Finding the perfect pair of running shorts can leave women feeling like Goldilocks. Some can be too tight, too long, or too tiny. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find the best pair of running shorts for you.
Before you swap out your leggings for shorts, think about what style you like to wear on your runs. The main types of shorts fall under loose (or split shorts), compression (also sometimes referred to as “bike shorts”), and 2-in-1 (which have a fitted layer underneath a loose one). What you pick comes down to your personal preference and comfort level.
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Other features like pockets, technological fabric properties, and if it includes a built-in-brief, should also be considered and thought about since you do not want anything to rub or distract. We have taken out some of the guesswork with our top picks.
Here are 15 of the best running shorts on the market. In a variety of styles and lengths, we promise you really will find a flattering pair to love.
Best ‘Bike’ Shorts [aka Fitted]
Lululemon Fast and Free 6″ Short | $68
You’ll slip right into these thanks to Nulux fabric that’s quick-drying with the just-right amount of compressive fit. A plethora of colors and sizes provide you with the perfect fit.
Janji 6″ Groundwork Pace Short | $68
These bright blue shorts are perfect if you like to shake up your running wardrobe. A super-high drawstring waist with silicone to stay put means these seemingly never move.
Reebok Chase Solid Booty Shorts | $45
If you’re aiming to PR in the mile and want to dress for success, these short shorts are sure to fire you up. Pick from three sleek colors, then motor through the straightaways.
What Waist ThermaTech™ Body Sculpt Shorts | $52
These illustrated bloom-covered bike shorts will spring up even your neutral (all-black) activewear look. Innovated ThermaTech™ lining in the inner waistband is not only breathable and moisture-wicking but heats up your waist while you sprint through your run. The higher rise and four-way stretch mean you can bang out some squats on your stretch breaks.
Athleta Ultimate Stash Pocket 7″ Short | $59
Double side pockets, plus a stash pocket in the waistband, make these the perfect long-run short—they’ll hold all your gels and your phone.
Tracksmith Allston Long Shorts | $82
A 7.25-inch inseam and Italian blended fabrics keep these track-approved shorts tight without being uncomfortable. A clamshell-like back pocket keeps your phone secure throughout hill repeats.
Malo Little Bit Longer Shorts | $64
Flower power vibes for sure. Light on the compression, heavy on the stretch, these will be great for your jogs or even pilates on your off days. A zipper-back pocket conveniently will store your essentials like your key and cash. A thick, high-rise waistband easily folds down on days you want a different fit.
Craft PRO Hypervent 2-in-1 Skirt | $45
Don’t judge this skirt by its appearance; this is designed for intense summer workouts. An inner mesh liner is cooling, while the outer fabric is soft and made from recycled material that has stretch. Perfect for those who want some additional coverage or add a bit more style to their activewear wardrobe.
Best Split Shorts for Women
Nathan Sports Front Runner Shorts | $55
A layered short that is equally cool looking and functional; that is what we like to hear. The bottom layer prevents chafing; while the top is so light, it will make you feel like you are running naked. Short has lots of pocket options, even one to fit your phone.
Saucony Split Second 2.5″ Short | $40
Minimalist design made for reaching top speed keeps distractions to a minimum. A 2.5-inch inseam and elastic midrise waist offer the coverage you need. Made with recycled poly, so you’ll get extra points for sustainability.
Korsa Embrace 5″ Short | $48
Some activewear sounds too good to be true but, this is the real deal. These shorts have it all; four pockets to store essentials, a slim waistband with hidden elastic to secure your fit, a built-in bikini brief liner, and breathable, stretchy, antimicrobial wicking fabric. Quickly to become one of your new go-to running pieces.
Icebreaker Impulse Running Shorts | $80
These shorts combine merino wool and Tencel to create a lightweight, silky short. Also included, the brand’s Cool-Lite technology to wick moisture and keep you dry in any condition.
Old Navy Dolphin-Hem Run Shorts | $15
These are ideal for your summer runs. Crafted in lightweight, quick-drying fabric and offered in bright colors and fun prints. The elastic waist is fitted to stay in place, but not constructing just the combo.
The North Face Flight Stridelight Short | $89
This bottom could be the lightest piece of activewear we have ever touched. A compression liner adds some support and coverage, while vents at key heat zones and FlashDry fabric will keep you cool and dry.
Hoka One One Performance Woven 4″ Short | $58
Comfort and performance combine to bring you a short that is soft and versatile for any activity. The wide waistband will sit flat and has both a hidden pocket in the front and one larger option in the back to stash what you need.