10 Best Brooks Running Shorts Fully Reviewed

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Browse any sale rack at your local department store and you will be sure to find a plethora of activewear shorts that may be suitable for running. These inexpensive athletic shorts may be great for jogging and gym workouts but will not help reduce chafing or provide any storage as you increase your mileage. Specialty running brand Brooks has come up with a lineup of shorts with features worth investing in to help you forget about that sale rack.

Brooks keeps their focus on running and it is easy to see how their unique designs are created for runners, by runners. High quality materials and unique cuts combat common issues runners face such as chafing and bunching without inhibiting range of motion. Moisture-wicking liners and lightweight fabrics provide the perfect balance between modest coverage and breathability. Strategically placed pockets offer functional and practical storage for gels, cash, cards and keys so they will not bounce around as you run.

These key features and thoughtful construction set Brooks running shorts apart and justify a slightly higher cost. Runners of all levels love to keep these classic and durable designs around for years of training. We have reviewed and compared the options out there to help you find the perfect pair of shorts for your running style.

Sherpa 7
  • Sherpa 7" 2-in-1
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight & breathable
  • Price: See Here
Cascadia 7
  • Cascadia 7"
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water & snag resistant
  • Price: See Here
Chaser 3
  • Chaser 3"
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable fit
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Brooks Running Shorts

 

1. Sherpa 7" 2-in-1 (Men)

These 2-in-1 shorts are designed to combat the most common issues male runners face. The 7-inch inseam and built-in liner provides privacy while still maintaining flexibility and breathability. Additionally, four pockets can securely store a cell phone, keys and energy gels without moving around during your run.
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Construction:
These 2-in-1 shorts consist of an outer layer that is 86% polyester and 14% spandex with a mesh DriLayer liner of 90% polyester and 10% spandex.

Fit:
The semi-fitted cut of these shorts is streamlined without being too snug. The boxer brief liner hugs the body without providing any compression. An elastic waistband and drawstring band help create an adjustable fit that will not fall down. While this fit works for most, some men find these low waistband and semi-fitted style to be a little too tight across the rear.

Comfort:
The 7-inch inseam hits a few inches above the knee and is a great length for most men. The flexible fit does not inhibit movement but the longer inseam and built-in boxer brief provides more privacy and security while you run.

Features:
These shorts have multiple pockets designed to securely hold items you may need during your run. Small side pockets in the outer shorts are great for stashing keys or energy gels while a sweat-resistant sleeve in the liner and a center zip pocket in the back are great options for storing a cellphone. Built-in mesh boxer briefs also prevent chafing and add security and comfort to these lightweight and breathable shorts.

Style:
These classic-looking shorts are available in muted black, gray and blue. They do not draw much attention to themselves and are easy to wear with any workout shirt.

Value:
These shorts are high quality and made for runners. As such, they are not the cheapest running shorts available, but most reviewers agree they are reasonably priced given the key features.
Pros
  • Convenient Pockets
  • Great Quality
  • Built-in Mesh Boxer Brief prevents chafing
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Not a universal fit

2. Cascadia 7

These durable, water-resistant shorts are built with ultrarunners in mind and will withstand long runs in harsh trail conditions. The super lightweight material feels barely there and keeps you dry without causing chafing. These shorts work great for running but the longer length, wide waistband and strategic pockets also make them ideal for backpacking.
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Construction:
100% polyester stretch-woven DriLayer fabric makes up the outer shorts and built-in brief liner. The ripstop material is finished with DWR (durable water repellent) for a water and snag-resistant short that can endure tough trail conditions.

Fit:
These semi-fitted, mid-rise shorts have a flat waistband that is a bit wider than your typical running short. The 7-inch inseam hits a few inches above the knee for a good amount of leg coverage that will not hinder movement.

Comfort:
The DriLayer fabric with built-in brief liner offers lightweight comfort and snugness for security without being too tight or compressive. Ultra runners report the polyester fabric keeps everything very dry for chafe-free long runs.

