to top 10 table

10 Best Running Shorts Reviewed & Tested

last updated Dec 05, 2018
As runners, we probably spend more time thinking about what shoes to wear than what shorts to wear. But shorts can make or break a run even when we don’t realize it. Cargo designs with heavy pockets could weight us down and ruin a personal best time. Baggy nylon gym-types collects every drop of sweat and make us feel gross at the end of the run.

Shoes might be the main focus for runners, but shorts can have a major impact on efficiency and enjoyment. The perfect pair should feel like a second skin so you don’t have to worry about heat, moisture, or chaffing as you push yourself harder and faster.

We hope that our top 10 will keep you well ventilated while you run, and keep the sweat away so you don’t have to worry about those concerns.
Researched Sources
3
Researched Sources
Total Readers
10k
Total Readers
Reviews Considered
13k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
244
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Avatar
By Max Knapp:

Here at RunnerClick we keep updating our articles to fit the current needs and newest additions to the Runner world society. In this update, we specified in the top 10 and newly asked questions in FAQ's. Please feel free to check back with any questions you might have, or ways we can keep progressing our article. 10/03/18 The selection with this update remains mostly the same, but we've brought this list of the best running shorts to our great new format. It has all the same great info with a brand new look that is designed to be readable, modern, and more informative for our readers.

Sorting Options
Materials Breathability Style Comfort 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.
99
Materials
99%
Breathability
99%
Style
99%
Comfort
99%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
$14.99
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
Materials
99%
Breathability
99%
Style
98%
Comfort
99%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
$20.99
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Materials
98%
Breathability
98%
Style
98%
Comfort
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
Materials
96%
Breathability
97%
Style
96%
Comfort
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Materials
96%
Breathability
96%
Style
95%
Comfort
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Materials
95%
Breathability
95%
Style
94%
Comfort
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Materials
94%
Breathability
93%
Style
93%
Comfort
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Materials
92%
Breathability
93%
Style
92%
Comfort
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
$24.99
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Materials
92%
Breathability
93%
Style
91%
Comfort
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
$74.91
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Materials
91%
Breathability
92%
Style
90%
Comfort
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (11.12.18)
$34.95
Best Deal
$38.75
In Depth Review Top 10
  • MJ Soffe Running Shorts
  • Asics Woven 7
  • Asics Split 3-inch
  • Pearl Izumi Infinity
  • Under Armour Fly-By
  • Under Armour Launch
  • Brooks Chaser
  • Under Armour HeatGear Authentic Long
  • Skins A400
  • Saucony Throttle
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Best Running Shorts

1. MJ Soffe Running Shorts

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99
MJ Soffe Running Shorts
Materials
99
Breathability
99
Style
99
Comfort
99
best offer for today
$14.99
Pros:

Quick-drying and breathable

Inside key pocket

2.25" inseam

100% nylon

Mesh brief liner

Total weight of only 2.5 ounces

Cons:

Length is a personal preference

MJ Soffe's Ranger V-notch for men is highly received and rated. They sport a 100% nylon brief liner with an inside key pocket and a 2.25-inch inseam. These will give you lots of room to move.

Read more

Materials
These Soffe Rangers are made of 100% nylon with a weight of merely 2.5 ounces. The fabric is lightweight and will let you move as much as needed while running. Color options include 20 choices in both bold and subtle colors. Considering these are 100% nylon and loose-fitting, the breathability will keep you cool and dry from beginning to end.

Style
The fit is rated "as expected" so you should be able to find the right size by ordering your usual. The legs are only 2.5 inches and fit loose so you won't feel compressed. The V-notch at each leg seam allows maximum flexibility.

Cost and Value
These seem to be the go-to option for many athletes. They are built to last and most individuals end up buying multiple pairs for endless days of good clean workouts.

