Choosing the correct running 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 running 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 running 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 running 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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After being introduced to running by a friend in 2014, French entrepreneur Brice Partouche fell in love with the activity. Problem was there was very little on the market that appealed to him in terms of good running clobber, so he decided to drop everything and develop his own. His collections may be a little more luxurious than your average kit, but that’s because purpose made quality come before all st Satisfy, like with these Long Distance Shorts.
They running shorts 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.
Rhone was born out of Connecticut in 2014, waving a manifesto to produce everyday menswear using only premium fabrics. From pants and jackets to tees and polos, they create those understated essentials that are the building blocks of a good casual look.
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 running shorts aslo carry the added bonus of perforated venting to keep you cool when the challenge heats up.
Canadian sports lifestyle brand LuluLemon has been providing happy joggers and yoga lovers quality sports apparel since 1998. They like to think of themselves as a collective movement as well as a sports brand, promoting healthy living and mindfulness throughout their stores.
Their Surge Running 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.
Vuori makes premium performance apparel inspired by the active Coastal California lifestyle; an integration of fitness, surf, sport, and art. Breaking down the boundaries of traditional activewear, Vuori’s performance apparel is built to move in but styled for life.
Vuori has a huge range of men’s running shorts that have been specifically designed for running. Whether you run on the road or a trail, Vuori’s running shorts are breathable, moisture wicking, and will keep you comfortable while you run.
Recreational and activewear specialist Outdoor Voices is consistently developing ways to reinvent menswear basics to a high quality.
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.
Global sportswear phenomenon Gymshark has used the power of social media to go from a start-up created by a teenager in his bedroom to a multi-billion dollar company. Naturally, the quality of the clothing can be attributed to that success as well, along with the low prices they charge.
Aside from being a mecca for gym-goers, Gymshark also has a running collection (although realistically, any pair of Gymshark running 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.
When the team behind Olivers set out in their humble Californian workshop, they didn’t have huge sums of money, or even a detailed business plan. What they did have was a whole load of fabrics, some creative hands and a desire to design premium athletic apparel for the 21st century.
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.
Founded by Rudolf, the brother of Adidas founder Adolf Dassler, Puma has cemented itself as a brand with a huge global presence. The official sponsor of various high-class sports teams and athletes, Puma develops clothing that you can rely upon to help you perform at your best.
These Run Lite woven running 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.
Swiss running brand On Running not only makes incredibly capable shoes designed to make you feel like you’re walking and running on a cloud, but also has its mitts in incredibly comfortable clothing, designed for various fitness disciplines.
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.
When the London Olympics helped motivate millions of pommies to get out a bit more and get fit in 2012, a couple from the UK decided that it might be a good time to start making some dapper kit to run around in. The results became Iffley Road, a collection of premium running apparel for those who are serious about clocking up kilometres in style – highlighted by these Pembrooke Performance Shorts.
They’re made from a blend of advanced synthetic and elastic fabrics that provide lightweight comfort along with excellent breathability.
Founded in Bolton, England, headquartered in Boston, USA and owned by German company Adidas, Reebok is a multinational sporting powerhouse. The official sponsor of the UFC and CrossFit, Reebok certainly knows a thing or two about developing clothing that can perform to the highest level.
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.
American sportswear giant New Balance currently caters for a wide variety of sports, including running, golf, tennis and basketball. Running runs through the company veins, however, so you’ll find a huge selection of clothing all designed to help you perform at our best.
The Impact Run 7-Inch running 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.
British supplier of supplements to gym-bros worldwide Myprotein also has an extensive clothing range, meaning heavy lifters and runners alike only need one shop for all their fitness-related needs.
The Velocity running 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.
Most of the world’s most successful athletes wear Nike. Yes, there are huge sums of money involved, but their products have to walk-the-walk (or run the track!). Their team of designers are constantly looking for innovative ways to shave milliseconds off performance, and we are the ultimate benefactors.
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.
On those hotter days it’s essential that your shorts perform, otherwise it can be a struggle. What German sports giant Adidas have created here with these Run It Shorts is a design that can be used again and again throughout the week – a pair of shorts that you will want for every run.
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.
Japanese sportswear company Asics is practically synonymous with running, being the producer of the iconic GEL-Kayano running shoe that is loved by amateur and professional athletes worldwide.
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.
Californian clothing label RVCA is perhaps best associated with surf and skate culture, but also has strong connections to MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s this connection with sport that has seen RVCA’s clothing diversify across various disciplines.
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.
Tracksmith was launched in Wellesley, Massachusetts – the halfway point of the Boston marathon – in 2014. They’re very much a brand that focuses on the competition aspect of running, creating pieces that we often see on long distance runners, like these excellent Mesh running shorts.
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.
The more we depend on our phone app technology whilst running, whether for music or distance data, the sports manufacturers have to keep up. Under Armour hit the mark on pretty much everything they do, and they’ve certainly struck a note with the modern runner with these Qualifier Running Shorts.
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.