When you run, the last thing you want is painful chafing. But chafing is a common running-wear problem, and it can turn an otherwise enjoyable jaunt into a slog. When you’re shopping for running shorts, consider the fabric, waistband, inseam and more to find a pair that fits comfortably and resists painful chafing. To help you do that, we put several pairs of running shorts through vigorous testing. The best running shorts for women are lightweight, offer the right amount of coverage and wick away sweat to keep you cool and dry during your workout.
We rounded up the top-rated running shorts to find options that fit runners of all shapes and sizes, from beginner joggers to advanced athletes. Our expert testers evaluated the shorts for comfort, durability and chafing resistance, and we found multiple options that cost $30 or less.
Our testers looked for lightweight, breathable fabrics and flexible designs that reduce chafing and provide support as you run. We also wanted to make sure the waistbands fit securely and didn’t bunch up or pinch, which can be uncomfortable.
The Vuori Clementine Short 2.0 is the latest update to a fan-favorite style that offers a flattering, performance-focused look and feel. These women’s running shorts are designed with a high split in the hems and a double-layer design that makes it easy to run in them over your favorite underwear. They also include a zippered pocket in the back of the waistband and a wide, flat elastic waistband that won’t pinch or slip during your run.
Another great option is the Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh Run Shorts, which are lightweight and stretchy. One of our primary testers regularly wears these shorts for interval training and even 24-hour adventure races, and she’s never had any issues with chafing with these. The taped hems are smooth against the inner thighs and legs, and there’s a wide waistband that hugs the stomach in a flattering way. This model also has a built-in liner so you can skip wearing your normal underwear, which some runners prefer.
These recycled polyester running shorts are super light and flexible, making them a comfortable choice for long or shorter runs in warm weather. They’re also water-resistant and feature a mesh panel that prevents overheating. One of our testers recommends them for trail running and notes that the outer layer is made from a soft, moisture-wicking nylon-nylon blend. They’re also finished with reflective details to improve your visibility in low-light conditions.
These soft and lightweight shorts are recommended for all types of running and other exercise activities. They’re a comfortable choice for warm weather running and can be worn over tights or long underwear. They have a high-waisted, stretchy waistband that sits snugly against the belly without pinching and come with an internal key pocket and a drawstring for adjustment. They also feature a small, expandable zipper pocket in the waistband and a stretchy, quick-drying fabric that wicks sweat.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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