Whether you’re a marathon runner or an occasional jogger, finding running shorts that won’t ride up or chafe can be a challenge. And while every runner has unique preferences, there are some features that make a pair of running shorts a great fit for most any runner.
Fabric: Performance fabrics made from polyesters, nylons and lycra or spandex fiber blends are ideal. These fabrics wick away sweat, dry quickly and resist odor. They’re also soft on the skin and stretch to accommodate movement. Cotton, on the other hand, holds moisture and can be cumbersome and uncomfortable when wet.
Lining: A liner is often a good feature for runners, as it eliminates the need for underwear and can help prevent chafing. Some running shorts offer liners built into the outer shorts, while others have two-in-one designs that include an inner liner. Both options are fine, but our primary tester has found that the liners in most two-in-one shorts roll up and negate their purpose when she runs.
Inseam: Leg length is a personal preference, but our primary tester finds that shorter inseams work best for her because she doesn’t want the bottom of her shorts to rub on her thighs as she moves. In general, a four-inch inseam is a good fit for most older runners.
Waistband: A comfortable waistband that hits right below your belly button is important for comfort. This can vary from a thinner drawstring style to a thicker waistband that can be folded over for added coverage.
Pockets: While not a must-have feature, many runners appreciate the convenience of pockets in their running shorts. These can be in the form of a small, hidden pocket in the waistband for keys or a phone, or zippered pockets for larger items like gel packets.
Look: A sleek, modern look is a nice bonus for any running shorts, especially for women over 50. Consider the color and pattern you prefer, as well as any extra details like reflective stripes or zippered side pockets.
A favorite of ours, these fitted shorts from On feel smooth and lightweight on the legs. They have a 4-inch inseam that fits snugly on the thighs without digging in or riding up, and they offer plenty of support for a full range of movements. Our primary tester turned to these shorts for her backyard trail and recreational path workouts, as well as for a few 50-mile races, and they stood up to the test without chafing or bunching up. These shorts are available in several tasteful-but-fun colors and patterns, too. They also come in a longer version with a 6-inch inseam, for women who want even more coverage. You can shop them here.
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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