Best Running Shorts for Women 2022

Choosing the best running shorts is very personal. Every runner’s body is different and everyone has distinct preferences for fit and function. For example, maybe you’re a frequent speed-oriented runner or maybe you run several miles at a moderate pace each time you go, or maybe you’d like to run shorter distances with quick warm-ups on conveyor belt. Whatever your needs and goals, the best running shorts for women are lightweight and don’t cause painful chafing.

A good pair of running shorts, like a good pair of running shoes, can be a huge motivation to achieve your personal best. According to the women we spoke to, their favorite running shorts emphasize comfort and coverage, and specifically factors like fit, practical details like phone pockets, and style. also general. Read on to find the best shorts for women to get you started.


Best Running Shorts for Women Globally

Go-To Running Shorts that will go the distance

First, they created the ubiquitous Cloud shoe lines, and now On has regained cult-favorite status with their ultralight running shorts. These feature a snug inner brief, a lightweight outer layer and an adjustable waistband designed not to ride up. “They are highly regarded for their looks, fit, well-located pockets, weight and durability,” says Mike Yardis, owner of Treads & Threads. They come in four colors that go with everything: black, glacier, twilight, and cerulean.


Best Comfortable Running Shorts for Women

Cross the finish line in style with these shorts

When you’re putting in the miles, comfort is key, and few brands know comfort as well as Vuori. What sets these wildly popular shorts apart is their fit and functionality, from the four-way stretch to the breathable lining, says Yardis. The 2.5 inseam, although shorter, allows freedom of movement. The Clementine also comes in eight color and print variations, so you’re sure to find something that works with your running wardrobe, and sizes range from 00-16.


Best Women’s Compression Running Shorts

A snug fit that holds everything together

Hitting just above mid-thigh, these fitted shorts from Outdoor Voices look like they might bunch up as soon as you start running. But according to runner Mary M., that’s not the case. “They stay put and are a great breathable fabric,” she explains. Mary is such a fan of the compressive material and comfortable fit that she owns several pairs of these shorts.


Best chafe-free running shorts for women

A mid-thigh style that prevents uncomfortable skin irritation

Avid jogger Ali B. says these are his favorite shorts for hitting the pavement because they don’t ride up his 5’3” frame. If you have particularly long legs, she recommends opting for the eight-inch-long Wunder Train shorts, just to be on the safe side. Another great feature of this pair is their sweat-wicking material that keeps the wearer cool and doesn’t pill between the thighs, Ali adds. Plus, they come in a variety of pretty colors and patterns.

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Best High Waisted Running Shorts for Women

Running shorts that sit high on the hip

If you have a long waist or really like the look of high waisted shorts with a crop top or sports bra, these shorts are for you. The chunky waistband with adjustable drawstring doesn’t ride up or down, and reviewers love the relaxed fit and 3-4 inch inseam. The Athletica Mesh Racer is also incredibly practical: it’s made from recycled polyester-spandex fabric that’s breathable, snag-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying and has an SPF 50. They’re available in black or bright coral and flattering.


Best Plus Size Running Shorts for Women

Built-in compression provides coverage and comfort

All bases of these shorts are covered with a lightweight outer layer that wicks sweat and a short inner compressive microlayer. Plus, they have a handy back zip pocket to store a phone, keys or cash. You’ll also feel good wearing them because they’re made from recycled water bottles and they come in eight non-boring colors.


Best Cooling Running Shorts for Women

Stay cool with optimal range of motion

The two-in-one styles are especially versatile not only for running but also for cross training due to the added coverage. These shorts have special flattened fibers that wick heat away from the body so you stay cool even on late summer runs. Another game-changing feature? Anti-odor technology to fight funky sweat odors.


Best Tight Running Shorts for Women

Fitted running shorts that don’t ride up

Allie Buchalski, a member of the Brooks Beasts pro running team, says the Method 8” cropped tights are one of her favorite styles for hitting the trail. My phone can also be carried in the side pocket without me worrying about it falling out,” she says. The shorts also have lightweight, sweat-wicking fabric and minimal seams for a barely there feel.


Best Short Running Shorts for Women

Barely There Shorts to help you set the pace

These little fitted shorts are made for speed. The lightweight, sweat-wicking material won’t weigh you down when you sweat, so it’s ideal for running in hot weather. Other features that will help you run at full capacity include 4-way stretch, a breathable, chafe-free lining, and two internal front pockets and a rear zippered pocket that are seamlessly integrated with the wide waistband that stays in place.


What to Consider When Buying Women’s Running Shorts

  • Material: “The most popular running shorts are made from full-synthetic microfiber weaves created from super-stretch woven polyesters and lycra/spandex blends,” says Michael Yardis of specialty store Threads & Treads. “These types of materials are breathable, sweat-wicking, anti-friction, and potentially even odor-resistant.” So basically avoid cotton as they can be slow to dry and can be bulky and heavy when wet.
  • Adapt: This look is something that is entirely user preference, and there are a few different styles to choose from. Some prefer fitted compression shorts while others opt for a roomier lightweight material. Many prefer a combination of the two, with both a lightweight outer layer and a snug underlay or liner.
  • Trim: Often, “it’s best to have a liner built in so it’s a ‘slip one and done’ setup,” says Yardis. A liner should be breathable and non-chafing, and it shouldn’t impede the movement of the shorts inside your thigh when running. However, the liners are incredibly polarizing and runners seem to either love them or hate them.
  • Belt: This feature ranges from thinner drawstring styles for easy, customizable adjustments to thicker, form-fitting waistbands that can be tucked away. Because you don’t want any of your extras, like keys, cash or a phone, lying around or getting lost, pockets are often tucked away in the waistbands of running shorts.
  • Length: When it comes to length, most runners find they have a sweet spot. You want to feel like you’re covered, but you also don’t want the shorts to ride up and chafe your inner thighs. Typically, the best running shorts for women have an inseam of two to seven inches.

Frequently Asked Questions About Women’s Running Shorts

What are the best types of shorts for running?

It’s a matter of opinion, but most experts agree that the best women’s running shorts are lightweight, stay put during sprints and longer runs, dry quickly, don’t chafe, and have practical pockets. However, the best type largely depends on what you are most comfortable in and what will help you achieve your running and training goals. Some brands that offer a wide variety of styles include Lululemon, Athleta, and Under Armour, so you can start your search on those sites.

Is it better to run in baggy or tight shorts?

The tightness of shorts generally depends on personal preference, length of run and air temperature, says Michael Yardis of Threads & Treads who runs a specialist shop. Many runners prefer tighter shorts in cold weather to trap in heat and lighter, shorter shorts when it’s hot and humid.

How long should running shorts be?

Running shorts should be long enough to give you coverage that makes you comfortable and the right length and fabric to allow for a good range of motion. Many women prefer an inseam that keeps the delicate inner thigh skin covered to prevent chafing.

About Marie A. Gingrich

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