Choosing the right pair of running shorts for trail running is a personal decision. The type of construction, inseam length and design are all factors that runners consider. But the most important factor is how comfortable they are to run in. A pair of comfortable, well-fitting running shorts will make it possible to complete a long trail run, whatever the distance.
The best trail running shorts will be lightweight and breathable, but they are also likely to include some form of protection from the sun. This can be a mesh panel at the thighs, or an inner liner that prevents chafing and keeps your legs cool. For ultra distances, you may want to add leg sleeves or a full-length liner, particularly if you are going to be on the trails at high altitudes where the sun is strong and direct.
In general, trail running shorts will have a longer inseam than shorter running apparel, and they will be designed to fit over a tight-fitting base layer. Many runners prefer to use a compression short underneath their running shorts, as this helps prevent chaffing in the groin and other areas. However, this does increase the overall weight of the outfit, and it can be uncomfortable if you get too warm. If you do opt for a compression short, be sure to test it before you take on a big run. You may find that you need to size up a couple of sizes for it to be comfortable.
Some running shorts feature integrated underwear, which can help to reduce the risk of chafing and provide support in the most sensitive places. The fabric used in these running shorts will often be made from polyester, although there are some options available from brands that use more sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and recycled polyester. The fabric will also need to be quick-drying and have anti-odor technology, as these features can help you stay fresh and comfortable for longer.
Other running shorts have pockets that can be used to carry essentials like water, gels and keys. In this case, the pocket will be zipped to ensure that your valuables are safe and secure during a run. The size of the pocket will be an important consideration, as you will want to make sure that it is large enough to accommodate your phone and other items without being too bulky.
One of the best running shorts for trail running will have a wide elasticated waistband with a draw cord, which can be tightened to ensure that it stays secure around your waist. This will help to keep your running shorts in place even if they are loaded with the contents of a hydration pack.
Another option for runners seeking the ultimate in comfort is a pair of trail running tights. These are typically made from stretchy materials such as polyester micro-dobby, and they will be coated with a durable waterproof finish. This will make them suitable for trail runs and multi-day races over rough terrain. The seams on these running tights will be bonded to reduce the chance of chafing, and they will also have anti-odor and quick-drying technology to help you stay comfortable for long periods of time.
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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