Running shorts are a crucial piece of apparel for many runners, especially trail and ultrarunners. While they can vary widely in terms of length, style, and fit, most of the best running shorts for trail and ultrarunning share several key attributes: They are usually between five and seven inches long; they are almost always lined (either with a separate inner brief or a built-in liner); they typically have at least one pocket that is large enough to hold a phone; and they are often available in earthy colors like navy blue and dark green.

Among the many factors that set these shorts apart from those intended for everyday use, they are abrasion-resistant in case of snags or scratches, quick-drying to avoid sweat buildup and dampness if you get caught in a shower; they have strategically placed perforations to improve airflow; and they come in a variety of styles and colors to suit most preferences. Some of the most popular models are crafted from recycled materials, while others feature reflective details to help you stay visible when the sun sets or the road grows darker.

Many of the top running shorts for trail and ultrarunning also offer unique features that help make them more enjoyable to wear, particularly when you’re spending extended periods of time on your feet. Some, for instance, have a waistband drawcord that’s located on the outside of the shorts’ waistband, rather than inside it, which reduces chafing and rubbing while you run. Other options include a rear zippered pocket, which is ideal for stashing small items such as keys or a headphone case without having to stop and dig in your pockets.

One of the most intriguing innovations in this category comes from Patagonia, which is not known as a manufacturer of running apparel but instead for its outdoor gear and clothing. Its Strider Pro Running Shorts have a unique feature that many runners love: They have a drawstring on the outside of the waistband, which helps to prevent chafing or rubbing against the inside of your hips.

These lightweight, breathable running shorts are made from dry fabric polyester that’s both comfortable and abrasion-resistant. They also have a back zippered pocket, which is ideal for holding your phone or other small items while you’re on the move. They’re also very stylish, which helps to make them a favorite among trail and ultrarunners.

The only drawback to these shorts is that they’re a bit expensive compared to those sold by other running-apparel manufacturers, but they’re well worth the money in our opinion. They are made from a recycled polyester blend that’s soft and smooth, while also incorporating UV protection, which is great for those who like to run outdoors when the sun is out.

The most striking aspect of this pair of shorts is their design, which eliminates the need for a waist belt or hydration pack. They’re able to do this by having two water bottles included and specifically designed for them that hold up to 24 ounces of liquid. While this might seem excessive for a run of a few miles, it’s a great option for those who regularly go on long, remote runs and are frequently out for longer than that.

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