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10 Best Trail Running Shorts Tested & Rated

last updated Oct 06, 2018

Most runners know how useful a good pair of shorts can be, but not as many runners choose the shorts based on their specific needs. That is usually where Runnerclick steps in. Not just in showing what is available but with helping our readership understand the important aspects of the choice at hand.

For a pair of shorts to be a good choice for trail running they have to meet certain requirements. Trail shorts need to be able to dry quickly, either from sweat or because the runner ran into a wet hazard. Trail shorts won’t be designed with aspects that can catch on a branch or bush. Trail shorts should wash well since a trail run can end up being much dirtier than other types of runs. It's these sort of things that sort of fall through the cracks in the midst of shopping.

We compiled a list of the very best shorts for trail running for our readers. We also include our criteria for the decision and other helpful information. We want our readership to know they can trust runner click to have them spending less time shopping and more time improving their numbers.

Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
150
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated: March 24, 2018
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By Mark Smith:

When a product is tried and tested we will keep it on our the list of good options and new additions must prove that they are wanted by trail runners. We know this is what you want. Enjoy our current selection and keep checking here because we are busy reviewing, checking and looking to expand and add to your choices here. This current list offers top-performing shorts which we know work for runners. Read our criterion for review section to see how we identify the best for you. If you are left with any questions, enjoy our FAQs section. 7/21/18 Runnerclick believes in routine brush ups on our articles since the the world of running, much like its habitants, is always moving along at a lightning pace and we want to make sure our lists reflect that. This time around we went through and clarified and elaborated on our criteria and FAQs as well as updating our top 3 picks. 10/6/18 We have transitioned this page over to a new format. A format that will make it so much easier for our readers to make the best use of the available information and make the best selection for them.

Sorting Options
Comfort Breathability Flexibility Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
Comfort
96%
Breathability
94%
Flexibility
94%
Durability
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$39.50
Best Deal
$79.00
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Comfort
98%
Breathability
97%
Flexibility
93%
Durability
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Comfort
95%
Breathability
94%
Flexibility
94%
Durability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$22.57
$36.00
Best Deal
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Comfort
96%
Breathability
91%
Flexibility
94%
Durability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$42.00
Best Deal
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Comfort
93%
Breathability
96%
Flexibility
92%
Durability
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$34.95
Best Deal
$69.00
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Comfort
93%
Breathability
90%
Flexibility
97%
Durability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$22.99
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Comfort
91%
Breathability
90%
Flexibility
96%
Durability
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$129.90
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Comfort
94%
Breathability
90%
Flexibility
90%
Durability
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Comfort
87%
Breathability
93%
Flexibility
89%
Durability
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
$50.00
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Comfort
85%
Breathability
85%
Flexibility
85%
Durability
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.10.18)
In Depth Review Top 10
  • La Sportiva Rush
  • Brooks Sherpa 7”
  • Under Armour Armourvent
  • Smartwool PHD 5”
  • Nike Challenger Dry 7
  • TCA Elite Tech
  • Salomon Exo S-Lab Twinskin
  • La Sportiva Rapid
  • Asics Woven 7”
  • Salomon Trail Runner
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Trail Running Shorts

1. La Sportiva Rush

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
La Sportiva Rush
Comfort
96
Breathability
94
Flexibility
94
Durability
97
best offer for today
more shops
$79.00
$39.50
Best deal
Pros:
  • Very comfortable
  • No chafing
  • Excellent durability
  • Reflective details for dark conditions
  • The inner briefs provide good support
  • Five pockets
Cons:
  • Quite pricey
  • Less well-tested than some others on this list

The La Sportiva Rush shorts feature an inner brief that keeps you supported and comfortable. These lightweight shorts are made of a comfortable material. These shorts feature five pockets, one of which has a zipper.

Read more

Comfort/Fit
The Rush shorts are designed for long-term comfort for long-distance runners. These versatile shorts fit really well, and can be used in all conditions and in all weather.