Features:
Three strategically placed pockets are perfectly sized to hold the essentials for long runs. A right envelope pocket and left zippered pocket provide options for storing a small smartphone, ID, keys and energy gels or chews. Reviewers find there is little extra room for items to move and backpackers appreciate the offset design does not end up interfering with a heavy pack. The flat waistband also works perfectly for wearing with a backpack but some men find it a bit less comfortable for running.

Style:
The DriLayer material throughout produces a more streamlined appearance than the baggier Sherpa 2-in-1 short.

Value:
These highly durable and water resistant shorts are worth the extra money for comfortable quality you can wear all day.
Pros
  • Built-in brief liner
  • Convenient pockets can fit a phone
  • Water and snag resistant
  • Keeps you very dry
  • No chafing on long runs
  • Great for backpacking and trail running
Cons
  • Wide waistband is not for everyone

3. Chaser 3" (Women)

These women’s short shorts are cute and functional. Wide leg opening and a soft waistband hold shorts in place while allowing for unrestricted range of motion. Two pockets inside the waistband are ideal for storing a smaller smartphone, gels, keys or cards.
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Construction:
These shorts have an 84% polyester and 16% spandex outer shell with built-in moisture-wicking briefs of 90% polyester and 10% spandex.

Fit:
The 3-inseam on these shorts is short and they seem to run a bit small. However, the wide waistband fits most women well and the larger leg openings provide unrestricted range of motion even for women with more muscular thighs.

Comfort:
These lightweight shorts have a “barely there” feel with their lightweight material and wide leg openings. Most women find they fit very comfortably and they stay in place well without causing any chafing.

Features:
The wide elastic waistband features two interior pockets that can fit a small smartphone and credit cards.

Style:
Available in a variety of bold colors and graphic patterns. These shorts are cute and stylish.

Value:
Price may range based on style but these stylish, quality shorts may cost a bit more.
Pros
  • Built-in brief liner
  • Wide waistband with interior pockets
  • Lightweight material
  • Comfortable fit
  • Short inseam for unrestricted movement
Cons
  • More expensive

4. Cascadia 5" (Women)

These 5-inch inseam Cascadia shorts stay in place to prevent chafing through all trail conditions. The water resistant exterior and moisture-wicking interior keeps you cool, dry and comfortable. Unique pockets are built to fit what you need to get you through your long runs.
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Construction:
These durable, water-resistant shorts are 100% polyester. The outer short is made with ripstop material finished with DWR (durable water repellent) to repel water from the outside. The mesh inner brief has moisture wicking properties to keep shorts dry on the inside.

Fit:
These shorts have a 5-inch inseam and narrower leg opening for a more snug fit through the leg. The wide, flat waistband sits at the hips and runs true to size.

Comfort:
The longer length of these shorts provides more coverage to prevent chafing while the narrower leg opening holds shorts in place to prevent bunching. These are ideal shorts for long runs in any conditions as they keep you cool and dry with the lightweight polyester material.

Features:
These shorts come with 2 functional pockets for running. The left side 5x5 zippered pocket is water and sweat resistant with a drainage port to prevent you from taking on water. A smaller envelope pocket on the right provides secure but easy access to energy gels or keys.

Style:
These shorts have a slimming wide waistband and will be snugger through the leg than your classic running shorts. They are available in black and bright blue.

Value:
These shorts run a bit higher in price but they are highly durable, water-resistant and have great pockets and comfort for making your long run a breeze. These will be worth the extra money when you have them on hand for a tough mudder or cross country race.
Pros
  • Built-in brief liner
  • Convenient pockets can fit a phone
  • Water and snag resistant
  • Keeps you very dry
  • 5-inch inseam stays in place
  • No chafing on long runs
Cons
  • Some women find them too tight through the legs

5. Sherpa 5" 2-in-1 (Men)

Comfortable and practical. These mid-length running shorts have all the features of a go-to running short. Men love the side pockets, lightweight feel and moisture-wicking liner. However, the pockets are a bit small for a standard cell phone and few people note some chafing on longer runs.
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Construction:
These 2-in-1 shorts have a lightweight 84% polyester, 16% spandex outer layer and a Drilayer liner that is 90% polyester and 10% spandex.

