpowering for a man with a less muscular physique.

This is also an advantage for a shorter man. A distinctive style can help you make a lasting impression and even stand out in a room full of taller men. Clothes that add a sense of presence and body will flatter athletic, short men.

Pattern Choices for Short Guys

All men's clothing has a texture. This could be a printed fabric or the weave and dye of the fabric itself.

If you’re a shorter man, you should look for patterns that encourage an automatic upward gaze. Usually, vertical stripes are the traditional recommendation. However, plain, dark fabrics are just as easy on the eyes and can make you look more confident.

Strong patterns with bold lines have a slimming effect which may detract from your physique. A subtler verticality tends to be more flattering.

You should base your choice of color on your complexion. The best way to know which color suits you best is to try on different choices. In general, darker colors are more striking and allow the eye to travel more easily. Try to go for the best-fitting black pants you can find.

When it comes to solid prints, the weave of the cloth is important. Try to avoid anything with heavy patterns or too much texture. The smoother the appearance of the color, the less there will be to distract the eye as it travels along your frame.

Pants for Short Men

Always look for the best pants fit for short legs. Where you carry your weight as a muscular man depends on how you will fit your trousers. Tightly-fitting pants are a good choice for men with athletic thighs since they show off some of your best assets. 

best athletic work pants for short guys

Pleated pants are great for this as they can stretch to fit the muscles as they move and flex. 

If your lower half isn’t as muscular as your torso, you should go for a looser fit that falls in a straight drape to the shoes. 

Wide cuffs are a definite ‘No’ for short men. Instead, opt for narrow cuffs or none at all. Most off-the-rack pants offer cuffs as an option instead of a necessity.

Trouser pockets large enough to hold your keys and other small items often end up bulging. Make sure to get mock back pockets or pockets that are altered to avoid this problem. 

Suspenders can be a good alternative to belts if you want to keep an unbroken vertical profile.

All of these factors are key in finding the best men’s athletic pants.

Completing Your Style

Of course, it’s not just about the pants you wear. If you’re shorter than average, you need to think about your ensemble as a whole to get the most out of your fit.

If possible, avoid any unnecessary finishing touches to your style. Cufflinks, pocket squares, tie clips, and other minor elements of menswear can distract the eye. They can also look small against your muscular body. 

best dress pants for athletic build short guys

Focus on a bold and aggressive style that accentuates your build to make an impression, rather than any distracting details.

Follow the basic principles of vertical emphasis, good fit, and a distinctive style. This will flatter you the most. 

Best Pants for Short Muscular Men

TAILORED ATHLETE offers the best athletic-fit dress pants you can find if you’re a shorter man with an athletic build. With our premium 4-way stretch fabric, our clothes are specifically tailored to your muscular physique. 

No matter your height, there’s no need to size up to allow for your quads. Our trousers provide a form-flattering fit that shows off your best features and distracts from things you may not be so happy about. 

If you’re looking for a pair of everyday trousers, then our 365 trousers in black are a perfect fit. These can be worn to work, at social events, or at home. They’re the perfect pair of pants if you want to balance your work/home life. These trousers are comfortable, interchangeable, and versatile.

 best short guys' athletic dress

You can also try our everyday tech trousers in graphite or olive. They’re perfect paired with everyday tops and can be worn on any casual occasion. The modern design details include an elasticated waistband, concealed zip-back pockets, and a super soft reverse fabric inside for optimum comfort. 

most comfortable athletic pants for short guys

If you need pants for a more formal occasion or a professional look, then the muscle-fit trousers in black are what you’ll be looking for. These are suited to any occasion, however, when paired with a formal shirt, these trousers make the perfect styled outfit for any formal occasion. Like all our clothes, they’re built with 4-way stretch fabric and reinforced seams for ultimate comfort and to fit your form. 

best short guys' athletic pants

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