When it comes to running, some swear by high-performance leggings for their coverage and compression, but you may find these types of bottoms too constrictive or warm as things start to heat up. Enter: Running shorts. While they can be less modest and slightly fussier than leggings, the right pair can be breezy, functional, comfy, and cute. (Related: These Workout Shorts Will Change Your Mind About Exercising In Shorts)
As you're shopping for a pair of running shorts, you'll want to choose a length you feel comfortable in — not to mention, a pair that's too short could cause chafing. Fabric is also an important factor to consider, since selecting breathable, moisture-wicking materials could help keep you cool and dry as you pound the pavement or belt. Think about pocket placement and if you'll be storing more than keys on your body — is a slit pocket at the back enough, or do you need a larger pocket at the thigh to stash your phone or snacks?
Another feature worth noting: Loose styles typically have an inner liner, which provides more protection and coverage for your cheeks (😉); however, the liner could end up being a nuisance — pinching or causing a dreaded wedgie — if it doesn't fit correctly. That said, if you can't try the lined shorts on in-store, you might be better off going with an unlined option and investing in a pair of seamless workout underwear instead.)
Ready to give running shorts a shot? Keep scrolling for your guide to the best running shorts, according to reviewers that run the gamut of total newbies, casual joggers, and serious marathoners.
This lightweight pick has earned it's spot as Amazon's best-selling women's running short for a reason beyond just the insanely affordable price tag. They're made from quick-drying and moisture-wicking fabric, include breathable mesh panels for added ventilation, and also have a soft elastic waistband — with an internal drawcord that allows for a more secure fit — which lies flat against your skin. Plus, a built-in brief provides more coverage while jogging, stretching, and cross training.
One reviewer wrote: "These are great for running. I always have an issue of shorts riding up when I run. I have a few pair of UA shorts that are over 10 years old that have have seen their final days so I wanted to try out an updated pair. I was skeptical because I haven't been able to find a pair to stay put - these did!"
Like more support for your stomach? This short, with a high-rise fit and wider, more supportive waistband, will be to your liking. An inner brief, 3.5-inch inseam, and sweat-wicking fabric keeps you cool, comfortable, and feeling confident mile after mile. Also nice? Store your essentials — keys, ID, credit card — in a secure zipper pocket built into the back of the waistband. (Related: This Genius Running Belt Holds My Phone, Wallet, Keys, and More Without Any Bouncing)
"I LOVE these shorts," raved a shopper. "They are thin, lightweight, wick moisture and are actually flattering. The material is very soft. There is a small reflective logo on the back. They are excellent running shorts and are SO SO comfortable. I could literally sleep in them. The shorts do have an attached brief which I appreciate for modesty while working out. The length is perfect on me. Still short athletic shorts, but zero worries about exposing any 'cheek.' Very high quality as is expected from Champion. I would definitely consider ordering another pair."
Designed for short, long, and trail runs, this is a short you need in your activewear rotation. The fabric is just the right amount of compressive, durable against snags and tears, and made of recycled materials sourced from post-consumer plastic bottles. The short boasts a zip pocket in the back, an inner brief that reviewers say is not even noticeable, and splits at both sides to allow for more movement. Bonus: It also features UPF 50 to protect you from the sun on morning and afternoon jogs.
"These shorts are the perfect warm day runners... and can still be worn for running errands after! Would wear them everyday if I could," shared a customer.
A seven-inch inseam is ideal for those who prefer to have their legs bare, but prefer something that's not cut super short. Plus, the high-waisted fit is perfect if you like to run in just a sports bra. The lightweight, stretchy fabric gives you full range of motion with each stride, while the petaled hemline allows for more airflow. The wide elastic waistband has inner pockets, and there are also front hand pockets to store your necessities, like energy chews for longer runs. The mesh brief liner has moisture-wicking capabilities to keep you cool and dry down below. (Related: The Best Running and Athletic Shoes for Every Workout, According to a Podiatrist)
One fan wrote: "I have been a runner for nine years now. I do not like running tights as I find I'm usually between sizes and being a momma I don't like short shorts either. These shorts were the perfect fix! The material is perfect for running, as I do not get any chafing on my long runs. The length and looseness also allows me to run without worrying about my thighs swallowing the material. They stay put in the right spot. The built in underwear is great and does not ride up or cause any chafing."