2. Asics Woven 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.8
 Asics Woven 7
Materials
99
Breathability
99
Style
98
Comfort
99
best offer for today
$20.99
Pros:

Highly Breathable with anti-odor

Lightweight

Zippered back pocket

Elastic waistband with drawcord

Extremely comfortable

Reflective components

Cons:

Some issues with durability

For the gentleman who prefers a longer inseam, the Asics woven 7-inch may be the perfect option for you. These will keep you cool and dry with the porous material. Other features include: zippered back pocket, reflective details, elastic waistband, and anti-odor brief liner.

Read more

Materials
These are made from 100% polyester. The breathability is in the name! Woven fabric is lightweight and quick-drying, so you'll stay cool, dry, and comfortable no matter how long you workout.

Style
A few reviews claimed they ran a little small, so you may want to order up a size if planning on buying online. As for the 7-inch inseam, men seem to like the coverage.

Cost and Value
Reviews rave of the comfort of the shorts. They stretch and move with you as you run. The fabric is very lightweight and some reviews commented on the shorts feeling nearly disposable. The price is very affordable.

3. Asics Split 3-inch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
3. Asics Split 3-inch
Materials
98
Breathability
98
Style
98
Comfort
97
best offer for today
Pros:

Very Lightweight

Quick drying

Back right hip pocket

Highly Breathable

Reflective components

Stretchy for comfort

Flatlock stitch construction enhances comfort

Cons:

Pocket is shallow

Sizes may run small

Ready to hit it in the hot summers? Try the Asics split 3-inch in men's and women's styles. These are stretchy, flexible, and allow you to move easily while you are in motion.

Read more

Materials
These Asics Split 3-inch are made from 89% polyester and 11% spandex for a stretchy, flexible feel.

Breathability
They breathe easily due to the mesh inserts down the sides. They also have quick-dry which helps keep sweat away. They size on the small side of with the length only measuring 3 inches. These are the perfect option for individuals who can't seem to get enough airflow.

Cost and Value
Most runners find these quite comfortable and soft and liked the materials they were made with. The only downfall seems to be that the pocket may be a bit on the small size. They can be pricey for what you get, but Asics is a very reputable brand.

4. Pearl Izumi Infinity

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.8
4. Pearl Izumi Infinity
Materials
96
Breathability
97
Style
96
Comfort
98
best offer for today
Pros:

A side split provides enhanced movement

Internal key pocket & zippered compartment in the back

Lightweight & highly breathable

Transfer-Dry fabric keeps sweat away

Inner compression provides stability

Absorbs odor and dries quickly

Affordable

Cons:

Sizes may vary (too small or too large)

Some may not like how it sits lower on the waist

The Pearl Izumi Infinity is low rise and very well ventilated, allowing you to move more freely with its side split, and has an inner compression that provides stability. These are available in two designs for men and women.

Read more

Materials
The outer of these Pearl Izumi Infinity Split's are made with 100% polyester, while the mesh is 92% polyester and 8% elastane. The lining is 50% polyester and 50% Minerale polyester technology.

Breathability
Don't sweat it! These will help keep the sweat away while you run while their split side will allow air to easily pass through. You'll get a relaxed style fit that measures 4” inseam.

Cost and Value
The Pearl Izumi Infinity Split provides a highly comfortable product and is made with quality materials that are quite durable and last a long time. They can be priced on the higher end, but they are an investment that will last.

5. Under Armour Fly-By

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
5. Under Armour Fly-By
Materials
96
Breathability
96
Style
95
Comfort
95
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Highly Breathable

Reflective logo

Multiple pockets

Anti-odor technology

Built-in liner

3-inch seam

Cons:

The material may melt in the dryer - consider using low heat

Some durability issues - be gentle on fabric

These Under Armour Fly-By's have it all: strategic mesh, second-skin feel, multiple pockets, and reflective details.

Read more

Materials
UA's Fly-By's are made of 100% polyester material that wicks away moisture. Side panels are made of breathable mesh that moves excess heat away from the body. The materials are equipped with anti-odor technology that prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes.