Quality/Durability
These are made with durability in mind, so they should last you for a great amount of time. They have reflective details, keeping you safe in low light conditions. They are also anti-odor and anti-microbial. Overall, the Rush shorts are great quality and an excellent addition to your running arsenal.

Cost
Again, these are a little pricey, but they are sure to last you a long time.

Conclusion

A highly engineered trail running short, ideal for long and ultra-long distance races. it gives a balance between weight and protection.

This short is one of the best for trail runners since it’s specifically designed for that, it has a best grip for marathon.

2. Brooks Sherpa 7”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Brooks Sherpa 7”
Comfort
98
Breathability
97
Flexibility
93
Durability
92
best offer for today
Pros:
  • Very comfortable and soft
  • Great moisture wicking
  • Inner mesh boxer for no chafing
  • Pockets for carrying stuff
  • Semi-fitted cut for comfort
Cons:

These have a drawstring closure, semi-fitted cut and good moisture wicking capability. These will keep you cool and comfortable. They have hand pockets at the side and a zip center pocket at the back.

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Comfort/Fit
The layering of the fabric is excellent at wicking sweat, and they have an inner mesh boxer brief to keep you comfortable and help prevent chafing. They are extremely lightweight and breathable, and they have a good fit with a good feel. If you want something comfy and soft when you’re hitting the trails, these are a good option.

Quality/Durability
With Brooks, you can always expect very good quality, and these are no different. They’re an excellent pair of shorts with great technology. There are no durability issues here, so you can keep hitting the trails for a while.

Cost
These are pricey, but they’re definitely worth the investment.

3. Under Armour Armourvent

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.5
Under Armour Armourvent
Comfort
95
Breathability
94
Flexibility
94
Durability
95
best offer for today
more shops
$22.57
$36.00
Best deal
Pros:
  • Water resistant
  • Built specifically for the trails
  • Elasticated waistband
  • Nice and comfortable
  • Built for stretch and comfort.
Cons:
  • If you want something that is versatile, these might not be the best option – they’re built for the trails.

The Under Armour Armourvent shorts are built specifically for the trails with a water-resistant design, vented technology and a fit which is built for stretch and comfort. They have one secure side pocket.

Read more

Comfort/Fit
They’re pretty lightweight given how durable the are. They have a good fit and allow for full range of movement. The elastic waistband contributes to the good fit and overall comfort.

Quality/Durability
As always with Under Armour, you get good quality and good durability. These should last you a while.

Cost
These aren’t the most expensive on this list, but they’re still not a bargain option.

Conclusion

This short delivers true breathability in a light, stretchy, durable, fast-drying fabric; it keeps your body cool Mesh panels are engineered for superior ventilation where you need it Anti-odor.

The Under Armour Armourvent is unique on its own way and suitable for stretchy exercises with its anti odor and ventilated feature.it provides a perfect short for you.

4. Smartwool PHD 5”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Comfort
96
Breathability
91
Flexibility
94
Durability
95
best offer for today
$42.00
Best deal
Pros:
  • Really comfortable
  • Good mix between structure and freedom
  • Two pockets
  • They dry very quickly
  • Feel good against the skin
Cons:
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Not as well-known as some other entries in this category

These have a stretch-woven outer short with a supportive inner brief, which gives just the right amount of compromise between structure and freedom. These have two pockets, one of which is zippered. These shorts also provide temperature regulation.

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Comfort/Fit
These keep you from getting too hot and they dry very quickly in both wet and sweaty conditions. They are designed for comfort, so they feel good against the skin, and the stretch really allows you lots of freedom on the trails. The outer synthetic layer is somewhat windproof, which is handy in breezy conditions.

Quality/Durability
These feature fantastic technology and will endure rugged situations. They have reflective features for when you’re running in dark conditions.

Cost
They’re a little expensive, but if you want top-quality running gear from a good brand, then it’s worth the price.

Conclusion.
It is so comfortable having a merino blend interior hence makes exercise more enjoyable and fun. Best for temperature regulation definitely doesn’t disappoint.

