Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Budget Sweatpants for Men of 2021

We tested sweatpants from Champion, Under Armour, Hanes, and more to find the coziest pair of sweats out there
The Under Armour Armor Fleece were warm and high performing, even in t...
Monday September 20, 2021
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been living in and working from home in the same pair of sweats for the last year? We researched 25 of the best pairs of budget sweatpants of 2021 and chose 10 to test rigorously. We then independently purchased all 10, tried them on, washed them, moved around, and lounged. We evaluated the feel of the material, breathability, fit, style, durability, washability, performance, and warmth. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start, but our research and testing can help you find the pair that can best serve your needs.


1

Best Overall Sweatpants


Southpole Active Basic Jogger


Fabric Blend: 100% Polyester | Jogger Bottom
Fashionable
Very warm
Collects lint
Less breathable

The Southpole Men's Active Basic Jogger is not only warm, soft, and snug but also quite stylish. The jogger-style bottoms and slimmer fit give these pants a modern look that you won't think twice about wearing around town while running errands. Offering a large number of colorways, you'll have plenty of options to change up your style and match the rest of your wardrobe. The jogger bottom also keeps the pants out of the way while walking or running, which makes these an excellent choice for working out in cold weather. The 100% polyester material is surprisingly soft and appears quite durable. The thick material and snug fit also make this pair incredibly warm.

While these pants are warm, they lack some breathability, and after a bit of walking on a warm day, they were much too warm for our testers to be comfortable in. They also did pick up some lint in the wash. The Southpole sweatpants are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a versatile, cozy pair of sweats.

The snug and hip Southpole Men's Active Basic Jogger.
The snug and hip Southpole Men's Active Basic Jogger.

2

Best Bang For Your Buck


Hanes Joggers


Fabric Blend: 50/50 Cotton/Polyester | Jogger Bottom
Inexpensive
Soft
Durability
Not very warm

The Hane's Men's Jogger is a comfortable and lightweight pair of sweatpants being offered at a great price. Made from a fifty-fifty blend of cotton and polyester, these soft joggers are some of the most comfortable in the testing group. They saw no shrinkage through multiple washes and barely lost any of their out-of-the-box softness. With a fairly slim fit and jogger-style bottom, we would not be embarrassed to be seen out in the world wearing these.

The thin material makes them a bit more prone to rips and tears but also makes them fairly breathable. Not the warmest pair we tested, these joggers are great for being active in. These sweats will keep you comfortable without breaking the bank, from hanging out in the house, or running errands, to cool weather exercise.

The stylish and functional Hane's Jogger.
The stylish and functional Hane's Jogger.

3

Best For Around The House


Amazon Essentials Fleece


Fabric Blend: 60/40 Cotton/Polyester | Open Bottom
Extremely comfortable
Washes well
Not stylish
Loose fit

The Amazon Essentials Men's Fleece is a cozy pair of sweats perfect for lounging around the house. With an airy untapered bottom, delightfully soft fleece lining, and cotton-heavy fabric, these breathable sweatpants are the type that you just want to spend all day wearing. They were a standout for washability as they experienced absolutely no shrinking and stayed just as soft as they were when we first tried them on.

With the comfort of a thin, cotton material does come some loss in durability. While they certainly aren't a bad-looking pair of pants, they have a slightly baggier fit and looser ankle. These look incredibly casual and probably belong either at the gym or in the confines of your own home. Given their comfort and breathability, these sweats are ideal for those prioritizing comfort over aesthetics.

The flowy and breathable Amazon Essentials Fleece.
The flowy and breathable Amazon Essentials Fleece.

4

A Fashionable Option


Under Armour Fleece


Fabric Blend: 100% Polyester| Open Bottom
Attractive appearance
Good for exercise
Expensive
Collects lint

If you're seeking a pair of sweats that are ready to take you from your bedroom to the local coffee shop and be looking good the whole way there, the Under Armour Men's Fleece are for you. These 100% polyester pants have a sleek, straight-leg style that looks great with several shoe choices and outfits. They manage a slim fit without hugging the legs too tightly, and the polyester fabric makes them easy to size, as shrinkage is not a concern. The moisture-wicking fabric and excellent range of motion make these an excellent option for cold-weather activity.

