10 Best New Balance Running Shorts Tested & Reviewed

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When increasing your mileage, finding apparel that keeps you comfortable and won’t interfere with your stride is key. If you have been doing long runs in regular gym shorts, you may be missing out on the benefits of cuts and materials that are designed particularly for runners. Specialized running shorts can be priced quite high, but New Balance offers a line that is affordable running shorts that translate well back to the gym. We compiled a list of the top New Balance running shorts for men and women. Consider these relatively inexpensive and highly durable shorts as an upgrade to improve your running game.

Men’s 5
  • Men’s 5" Accelerate
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight Material
  • Price: See Here
Women’s Accelerate 2.5
  • Women’s Accelerate 2.5"
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Price: See Here
Men’s Impact 3’’ Split
  • Men’s Impact 3’’ Split
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Moisture Wicking
  • Price: See Here

10 Best New Balance Running Shorts

 

 

1. Men’s Accelerate 5-inch

The Men’s Accelerate Shorts provide lightweight and breathable comfort for running. The 5-inch inseam hits around the mid-thigh and is the ideal length for staying out of your way while still providing coverage and protection from chafing. The built-in brief is snug and comfortable, allowing you to ditch the compression shorts in favor of more airflow. The shorter length, built-in brief and internal key pocket all favor running but New Balance did not forget to include deep hand pockets you love in favorite gym shorts.
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Construction:
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.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
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.

Style:
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.

Value:
These shorts are around 30 dollars and most reviewers find them a good investment for a durable, lightweight and comfortable go-to running short.
Pros

Good coverage, prevents chafing

Comfortably snug built-in brief

Lightweight material

Moisture wicking

Deep hand pockets

Internal key pocket

Cons

Flare out a bit in the leg

2. Women’s Accelerate 2.5-inch

The Accelerate tops the list for men and women alike. These women’s shorts have a 2.5’’ inseam and streamlined fit that provides a great range of motion for running without ballooning at the legs. A drawstring waist and crepe brief liner help you to feel covered and comfortable on the run. The short length does not ride up much and the moisture-wicking polyester keeps you dry in all running conditions. These shorts do have a small key pouch built into the liner but some users find themselves wishing it had a zipper for more security.
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Construction:
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.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
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.

Style:
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.

Value:
Price ranges based on style and size but typically runs between 25 and 45 dollars.
Pros

Moisture wicking material

Comfortable fit

Do not ride up

Drawstring waist

Reflective details

Athletic look

Key pocket

Cons

No zipper on the pocket

3. Men’s Impact 3-inch

The men’s Impact Split Shorts are great for racing with a shorter inseam and mesh lining that allows for maximum freedom of movement and airflow. With NB Dry and NB fresh technologies, these shorts fight moisture and odor to help you stay focused on your workout and prevent chafing. The reflective details and side zippered pocket are ideal for running outside but the short length and slightly baggy fit is not for everyone.
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Construction:
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.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
The lightweight material and loose fit offer a very breathable comfort that feels as though it is barely there.

Features:
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.

Style:
These classic black shorts have small reflective details and logos but not much flare otherwise. They are functional and short without drawing unnecessary attention.

Value:
These shorts are typically 25 to 30 dollars. For a comfortable fit and durable material, these are a good value for running shorts.
Pros

NB fresh to repel odor

Moisture wicking

Zippered pocket

Comfortable mesh liner

Short inseam for breathability

Cons

A bit too baggy for some

4. Men’s Accelerate 7-inch

These Accelerate Shorts are a great option for men looking to upgrade their running wardrobe from gym shorts but are not ready to show off their entire thigh on the trail. The 7-inch inseam provides more coverage than the 5-inch, hitting a few inches above the thigh, making it a suitable option for gym workouts as well as running. Built-in liners allow you the freedom to leave your compression shorts at home so you can up your mileage without overheating. These shorts maintain the deep pockets you have grown to love but, unlike your standard basketball shorts, there is no extra fabric to get in the way.
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Construction:
The men’s Accelerate Running Shorts are made of moisture-wicking woven material that is 100% polyester.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
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.

Style:
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.

Value:
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.
Pros

Good coverage

Lightweight material

Streamlined fit eliminates excess fabric

Versatile

Deep hand pockets

Internal key pocket

Built-in liner

Cons

Size runs small

5. Women’s Premium Performance 8-inch

These 8-inch Premium Performance shorts are a versatile option for running and gym workouts. Women love the long length and athletic fit that provides more coverage than typical running shorts and more space than tight leggings. The streamlined fit and stretchy material allow for a good range of motion without getting in your way during exercise. A wide waistband increases comfort and features a small pocket perfect for a key or credit card.
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Construction:
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.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
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.

Style:
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.

Value:
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.
Pros

Modest coverage

Snug fit without being tight

Stretchy material

Great for lifting and the gym

Wide waistband for comfort

Waistband pocket

Cons

May not be ideal for long runs

6. Women’s Impact 4-inch

These 2-in-1 shorts come with a knit boy short liner built in for added comfort and coverage. This version of the women’s Impact shorts is a great option for women seeking slightly more coverage without any limitations on range of motion. Women find the built-in shorts stay put while running and wick away moisture effectively. The large zippered pocket in the rear waistband is an added benefit.
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Construction:
These 2-in-1 shorts are 86% polyester and 14% spandex, so they dry quickly and have a good amount of stretch.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
A zippered pocket in the back of the waistband is large enough to fit a smaller smartphone.