5. Nike Challenger Dry 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Nike Challenger Dry 7
Comfort
93
Breathability
96
Flexibility
92
Durability
94
best offer for today
more shops
$69.00
$34.95
Best deal
Pros:
  • Decent price point
  • Good Dri-Fit technology
  • Comfortable inside liner
  • Thin fit
  • Lightweight design will keep you cool
Cons:
  • Not the best moisture wicking though it’s still decent
  • The material is a little too thin for some people.

These shorts from Nike are built with Dri-Fit technology to keep you dry and comfortable, as well as side panels with mesh for ventilation and an inside liner for sweat-wicking. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option from a good brand, these are a decent choice. They come in many different color designs.

Read more

Comfort/Fit
These lightweight shorts have plenty of ventilation and other breathability features to keep you cool. If you’re a heavy sweater, these are a good choice. The inside liner has a simple design but is comfortable. They fit well, with a relaxed hang and they’re pretty thin. They don’t have the same level of moisture wicking as some other shorts on this list, but they should keep you cool, given their structure.

Quality/Durability
The material is a little too thin for some, but these are otherwise, a great quality pair of shorts that will last you for a long time.

Cost
These aren’t the cheapest on the market, but they’re a lot cheaper than some others on this list. If you’re seeking to save a few bucks, these are a good choice.

Conclusion

Nike Dry Running Short deliver lightweight coverage and sweat-wicking support that lasts to keep you dry and comfortable, as well as side panels with mesh for ventilation.

This short is stylish and cheaper, also fit for almost every outdoor activity and comes from one of the most noticeable brands in the world (Nike)

6. TCA Elite Tech

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
TCA Elite Tech
Comfort
93
Breathability
90
Flexibility
97
Durability
90
best offer for today
$22.99
Pros:
  • Good amount of stretch
  • Two zipper pockets
  • Elastic waistband
  • Decent moisture wicking
  • Great price point
  • Snug fit
Cons:
  • The sizes can occasionally be a little off.
  • These aren’t from a well-known name.

These are a good bargain option, albeit from a lesser-known name. The stretchy fabric allows for good movement and mobility. These also have two zipper pockets. The elastic waistband gives a good fit as well as flexibility and the sweat wicking is pretty decent.

Read more

Comfort/Fit
These shorts have a snug fit and hit just above the knee. The elastic does not chafe against the skin and the material feels good. They’re pretty lightweight overall. However, it's worth noting that these don’t have the inner support of some others on this list. Also, the fit can occasionally run a little small.

Quality/Durability
These are good quality, especially for the price. They don’t have the high-tech touches of some others on this list, but they still do the simple things pretty well.

Cost
This is where these shine – if you want something for a low price but good quality, these might be the ones for you!

Conclusion

These shorts are built from a light but strong fabric,offering flexibility when moving ,the strong part of the fabric ensures that it is long lasting.the zippers it has are a good deal for phones or any other objects you are willing to store when running.

Even though they may not be common, they are still perfect for their purpose. get motivates with this short that drives you to perform best.

7. Salomon Exo S-Lab Twinskin

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Salomon Exo S-Lab Twinskin
Comfort
91
Breathability
90
Flexibility
96
Durability
92
best offer for today
$129.90
Pros:
  • Great compression for support and recovery
  • Very good stretch
  • 3 gel pockets
  • No chafing
  • Built for long runs
Cons:
  • These are expensive.
  • Can be baggy or ill-fitted on occasion
  • Some might not like the tightness.

Created with lightweight technology, these shorts have 3D stretch and a tight inner lining. It also has three gel pockets. The shorts also offer compression and support, so if you are looking for something with compression, these are a very good option.

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Comfort/Fit
If you are looking for support and recovery, the compression is very good. Even though they are fitted, they don't make you too hot. They cause no chafing, and the fabric feels good against the skin. These shorts work great for long runs. If you’re not accustomed to this type of fit, they might feel a little tight at first.