Fit:
The 5-inch inseam hits around the mid-thigh with split seams that provide good coverage and unrestricted movement. The semi-fitted cut of these shorts follows the contours of the body without being compressive or restrictive.

Comfort:
The elastic waistband with drawstring cord is comfortable and stays in place during a run. The Drilayer liner helps to wick away moisture and keep you cool and dry on hot days. For most runs this liner works effectively to reduce chafing. However, on longer runs, some men note some chafing where the liner ends.

Features:
These shorts have 2 small side pockets that work great for storing energy gels or power bars and a rear zip pocket that is ideal for money, cards and keys. A few users note success with storing a smaller iPhone in the zippered pocket but it seems to be too small for most smartphones.

Style:
These shorts can fit any style as they are available in classic blue, black and gray as well as some more graphic patterns.

Value:
Price may range but the similarly-priced Sherpa 7’’ 2-in-1 comes in at a better value with the built-in boxer brief and larger pockets.
Pros
  • Convenient pockets for keys and energy gels
  • Great quality
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Moisture-wicking Dri Layer liner
Cons
  • Pockets may not fit all phones
  • Some chafing where liner ends

6. Sherpa 2

These Sherpa split shorts are ideal for men seeking a “barely there” feel for long runs and races. The short inseam and split seam design offer maximum range of motion with a moisture-wicking liner and streamlined fit to maintain comfort and privacy.
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Construction:
These short shorts have a 100% nylon shell with a comfortable DriLayer brief liner of 90% polyester and 10% spandex for great breathability and flexibility.

Fit:
The 2-inch inseam hits high up on the thigh with curved leg openings and split seam design for maximum range of motion. The semi-fitted style maintains a more streamlined silhouette that prevents the legs from ballooning out. Some reviewers find the liner runs a bit large but most feel the shorts fit true to size.

Comfort:
For men who feel confident showing a lot of leg, these are a very comfortable, “barely-there” option. The mesh liner is soft and breathable and the elastic waistband comfortably holds the shorts in place.

Features:
Without much fabric space to work with, these shorts do have less pockets than the other Sherpa shorts. However, Brooks still does make room for a small zippered pocket that can easily fit cash, keys or credit card.

Style:
These basic race shorts are available in black or blue and gray.

Value:
These shorter shorts are high quality and less expensive than many of the longer Brooks’ options.
Pros
  • Unrestricted range of motion
  • Small zippered pocket
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Less pockets than some other styles

7. Greenlight 7

These Greenlight Short Tights are the perfect hybrid between compression shorts and running tights. The 7-inch inseam provides more thigh coverage to prevent chafing but is more breathable and less coverage than a legging. These are ideal when you are seeking a “barely there” feel without the “barely there” coverage.
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Construction:
These shorts have the same DriLayer Horsepower fabric with 81% polyester and 19% spandex found in Brooks’ Sports Bras and tights to provide some compression and support.

Fit:
These short tights fit like a legging and have a tighter fit through the legs and rear that provides slight compression. The wide waistband sits comfortably at the hips and stays up without squeezing.

Comfort:
These lightweight shorts provide compressive support and breathable coverage. The 4-way stretch material does not inhibit range of motion. Women find them comfortable for the duration of their run and love that they provide longer coverage without riding up. The waistband stays put while running but a few women note it may roll a bit with stretching.

Features:
The Greenlight Short Tights feature 2 pockets (1 sweat-resistant) built into the wide waistband that can hold keys and cards.

Style:
These shorts are available in classic black. The wide waistband and compression fit create a flattering and slimming silhouette.

Value:
Price may range but they are mid range for a quality compression short.
Pros
  • Compression fit
  • Longer inseam
  • Prevent chafing
  • Will not bunch up
  • Wide waistband with 2 pockets
Cons
  • Pockets may not fit a phone

8. Go-To 5" (Women)

These are great basic running shorts for women. The 5-inch inseam and quick-dry material keeps you dry and helps prevent chafing. These shorts are lightweight and comfortable for long runs and come with a small zippered pocket.
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Construction:
The women’s Go-To shorts are made of Brooks’ trademark DriLayer fabric that is 100% polyester for both the outer short and built-in mesh brief.

