What are Running Shorts?
Running shorts are virtually what they say on the tin – they are shorts you wear whilst running. Of course, you could probably wear any kind of shorts to go for a run, but running shorts cater to the needs of the runner.
Even beginner and social runners will benefit from wearing specifically made shorts. Comfort is highly important, but there are many other factors that mean wearing the right shorts will improve performance and confidence.
Different Types of Running Shorts
There are several styles of running shorts, and the choice will mostly depend on personal preference.
Sometimes other factors such as the weather conditions can play a part in selecting the most appropriate shorts.
Running shorts can be purchased in men’s, women’s, and uni-sex styles. The designs are virtually the same, but by buying gender-specific shorts you will reap the benefits of wearing something that has been made to fit your body. Generally, uni-sex shorts are only appropriate for younger runners, older runners should buy shorts that have gender-specific fitting features.
Compression shorts – these offer a huge range of movement and are the most effective in preventing chafing (pain caused by the skin rubbing due to the repetitive motion of running).
Compression shorts are often made from lycra and as the name suggests they provide muscular support and therefore warmth.
This is great for the muscles both when running and to aid in a speedy recovery, minimizing muscle soreness. The length of these shorts will vary, generally women’s compression shorts are shorter than men’s, but really it becomes a personal choice.
V-Notch shorts – this style has been aptly named due to the upside-down V-shape that is present on the outer leg seam. This V-shape allows for a larger range of motion through the legs.
Like the compression shorts, women’s styles are generally shorter than men’s. They are a comfortable and loose fitting design that provide the non-restrictive movement that runners require.
Split shorts – these are similar to the V-Notch shorts, but the V-shape has been created differently. It is not a cut-out, but rather it is caused by the fact that the front panel overlaps the rear panel, therefore the split on the outer leg can be quite high.
This may feel a bit revealing to some, but this design feature allows for a huge range of movement. Split shorts are often the choice by performance runners who run long distances. As with other running short styles, women’s split shorts are often shorter than those worn by men.
Advantages of Wearing Running Shorts
Running shorts have been designed with the specific needs of the runner in mind.
They allow for a great range of movement and ensure comfort for the duration of a run, which can often be a long time. Running shorts offer far more practicality and support than other types of sports shorts and a huge benefit is the fabric they are made of.
Synthetic fabric blends such as lycra and nylon, are great for running shorts as they stretch, allowing for movement, and are durable. The best thing about shorts made from synthetic fabric is the moisture management feature.
When you run, you sweat. That sweat can cause discomfort as well as infection if left to linger. Therefore breathable fabrics make the best running shorts as they allow for air flow. Running shorts often provide an inner support that takes away the need for wearing underwear.
This reduces the risk of chafing and offers better moisture management than underwear, meaning more comfort and less chance of the lingering moisture causing infection. Finally, running shorts are lightweight and often have conveniently placed pockets to allow you to carry a few small items without adding bulk and discomfort when running.
Top ten Running Shorts
10. Men’s Tesla Compression Running Shorts
These men’s compression running shorts are perfect for providing support and movement without the discomfort of chafing. The synthetic fabric allows for a great range of motion and the compression style increase recovery time after a training session. These running shorts can be worn alone or under another style of running shorts to get the advantage of a compression short without being too revealing.
Tesla compression running shorts promote recovery by increasing blood flow and reducing swelling. There is plenty of air circulation to draw out moisture and they dry quickly. These running shorts also offer a huge range of motion, perfect for a large range of running styles.
Some men may find the tight-fitting design undesirable on its own so will need to purchase another pair of shorts to wear over the top. Also, due to its tight fit, there are no small pockets to store valuables whilst running.
9. Women’s Neonysweets Exercise Running Shorts
Neonysweets offer a compression-style short made from a blend of synthetic fabrics. This allows for an extensive range of movement and comfort. Despite the fact they are tight-fitting, they do have small pockets that are perfect for a house key, some cash, and even an iPhone! The fabric is breathable which means there is no smell or discomfort when sweating, and less chance of an infection caused by excess moisture.
Pockets! The pocket style in these running shorts is practical without adding bulk. The range of movement is large and minimal chance of chafing.
The Neonysweets running shorts are just that – short! Some women may find them a little too revealing.
8. Men’s Game Gear Athletic Running Shorts
Game Gear offers a comfortable V-Notch style running short that are available in a large range of colors. They provide an inner support which takes away the need for wearing underwear and therefore minimizes the risk of painful chafing. Game Gear running shorts have moisture control technology, meaning you will be kept dry and comfortable for the duration of your workout. These running shorts are a great basic item for running training and excellent value for money.
The V-Notch style of these running shorts offers comfort and range of movement. The breathable fabric equates to comfortable and safe training attire. This is also true for the built-in support.
The fabric (especially in the lighter colors) can be a little sheer, despite the lining. These running shorts do not have any pockets which mean you have nowhere to store small items such as a house or car keys.
7. Women’s Nike Dri-Fit Running Shorts
Nike is a known and trusted brand, not only in the sports industry in general, but in the running industry specifically. The V-Notch styles provide comfort and allow for movement, whilst the in-built compression shorts offer support. These are basically a 2-in-1 style shorts, meaning you get the best of both worlds. The Dri-Fit fabric is breathable and designed to keep you dry, no matter how much you sweat!