Pull off that cute layered look without actually having to wear two pairs of shorts. The fitted spandex short underneath the loose fabric is ideal for those who appreciate the freedom and mobility of shorts but prefer something more modest. The inner layer has moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties, while the outer layer is feathery and breathable. And a double layer means double the pockets: there's an elastic pocket along your thigh — great for storing your phone with zero bounce — and another at the back to safely store your keys and cards.
"I got these to wear running and I love them," wrote a customer. "The pocket is in a great location under the top layer so you don't worry about things flying out or anyone grabbing your phone. I wish all shorts like this had those pockets! Color is cute and they are easy to move in."
Designers tapped into everything a runner needs when creating these lightweight shorts. The high-rise waistband sits comfortably and securely against your stomach, while the built-in liner and 4-inch inseam give you extra coverage and keep chafing at bay. Sweat-wicking fabric with four-way stretch is adaptable to your movements, enabling you to go from a walk to a jog to a sprint as you wish. For those of you who rely on energy gels for long runs, there are connected pockets on the waistband for easy access. (Related: Amazon's Best-Selling Anti-Chafe Cream Is the MVP of My Marathon Training)
"I had been going back and forth on purchasing these since they are pricier than other running shorts I have. I finally bit the bullet and purchased these a size down than my normal size based on other reviews. I did a five mile run in them and it was AMAZING. I used the phone pocket to hold my iPhone while I ran and it stayed in place the whole time (other shorts tend to fall down with my phone in the pocket). I have curvier thighs so I tend to use a chafe stick no matter what but I could see these not causing a lot of chafe issues," reported a shopper.
If loose and breezy is not your vibe, direct your attention to these babies. The fitted style is anything but bulky and the 2.5-inch inseam will ensure there's not fabric in the way of your stride. Flat seams mean you won't suffer any chafing, and the gusset is lined in the brand's moisture-wicking fabric to keep you comfortable for miles. Pair with a fitted tank or sports bra for a no-fuss active look. (Related: The 12 Best Sports Bra for Running, According to Customer Reviews)
One reviewer wrote: "These are the best running shorts to run in. I have multiple pairs. Even on long runs of 10 miles they don't ride up and wick sweat away quickly."
While the biker short style tends to align more with cycling, this silhouette is also great for running. Runners who like the feel of compression but who aren't a fan of short shorts will love this winning combo. Available in 4-inch and 7-inch lengths, this short offers more coverage and also prevents upper thigh chafing — although, for full-thigh protection, you might want to go with the longer option. Store your phone in the secure side pocket, put in your wireless pods, cue up your favorite playlist, and hit the road.
"I wear these shorts constantly," shared a customer. "They are great for high activity (working out, hiking, biking, paddle boarding) but just as amazing for wearing around the house or to the store. The material is thick enough to be secure, but breathable and light weight. The high waisted element is definitely high, right at my belly button. The pockets are triangular, so good for holding smaller things like one key and a card, iPhone 6 or smaller (the bigger iPhones might be a little tricky for high activity). Absolutely LOVE these, I'm living in them the whole summer and beyond."
Eco-friendly fitness junkies take note: These retro-looking shorts aren't just cute, but they're also sustainable, made from recycled polyester fabric. They feature a lightweight, quick-drying material, a comfy, knit waistband, and a built-in brief to support you throughout your walk, jog, or run. Pocket slits at the waist and a small zippered one on the side securely stores whatever you need to keep you focused on your pace and not on your things.
"I love the Hudson shorts because they fit perfectly and do not ride up when I am running. I wear them for running, walking, or just on a day to day basis," wrote a shopper.
With over 1,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, you can't go wrong with this sleek pick. The 5-inch inseam hits the sweet spot of not too short and not too long, and the drawstring closure at the waist provides a secure and adjustable fit. The quick-drying fabric wicks sweat whether you're running on an outdoor track or hitting the treadmill. (Related: The 8 Best Treadmills Under $500, According to Customer Reviews)
"Super cute! Perfect for running or working out! They're lightweight and comfortable. I could wear them all the time!" raved a reviewer.