Fit:
These shorts have a 5-inch inseam that hits around the mid thigh. They have an elastic waistband with a drawstring that sits just above the hips and a more relaxed fit through the leg.

Comfort:
These lightweight shorts are very breathable and quick-to-dry. The brief liner stays in place and wicks away moisture and the lightweight material prevents chafing. Vented sides enhance range of motion and breathability.

Features:
The 100% polyester design is great for wicking away moisture without weighing you down. These shorts also feature a zippered pocket at the right hip that can hold small items while you run.

Style:
These shorts have a classic look and are available in plain black or navy blue with white detail along the seams.

Value:
They are less expensive than the other women’s shorts. They are a good length and are moisture-wicking and breathable but have a less flattering design.
Pros
  • Dries quickly
  • Built-in brief liner
  • Zippered pocket
  • Less expensive
Cons
  • Only one pocket
  • Less flattering fit than others

9. Chaser 7" (Women)

The 7-inch Chaser Shorts provide modest but lightweight coverage of the legs. The longer inseam prevents thighs from chafing during long runs without bunching up. The fit through the waistband does not work for everyone and it is lacking a drawstring for those who are inbetween sizes.
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Construction:
The lightweight stretch fabrication wicks away moisture and breathes well on hot days. The outer shell consists of 84% polyester and 16% spandex with built-in briefs that are 90% polyester and 10% spandex.

Fit:
Women love the more modest fit of these longer shorts. They seem to run small and some runners feel the waistband sits a bit too low. They do fit well through the thigh but is is missing a drawstring waistband for women who are inbetween sizes.

Comfort:
The Women’s Chaser shorts provide great coverage while still remaining breathable and lightweight. Women find that the longer length fits comfortable through the thighs and prevents chafing without bunching up. Some users find the built-in brief does ride up slightly while running.

Features:
These shorts feature a front hand pocket and have some storage space in the wide waistband. Most women find the open hand pocket to be a bit small for holding anything significant but the waistband pockets are great for stashing cards and keys.

Style:
The 7-inch Chaser short is only available in blue or black but has a modest yet flattering fit that women love.

Value:
Price will range based on style but these shorts may be more expensive when compared to other brands. Women find that the longer inseam successfully prevent chafing without bunching, making these shorts worth the extra money.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • More modest coverage
  • Some pockets
Cons
  • Waistband sits very low
  • No drawstring
  • Not a universal fit

10. Go-To 5" (Men)

As the name suggests, these mid-length shorts are a great go-to option for men’s running shorts. The moisture-wicking material, single zippered pocket and built-in brief provide all the basics at a lower cost. However, you are missing out on additional pockets and a flattering fit.
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Construction:
These shorts have a 100% polyester construction with Brooks’ trademark DriLayer fabric for both the outer short and built-in mesh brief.

Fit:
These shorts have a more relaxed fit than both the Cascadia and the Sherpa. With the slightly shorter, 5-inch inseam they show a bit more leg but still provide much more coverage than the Sherpa Split short.

Comfort:
The relaxed fit and built-in brief make for a laid back and comfortable short that dries quickly and resists chafing.

Features:
These Go-to shorts feature a zippered pocket at the right hip that can hold cash, ID and keys. 100% polyester design is great for wicking away moisture from the outside and inside for a very quick-drying short.

Style:
These basic shorts are classic and fairly plain. They will work well with any workout shirt and do not draw attention to themselves.

