10 Best New Balance Running Shorts Tested & Reviewed
Runners know that every part of their gear matters, and what they wear can have a huge impact on their performance. As a runner increases their mileage and starts to set new goals, it’s important to make sure that their apparel can keep up. This is where a good pair of running shorts comes in. Running shorts may not sound like an integral part of your workout, but they can definitely make a difference if you plan on running outdoors in warmer weather.
Summers haven’t been particularly forgiving for the past few years, and heatstroke is a very real concern for athletes. Wearing the right types of clothing can help to offset some of the heat and provide your body with better ventilation. Running shorts aren’t designed like other shorts. They’re made out of special materials designed to improve your range of motion and to maximize your comfort levels. This is why we looked to New Balance for some of the best running shorts on the market.
New Balance is a brand that recognizes what it takes to be a serious athlete and makes their gear with that in mind. This review list provides some insight into some of their most highly recommended running shorts and gives you the info you need to make an informed purchase.
- Men’s 5" Accelerate
- Lightweight Material
- Women’s Accelerate 2.5"
- Comfortable Fit
- Men's Accelerate 7"
- Breathable and Dry Technology
10 Best New Balance Running Shorts
1. Men’s Accelerate 7-inch
The men’s Accelerate Running Shorts are made of moisture-wicking woven material that is 100% polyester.
The 7-inch inseam hits a few inches above the knee to provide comfortable coverage without impeding range of motion. The athletic fit is streamlined, eliminating excess fabric and staying close to the body without being constricting.
Reviewers find these lightweight shorts much more comfortable than baggy gym shorts and they enjoy the modest but functional length. The built-in liner is a bit divisive but those who prefer to wear their own briefs or compression shorts simply cut it out.
These shorts feature a small internal key pocket and two deep hand pockets that reviewers report is comfortable for a phone while running. Men are impressed with the athletic fit and enjoy the lightweight and soft material.
Many reviewers prefer the streamlined appearance of these running shorts to the baggy fit of most gym shorts designed for men. The black shorts with pops of blue or green accents do not draw much attention and are at home at any gym or on any trail.
Price may range but at around 35 dollars, this is a solid and versatile pair of running shorts that performs well and has all the features one may need.
Streamlined fit eliminates excess fabric
Deep hand pockets
Internal key pocket
Size runs small
2. Men’s Accelerate 5-inch
This version of the men’s Accelerate is made of a blend of 87% Polyester and 13% Spandex. The material is lightweight and moisture wicking with just enough stretch for a good range of motion.
The 5-inch inseam is ideal for running as it extends down the leg just enough to protect against chafing and bunching up. Most reviewers are fans of the built-in internal brief which they find fits snugly but not too tight. The fit is fairly streamlined without much excess fabric to get in your way as you run but they do flare out a little more than the 7 inch Accelerate.
Men find the lightweight material wicks moisture very well and remain breathable during workouts. The 5-inch inseam provides a comfortable amount of coverage without being baggy or constricting.
These shorts have two hand pockets that are deeper and more functional than those on most running shorts as well as an internal pocket for a key. There are no zippered pockets but most men feel their valuables are secure in these shorts.
These shorts are available in solid black or with a bright stripe down the side. They have a classic, athletic look that is flattering and versatile.
These shorts are around 30 dollars and most reviewers find them a good investment for a durable, lightweight and comfortable go-to running short.
Good coverage, prevents chafing
Comfortably snug built-in brief
Deep hand pockets
Internal key pocket
Flare out a bit in the leg
3. Women’s Accelerate 2.5-inch
These 100 % polyester shorts are made with New Balance’s NB Dry moisture wicking fabric that moves moisture away from the body allowing the shorts to dry quickly.
These mid rise short have a 2.5 inch inseam that raises slightly at the sides. The leg shape allows for a good range of motion without ballooning out and users find the fit to be true to size.
Reviewers find these shorts have a comfortable fit with a soft quick drying material. The short length prevents shorts from riding up too much while running and a drawstring waistband ensures they stay up. The soft crepe brief liner feels as though it is barely there.
There is an internal key pouch built into the brief liner. This works well for a small key or some cash but may be too small for much else. There is no zipper so some users worry about losing their key while on the trail but no one reports anything falling out. Small reflective logos on the front hem and rear waist increase visibility when running at night.
The Women’s Accelerate shorts are available in a wide variety of solid and patterned designs with a contrasting color or pattern along the hem and up the side. They have an athletic look and, despite the short length, do not look too revealing.
Price ranges based on style and size but typically runs between 25 and 45 dollars.
Moisture wicking material
Do not ride up
No zipper on the pocket
4. Men’s Impact 3-inch
The men’s Impact Shorts are made of 87% polyester and 13% spandex. They feature New Balance’s NB dry and NB fresh technologies to manage moisture and prevent shorts from retaining odor.
These shorts fit snugly around the waist and the mesh liner provides some support. The legs have a wide opening which fits loosely around the thighs. Most reviewers find the added airflow comfortable but some find them a bit too baggy through the leg.
