Choosing the correct shorts for your daily run isn’t a decision that should be taken mid-stride; they can be the difference between a sub-par and a seamless workout. Serious runners will require something spacious with a high cut to reduce overheating (and maximising movement), whilst we all need something soft, durable and comfortable that doesn’t chafe.
If you’re trail running you may also want to think about how your shorts will cope with mud, dust and water. And if you’re pounding it through the city you may want to consider how stylish (and well fitted) your shorts are, before inadvertently exposing yourself to potential Tinder dates or career contacts.
Phone pockets or not, you want something that says you’re as serious about your workouts as you are your running wardrobe – a statement of intent. But which shorts are flapping in the international market right now, and what separates one from the other?
With so much choice, we’ve put together this guide to help you score the best designs from around the world – all made by the most renowned sports houses – created to strike that fine balance between performance and style.
Men’s Running Shorts FAQ
You do not wear underwear with running shorts that have built-in liners. The extra layer of fabric may only cause skin chaffing. Still, it should come down to your preference. 2-in-1 shorts are those with compression shorts incorporated, replacing the inner lining. Shorts like these promote better blood flow and muscle activation. They are also generally more comfortable to wear. To prevent chaffing, you may wear longer running shorts. The extra length will prevent the skin of your upper thighs from rubbing painfully together. Wearing compression shorts under your regular running shorts also works.
Do you wear underwear with running shorts?
What are 2-in-1 running shorts?
How do you prevent chafing in running shorts?
You do not wear underwear with running shorts that have built-in liners. The extra layer of fabric may only cause skin chaffing. Still, it should come down to your preference.
2-in-1 shorts are those with compression shorts incorporated, replacing the inner lining. Shorts like these promote better blood flow and muscle activation. They are also generally more comfortable to wear.
To prevent chaffing, you may wear longer running shorts. The extra length will prevent the skin of your upper thighs from rubbing painfully together. Wearing compression shorts under your regular running shorts also works.
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They feature a stretch nylon lining covered by a ripstop fabric, along with three separate pockets so that keys, phones and whatever else you wish to run with stay comfortably in place.
They’re also fond of producing quality running gear, such as these Swift Shorts. They’ve been created with a 7” inseam, and an ultra soft liner for comfort over both short and long distances. These shorts aslo carry the added bonus of perforated venting to keep you cool when the challenge heats up.
Their Surge Shorts are a lot more stand out than the rest on this list thanks to their cool camouflage-like print. They’re made from four-way stretch fabrics and unashamedly designed for every type of runner from beginner to pace setter.
OV's Rectrek shorts are designed for long-distance trail running, so will be more than capable on your weekend 5k fun run. Wind and water-resistant and made from a four-way stretch fabric, the Rectrek can also moonlight as a regular pair of shorts to wear around town.
Aside from being a mecca for gym-goers, Gymshark also has a running collection (although realistically, any pair of Gymshark shorts can be used for running) and these Speed Shorts are ideal. A lightweight build with stretch and mesh panelling for airflow allow you to move to your fullest, while remaining cool.
Now they have established themselves, they’re throwing out some stunning pieces, such as these All Over Shorts. If you’re someone who likes to vary up your training between outdoor and gym, then these are ideal. They’re made from water repellant, sweat wicking fabrics, and give you some serious options within your gym wardrobe.
These Run Lite woven shorts are, are their name suggests, super lightweight and benefit further from Puma's own dryCELL moisture-wicking fabric technology. Reflective strips help you be seen at night, and they're sustainable too, being made from 100% recycled polyester.
Of course, it's a running brand first and foremost, and these Hybrid Shorts rock a 2-in-1 design, meaning they get an inner compression short, as well as a lightweight outer. You can choose to separate them if you wish, as both have pockets to keep hold of small items.
They’re made from a blend of advanced synthetic and elastic fabrics that provide lightweight comfort along with excellent breathability.
These Running Essentials shorts are low-cost yet high in features. Speedwick sweat-wicking fabric helps to keep you cool, an internal pocket will hold a key or card and you also get reflective detailing so you can be seen at night. Essential by name, essential by nature.
The Impact Run 7-Inch shorts have been specifically cut to an athletic fit which helps you move to your fullest potential, while still remaining supported. NB DRY moisture-wicking and quick-drying technology features and a number of pockets give you plenty of space to store your keys and phone.
The Velocity shorts are part of the brand's most technical range of clothing, being made from a quick-drying, sweat-wicking, 4-way stretching fabric. Reflective taping lets you be seen at night.
These Flex Stride Shorts are a clever little two in one. Nike Flex fabrics stretch with you to give you optimum coverage, whilst and close, flexible inner keeps your hamstrings warm, reducing injury and improving overall recovery.
They’ve been created using lightweight, quick drying fabrics that help circulate air and reduce moisture build up. If you’re after performance with no frills, you’ll be on your marks with ease in these.
Naturally, then, ASICS has a range of performance clothing to back up its reputation. These Future Tokyo shorts sport an internal pair of compression shorts combined with a lightweight outer, resulting in an incredibly comfortable pair of shorts that work to support you through every stride.
The Yogger IV short, for example, has been made to be lightweight, stretchy and quick-drying, the perfect formula for a pair of running shorts. They're available in a wide range of colours and patterns and easily double up as a pair of everyday shorts that can even be worn for a dip in the ocean after you finish your run.
They are designed with a mid-raise style leg for maximum ventilation and movement, and certainly have somewhat of a graduate, cross-country style about them.
They’ve been designed with practical pockets that stop either a large smartphone or keys from bouncing in your pocket, and ultimately impacting your performance. They also feature mesh side panels for ventilation and anti-odour fibres to keep you feeling fresh and confident during and after exercise.