A great pair of running shorts is the foundation of a good running wardrobe. Can you run in any pair of shorts you have? Sure. If you’re just getting started, it’s more important to just get out and run. But once you start logging the miles and making a habit of it, it’s time to upgrade to running shorts. You’ll never look back.
Aside from being comfortable, breathable, and moisture-wicking, running shorts are carefully designed to include pockets for carrying keys, phones, gels, and more.
You can’t just stick your cell phone in a normal pocket and run. So today we’re reviewing the best men’s running shorts with pockets, so you can safely and conveniently take stuff along with you.
Our top choice is the Brooks Sherpa 7-inch shorts. They’re made of comfortable, stretchy fabric, have a chafe-resistant brief liner, and feature a useful water-resistant back pocket.
Here’s the full list – check them out and decide which ones you like!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Sherpa 7″ Shorts
New Balance Accelerate Short
Patagonia Strider Pro Running Shorts 5″
1. Brooks Sherpa 7″ Shorts
Brooks Sherpas are our top pick for best men’s running shorts with pockets. They may look just like a regular pair of shorts, but they have some little features that make them a cut above the rest.
They’re made from polyester, which is moisture-wicking and quick-drying, keeping you cool and fresh on your run. The material is slightly stretchy and very light, not restricting your movement at all.
An inner drawcord allows you to tighten the waistband to suit you, so it won’t be cutting into you or falling off as you run. For extra support, there’s a built-in polyester mesh lining. The brief itself has a hidden pocket, which is a nice touch.
You’ll find small envelope pockets on either side that are just the right size to carry an energy gel or chew. They’re angled fairly upwards so there’s very little chance of anything falling out of them.
For more important items like keys or credit cards, the back pocket is created to keep things extra safe. It’s right in the center of the waistband, so there should be no chafing. It zips closed, and as a nice extra, it’s waterproof so your stuff will stay safe even if you sweat or get caught in the rain.
The 7-inch length is not too short, but not so long that there’s extra material flapping around. For most, the length is ideal.
- Move-easy stretch fabric
- Chafe-resistant boxer brief liner
- Hip storage pockets
- Water-resistant center back pocket
- The shorts can run small
2. Brooks Cascadia 7″ 2-in-1
Here’s another 7″ option. Brooks makes good everything, and their shorts are no exception. The Cascadias are our second choice, and they’re the same quality as the Sherpas, just with slightly fewer features.
On these shorts, there’s one envelope pocket on the right side, and a back left zippered pocket that has a drainage port.
The waistband is elastic but features a drawstring as well to get your perfect fit. Be careful, though – if you put something heavy like a bunch of keys in the pocket, it could drag the shorts down!
A ripstop outer makes them durable, and the mesh liner offers support and breathability while on the road. Like the Sherpa before it, it has reflective detailing on it to make you visible to motorists.
The downside is that none of the pockets are big enough for a cell phone, so you may need to think about investing in a smartwatch! Ok, fiiiiine…an armband.
- Moisture-wicking mesh brief liner
- Back left zip pocket with drainage port
- Reflective detailing
- Semi-fitted cut
- None of the pockets are big enough for a phone
3. New Balance Accelerate Short
These shorts are available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and lengths. This is what makes them our best value choice – they’re well-priced, and you can really choose something that appeals to you, both aesthetically and practically.
Made from NB dry woven fabric and utilizing NB technology to wick moisture away, these shorts are designed to keep you cool and dry. They also feature an elastic waistband with a drawcord, so if the elastic isn’t quite tight enough, you can get it just right using the drawcord.
There are nearly 30 different colors and patterns to choose from, so whether you like plain or patterned, you should be able to find something that does it for you. Another really nice thing is that you can buy the same pair in three different lengths: 3-inch, 5-inch, and 7-inch.
For valuables, you have two decent sized pockets, one on either side. Unfortunately, they aren’t zippered, which loses these shorts a point. You’ll need to be extra careful to not drop anything as you’re running.
- NB dry woven fabric
- Drawcord elastic waistband
- Boxer waistband for a secure fit
- Two unzippered pockets
- The pockets aren’t zippered, so things may fall out
Top for Marathon Training
4. Patagonia Strider Pro Running Shorts 5″
Marathon runners, we know how it is. Being able to carry gels easily is key to getting the most out of your long runs. If you regularly feel a bonk coming on after 90 minutes of your big weekend run, it’s time to start carrying fuel. The right pair of shorts can help, and the right pair is Patagonia’s Strider Pro.
At a glance, they don’t look like anything special. But when you step out wearing these shorts, you’ll have 5 pockets at your disposal. It’s the closest thing to carrying a running belt – in fact, it’s like having a built-in running belt.
Four stretchy pockets situated along the waistband allow plenty of space for small items like energy supplements, first aid supplies, or sunscreen.
There’s another zippered pocket in the back, perfect for things that need a bit of extra safekeeping like cards, IDs, or cash.
Apart from their super packing power, the ripstop fabric is lightweight, breathable, and durable. There’s a 2-inch side split to allow for increased airflow, keeping you breezy. In addition to that, the inner liner features Polygiene anti-odor technology, so you’ll not only stay dry, but you’ll stay smelling fresh too.
Plenty of great, useful features when you’re out on the road in the middle of a marathon!
- Five stretch pockets
- Polygiene anti-odor technology
- Lightweight recycled polyester stretch ripstop
- Knit synthetic liner
- Customers have reported that the brief runs small
Best 360 Degree Pocket
5. Salomon XA Training Short
Salomon is known for making unique, rugged apparel, and these shorts are typical of their style. They feature an active fit, fitting closely so there’s no loose material but still allowing you plenty of space to move comfortably and freely.
