womens athletic shorts with spandex underneath

Whether you’re pounding the pavement for your next big race, jogging around the neighborhood to catch up with friends or sweating through an intense gym session, there are few things worse than feeling uncomfortable. But with the right women’s athletic shorts under spandex, you can feel like a second skin and focus on your fitness goals without worrying about chafing or getting wedgies. Runners especially need to choose workout shorts that cover panty lines while also wicking moisture and reducing the risk of chaffing in between your thighs.

The best running shorts for women are made of quick-drying fabric and designed with a variety of inseam lengths. They should be lightweight enough for summer, but warm enough to keep you comfortable during a chilly fall or winter run. They’re also soft, stretchy and designed to hug your body while avoiding bunching. Lastly, they should also avoid the dreaded pinchy waistband that can make you feel like your clothes are trying to hold you back.

We asked Shape’s senior fitness editor, NASM-certified personal trainer and activewear expert Kristen Geil, to test dozens of options to find the top running shorts for women. She looked for the most affordable women’s exercise shorts that were still high-quality and included a variety of features to suit different workout styles and bodies. She also searched for options that reduce chafing and avoid the dreaded bunching and pinchy waistband, which can make you feel uncomfortable and discourage you from working out.

This updated version of her picks includes several new pairs that she’s tried and loved during her own workouts, as well as those tested by a panel of fellow fitness experts. She swapped in a few pair of running shorts made with techfit, which helps eliminate chafing by focusing muscles’ energy and minimizing sweat. And she found some with a built-in underwear liner for extra support.

Some of our favorites include Nike’s Tempo Dri-Fit running shorts, which are both high-quality and super affordable. They’re made of a stretchy moisture-wicking material that forms to your body and have a classic curved hem for full range of motion. Plus, they come in a bunch of fun colors and have a handy zippered pocket for easy storage.

Another great option is these high-waisted running workout shorts from Girlfriend Collective, which are size-inclusive and crafted from recycled single-use plastic bottles. They have a slight drop-waist and are designed to fit like a second skin while being breathable, supportive and flattering for women of all shapes and sizes.

For more inspiration, check out these 10 workout clothes that look good under spandex and other workout essentials to help you stay motivated all season long.

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