The best moisture wicking running shorts vaporize sweat as soon as it hits the fabric, which can help keep legs dry and prevent chafing on long runs. They also typically have flat seams, which are important for comfort and abrasion-prevention.
Many running shorts are a synthetic blend that combines polyester and nylon fabrics. Natural materials like cotton are generally not used for running gear, which can cause chafing and are more likely to snag on debris while trailrunning. If you prefer a more natural feel, look for cotton-free running shorts with looser fabrics and more stretch, but note that they tend to absorb and wick sweat less quickly than the synthetic options.
In addition to wicking the sweat from your skin, the fabric in your shorts should move with you as you run, without clinging to your legs and causing drag. The fabric should also be lightweight and soft to the touch. Lastly, the material should have some elasticity, which can help keep your shorts from riding up or falling down during the course of a run.
Most pairs of running shorts have an inner liner that either is a mesh brief or spandex-type compression tight. The purpose of the liner is to provide built-in support and prevent chafing between your legs, which can be a common issue for some runners. Depending on your needs, you may want to prioritize liner comfort or select a pair that has a separate compression liner that can be removed and washed separately.
Some shorts offer plenty of storage, with pockets on the waistband and thigh. These can easily hold a phone, 500mL water bottle or soft flask, and emergency wind shell, making them ideal for trail running distances that require hydration and extra layers of protection. Other pairs of running shorts have no pockets, which means that you’ll need to use a waist belt or hydration pack for longer runs.
Moisture wicking is an essential feature for running in warm conditions where sweating will be inevitable. The best running shorts will take up to half of your body weight in sweat, and they should dry fast after a workout. Having quick-drying shorts is especially important in arid environments where chafing can be more of a problem than it would be in humid environments.
If you’re looking for a high-performing pair of running shorts that are durable and will keep up with your stride, consider the VRST Men’s 5″ Run Short. It’s made from the brand’s Air Flat Out fabric, which is lightweight, micro-perforated for breathability, and has a four-way stretch. It also features an internal drawstring and a back pocket (outfitted with a zipper on the men’s model) to make it easy to carry all your running necessities without a waist belt. For more flexibility, the VRST also offers a 3-inch version and a 7-inch Multi Short for men with an internal liner. Both versions have a high-split hem for ample mobility and are available in an array of colors to match your running style.
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