running shorts for women

Whether you pound the pavement on the treadmill, run trails or are training for a half-marathon, it’s crucial to have the right running gear that will help you reach your goals. There’s nothing worse than having chafing, wedgies or sweat-soaked underwear distract you from your workout and derail your progress. So, to avoid these unfortunate events, you’ll want a pair of well-fitting running shorts that will provide the best fit and comfort while supporting your form while you run. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from including high- and low-rise, short and long inseams, dolphin hems, liner briefs and compression. To narrow down the field, Treeline editors focused on finding shorts that look great, have good storage solutions and can stand up to plenty of wear and tear.

The most important feature for runners to consider is how the shorts feel when they are in motion. It’s also wise to look for a pair with the most comfortable fabric, which is usually made from polyester and spandex or a blend of these two fabrics. These fabrics are lightweight, quick-drying and stretchy, providing a flexible fit that moves with your body as you run.

Another key factor is the inseam length, which you’ll want to decide based on your personal preference and how much coverage you like while you run. Runners who prefer a more traditional feel will gravitate toward shorts with longer inseams, such as the 7-inch inseam of the Brooks Chaser shorts. Those who enjoy the feeling of “nothing” on their legs might like a pair with a shorter inseam, such as the 2.5-inch inseam of the Nike Essential Shorts.

One other thing to consider when shopping for running shorts is whether or not you prefer a pair that include an interior liner. This feature, which you’ll usually find in loose-fitting women’s running shorts, acts as an in-built pair of underwear and helps reduce friction between your underwear and the shorts. Some brands offer a skintight inner liner, while others have a more loose brief-style liner. To see what works best for you, try on a few pairs and then jump around, lift your knees as high as possible and play with the waistband to test how the shorts will feel when you’re moving.

When shopping for running shorts, it’s also a good idea to test out how the pockets will work for you. It’s always nice to have places for keys, cards, nutrition and other small items but you’ll want to be sure that the pockets are well-designed so they won’t budge or fall out of place while you’re running. Ideally, the pockets will be zippered to prevent anything from falling out accidentally.

With its comfortable cling-free fabric and wide range of inseam lengths, the Nike Dri-FIT ADV Aeroswift short is our top pick for a high-performance pair. This pair uses Nike’s trademark Aeroswift technology and features an adjustable drawcord to provide a dialed-in fit, as well as side split hems that give you room to move as you speed up the pace. Other nice details include mesh panels for cooling ventilation and a back drop-in pocket that’s perfect for stashing energy gels on longer runs.

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