For most runners, the goal is to achieve that runner’s high—a feeling of calm and euphoria when endorphins hit after consistent training. That mindset also calls for minimalist gear and clothing, which is why running shorts are so popular. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style: Many brands offer colorful, stylish shorts to help you look and feel your best on the run.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when choosing running shorts, but the main factors are length and fit. You want to make sure the shorts are long enough to cover your genitals, and that they’re loose enough to move with you without riding up or bunching. You may also want to consider a waistband that cinches at the waist rather than sits on your hips, which helps you avoid chafing. Then, choose a style with pockets that can accommodate your phone, water bottles, and any other essentials you may need.

When choosing a pair of running shorts, you’ll also want to think about the fabric and construction. A light, breathable fabric like cotton will help you stay cool during hot workouts, and elasticated waistbands can help you keep the shorts in place when your stride is getting frantic. Many people also prefer a zipped pocket for keeping keys and other items safe and secure, but this feature isn’t crucial for everyone.

Another factor to consider is how high or low the shorts are cut. For most runners, a mid-rise is the most comfortable option, but there are also high-waisted shorts available for those who prefer a little more coverage.

Some shorts have a built-in liner brief, similar to underwear, that offers support and protection against chafing. Others have a two-in-one design that includes a separate liner and outer shorts. Both styles can work, but our primary tester has yet to find a pair that doesn’t roll up her legs and negate the benefits of the liners.

The size of the shorts also matters. Typically, shorter running shorts are lighter and more flexible than longer options, and they’re best for warmer temperatures. But if you live somewhere that gets cold, there are also running shorts made of thicker materials designed to withstand the elements and stay warm.

If you want to go even a step further, there are shorts that have UPF 50+ sun protection. This is important, as it blocks out about 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn.

While it’s a good idea to shop for running shorts that meet your specific needs, you should also look for other important factors such as reviews and price. Always try a pair on in store before buying online, and look for a brand with an easy return policy and a strong customer service track record. And, of course, be sure to lather on plenty of sunscreen when you’re heading out for a run! Good luck and happy shopping.

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