Just a few years ago, the idea of trying to find the best sweatpants for men would’ve sounded ludicrous. Sweatpants were the thing you wore exclusively in your most lethargic moments—sniffly on the couch, hungover in a college lecture, picking your kids up from soccer practice without ever getting out of the car—never something for true public consumption. So why bother? Just keep right on wearing the same ratty pair with the bright orange stain from the Great Kraft Mac & Cheese Disaster of 2003.
Then the athleisure movement happened, and everything changed. We’re thankfully a few years past the peak of everyone rolling around town in high-concept yoga pants and $500 zip hoodies, but the idea of owning truly great sweatpants has stuck around for good. With the right pair—i.e. sweatpants that are hyper soft but still have some structure, that are tailored in a way that accentuates your legs instead of drowning them, with a decent number of pockets and a waistband that won’t stretch out and get all flabby—you’ll be able to roll around all weekend, from brunch to a bike ride to binging Big Mouth, without ever changing your bottoms. Doesn’t that sound nice? If you’re looking to comfy up right, we did the hard work of lazing about in fleece and definitively determined the 21 best pairs of sweatpants for men—and everyone—in 2020.
The Best Right-Now Sweatpants
When they launched in 2013, John Elliott’s Escobar pants quickly came to define the athleisure movement, and they paved the way for men getting away with wearing what was once workout gear in public without looking lazy. Seven years later, his Sochi model has helped to give that movement a facelift. Where the Escobar was aggressively tapered and overly engineered, the Sochi is cut roomy and relaxed, with elastic cinch cords at the cuffs that allow you to adjust the fit to your liking. Crafted from a dense, proprietary French terry fleece, they’ll actually get comfier the more you wear them—which is saying something, because they start out pretty darn cozy as it is.
The Best Do-Anything Sweatpants
As far as Nike innovations go, Tech Fleece may be one of Nike’s all-time greatest. The fabric brings that classic spongy and elastic feel with a space-age structured look that makes it the perfect fabric for sweatpants. They’ve got a trimmer fit and reinforced knees, but because they’re Nike, you can sweat your ass off in them without feeling guilty.
The Best Entry-Level Sweatpants
At this stage, you might be thinking: OK, GQ, these fancy-pants sweats are all fine and dandy. But what about sweatpants for sweatpants sake? The kind you spend next to nothing on, wear into the ground, and don’t mind occasionally wiping the Cheeto dust on your fingers on? These are those sweats. Russell has been in the athleticwear game since the early 1900s, and their standard-fit, open-bottom sweatpants continue to deliver some of the absolute best value in the business. You won’t find a better basic sweatpant for under $30.
The Best Standard-Setting Sweatpants
Todd Snyder’s longstanding collaboration with Champion is responsible for our favorite crewneck sweatshirt, so it would stand to reason that they also make a top-notch sweatpant. For once, an assumption won’t make an ass out of you and me—but it will make your ass look mighty damn fine. (Sorry.) Because of course the Todd Snyder + Champion line’s sweatpants are great, and for many of the same reasons as their upper body counterpart: the fit is tailored and on point, the details are handsome and vintage-inspired, the french terry fabric has just the right mix of structure and softness. If you’re looking for a simple, classic sweatpant executed flawlessly, these are the way to go.
The Best Heavyweight Sweatpants
The details help to separate Reigning Champ’s sweats from the pack: reinforced seams, a subtle taper, and a wide waistband with a thick rope drawstring that sits on your hips instead of below them. But it’s the Canadian-made fleece itself—thick and tough on the outside, brushed and soft on the inside, with plenty of gorgeous texture—that really earns them a spot on this list.
The Best Fancy-Pants Sweatpants
Yes, Thom Browne—the guy who makes our favorite shrunken suit and who literally goes running in a polo shirt—makes some of the best sweatpants money can buy. They’re pricey, but like Browne’s suits, oxford cloth shirts, and wingtips, you can feel that these made-in-Japan sweats are built to last. And the fit’s a little looser—imagine the perfect pair of sweatpants from a 1950s gym class—if you’re working with thick-thigh-itis. The branding isn’t so subtle, with those signature four stripes, plus a Thom Browne tag near the left ankle, but it’s not egregious, either. And unlike the Nike sweats above, they work with any brand of sneakers out there.