A quality pair of running shorts is an essential part of any runner’s gear collection. They’re designed to be lightweight and breathable, allowing sweat to quickly evaporate away from the skin. They should also be comfortable on the skin, with a waistband that feels secure and not sliding down during exercise. And they should be able to stand up to the abuse that comes with hard runs on rough terrain, from abrasions against rocks and brush to snagging of limbs and branches.

There are many different styles of running shorts on the market and the right style for you will depend on your training needs, your preferred aesthetic, and your thigh size. For example, a shorter pair of running shorts may work best for those who prefer to show some leg or who want the ability to easily adjust their length during a run in case of changing conditions or unexpected weather. Conversely, a longer pair of running shorts can provide more protection against cold, wind, and moisture while providing comfort for a variety of training situations.

Most runners are looking for a pair of running shorts that offer some combination of the following qualities:


While everyone’s preferences differ, there are certain characteristics that all high-quality pairs of running shorts should possess. These include:

A durable outer fabric that can withstand abrasion, dirt, and snagging while retaining a high level of breathability. Many running shorts are constructed from a technical blend of polyester and elastane. Others might utilize specialized materials like Tencil, CoolMax, DWR, Powermesh, or Polygiene. Lastly, most running shorts have a built-in liner that helps to manage moisture and odor, reduce friction between the skin and the waistband or lining, and help to prevent chafing.

Ideally, a good pair of running shorts will feature an elasticated waistband and be easy to pull on and off over the head, without slipping down when you bend over or move your arms. The fit of your running shorts will also vary depending on the way you run and the type of training you do, with a slightly looser feel for long runs being optimal.

Finally, a great pair of running shorts should offer plenty of storage options. Some examples of these include a zippered rear pocket for phone or keys, and multiple small side pockets that can be used for nutrition, such as energy bars or gels, during a long run.

The Tracksmith Session Shorts, with their buttery smooth and cooling-to-the-touch fabric blend, are our favorite pair of running shorts for tall guys. Their universally flattering 5″ cut masks a wealth of party tricks, such as interior briefs for tucking away keys and credit cards, an incredibly lightweight yet durable fabric, and a drawstring waistband that doesn’t slide down when you bend over or flex. Those who are particularly prone to chafing will appreciate the included liner, too. In addition, the Session Shorts are a bargain at $68.

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