10 Best Running Shorts Reviewed & Tested
Searching for Running shorts? Take a look at the best shorts of 2017, Pros & Cons and what to be aware of before buying them online or in a store.
If you have spent even a small amount time with other athletes, you can tell most people put very little thought into the shorts they wear. You’ve seen it all, from cargo shorts with weighty pockets, to the baggy nylon gym shorts that collect every drop of sweat.
Shoes are an obvious focus for most runners, but the shorts you wear can have a huge impact your efficiency, as well as your personal comfort. A runner who is less concerned with heat, moisture, or chaffing can really commit themselves to the run and push themselves farther and harder. The perfect pair of running shorts should feel like a second skin, and that is what we want to help you find.
- The North Face Better Than Naked
- Stitch Free pressure points
- Asics Everyday 5-inch
- Zippered seam pocket
- Asics Split 3-inch short
- Flatlock stitch
10 Best Running Shorts
1. The North Face Better Than Naked
These North Face Better Than Naked's are made of 100% polyester with a woven diamond ripstop. The panel is 100% polyester jacquard with FlashDry, and the Liner is 84% recycled polyester, 16% elastane-knit jersey with FlashDry™.
Its FlashDry technology allows you to breathe easily while keeping sweat away.
These are the 7 inch shorts. They are not too long, or too short. They are fairly average in length.
Not only are they highly comfortable, but most users comment on the high durability of them as well. They come with lots of room for storage space to keep energy gels, some cash, car keys etc.
Extremely fast drying
Mesh patches for mobility and venting
Rear storage pocket
Stitch free on pressure points, increased lifespan
Lightweight 7-inch inseam
Opening at back waistband
Built-in compressive liner short with pockets
Length is a preference
May be seen as pricey
2. Asics Everyday 5-inch
The Asics Everyday 5-inch running shorts are made with 91% polyester, and 9% spandex.
Rest assured you'll breathe easily while you run since they are highly breathable and offer odor protection.
Although size and length of running shorts can be preferential, most runners like this 5-inch running short.
It's extremely comfortable made with quality materials that should last you a long time. It is lightweight, and made with 4-way stretch woven dobby fabric which also provides anti-static and a wicking finish. It has a relaxed fit that does well in hot temperatures due to its thin fabric materials.
Highly Breathable with anti-odor
Scalloped split allows more airflow
Zippered seam pocket
Elastic waistband with drawcord
They can be seen as pricey
Length of shorts is a preference
3. Asics Split 3-inch
These Asics Split 3-inch are made from 89% polyester and 11% spandex for a stretchy, flexible run.
They breathe really easily due to the mesh inserts down the sides. It also has quick-dry which helps keep sweat away.
They run on the small side of running shorts and the length is only 3 inches. They are the perfect for runners who can't seem to get enough airflow.
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.
Back right hip pocket
Stretchy for comfort
Flatlock stitch construction enhances comfort
Pocket is shallow
Sizes may run small
4. Pearl Izumi Infinity Split
The outer of these Pearl Izumi Infinity Split's are made with 100% polyester, while the mesh is 92% polyester 8% elastane, and the lining is 50% polyester 50% Minerale polyester technology.
Don't sweat it! These will help keep the sweat away while you run, and their split side will allow ventilation to easily pass through.
You'll get a relaxed style fit that measures 4” inseam.
The Pearl Izumi Infinity Split provides a highly comfortable run and is made with quality materials that are quite durable and last a long time.
Side split provides enhanced movement
Internal key pocket & a zippered compartment in the back
Lightweight & Highly breathable
Transfer Dry fabric keeps sweat away
Inner compression provides stability
Absorbs odor and dries quickly
Sizes may vary (too small or too large)
Some may not like how it sits lower on the waist
5. Patagonia Strider
Patagonia Strider's are made from 100% polyester, and 50% of it is from recycled materials.
Its polyester mesh material allows for them to breathe easily while you run. It has 100% microdenier polyester crepe that keeps sweat away as well.
Some prefer a short that is a bit smaller than this Patagonia strider, but overall most customers don't feel it is too short or too long.
It's highly comfortable and made with quality and even some recycled materials. Most runners appreciate that it doesn't cause chaffing.
Durable water repellent treatment
Drop-in pocket on back hip
Elastic waist with drawcord
Drawcord is on the short side
Some prefer the 5 inch over the 7inch
Can be seen as expensive
6. UnderArmour Launch
The UnderArmor Launch is made from 100% polyester.
The shorts are designed with lightweight materials to prevent heat for building up during runs. The Launch also contain a mesh line to allow for more air flow.
The UA Launch have 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.