Breathability
The polyester material allows air and heat to move away from the skin. The mesh side panels increase air movement. These details keep runners cool and dry and odor-free. They have a next-to-skin feel without compressing the legs too much. The lightweight woven fabric moves easily with each step. The waistband is wide and enveloped in fabric to stay in place without constricting. The shaped hem gives better coverage without being bulky or puffy. They contain a built-in brief as well. The inseam measures 3 inches for women who like a shorter running short for more freedom of movement.

Cost and Value
With the right combination of materials and shaping, the will fit comfortably. Reviews state the Fly-By shorts are awesome for avid runners and an added benefit is how affordable they are. A couple people warned of using low heat when drying, as high heat may melt the fabric.

6. Under Armour Launch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Under Armour Launch
Materials
95
Breathability
95
Style
94
Comfort
95
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Designed for comfort

Very lightweight 

Compact and out of the way pocket for convenience

Form-fitting to the wearer  

Cons:

Sizing is small and tight

Fitted wear may be uncomfortable

The UnderArmor Launch is perfect for movement, no matter what the distance. These are so lightweight and heat-efficient that you will barely notice them.

Read more

Materials
The Under Armour Launch is made from 100% polyester. They are designed with lightweight materials to prevent heat from building up during runs. The Launch also contains a mesh line to allow for more air flow.

Style
The UA Launch has been said to run a bit small. If ordering online it may be wise to size up. Otherwise, the form-fitting design is definitely what is best for runners - less material to weigh you down and hold you back.

Cost and Value
These are very comfortable. The form fit means runners can go farther and harder without suffering from problems, like chaffing. Many exercisers recommend investing in a pair of these over cheaper options that wear out more easily. Under Armour Launch will be just as comfortable every time you put them on.

7. Brooks Chaser

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.5
Brooks Chaser
Materials
94
Breathability
93
Style
93
Comfort
94
best offer for today
more shops
Pros:

Lightweight & stretchy

2 pockets for storage

Keeps sweat away

Highly Breathable

Treated pocket to wick away moisture from phone/keys

7-inch inseam

Slimming waistband

Cons:

Waistband can be snug for some people

Race to the finish in these Brooks Women's Chaser 7-inch. These are highly breathable with the perfect amount of Spandex stretch!

Read more

Materials
The fabric is made with 84% polyester and 16% Spandex. One out of the two pockets has a sweat-resistant treatment for your phone, keys, or card. The Brooks Chaser is made of breathable polyester plus a little spandex for comfort.

Style
Perfect for a hot summer day, this 7-inch inseam fit is quite comfortable and provides coverage.

Cost and Value
They are extremely comfortable, lightweight running shorts that allow great movement while you run. They are, however, a bit on the pricier side.

8. Under Armour HeatGear Authentic Long

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Under Armour HeatGear Authentic Long
Materials
92
Breathability
93
Style
92
Comfort
94
best offer for today
$24.99
Pros:

Compression

7-inch inseam

4-way stretch

Seamless front

Ultra-tight, second-skin fit

Materials will wick moisture and prevent odor

Wide waistband

Polyester/elastane blend

Cons:

The inner seams in the back of the shorts can be awkward

The Under Armour HeatGear Authentic has a 7-inch inseam and uses compression. It features a wide waistband with hidden pocket, anti-odor treatment, and a seamless front for superior comfort.

Read more

Materials
The fabric consists of 87% polyester and 13% elastane. The HeatGear shorts are structured with four-way stretch to move with you on every step. The material blend wicks sweat and dries fast. The treated fabric also prevents odor and odor-causing microbes. UA polyester/elastane fabric moves air and heat away from the skin, dries quick, and prevents odor.

Style
These use compression, so they are ultra-tight with a second-skin fit. The compression increases muscle power and decreases any possible recovery time. The 7-inch inseam gives lots of coverage. The wide waistband stays in place without constricting.