Value:
These are a great value for easy, lightweight, and moisture-wicking shorts. They are less expensive than the other men’s shorts but have less specialized pockets and slightly less comfortable liner.
Pros
  • Dries quickly
  • Built-in brief liner
  • Zippered pocket
  • Less expensive
Cons
  • Only one pocket
  • Less flattering fit than others

 

 

The Metrics We Used to Determine the Best Brooks Running Shorts

Construction

Brooks’ activewear is created from their trademark family of DriLayer fabrics that are designed to provide the proper balance of materials to keep you cool, dry and flexible. These fabrics feature treated polyester blends, typically with some spandex to add some stretch and elasticity. Polyester is a very popular fabric for activewear due to its durability and moisture-wicking properties. Combined with a DWR (durable water repellent), as seen in the Cascadia short, polyester can provide a water resistant finish that prevents activewear from becoming saturated and heavy. The addition of spandex to these blends adds a bit more flexibility to the fabric and it can even provide compression, as seen in the Greenlight short tights.

Fit

Proper fit is key for comfort on the run. Brooks offers a range of inseam lengths to fit every comfort level. Many running shorts feature a drawstring waistband for a more customizable fit. Intended fit can range from a relaxed, baggy feel through the legs to a more streamlined or even tight fit throughout and is largely up to personal preference while you run.

Comfort

For running shorts, comfort should be considered at two levels. Obviously, the shorts should be comfortable when you put them on. However, you also want to make sure they stay comfortable through the sweat and other elements as you clock longer mileage. Moisture-wicking properties that prevent chafing and proper fit to avoid bunching are key to finding a comfortable running short.

Features

Brooks really shines when it comes to functional pockets for runners. While not all of their shorts can accommodate a smartphone, most offer pockets that will hold keys, ID or energy gels securely.

Style

Brooks has a tendency to lean toward classic colors and basic silhouettes when it comes to running shorts. Some styles, such as the women’s chase 3’’, are available in fun graphic patterns. However, most of their designs are versatile and understated.

Value

Brooks’ shorts range in price but are generally mid-range to expensive when compared with other brands such as Nike and Under Armour. While this may deter some buyers, avid runners appreciate the high quality build and runner-specific features that cannot be found as easily with less expensive brands.

Other Things to Consider

Running Conditions

Brooks designs shorts for every type of runner. It is worth considering what type you are and what conditions you find yourself running in because, chances are, they have come up with a running short to fit your needs. More general shorts such as the Go-To, Chase or Sherpa are very versatile and work well for your short weekday runs and longer weekend workouts. More specialized shorts, such as the Cascadia, are a bit more expensive but have specific design elements that work wonders on long trail runs and obstacle races.

Other Storage Options

Brooks prides themselves on unique pockets that are designed with runners in mind. The pockets on their shorts are carefully designed to just fit essentials such as keys, cards, cash, gels or a phone. They intentionally, do not leave too much room in these pockets to prevent your items from bouncing around on the run. These strategic pockets are an awesome feature in Brooks’ apparel. Consider what items you like to carry when you run to help prioritize the best shorts for you. If you prefer running with a belt or armband for your phone, big pockets may not be essential for your ideal running shorts.

FAQs

Q: How do I care for my Brooks running shorts?

A: Brooks’ shorts are machine washable but the company recommends avoiding fabric softeners when possible and tumble drying on low heat.

Q: Do you need to wear underwear with running shorts?

A: Most shorts feature a built-in brief liner intended to replace underwear and wick-away moisture. Wearing underwear is up to personal preference but you may find wearing them may increase chafing between the underwear and the liner.

Q: How do I choose the best length?

A: The inseam length on this list ranges from 2 inches to 7 inches. Choosing the right inseam for you is mostly determined by your comfort level and modesty. If you are experiencing chafing in the inner thigh, you may consider trying out a longer inseam to provide more coverage and protection as you run.

Q: What is the difference between men’s and women’s running shorts?

A: Running shorts are cut to accommodate and support differences in men’s and women’s bodies for maximum comfort. Men’s running shorts tend to have a longer inseam and feature liners with a bit more support in the groin. Women’s shorts have a bit more room in the hips and thighs to comfortably fit the female body.

Sources

  1. Brooks Running, Technology, Web Page,
  2. The Clymb, How to Buy Running Shorts, Web Page,
  3. Feiereisen, Sharon , The Pros (and Cons) of Each Type of Activewear Fabric, Web Page, Nov 19, 2016

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