The lightweight material and loose fit offer a very breathable comfort that feels as though it is barely there.
These reflective logos and trim offer added safety when running in the evening. A small zippered side pocket is great for cards and keys. Some users report being able to fit an iPhone 7 but find the added bulk is not comfortable while running and prefer a belt or armband.
These classic black shorts have small reflective details and logos but not much flare otherwise. They are functional and short without drawing unnecessary attention.
These shorts are typically 25 to 30 dollars. For a comfortable fit and durable material, these are a good value for running shorts.
Four different color choices
Sizing may be off
88% Nylon and 12% Lycra gives these longer shorts a fair amount of stretch. New Balance’s signature NB Dry Technology helps wick moisture and keep users cool and comfortable during any workout.
The fitted style of these shorts gives them a streamlined appearance that hugs the body without being skintight. The long 8-inch inseam hits a few inches above the knee providing plenty of coverage during lifting or squats.
The wide waistband sits comfortably above hips and the overall short has a good stretch to it that allows for full range of motion while still providing modest coverage. Users are very comfortable in these shorts for a variety of activity. The long length makes them ideal for lifting but the snug fit and lack of excess material is also well-suited for running.
The wide waistband features a small opening at the top edge that is perfect for keeping a key or credit card close while you run. Side hand pockets can come in handy while headed to the gym but, without zippers, may not be the most useful during exercise. Additionally, a small reflective logo on the back increases visibility.
These longer shorts have a wide waistband, flattering seam placement and solid black color which creates a slimming effect. They are a versatile and understated piece that will match most workout tops.
Retailing around 65 dollars, they are a bit expensive for shorts. When it comes to good coverage during your workout, the streamlined fit and ample stretch set them well above your standard basketball shorts.
Snug fit without being tight
Great for lifting and the gym
Wide waistband for comfort
May not be ideal for long runs
6. Women’s Impact 4-inch
These 2-in-1 shorts are 86% polyester and 14% spandex, so they dry quickly and have a good amount of stretch.
These shorts have a wide knit waistband with a drawcord to customize the fit around the hips. The 4-inch inseam provides longer coverage in the front and back with a shorter side panel to allow for better range of motion. Most users find these shorts run true to size.
Women love the built-in knit boy shorts as they stay in place while running and add some coverage. The two layers may be a bit warm on hot days but the quick drying material wicks away moisture to keep you cool and comfortable.
A zippered pocket in the back of the waistband is large enough to fit a smaller smartphone.
These shorts have a sporty look. The 4-inch inseam and boy shorts peaking through provide a good amount of coverage but some women feel that the additional side panel is not the most flattering.
These shorts retail for around 50 dollars but select styles can often be found at a bargain price.
Built-in boy short
Zippered waistband pocket
Fits a smartphone
Extra side panel is not for everyone
7. Men’s 7-inch 2-in-1
The 86% polyester and 14% elastane material make up an inner compression short and athletic woven shell that offers a good stretch and moisture management.
The elastic waistband sits a bit low on the hips and the 7-inch inseam hits just above the knee.
The woven fabric is very soft with small laser perforations for added breathability. These shorts are very comfortable for gym and loungewear but the inner lining may cause chafing on longer runs.
These shorts feature a small internal pocket for a key but no external pockets.
The 2-in-1 shorts are available in classic black with textured gray insets at the sides. They have a relaxed and athletic style.
These shorts are priced around 30 dollars much like the other men’s shorts listed. They are a good option if you are seeking soft material and built-in compression short but may not be the best investment if you are looking for a short for longer runs.
Small inner pocket
Built-in compression briefs
No external pockets
Not the best for long runs
8. Women’s Performance 4-inch
The women’s Performance Shorts are made of a lightweight polyester knit with an elastic waistband.
The elastic waistband holds these shorts in place while the lightweight material hangs loose through the leg. Reviewers agree that these shorts run large.
The loose material and shorter side panel allow for comfortable coverage and better range of motion while running. When sized appropriately, these shorts have a soft and relaxed fit that feels as though it is barely there.
These shorts have deep hand pockets that are comfortable for use to and from the gym but not the best suited for use during runs. There is no liner built in and no zippered pockets.
The Performance short is available in dark heathered gray with either black or pink details on the hem, waistband and side panels. These shorts appear soft and comfortable, like loungewear with an athletic edge.
At less than 30 dollars, this is a comfortable and versatile short that provides slightly more coverage than your standard women’s running short.
9. Men’s 5-inch Woven Run
These men’s shorts are made of 100% woven polyester for a soft and moisture wicking material.
The drawcord waist sits at the hips with the 5-inch inseam hitting around the mid-thigh. The internal brief liner provides comfortable support and the relaxed fit through the leg is streamlined, eliminating excess fabric.
Reviewers find the built-in mesh liner comfortable for running and exercise and they love the feel of the soft, woven material.
These shorts have reflective details as a safety feature for evening running. It does have a small key pouch in the liner but, unfortunately, no hand pockets.
These shorts are available in black, dark blue or gray with some shorts featuring a colorful accent. They have a classic and athletic look that will go with most other sportswear.