Style:
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.

Value:
These shorts retail for around 50 dollars but select styles can often be found at a bargain price.
Pros

Built-in boy short

Zippered waistband pocket

Fits a smartphone

More coverage

Cons

Extra side panel is not for everyone

Price

6. Women’s Impact 4-inch

These 2-in-1 shorts come with a knit boy short liner built in for added comfort and coverage. This version of the women’s Impact shorts is a great option for women seeking slightly more coverage without any limitations on range of motion. Women find the built-in shorts stay put while running and wick away moisture effectively. The large zippered pocket in the rear waistband is an added benefit.
Expand to see more
Construction:
These 2-in-1 shorts are 86% polyester and 14% spandex, so they dry quickly and have a good amount of stretch.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
A zippered pocket in the back of the waistband is large enough to fit a smaller smartphone.

Style:
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.

Value:
These shorts retail for around 50 dollars but select styles can often be found at a bargain price.
Pros

Built-in boy short

Zippered waistband pocket

Fits a smartphone

More coverage

Cons

Extra side panel is not for everyone

Price

8. Women’s Performance 4-inch

These women’s Performance Shorts have a longer inseam for better coverage but are made of a very soft and lightweight polyester that drapes loosely over legs for a barely-there feel. Reviewers love the comfortable fit and unlimited range of motion while running. There are deep hand pockets that are perfect for lounging but may not be of much use while running.
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Construction:
The women’s Performance Shorts are made of a lightweight polyester knit with an elastic waistband.

Fit:
The elastic waistband holds these shorts in place while the lightweight material hangs loose through the leg. Reviewers agree that these shorts run large.

Comfort:
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.

Features:
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.

Style:
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.

Value:
At less than 30 dollars, this is a comfortable and versatile short that provides slightly more coverage than your standard women’s running short.
Pros

Soft material

Lightweight

Moisture-wicking polyester

Very comfortable

4 inch inseam provides more coverage

Loose fit and raised side panel for better range of motion

Deep hand pockets

Cons

Runs large

Pockets are not useful while running

9. Men’s 5-inch Woven Run

The men’s Woven Run Shorts have a soft outer shell and comfortable built-in mesh brief that is great for a variety of workouts. Reflective details and a small key pocket are great for hitting the trail and will not weigh you down. The straight fit and 5-inch inseam eliminate excess fabric so these shorts remain lightweight and breathable.
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Construction:
These men’s shorts are made of 100% woven polyester for a soft and moisture wicking material.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
Reviewers find the built-in mesh liner comfortable for running and exercise and they love the feel of the soft, woven material.

Features:
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.

Style:
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.

Value:
The Woven Run shorts are typically around 25 dollars and are a comfortable option that works well for a variety of workouts.
Pros

Built-in brief liner

Small key pocket

Soft material

Good stretch

5-inch inseam

Cons

No hand pockets

10. Women’s Impact 3 -inch

The women’s Impact Shorts have a wide knit waistband that features a large zippered pocket perfect for carrying a small smartphone. The 3-inch inseam and lightweight material allow for unlimited range of motion so you can focus on your stride. Although these shorts are comfortable for most, some users report issues with fit, finding the waistband too tight and the legs too baggy.
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Construction:
The women’s Impact shorts are 86% Polyester and 14% Spandex with New Balance’s NB Dry material for moisture wicking.

Fit:
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.

Comfort:
The lightweight material is comfortable for running and the angle of leg opening prevents these shorts from chafing or riding up.

Features:
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.

Style:
The Women’s Impact short is available in a wide range of colors and patterns with a contrasting color for the hem and waistband.

Value:
Price ranges widely on these shorts but they do seem to be a bit pricey considering the inconsistent fit.
Pros

Wide waistband

Zippered waistband pocket fits a phone

Lightweight

Lots of color and pattern options

Spandex for stretch

Cons

Fit is not for everyone

Waistband does not stretch much

 

The Metrics We Used to Determine the Best New Balance Running Shorts

Construction

Most New Balance shorts are made of polyester but some feature other fibers, such as nylon or spandex, as part of their fabric blend. Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics when it comes to activewear. It’s natural moisture-wicking properties and durability make it great for managing sweat and the elements. New Balance shorts typically feature NB dry technology in the weave of the fabric to help with moisture management even more, keeping you cool, dry and lightweight while you run.

Fit

Finding the right fit is essential for comfort. Running shorts are available in a range of inseam lengths to fit every running style and comfort level. Whether they are intended to fit loosely around your legs or have a more streamlined silhouette, good running shorts should keep you covered and stay out of your way.

Comfort

Provided you find the proper fit, a good pair of running shorts should feel soft and comfortable when you put them on and should stay dry and in place to prevent chafing.

Features

Additional features such as pockets and reflective details should be selected based on your running style. New Balance offers a range of pockets in their shorts that differ for both men and women. Most shorts have a small interior pocket at a minimum that is able to hold a key or small amount of cash. Many of the women’s styles feature zippered pockets built into the waistband of the shorts. These pockets are typically large enough to fit a small phone and keep items close to the body so they do not bounce around. Some Men’s styles emulate the deep hand pockets of more generic gym shorts. Usually, these pockets are best for holding items to and from the gym but some men find them deep enough to keep their phone secure while running.

Style

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.

 

FAQs

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.

Sources

  1. Marathon Handbook, How To Choose Running Shorts, Web Article,
  2. New Balance, FAQs, Web Page,

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