Quality/Durability
On occasion, reviewers have had slight sizing issues. Some reviewers found they fit too loose. Otherwise, they are a good quality pair of shorts.

Cost
These are pricey, but they are worth it!

Conclusion

Run easier, longer and recover better. These shorts give you the support you need in all the vital areas to improve your performance.

This short enables one to run easily and for longer due to its improved technology that assists in muscle stimulation.

8. La Sportiva Rapid

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
La Sportiva Rapid
Comfort
94
Breathability
90
Flexibility
90
Durability
94
best offer for today
more shops
$90.30
Pros:
  • Good protection against the sun
  • Great chafe-free technology
  • Come from a trusted name in trail running
  • Very lightweight
Cons:
  • These are very expensive.
  • They’re not as well-tested as others on this list.

The Rapid shorts have a drawstring closure along with UPF protection. They’re built for comfort and performance and come from La Sportiva, who is a trusted name in trail running. They promise chafe-free comfort for the entirety of a long run.

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Comfort/Fit
These lightweight shorts are comfortable, and feature a supportive inner liner. They have a smooth feel against the skin and offer high performance in all conditions. There seem to be no problems with the fit. The drawstring closure allows for a comfortable, customized fit.

Quality/Durability
These have great quality, as you’d expect with La Sportiva, and there seem to be no durability issues.

Cost
These are the priciest on the list. If you’re budget-conscious, these really might not be for you, but the price does reflect the quality and comfort.

9. Asics Woven 7”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Asics Woven 7”
Comfort
87
Breathability
93
Flexibility
89
Durability
85
best offer for today
$50.00
Pros:
  • A good basic option
  • One zippered storage pocket
  • They moisture wick quite well.
  • Stay cool in hot conditions
  • Lightweight and breathable
Cons:
  • Not the best durability
  • The sizes can sometimes be off.
  • Can bunch up in the groin

These are a basic short option, but still very suitable for the trails. They have a zippered storage pocket at the back, a drawcord elastic waist and a lightweight and breathable design. If you want something somewhat versatile and not exclusively for the trails, this is a good buy.

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Comfort/Fit
The Woven shorts by Asics breathable and have moisture wicking technology. They’re not the best on this list when it comes to wicking moisture, but they still do pretty well. Some reviewers stated that the shorts can bunch up in the groin area. However, the majority found that the fit and comfort level was very good.

Quality/Durability
The durability isn’t as good as others on this list, but it is still a good quality pair of shorts, especially considering the low price. It's worth noting that some reviewers had problems with sizing.

Cost
These are a good low-cost option!

Conclusion

This shorts has the best fabric that taps away moisture to remain dry through out your training making you comfortable and flexible to keep on the trail.it also has a nice elastic band at the waist that makes it easy to fit,has pockets that can also act as storage for phones while running,how cool is that.

They are comfortable and can be used in various activities that athletes are in to, everyone wants to be comfortable in what you have on, and well this specific ones are the real deal.

10. Salomon Trail Runner

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Salomon Trail Runner
Comfort
85
Breathability
85
Flexibility
85
Durability
92
best offer for today
more shops
$54.95
Pros:
  • Built for trails
  • Offer UV protection
  • Great at fighting sweat
  • They have a fit designed for mobility.
  • Relaxed fit
Cons:
  • Quite expensive
  • The sizes can sometimes be a little off.

Salomon make some great gear for trail conditions and these are no exception. The Trail Runner shorts have UV protection to keep you shielded from the sun, along with good drying technology. These have a relaxed, lightweight fit.

Read more

Comfort/Fit
The fit with these shorts is quite snug, but luckily, the fabric feels good against the skin. Their technology keeps you dry even in the sweatiest of conditions, and their active fit will keep you mobile and flexible on all runs.

Quality/Durability
Reviewers had no durability issues with these. However, some had a problem regarding sizing.

Cost
These are pretty pricey, which you can expect with Salomon. They’re good quality, which makes them worth the investment.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

...uncomfortable running wear can lead to bigger problems...