The Woven Run shorts are typically around 25 dollars and are a comfortable option that works well for a variety of workouts.
Built-in brief liner
Small key pocket
No hand pockets
10. Women’s Impact 3 -inch
The women’s Impact shorts are 86% Polyester and 14% Spandex with New Balance’s NB Dry material for moisture wicking.
These shorts have a wide knit waistband with a drawcord that fits snugly around the waist. The 3-inch inseam has a straight fit across the back and angles up in the front to provide increased range of motion. Some users find the waistband a bit too snug in proportion to the amount of space through the leg.
The lightweight material is comfortable for running and the angle of leg opening prevents these shorts from chafing or riding up.
The zippered rear pocket is a highlight of these shorts. The pocket is large enough to fit a small smartphone and is built into the waistband so it will stay put and not pull the shorts down as you run. Reflective logo on the back waistband increase visibility at night.
The Women’s Impact short is available in a wide range of colors and patterns with a contrasting color for the hem and waistband.
Price ranges widely on these shorts but they do seem to be a bit pricey considering the inconsistent fit.
Zippered waistband pocket fits a phone
Lots of color and pattern options
Spandex for stretch
Fit is not for everyone
Waistband does not stretch much
The Metrics We Used to Determine the Best New Balance Running Shorts
Any time that we evaluate a product, we take the time to look at anything that influences its quality and usability. This allows us to find the best gear for runners and other athletes of all shapes and sizes. We have high standards, and it’s our goal to create our review lists with these in mind. We pull information from reviews, verified testers and research gathered from all over the world wide web. This is what we use to develop the criteria, and why you can trust us to steer you in the right direction!
Synthetic materials usually provide the best quality, durability, and breathability for runners. Running shorts need to move with the person’s body, avoid sticking to the skin, and provide a full range of motion that won’t interfere with the stride. Nylon, Spandex, and polyester are favorites for many athletes. They have moisture wicking qualities that prevent sweat from gathering on the skin. This helps to prevent chafing and keeps clothing in place. This is also important for outdoor runners who may find themselves exposed to the elements sometimes. Your shorts should be able to resist moisture from both the interior and the exterior. New Balance shorts have developed a dry technology that utilizes the weave of the fabric to keep them cool, dry, and lightweight during your run.
Fit is everything when you’re choosing any type of athletic clothing. Clothing that’s too tight can restrict blood flow, cause injury, interfere with your range of motion, and distract you from your performance. Running isn’t easy. It requires concentration to maintain stride and your breathing pattern. An item of clothing that’s uncomfortable can throw you off your game. New Balance makes a wide range of running shorts that fit in ways that can accommodate just about any athlete. Whether they’re intended to fit loosely or to hug your legs a bit more, good running shorts should keep you covered and stay where they’re supposed to.
Comfort is really an extension of fit. Different people have different preferences when it comes to clothing, and this becomes even more important when it comes to running apparel. How you wear your everyday clothing can have an impact on what you look for in your running shorts. If you can’t stand restrictive clothing, then you want to find a pair of shorts that’s loose enough for comfort but won’t fall down with repetitive motion. New Balance makes running apparel in all shapes and sizes and we tried to find a wide range of running shorts to appeal to any taste.
There are a surprisingly wide range of features that can come with different running shorts. Men and women may have different needs and different preferences when it comes to additional features, and New Balance designs for everyone. Pockets are one of the most common additions, and the way that they’re incorporated matters. If a pocket is too shallow, then anything you’re carrying will fall out mid-stride. If they’re too deep, then your items can end up slapping against your legs while you run. Most shorts incorporate a small inner pocket that can securely carry a key or a small amount of cash. Others will have pockets secured by zippers that are meant to carry cell phones. Other features may include liners, drawstrings, or reflective materials. New Balance offers an excellent range of features.
It never hurts to look good while you work out. New Balance creates silhouettes that are much more flattering than baggy gym shorts. The women’s line offers some bright colors and patterns but mostly they create shorts that have neutral dark colors and a classic, athletic look that will match the rest of your workout wardrobe.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing Running Shorts
Gym vs Trail
When choosing the best shorts you will want to consider where you will be wearing them. Are these strictly running shorts or do you want to wear them for lifting and gym workouts as well? If you are wearing these shorts for running only, built-in briefs and shorter inseams may be practical. If you are planning on using these shorts for a wide variety of workouts that include running, features such as deep hand pockets, compression short liners, and longer inseams may be more beneficial.
Q: Do you need to wear underwear with running shorts?
A: Wearing underwear with running shorts is largely up to personal preference. Many running shorts have a built-in brief liner and some shorts, such as the 2-in-1, feature a built-in compression short. You can wear underwear with the liner but it is typically more comfortable and reduces chafing if you go without.
Q: How do I care for my New Balance running shorts?
A: New Balance recommends reading the care instructions on the label as they may differ slightly between shorts. In general, avoid using fabric softeners and detergents with dye as they may interact with the moisture-wicking technologies in the fibers.