The unique feature on these shorts is a round-the-waist, 360° storage pocket, giving you plenty of space for whatever you may need on the road. There are also two side hand pockets, which offer easy access.
Unlike others, these shorts have no inner brief. Foe some, that’s a deal breaker. Others won’t care. They are close-fitting enough to be quite supportive, and the absence of a brief makes moving in them slightly more streamlined.
XAs tend to run slightly small, so it’s wise to get a size up and adjust the fit with the drawcord if necessary. Beyond just the waist, the shorts themselves are a little snugger than most, so make sure you’re comfortable with that before buying.
- 360° storage pocket
- AdvancedSkin technical fabrics
- Active fit for easy movement
- Drawcord and elastic waistband
- They tend to run on the smaller side
Top Lightweight Shorts
6. Under Armour Qualifier Speedpocket 7″ Shorts
It’s not often you’ll find a pair of shorts that really weighs you down, but if you’re serious about speed you may prefer your clothing to be as light as possible. These win the price for top lightweight running shorts with pockets.
They’re made from a mix of polyester and elastane, making them light and stretchy enough to fit comfortably.
A back zippered pocket keeps your valuables secure, and there’s a hidden waistband pocket on the front too. It’s quite expandable, so it should fit everything from a key to a smartphone.
The super-light fabric is stretch woven and comfortable against the skin, so you’ll hardly feel it when you run. An anti-odor internal liner wicks moisture, and keeps you dry and extra-supported.
- Center front speed pocket
- Anti-odor technology
- Stretch-woven fabric
- Mesh side panels
- They’re reported to be less durable than some others
Best 2-in-1 Shorts
7. Patagonia Nine Trails Running Shorts
If you’re the type of runner who likes to mix things up and be on the road today, the track tomorrow, and the trail on the weekend, these shorts could be the ones for you!
The synthetic fabric is cool and light, keeping you comfy wherever you’re running. It moves moisture away from the skin so it can evaporate and cool you down as you’re going.
It’s also Bluesign approved, which means it’s made from sustainable, responsibly sourced materials.
These shorts feature 3 pockets – one on either side and one at the back. All three are zippered, so you can store your valuables wherever it’s most comfortable for you.
- 3 zipper pockets
- Stretch polyester fabric
- Inner lining for support
- Fabric is Bluesign approved
- They’re a little more pricey than others
8. Nike Flex Stride Running Shorts
You can’t put a price on breathability. Whether you’re meandering along your hometown streets or pounding it out along a hot, sticky trail, you need to be cool if you want to give it your best.
These shorts are light and breathable from the start, being made with recycled polyester material. But what makes them the best in the category is that they feature two large mesh panels at the back which bring in and circulate air to keep you nice and cool.
There are also 4 pockets – a zippered device pocket at the back, two hand pockets, and a sneaky hidden drop-in pocket on the liner. Plenty of space!
- Nike Flex fabric
- Dri-FIT technology
- 4 pockets
- 50% recycled polyester fabric
- No length variations
Best for Trail Running
9. La Sportiva Medal Short
The trail can be a rough place, so choose the best pair of shorts for the environment. We’ve chosen these.
They’re very lightweight, so they won’t hamper your agility or speed. A wider than average waistband allows for a comfy fit and a reduced chance of chafing. An inner brief and gusseted crotch increase comfort.
The material is quick-drying, so no matter how many puddles or streams you run through, you won’t stay wet for long.
There’s a rear zippered pocket that can fit a few items at once. There are no side pockets for your hands, which may take some getting used to if you’ve worn other pairs of shorts before. Then again…are you actually running trails with your hands in your pockets? We have questions for you.
- 1 rear zipper pocket
- Inner brief and gusseted crotch
- Reflective detail
- 8-inch inseam length
- No side hand pockets
Top Reflective Shorts
10. ASICS Reflection Shorts
If you run at night or in dusky conditions, reflective gear is a must. Instead of wearing an extra layer of reflective material, why not go for a pair of shorts that’s almost entirely reflective?
The reflective Hex branding is patterned across the shorts and will light up significantly when hit by light. They look just like a normal pair of shorts in the daytime, but at night they become a safety beacon.
You’ll also find them to be comfy, light, quick-drying, and at a length just above the knee. A zippered pocket at the back of the waistband is helpful for storing whatever you need to take with you on the road.
- Reflective Hex branding
- Zipper pocket at back
- Quick-dry material
- Made from stretch polyester
- No built-in brief
Looking for a great pair of men’s running shorts with pockets? Here are some of the most asked questions to give you an idea of how to find the right pair for you.
What Length Shorts Should I Buy?
It’s entirely up to you! But here’s some advice to help you make the choice:
- Shorter length: Great for hot weather, shorter runs, and races
- Longer length: Helpful in cooler weather, more leg protection on rough trails, and better UV protection
Personal preference and comfort also play a role, of course. Some runners may find a shorter length to be uncomfortable and ride up a little.
On the other side of the coin, some runners might be annoyed by too much material flapping around in the longer length.
How Many Pockets Do I Need?
Again, it’s up to you and what you like to take with you when you run.
A key pocket is always useful, provided you have a single key and not a large bunch. A second pocket is necessary for other items like cards, cash, or energy gels.
Any more pockets than that are entirely up to you and your preference. Some runners may want a larger pocket for their cell phone.
What Material Should Running Shorts Be Made From?
Many shorts are made from polyester, a synthetic fabric that’s breathable and light. Other synthetic fabrics work well too, and some have antimicrobial properties.
Other materials that work well include nylon, spandex, and blends. Avoid cotton, as it gets heavy, absorbs moisture, and can chafe.