Comfort is often taken at a surface level and considered less important than it actually is. Comfort is more than how enjoyable the shorts are to wear. Discomfort is often a sign of an underlying problem in the design such as a low-quality fabric or a misplaced seam.

It is essential to choose only shorts that are comfortable for this list since the irritation or friction caused by uncomfortable running wear can lead to bigger problems like chaffing.

Fit

Sizing is always a difficult thing to manage for any article of clothing since standards between brands are as varied as the bodies that wear them. We think it’s important to assess whether a particular brand or style of shorts has a history of mis-sizing or wearing poorly. Accurate sizing is additionally important because we know so many of our readers shop for their gear online. Shorts that make it to the list are generally easier to size.

Breathability

Sweat prevention as an aspect of breathability can stop the formation of blisters as well as curb chaffing.

Breathability is an important trait in any article of athletic clothing. Not just for the elimination of odor either, though it does help.

Sweat prevention as an aspect of breathability can stop the formation of blisters as well as curb chaffing. Proper ventilation can also prevent skin infections.

Keeping yourself cool is also essential for trail running since the danger of overheating and dehydration is increased by quite a bit by the lack of nearby emergency services, facts we like to be conscientious of when making selections for this list.

Flexibility

Flexibility is also essential for trail running shorts since your more likely to face inclines, declines, and other obstacles...

Flexibility is a concern we also take into account. Ideally, any pair of shorts you buy should be flexible enough to move with you. This is comparable in comfort in terms of import since a pair of shorts that grabs and pulls at you will likely cause chaffing and worse problems down the road.

Flexibility is also essential for trail running shorts since your more likely to face inclines, declines, and other obstacles and will need your full range of motion to deal with them.

Durability

...trail running can be the most grueling challenge you put your running wear through.

No piece of clothing is immune to wear and tear but there are those with varying levels of resistance. Trail shorts need to be chosen for the high durability since trail running can be the most grueling challenge you put your running wear through.

Durability isn’t just somethings ability to endure its environment and use. Washing can put a lot of strain on a piece of clothing and trail clothing needs to be washed especially often since it has the potential to get extremely dirty. We had to make sure that shorts on this list wash well too.

Other Factors to Consider

Materials

This should come as no surprise since it is crucial to go for a material that will enable good breathability as well as durability.  we wouldn't advise you to go after cotton they are known to have poor vaporization quality, this means when dump you stay dump, something no one appreciates.Try other fabrics that are good for wicking out wetness.

Advanced Features

This is also a consideration, inbuilt underwear are the best, they help hold your junk together when running and also helps prevent unnecessary rubbings that can cause chaffing.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: After how long should I get another pair of shorts?
a:

The two factors to consider when deciding when to buy new shorts are how often you run and how often you wash your shorts. If you run often or you wash to shorts fairly often then you are probably looking to replace them every one to two years. If you do so less frequently, then you can probably push up to five years.

q: Why do running shorts have built-in underwear?
a:

The built-in underwear, or liner, is put into place so you won’t have to wear underwear with your running shorts. The two separate pieces of cloth of the underwear and the shorts can cause serious chaffing. The line will provide support without moving against the shorts, keeping you comfortable and irritation free.

q: How do I figure out the length of running short I should choose?
a:

In general lengthier 7-inch shorts are to provide advanced protection, which we recommend for trail runners, and the 4 to 5-inch shorts are to provide more air flow. All in all, we recommend deciding on your short length based on your height, taller people favoring lengthier shorts for a better fit.

q: What can I do to prevent chaffing?
a:

Favoring shorts that have a liner to limit the amount of fabric induced irritation is a good place to start. You should also try and favor shorts that have been designed to be seamless. Seamless shorts lack raised edges and points and are overall less likely to cause any irritation.

Sources

  1. Outside, Gear Guy, Information source,
  2. Admin, Bandelettes, Jan 01, 1970
  3. Liam Boylan-Pett, The definitive guides to short shorts, Jan 01, 1970
  4. Perry Dau, Marathon Trainning, Fitness source,