The best shorts for trail running provide the perfect balance of comfort, durability and practicality. Running on uneven terrain, dodging rocks and branches and navigating tight corners requires a flexible fabric that hugs the legs to allow movement in every direction but doesn’t chafe or pinch. They also need to be quick-drying in case you get caught in a shower and comfortable enough to wear over long sleeves for warmth and sun protection when the sun comes out.

The right pockets can also be a major plus when it comes to trail running as you will often need to carry items like keys, cards and gels with you. You’ll want a pocket that can fit these items securely and preferably one that has a zip to prevent them falling out on the run. The Brooks Sherpa is a great example of a well-thought out pair of trail running shorts and in particular has a large zipped back pocket that can fit a phone as well as two front pockets. The Sherpa is a very lightweight, fast-drying pair of shorts and is made from a mix of recycled materials for added sustainability.

Some of the cheapest pairs of trail running shorts we tested didn’t feel very good when worn for a run and it is worth paying more for a pair that feels soft and comfortable when in use. The Stabilyx are another example of a pair of trail running shorts that are really well thought out in terms of what runners need from them. They have a superb fitted inner brief that extends to the top of the thigh to prevent chaffing which is then covered with a stretchy outer material. They have a zipped back pocket that can comfortably hold a phone and two front pockets for things like cash and keys. They are very light and quick-drying and have a reflective element for added safety.

For those who prefer a more relaxed fit on the legs the Montane Razor shorts are an excellent choice. They are very easy to move in, have a breathable and supportive ‘Apex-Dry’ mesh inner brief and the fabric is treated with Polygiene permanent odor control. They are a good fit for most and only came up slightly small on some of our testers so those with bigger thighs may need to go up a size when ordering.

The 4″ inseam on the Sherpa is shorter than some of the other trail running shorts we tested and while it won’t give quite the same level of articulation as specialty race shorts, it will still articulate plenty and strike a modesty balance that many runners find pleasing.

These are very lightweight, quick-drying shorts and are a great choice for long trail runs or days on the mountain with lots of hiking involved. They have a very minimal look but are actually very tough and include features that will make them well-suited to hikers as well, including a zipped back pocket big enough for a phone, a hang loop on the rear waistband and vertical pockets to limit drag.

Similar Posts