When you’re running down a trail, feeling your legs glide and propel you, there’s nothing quite like it. But the best pair of running shorts are a bit more than just comfortable; they’re made to help you perform your best, whether you’re racing or just enjoying a scenic stroll. Some of the most popular running shorts for men and women on the market are from Old Navy, which offers a wide variety of colors and styles. Some come with a liner, while others are a bit more minimalist. They can range in price, but most are under $100.
The most important factor in a good pair of running shorts is how they fit. If they’re too tight or too loose, they can rub and chafe in all the wrong places. Look for a flattering cut and a waistband that fits snugly but doesn’t dig into your belly button. You may also want to consider a long inseam for extra coverage and warmth if it’s chilly, or short if you prefer to stay cooler.
Some of the more affordable options include an internal drawcord, side pockets, and a back pocket for storage. If you’re prone to chafing in the crotch, opt for a mesh fabric with bigger-than-average perforations that move sweat away from your skin so you can stay cool.
If you’re going for a more technical look, opt for a blend of polyester, elastane, and spandex or nylon. These materials breathe better on humid runs and are a lot less likely to shrink or stretch out in the wash. Some of the best running shorts are even made with antimicrobial fabrics that kill bacteria and keep you fresher for longer.
Most of the top-rated running shorts we tested have a liner to provide added protection against chafing and other discomforts. Some have a brief-like liner that sits snugly against your thighs, while others have a more flexible, boxer-brief style liner for greater comfort without restricting movement. Then there are two-in-one shorts that feature an independent inner short and outer short that can be worn separately or together, depending on your preference.
The second-edition version of Ultimate Direction’s Hydro Short has improved since its first iteration. It still features the same breathable, lightweight, and waterproof fabric that makes it great for tackling rainy trails, but the new waistband is thicker and more supportive to prevent pinching and riding up, and there’s now enough stretch for runners who hate running belts.
Another top-rated option is the Ten Thousand’s Session, a 7-inch pair that includes a perforated waistband and an internal drawcord for adjustability. The sewn-in side pockets are big enough for a phone, and the waistband has a zippered pocket to hold cash or keys. They also have a boxer-brief liner and generous leg openings that give a free-moving fit and don’t cling to your thighs. The only negative we found was that the waistband isn’t as wide as some other pairs, so it might not be ideal for a larger waistline.
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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