Cost and Value
The HeatGear compression model has a four-way stretch that moves comfortably wide waistband to hold them in place without feeling like you're being squeezed. They have a high-quality feel and durability and they are designed to prevent chafing and fit comfortably.

9. Skins A400

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Skins A400
Materials
92
Breathability
93
Style
91
Comfort
91
best offer for today
$74.91
Pros:

Design is slimming

400 key fitting points allow for maximum compression

Improves oxygen delivery to muscles

Lightweight, quick drying

Provides 50+ UV protection

Memory MX Fabric has a superior high-stretch yarn

Good in hot and cold temperatures

Flat A-seams reduce chafing

Keeps sweat away with moisture wick

Reflective logos

Cons:

Waistband tends to sag downward

The fabric is not as durable as some would like

Sizing may vary

If you struggle with sore muscles post-exercise or race, giving a high-quality pair of compression gear a try may be the answer. The Skins A400 will help your body increase blood flow to muscles, aiding performance and minimizing repercussions after.

Read more

Materials
These are made of 76% Nylon and 24% Spandex. They don't offer a lot of breathabilities as they are designed to compress against the skin and help prevent injury. They do offer moisture-wick management to help keep sweat away.

Style
There are inconclusive reports about sizing (too small or too large). Just make sure you check the measurements before you purchase.

Cost and Value
With only the mention of the waistband rolling downward, which could be due to purchasing the wrong size, they are quite comfortable. There were a few reports of the durability of them not seeming to last as long as other options. They are priced on the higher end of the spectrum.

10. Saucony Throttle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Saucony Throttle
Materials
91
Breathability
92
Style
90
Comfort
90
best offer for today
more shops
$38.75
$34.95
Best deal
Pros:

Mesh ventilation both inside and out maximizes air flow

Mesh liner also supportive and reduces moisture 

Extremely comfortable 

Long-standing durability 

Cons:

Compression lining may be less than optimal 

Some had issues with the dye in the yellow shorts running

Saucony is a brand that has been providing for athletes since the earliest days of the industry. Their Throttle model is another example of that longstanding quality. Throttle is stylish athletic wear that provides comfort and support for any situation.

Read more

Materials
The Saucony Throttle is made of 100% polyester. Both the internal compression lining and specialized panels on the outside of the shorts are constructed with VENTLITE mesh for optimal air-flow while running.

Style
Using a tight 5.5 inch inseam and a slim design, the Saucony Throttle were crafted to fit almost seamlessly to the needs of a runner.

Cost and Value
The mesh lining of the Saucony Throttle keeps you cool, dry and improves overall support. Some have had issues with the mesh, claiming that it is too loose to really qualify as “compression lining”, but still say that the benefits outweigh this drawback. The Saucony Throttle have noteworthy endurance, not wearing out even after repeated use and washing, making these shorts well worth the higher than average cost.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

The materials make the shorts--in a literal way!

Different materials will have different perks and flaws. You want to make sure that the materials your choice is made from fit your needs and have functions that you'll find useful. Most of the options we've included on this list are made of materials that will benefit athletes, with features like excellent moisture-wicking and breathability.

Breathability

The materials that a pair of shorts are made of can help with breathability, but the design can also increase the ventilation that they'll have.

Another important factor we looked at when picking the right pair, is breathability. Those that wick moisture is definitely preferable as sweat-soaked shorts are not only uncomfortable but can also lead to unpleasant chafing. Side slits, mesh construction, and moisture-wicking liners are just some of the features that can also help with this.

Style

Are you looking for a certain style? Do you like shorts that are snugger or do you prefer a looser fit? It all depends on your style preference.

The 3 main styles are Compression, Split, and V-Notch. They come in different sizes for your preference as well.

Compression
These fit tight and snug. They are warmer and can provide a good amount of muscle support. Of all the styles these are the best to resist chafing. The stretchy material allows you to move more easily. Compression shorts vary in length depending on whether it’s for men or women. Women’s shorts are usually shorter than men’s, whereas men’s shorts fall somewhere between mid-thigh to knee length. The tightness is a personal preference that some runners prefer, especially when trying to nurse an injury.

