Why Do Boxers Wear Their Shorts So High?

Boxing is a worldwide sport that is familiar to most of the general population. Boxers wear specific attire and follow specific rules in the ring. They only wear shorts, gloves, and boxing shoes, but if you look closely their shorts seems unusually high. So why do boxers wear their shorts so high?

Boxers wear their shorts high to indicate their beltline. By bringing up their beltline they make it more likely for their opponent to hit below the beltline which can be called as a foul for a low blow by the referee. A boxer can win the fight if their opponent is disqualified for these fouls.

Keep reading to learn a bit more about why boxing shorts are so large and have a visible beltline. I’ll touch on some other interesting related topics like why boxers would pour water down their shorts.

Is There a Reason Boxers Wear Their Shorts So High?

Boxers wear their shorts so high to ensure their opponent and the referee can see their beltline, which helps avoid low blows. Another benefit is that wearing their boxing shorts higher ultimately places a limit on their opponent’s available striking zones on their body.

It is easier to defend a smaller striking zone and gives a notable advantage if they can get away with wearing their boxing shorts very high. You might see the boxer’s corner pulling up their pants or the referee enforcing the height of the shorts in certain circumstances.

Do Boxers Have a Dress Code?

Boxers have a particular dress code that they must follow for all of their matches. Their attire consists of boxing shorts, lightweight shoes or boots, socks, and gloves. Male boxers don’t wear shirts, whereas female fighters have to wear a chest protector and shirt.

Why Are Boxing Shorts So Large?

As spectators, we tend to see boxers wearing large baggy shorts, and sometimes we might wonder why they don’t wear tight shorts like other athletes, but there’s a reason for that.

Boxers’ shorts might look like they’re too big for them and like they can get in the way. But unlike other contact sports like mixed martial arts, boxers aren’t allowed to kick their opponent or grapple with them on the ground.

Boxers can only punch the upper body of their opponents, so their large shorts won’t get in the way.

Boxing shorts are so large and loose to help with air circulation and movement and to cool down the boxer. Additionally, sponsors pay boxers to advertise on their shorts, which means that bigger shorts allow for more sponsorship money.

Why do Boxers Have Their Sponsor’s Logos on Their Shorts?

Many companies will pay considerable amounts of money to advertise their brand on a professional athlete’s attire.

Boxers have their sponsor’s logos on their shorts for advertising. Boxing is an extremely popular sport, and some fighters have millions of fans wanting to wear the same gear as they do or buy their clothes from the same shops.

This is also one of the reasons why boxing shorts are so big. More material gives more space for sponsors. These companies get worldwide exposure from having their names on professional, famous boxers’ shorts as the fights are broadcast on television around the world.

These sponsors are willing to pay a lot of money for a spot on one of these famous athletes’ trunks, so it’s another way for boxers to make money.

In fact, in the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao’s boxing shorts were worth 2.25 million dollars.

How Should Boxing Shorts Fit?

There are certain specifications for boxing shorts, but they must also be comfortable and practical.

Boxing shorts should fit comfortably, they cannot be too short, and they have to come to the middle of the boxer’s thighs or longer. They also may not cover the knees of the fighter, and they may not be worn higher than the beltline.

If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of boxing shorts, you can get these Cleto Reyes Satin Boxing Trunks (available on Amazon.com), which have a 4-inch (10.16 centimeters) waistband and are the perfect length for most athletes.

You do get some boxers that try to get away with pulling their shorts up higher than allowed. They do this to try and fool the referee by claiming a low blow or minimizing their opponent’s punching area.

Boxing shorts should fit comfortably around the waist; they shouldn’t hurt and dig into the skin, but be tight enough to stop them from slipping down. The shorts should be lightweight and loose around the legs so that the boxer can move around freely.

What Do Boxers Wear Under Their Shorts?

Boxers not only have to wear specific shorts, but they also have to wear protection cups. Boxing attire rules are strict, and if not followed, the match will be canceled.

Boxers wear groin protection cups and sometimes compression shorts under their boxing shorts. Groin protectors prevent fighters from sustaining severe injuries in the event of a low blow, while compression shorts assist with circulation.

Why Do Boxers Wear Groin Cup Protectors?

Boxers wear groin protectors to help prevent them from getting seriously injured when taking a direct hit on the groin area. An impact like that can be extremely painful, and although the groin protector won’t eliminate the pain, it can prevent torsion or rupture.

A torsion in that area causes severe pain, vomiting, swelling, and even fever. It will require surgery to be rectified.

Female boxers can also get injured from a low blow. They also wear groin protection specifically designed for them that tends to be lower profile and won’t hinder movement.

Why Do Some Boxers Wear Compression Shorts?

Some boxers wear compression shorts under their boxing shorts for some performance benefits. Compression shorts compress your muscles and help with blood circulation, which helps reduce muscle fatigue during workouts and muscle recovery after them.

I wear compression pants or shorts like these that are available on Amazon for most of my workouts whether it is simple weightlifting or a proper boxing workout. I find that it helps with temperature regulation and the support feels like it has a big impact on my overall performance.

You can wear compression shorts as underwear, a middle layer, or as outerwear during training. I usually wear them as a middle layer.

Why Do Boxing Shorts Have a Beltline on Them?

Boxers have to wear their shorts at a certain height and are not allowed to punch their opponent below it. Throwing a low blow can have bad results for both the boxer and the opponent.

Boxing shorts have a beltline on them to make it easily visible for the opponent where to punch and so that the referee can spot low blows. The beltline stretches from the hips to the navel. A boxing waistband of a different color than the shorts can be worn.

Why Do Boxers Pour Water Down Their Shorts?

You might have noticed that boxers sometimes have cold water poured down their pants between rounds. It looks strange and can leave their audience wondering why they would do it. Some logical reasons behind it make a lot of sense.

Boxers pour water down their shorts to help them cool down. Since boxing is such a high-intensity sport, athletes get overheated, and pouring cold water down their trunks helps them cool down and continue to perform.

After a match or hard training, it isn’t unusual to see a boxer follow up with an ice bath to help with recovery and muscle fatigue.

Final Thoughts

With really specialized combat sports like boxing, equipment ends up being specialized to maximize performance as well as being optimized to generate the most money possible. Getting shorts bigger and establishing a visible belt line both provide a competitive and monetary advantage to the athletes.

For more check out Are There Belt Levels in Boxing?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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