The inner lining didn't quite have the same soft fleece texture as some of the other pants we tested, and the thick, durable fabric wasn't quite as airy. Unlike some pairs, putting these on didn't immediately make us want to curl up in bed with a book. The outer layer of the material is also a bit more prone to picking up lint in the wash. While not the pinnacle of cozy comfort, these sweatpants are stylish and work well for exercising in cold weather.

The sleek and stylish Under Armour Fleece.
The sleek and stylish Under Armour Fleece.

5

A Comfortable, Unique Fabric


Under Armour Rival Fleece Joggers


Fabric Blend: 80/20 Cotton/Polyester with 100% Polyester Outer Layer | Jogger Bottom
Stylish design
Durable
Squeezes calves
Not breathable

The Under Armour Men's Rival Fleece Joggers take a unique approach on the fabric front, with an 80% cotton interior and 100% polyester outer layer. The result is a great pair of pants with more durability and an overall sense that your legs are sitting in high-quality fabric. They also wash well, with no shrinkage; these pants are warm with a tight fit and jogger bottom.

While the design is fashionable, be ready for an aggressively tight fit — unless you size up. These sweats were certainly the tightest pair we tested, which did detract from their appearance and breathability. They really hugged the calves in particular, which could be a problem for someone with large or muscular legs. However, if you don't mind a tighter fit and want a well-styled jogger with great fabric, these will certainly meet your needs.

The tight fitting Under Armour Rival Fleece.
The tight fitting Under Armour Rival Fleece.

6

Light and Breathable


Fruit of the Loom Fleece


Fabric Blend: 60/40 Cotton/Polyester | Open Bottom
Good for warmer weather
Soft fleece lining
Not durable
Loose fit

If you're looking for a light and breathable pair of sweatpants that won't cause you to overheat, the Fruit of the Loom Men's Fleece could be your best bet. The baggy fit and fleece lining put these among the best in terms of comfort, and the thin, cotton-heavy material gave the legs plenty of breathing room. The flowy feel also offered great mobility and only slight bunchiness around the ankles. When sizing, expect some light shrinkage in the first wash.

These sweats have a fairly run-of-the-mill design and a loose fit, which keep them from being a standout in terms of appearance. Additionally, the thin, cottony material is not particularly warm or durable, making them ideal for sleeping in or wearing around the house. For lounging on a warmer day, these are also a great option.

Enjoying the soft Fruit of the Loom Fleece on a warm day.
Enjoying the soft Fruit of the Loom Fleece on a warm day.

7

Excellent for Exercise


Champion Jersey Jogger


Fabric Blend: 80/20 Cotton/Polyester | Jogger Bottom
Very light
Modern look
Not soft
Not warm

The Champion Jersey Jogger feels like a hybrid between sweatpants and a more typical pair of exercise pants. These were undoubtedly the lightest pair of sweats we tried, and with a thin, breathable material and jogger bottom, these pants won't cause you to get too hot or limit your range of motion at all. A slimmer fit also makes these a great-looking pair of joggers, and they would have no problem fitting in with a sporty outfit for a day out.

Unfortunately, these pants lack the same fleecy feeling offered by the other pairs that we tested. While the cotton material isn't scratchy, these were the only pair that didn't have a distinctly soft lining, making them less appealing for leisurely time. If you're less concerned with maximizing comfort and want a great pair of pants for activity and movement, these sweats will be your best bet.

The sporty Champion Jersey Joggers.
The sporty Champion Jersey Joggers.

8

Great Performance and a Decent Price


Hanes Ecosmart Fleece


Fabric Blend: 50/50 Cotton/Polyester | Open Bottom
Very inexpensive
Light
Not durable
Limited mobility

From a price-point perspective, you can't beat the Hane's Men's EcoSmart Open Leg Fleece. The inner lining is on par with the best in terms of softness, and with a loose fit, thin fabric, and open bottoms, your legs will have no shortage of air.

The fit of these pants was less than excellent — the pants are baggy and drapey, particularly around the calves and ankles, but they sit tight around the crotch and bum. In addition to making them fit worse, this also made them the sweatpants with the least mobility. The thin fabric is also not exceptionally warm or durable. Despite some flaws, the price makes them a great easy buy for the money conscious.

The cheap and breathable Hane's EcoSmart Open Leg Fleece Pant with...
The cheap and breathable Hane's EcoSmart Open Leg Fleece Pant with Pockets.

