Running involves long and short bursts of movement, serious sweat in all types of weather, and lower body conditioning. It’s important to find a pair of running shorts that can handle it all, which is why we look for fabrics with compression, anti-chafing and sweat-wicking properties. We also consider how they’ll feel on your legs and hips and whether the seams will chafe when you bend or stretch in a certain way.
Thankfully, the number of running shorts that are waterproof and breathable continues to grow over time. The best pairs offer a lightweight and cling-free shell plus an inner short tight liner that protects against chafing, provides support, and keeps you cool and comfortable. They’re engineered to help you reach your peak mile after mile, and they come in different lengths.
Some of our favorites include the waterproof insulated running shorts from REI, which are made from a whisper-thin fabric blend and feature a built-in brief liner that adds support to your quads and thighs. This soft and stretchy pair is available in both regular and tall sizes up to 5XL. The fabric is a combination of polyester and spandex, and it’s whisper-thin enough that you can barely feel the seams as you move through your run. Other features to look for include a waistband that sits comfortably and zippered back pockets large enough to fit your phone.
Other top options for waterproof running shorts include the ones from OMM, which were among the first to introduce true stretch in their waterproof overshorts. These have a three-layer membrane that offers full waterproof protection, as well as good breathability and durability. They have a shorter inseam for better coverage and come with a zipped side pocket to store essentials, as well as an anti-chafing, sweat-wicking inner brief liner that’s customizable to your size.
We also like the waterproof running shorts from Ten Thousand, which are made in Italy and use a unique fabric blend they call “Veloce.” It’s whisper-thin, cling-free, and highly breathable. It’s also PFC-free, which means it doesn’t contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment or your skin. It also stretches, moves with you, and has a wide waistband that’s comfortable to wear.
You can also try the lightweight unlined running shorts from Vuori, which have a 7.5-inch inseam for coverage that’s just right for most runners. They’re a bit longer than the other unlined waterproof running shorts in our guide and are made from a light, breathable, wicking fabric with UPF 30 sun protection. The shorts have an athletic scalloped leg hem and a supportive, comfortable waistband with a zippered pocket in the back to stash your key or money.
Finally, the budget-friendly running shorts from Adidas have an inseam of 7 inches and a mesh brief liner that’s comfortable for all-day wear. They’re a great option for hiking and climbing as well as for running and biking. The polyester fabric is durable and holds up to chlorine and salt water. They’re not as breathable or compressive as the other models in our guide, but they do offer good protection from UV rays and are easy to fold and carry for travel.
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