running shorts for chafing

It’s one of the best feelings when you slip on a pair of running shorts and head out the door for a sunny, sweat-dripping workout. Unfortunately, chafing—a painful irritation caused by your skin rubbing against each other or irritating clothing—can quickly turn that feeling into an ugly, itchy mess.

But the good news is that with a little preparation, you can avoid it. “Chafing is largely the result of friction between your thighs, and this can be prevented by using proper equipment such as running shoes and shorts, and by making a few other adjustments such as applying some lubrication to areas that may be more susceptible to friction,” Cleveland Clinic notes.

The most important thing to look for in a pair of running shorts is the fabric, says physical therapist Jenelle Deatherage, who recommends these lightweight wicking ones from Nike for runners with high thighs or curvy legs. “Look for shorts with a light, fast-drying, stretchy material that wicks away moisture, which helps prevent chafing,” she explains. “The inseam is also important; look for a 7-inch inseam or longer, which covers the area where your thighs rub together.”

When shopping for a new pair of running shorts, look for one with flatlock seams, which help to reduce the likelihood of irritation, says Durney. “Skin-friendly fabrics such as nylon and spandex are ideal,” she adds, adding that a pair with a comfortable, snug fit is essential to preventing chafing, too.

Another tip for finding a great pair of running shorts is to look for one with pockets, which can be helpful when you need to carry keys or other items. These ones from Nike have roomy side pockets that won’t pinch, plus a zippered back pocket for cash or credit cards.

For a smooth, chafe-free run, try these breathable shorts from Nike’s Dri-Fit line. They have a 7-inch inseam that offers protection in the area where your thighs rub, and the fabric wicks sweat to keep you cool and dry throughout your workout. These shorts have a wide waistband that keeps them in place without squeezing, and they come in a variety of colors to match your other running gear.

These soft, stretchy shorts are recommended by commerce editor Olivia Kappler and nearly 6,700 5-star Amazon reviews. The secret is the Nulux fabric, a blend of nylon and Lycra that has a barely-there feel and stretches however you do. Plus, it’s quick to dry, so you can wear them straight out of the wash if you need to.

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