Split
These are quite similar to the V-Notch shorts in that they do have an upside down cutout in the shape of a V, but where it is placed is different. The Split shorts are loose fitting, and the cutout is at the bottom. This style is seen more for performance and tends to offer the best range of movement, and flexibility while you workout to achieve your goals.

V-Notch
The V-Notch is the most popular choice. They were clever with the name as it’s due to the upside-down V-shaped cutout on the outer leg seams. The advantages of the V-shaped cutout are that it allows the runner to have a greater flexibility and movement than if the seams had been stitched together. They are loose fitting, with women’s styles running a bit shorter in length, but men’s styles also running a bit on the shorter side to allow for better movement while you run.

There are some unisex options, but some individuals may prefer gender-specific ones. Unisex options are cut and designed for a more general fit but you can anticipate a more specific fit when buying "Men's" and "Women's" sizes. Men's sizes will typically feature longer inseams and a wider cut through the legs where women's sizes are more likely to have a more narrow fit with tapered legs. If you feel one size will fit you better than another, don't be afraid to shop across the whole range of sizing.

Built-in liners assist in keeping sweat away and in return will keep you well ventilated, comfortable and reduce chafing. Of course, for men liners are made so as to eliminate the use of a jockstrap.

Some runners prefer more pockets for storage. There are many different types of gear that offer pockets. Some have a pocket sewn into the front waistband, while others have back pockets or open waistband pockets. It just all depends on how much or little storage you are looking for.

Comfort

Comfort is key when it comes to running and having the right pair of shorts will make your run a lot more pleasant.

In our top ten, we prioritized comfortability as we here at RunnerClick are aware of how a pair of uncomfortable pair of shorts can ruin a good run. The length is a personal preference. Do you like them to be short, long, medium? We’ve gone through and found out the size of each for you, and now it’s just up to you, to pick the perfect pair!

Other Factors to Consider

Value

There is no underestimating value. There is a wide range of options on the market that come in a variety of forms, designs, and styles. They also come in a wide range of prices. Sometimes, investing more in a pair is a good idea if you are an active athlete that will wear them hard. Often, these options will provide durability and versatility with fabrics that will be less irritating to your skin and body. That being said, you do not always have to spend more to get a quality pair. But if you have a very strict budget to adhere to, buying a lesser brand or quality in order to keep costs down may provide initial benefit upfront, but in the long term, you will most likely find yourself investing in multiple pairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do you wear underwear with these?
a:

There’s typically not a need to wear underwear with running since they usually provide a liner. So, No you are not meant to wear underwear when you run.

q: How do I choose which length is best for me?
a:

They range in length from as short as 1″ and going to 7 inches. It really just comes down to what you prefer in length while you run. Some people like the breathability and flexibility a shorter inseam gives them, while others prefer more coverage and warmth from a longer length.

q: How are a pair of split leg different from a pair of v-notch?
a:

They are quite similar. The only difference is the that the v-notch seam stops a 1/2 inch from the bottom and features an upside down v shape, whereas the split leg is not sewn together at all, the entire length of the leg. Instead, a split leg has an overlapping front panel.

q: What type of fabric are they typically made of?
a:

Most are made from synthetic or natural fibers. This includes synthetic fibers such as polyester, spandex blend or a nylon blend, and a natural fiber such as cotton.

q: Is it necessary to have a pair that provides visibility?
a:

It’s definitely a great idea to have a pair that will work great in low lit areas and provide some reflectivity, or if you like to workout late at night. This way others will see you more easily, but again it’s a preference.

Sources

  1. Perry Dau, How to Choose a Pair of Running Shorts, Marathon training articles,
  2. The CLYMB, How to Buy Running Shorts, Outdoor website,
  3. Pauleon Tan, Photo Credit,