9

Cozy and Classic


Russell Athletic Dri-Power Open Bottom


Fabric Blend: 50/50 Cotton/Polyester | Open Bottom
Warm
Durable
Not stylish
Less soft

The Dri-Power Open Bottom Sweatpants take the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" to heart. With a traditional open bottom and medium-thick material, these pants strike a solid balance between warm, breathable, and durable. Although the inner lining doesn't feel as cloudlike as some, it's certainly soft, and these were some of the warmer pants we tested.

The loose fit and standard design aren't anything to write home about — there's no denying that these pants aren't trying to make any fashion statements. They also shrunk a bit in the wash and lost some softness which wasn't their strongest point, to begin with. They might not be eye-popping or shine in any particular areas, but they stick to the basics and do it well.

The classically designed Dri-Power Open Bottom Sweatpants from...
The classically designed Dri-Power Open Bottom Sweatpants from Russel Athletics.

10

Excellent, Baggy Fit


Champion Powerblend Open Bottom


Fabric Blend: 50/50 Cotton/Polyester | Open Bottom
Comfortable
Washes well
Very loose fit
Basic design

The Champion Men's Powerblend Open Bottom Fleece was the loosest fitting of any sweats we tested, making them a great option for someone who likes a baggier feel. The signature 50/50 cotton polyester Powerblend offers quality comfort, and any shrinking was minimal. They are also easy to stretch in, although the loose and long-fitting bottoms can be a bit in the way of your feet when moving around.

With a very baggy fit and run-of-the-mill style, these will not turn many heads when it comes to fashion. Realistically, they may not be the pants you head out in, but for a day when you want to feel like your legs are swimming in an ocean of fleece, these are a great pant to pop on and lounge in.

The soft and baggy Champion Powerblend Open Bottom Fleece.
The soft and baggy Champion Powerblend Open Bottom Fleece.

Why You Should Trust Us


Liam Andrews-Bancroft, our lead tester on this project, is nothing short of enthusiastic when it comes to sweatpants. Given the option, Liam often rocks sweatpants. As a recent college grad, avid rock climber, and casual runner, he has explored sweatpants for many uses and pushes the boundary on what contexts are appropriate to wear them in. From long days spent hunched over a computer doing homework and procrastinating, to early morning classes, to days in the mountains bouldering in frigid weather, he has depended on sweatpants to provide him with warmth, comfort, security, and style.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

It can be hard to determine what makes one pair of sweats stand out from another. How do you know if it's worth paying more for one pair than another? Can one pair really be that much better than anything else? When considering the quality, we know that comfort is king but not the only thing that matters. Good sweatpants need to be durable, high performing, stylish, warm, and need to wash well. We extensively researched which pairs that would hit these marks and tested each to see where they stood. Thus, you can have an easier time picking a pair that stands out among the rest.

Analysis and Test Results


While it may seem difficult to quantify the quality of something that is typically used so casually, we determined factors that differentiate sweatpants and put each of these factors to the test. We washed all of the sweatpants twice, took a brief walk around the block, and performed the same simple set of stretches in each pair. We also spent extensive time around the house in all of the pants. Needless to say, it was a cozy time for testing.

Feel of Material


Feel of material refers to the sensation of the inner lining against your legs. To assess the feel of the material, we considered the feeling of the sweatpants as we walked around the house, lounged, and stretched. As a good pair of sweatpants should epitomize comfort, we sought out a very soft material with absolutely no scratchiness or starchiness.

Soft fleece lining, like that of the Under Armour Rival Fleece...
Soft fleece lining, like that of the Under Armour Rival Fleece Joggers, is essential to comfort.

The Hane's Men's Joggers were some of the very softest we tried and felt amazing on our legs. The Amazon Essentials Men's Fleece were also extremely soft; combined with a more breathable feel, they stood out in terms of overall comfort.

Lounging in the Under Armour Rival Fleece Joggers.
Lounging in the Under Armour Rival Fleece Joggers.

Breathability


Breathability refers to the pant's ability to let air in and keep your legs from getting too hot. To test breathability, we walked around outside in fairly warm weather and noted any stuffiness or sweatiness. We also considered the thickness of the material and fabric makeup. Pants with light fabric and an open bottom like the Hanes Men's EcoSmart Open Leg Fleece excelled in this category, giving the legs plenty of room to breathe. The cotton-heavy Fruit of the Loom Men's Fleece were another pair that were extremely breathable and lent themselves well to warmer environments.