The shorts are very comfortable, the form fit means runners can go farther and harder without suffering from problems like chaffing. Many runners recommend investing in a pair of these over cheaper shorts that wear out more easily. UnderArmor Launch will be as just as comfortable every time you put them on.
Designed for comfort
Compact and out of the way pocket for convenience
Form fitting to the wearer
Sizes run small and tight
Runners not used to the fitted wear may find it uncomfortable
7. Brooks Running Racey
The fabric is made with 84% polyester and 16% Spandex, while the liner is made of 90% polyester and 10% Spandex.
The Brooks running Racey is a highly breathable running short. It keeps sweat away while you run. Its lightweight and stretchy material offer you good ventilation while you run.
Perfect for running on a hot summer day. These 3.5 inches and fit quite comfortably.
They are extremely comfortable, lightweight running shorts that allow great movement while you run.
Very Lightweight & stretchy
2 pockets for storage
Keeps sweat away
Front petal hem splits for easy movement
May be seen as expensive
8. North Face Voracious
The main fabric consists of 85% polyester and 15% elastane, while the panels are 100% polyester.
North Face Voracious is a highly breathable running short. It has mesh inserts on inner and outer legs that provide great breathability.
It seems to fit just like it should with no complaints of size issues running too big or too small.
Voracious will provide you with great comfort and quality materials with this running short. You'll be able to move easily while you run.
Mesh inserts on inner and outer legs provide great breathability
Back zip pocket for storage
Reflective components allow others to see you easily
Inner boxer briefs adds support
Compression lessens the impact of vibration while you run
May be seen as expensive
9. Skins A400
These are made of 76% Nylon and 24% Spandex.
They don't offer a lot of breathability as they are designed to compress against the skin and help prevent injury. They do offer moisture wick management to help keep sweat away though.
They are inconclusive reports about sizing (too small or too large). Just make sure you check the measurements before you purchase.
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 running shorts.
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
Waistband tends to sag downward
Fabric is not as durable as some would like
Sizing may vary
10. Saucony Throttle
The Saucony Throttle are 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.
Using a tight 5.5 inch inseam and a slim design, the Saucony Throttle were crafted to to fit almost seamlessly to the needs of a runner.
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.
Mesh ventilation both inside and out maximizes air flow
Mesh liner also supportive and reduces moisture
Long standing durability
Compression lining may be less than optimal
Some had issues with the dye in the yellow shorts running
There are some pretty obvious anatomical differences between men and women, and because of this we recommend buying gender specific shorts whenever possible. Unisex can of course be an option, but in many cases this will end up with a passable fit that is okay but doesn’t make anyone particularly happy.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of the Best Running Shorts
There’s nothing worse than trying to achieve your goals and running in an uncomfortable pair of shorts. We’ve gone through this top 10 list to discover just how comfortable they are.
Hoping that our top 10 well keep you well ventilated while you run, and keep the sweat away so you don’t have to worry about those concerns.
Do you like them to be short, long, medium? It’s definitely a personal preference. We’ve gone through and found out the size of each of these shorts for you.
Let’s make sure that are made with quality materials. Are they soft, will they cause chafing? Are they made to last a long time?
Men typically need additional support while they run. We will let you know which ones provide a good amount of support so that you can choose wisely.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Running Shorts
Are you looking for a certain style? Do you like shorts that are more snug 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.
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.
These are quite similar to the V-Notch shorts in that they do have an upside down cutout in a 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 run to achieve your goals.
The V-Notch short 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 fitted, 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 shorts, but most runners prefer gender specific ones. They aren’t determined by gender due to color, but more by the cut.
Men’s Running Shorts
These are obviously made and designed specifically for men. Typically, you’ll find a longer inseam and it has a built-in liner that supports groin area. This is to help prevent uncomfortable runs that could cause chafing.
Women’s Running Shorts
If you are looking for women’s running shorts they are tailored to fit a woman’s body. In fact, typically the cut will fit the female’s waist, hips and thighs better than a males. This will provide a more comfortable run.
What about shorts that are cut and designed for both men and women? They are not tailored to fit specific support or fit of each individual body, therefore it’s said they won’t provide the same type of comfort and protection as specified gender shorts.
Runners, toss your underwear to the side because you don’t need it. 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 to eliminate the use of a jockstrap.
Some runners prefer more pockets for storage than other runners. There are many different types of running shorts that offer pockets. Some have a pockets 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.
Photo Credit: Flickr – istolethetv
Q. Do you wear underwear with the shorts?
A. There’s typically not a need to wear underwear with running shorts 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.
Q. How are a pair of split leg shorts different from a pair of v-notch shorts?
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 a upside down v shape, where as 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 running shorts that provide 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 run late at night. This way others will see you more easily, but again it’s a preference.