Nike Dri-Fit running shorts have a small, zippered pocket to store valuables whilst running. The combination of V-Notch and compression styles allows for excellent range of movement and support all in the one pair of shorts. The purple color is vibrant and fun’ and the neon yellow offers great visibility if you are running in low light conditions.
The 2-in-1 feature may make them harder to get a perfect, all over fit.
6. Men’s Time to Run Running Shorts
These V-Notch style shorts are the ideal all-around running shorts. The outer fabric is water resistant and breathable, providing much-wanted dryness and comfort. The inner support is 100% polyester and will keep out any moisture build up and minimize chafing.
Time to Run shorts contain a small internal pocket that is perfect for storing small valuables without adding bulk. The black color is sleek and discreet, and the fabric is breathable which means you will stay dry throughout your running session. These running shorts are excellent value for money, cheaper than a lot of similar products on the market.
Depending on personal preference, these running shorts may be too short and the pockets don’t fit anything larger than a key or two and some folded cash.
5. Women’s Baleaf Compression Running Shorts
Baleaf offers a versatile and functional style of running shorts. These shorts are slightly longer in length to provide a little more coverage, but due to the stretchy, synthetic fabric they offer plenty of comfortable movement. They still offer many of the benefits that come along with other styles of running shorts such as small pockets and breathable fabric. These shorts are also thin enough that they can be worn underneath other shorts if desired without creating friction, causing the over-shorts to ride up uncomfortably.
Baleaf offers a sleek, stylish and flattering compression style of running shorts. They have small reflective patches which are a huge bonus if you are running at a lowly lit time of the day. The wide elastic waistband that sits slightly higher equates to comfort and can help minimize a ‘muffin top’ appearance.
Some women may not feel comfortable wearing compression shorts on their own which can create the need to purchase another pair of shorts to wear over the top.
4. Men’s Soffe Running Shorts
Soffe offers a seriously professional pair of running shorts that are designed to suit even the most amateur of runners. They are incredibly comfortable due to the silky nylon fabric and if they are good enough to be worn by the US military, then they should be good enough for you! The V-Notch style allows for movement and the built-support helps minimize both moistures build up and chafing.
Soffe running shorts come in a huge range of colors so you will be sure to find something to your liking, and all come with a small internal pocket for your valuables.
The silky fabric may not be to everyone’s personal taste.
3. Women’s New Balance Running Shorts
New Balance is a huge name in the running industry so you know you will be purchasing quality when buying these V-Notch style shorts. The fabric is 100% polyester and guaranteed to allow your body to breath and to keep your dry no matter how hard you work out. They sit comfortably and are designed with a flattering wide waistband, perfect for a woman’s figure.
These New Balance running shorts are a great length – long enough to provide modest coverage but short enough to maintain a good range of motion. They are equipped with a small pocket and reflective patches to allow for safety when running in poor light.
The slightly baggy style of these shorts may be unflattering for some women.
2. Men’s BOA Split Leg Running Shorts
These running shorts are designed for the elite but with the novice in mind. The range of bright neon colors is alluring as well as safe in poor light conditions. BOA have created running shorts with a quick dry fabric and the split-leg style allows for maximum range of motion.
There is a handy pocket for valuables and a drawstring to create the perfect fit. The shorts offer a light and airy design that is perfect for use in the warmer months.
They are very short, which may not be suitable to everyone’s taste or comfort levels.
1. Women’s Under Armour Perfect Pace Running Shorts
Under Armour is a brand you can trust and the quality of these running shorts is outstanding. The exposed elastic waistband is stylish and functional, providing comfort and a flattering silhouette. Under Armour have used their Signature Moisture Transport System to ensure you stay dry, even in the sweatiest conditions. The V-Notch on the outer leg seam offers all the range of movement you need to train and run.
The bright pink color is very feminine and, along with appropriately placed reflective patches, offers safety if you are running in low light conditions. There are also plenty of other colors to choose from if pink isn’t your thing. The small pocket will fit your house key and some folded cash.
The ultra light fabric may leave some women feeling a little more exposed than desired.
Considerations for Choosing the Right Running Shorts
Running shorts can be a quite a personal thing. Experiment with a few styles until you find the best fit for you, but there are some things you may want to consider before you rush out to buy several pairs.
Weather conditions – in cooler months compression shorts can be super useful for warmth.
Color – neon yellow may not be your thing, but safety is something to consider. If you are running in the early morning or evening you may want to think about wearing a brighter color so that others, particularly drivers, can see you. Shorts with reflective patches are also useful.
Length – this one is quite personal. Super short, split style shorts may leave you feeling exposed or just not suitable for all ages running club, but long shorts make it more difficult to run freely.
Fabric – try and opt for synthetic fabrics as they are more durable, a better fit and are great for managing moisture. Cotton is cool and comfortable, but not so good with moisture or being thrown in the washing machine several times a week.
Pockets – these are very handy but you have to be careful not to overload yourself. If your shorts have too many pockets you may be tempted to carry everything but the kitchen sink! This will weigh you down and make your run incredibly uncomfortable. However, small pockets are great for carrying a key or two and some cash.
Gender – men and women have very different body shapes, so be sure to buy gender specific running shorts as they have been designed with specific body features in mind.
Running shorts are a key item in any runner’s wardrobe and you will be surprised at how much they boost your performance, whether it’s in a race or in training. Wearing the right running shorts will provide comfort, safety, and convenience, all whilst ensuring you look good and feel professional!