Walking in the airy Hanes EcoSmart Open Leg Fleece.
Walking in the airy Hanes EcoSmart Open Leg Fleece.

Fit


Fit refers to how the sweatpants fit on the wearer's legs, what areas they are tight or baggy in, and how they compared to the ordered size. To test fit, we tried on every pair and noted how they fit on the ankles, calves, thighs, and crotch and if they felt large or small compared to the size we purchased. The Southpole Men's Active Basic Jogger fit the best of any pair we tried, with a slim leg that didn't hug or cling, without an odd fit around the ankles. The Under Armour Men's Armor Fleece also fits great, with no excessive business or tightness.

Feeling out the fit of the Southpole Active Basic Jogger.
Feeling out the fit of the Southpole Active Basic Jogger.

Performance


Performance is a test of the sweatpant's ability to be used for activity beyond just lounging. While many people only consider sweatpants a leisure item, many are likely to want to move around and be active in them. In testing performance, we considered the weight of the material and the mobility of the pants. We performed a gentle set of stretches and noted any limits to the range of motion or bunchiness. We took each pair on a short walk to analyze which pants gave the best freedom of movement. The Champion Jersey Jogger was our highest performer thanks to light athletic style fabric, a streamlined fit, and jogger bottoms to keep your feet clear.

Testing the mobility of the Champion Jersey Jogger.
Testing the mobility of the Champion Jersey Jogger.

Style


Style is a test of how fashionable each pair is. While fashion does come down to taste, we made note of which pairs had a sleek look and were up to par with modern trends, and which pairs looked more like something you'd find sitting dormant in a closet.

Putting style to the test with a sweater and leather boots.
Putting style to the test with a sweater and leather boots.

The Under Armour Men's Armor Fleece was our most stylish pair, with a sleek straight leg and attractive material. Under Armour also excelled in style with the Men's Rival Fleece Joggers, which nailed the modern look of a slim jogger.

Examining the design of the Hane's Jogger.
Examining the design of the Hane's Jogger.

Durability


Durability refers to the longevity and toughness of each pair of pants. To test durability, we noted any tears or frays that occurred through wear and considered the thickness and fabric makeup of each sweatpant's material. The Southpole Men's Active Basic Jogger Fleece were extremely durable, thanks to thick polyester fabric. The Under Armour Men's Rival Fleece Joggers was also impressively durable, despite a thinner fabric.

Checking for frays and tears inside the Southpole Active Basic Jogger.
Checking for frays and tears inside the Southpole Active Basic Jogger.

Washability


Washability refers to the effect on the quality that putting a pair of sweatpants through the wash has. Ideally, we would like to be able to throw our sweatpants in the wash without having to think twice. To test washability, each pair was machine washed and dried twice. Any shrinkage or loss of softness in the material was noted, as well as which pairs collected lint. The Amazon Essentials Men's Fleece shined in washability, as they did not shrink at all, collected zero lint, and stayed perfectly soft. The Hane's Jogger also managed excellent performance in this metric.

Washing the Amazon Essentials Fleece.
Washing the Amazon Essentials Fleece.

Warmth


Warmth refers to how warm each pair of sweatpants keeps the wearer. To test this metric, we noted which pairs felt the warmest in chillier temperatures. We also made note of the material's thickness, as well as the style of the bottom of the sweatpants.

Testing the warmth of the Dri-Power Open Bottom.
Testing the warmth of the Dri-Power Open Bottom.

The warmest pair we tested was the Southpole Men's Active Basic Jogger. The Dri-Power Open Bottom from Russel Athletics was also quite warm and was able to maintain a bit more breathability.


Conclusion


Gone are the days of only having baggy and frumpy sweatpants to choose from. We researched, purchased, and tested 10 of the best pairs on the market to determine which were the warmest, softest, most breathable, highest performing, easiest to wash, most durable, and best looking. After wearing, washing, and moving around in each pair, we were able to quantify the quality of each model. We hope that our research will help guide you to the pair of sweatpants you most need in your life.

Buck Yedor & Liam Andrews-Bancroft