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The Best Running Shorts for Men in 2023


Wearing the proper shorts are key to ensuring you have a great run. Shorts made with the wrong material can chafe, stick to your skin in hot weather, and generally be uncomfortable.

For maximum performance, it’s important to wear the best running shorts for men that are designed specifically for running. This means lightweight material, moisture-wicking fabric, and liners to keep everything in place. Shorts are available in different lengths to match your personal preference and different running styles.

Our favorite men’s shorts are the New Balance Accelerate 5” shorts. They’re a comfortable length, made from light, moisture-wicking material, and they have a supportive brief liner.

To help you select running shorts that are right for you and your running needs, we’ve reviewed over 50+ models to determine the best ones. Take a look at our list and find the right pair for you.

Top 3 Best and Favorites


New Balance Accelerate 5” Shorts


  • Nice material
  • Great shorts for the price
  • Good fit
Check Price


Salomon Cross Twinskin


  • Reduced chafing
  • Bounce-free leg pocket
  • Keep you dry
Check Price


ASICS Road 2-N-1


  • Lightweight
  • Side ventilation panels
  • Highly adjustable waist
Check Price

Best Overall

1. New Balance Accelerate 5” Shorts

The ideal combination of length, comfortable material, and performance-enhancing design, the New Balance Accelerate 5” Shorts are our top choice.

What We Like

With a 5-inch inseam, the length of these shorts is great for most runners. Not too short and not too long, still allowing you a great range of motion and a high level of comfort.

They’re versatile enough to be used in the gym, for a day at the park, or for doing any other form of cross-training as well as running.

Made from lightweight, moisture-wicking, recycled material, these shorts are perfect for summer weather. Thanks to NB Dry technology, they dry quickly if you sweat or get rained on.

With an athletic fit, the woven shell is light, breezy, and loose enough to allow you to stride freely. A comfortable elastic waistband features a hidden drawcord so you can get a customized and chafe-free fit on your waist.

For extra support, an internal brief-style liner is built in. It’s the perfect combination of supportive and breathable, without restricting your movement or causing discomfort.

You’ll find regular hand pockets on either side, plus a useful drop-in pocket on the waistband, perfect for keys, credit cards, or an energy gel to see you through your long runs.

Why We Like It

These shorts are the ideal combination of everything a runner needs to be comfortable and perform at his best. Great length, excellent range of motion, moisture-wicking abilities, and a supportive liner.

What to Consider

Some runners expressed disappointment that the waistband wasn’t as elastic as they’d hoped. This could be a disadvantage for some, although the drawcord helps you to get a good fit regardless.


  • The lightweight, moisture-wicking woven shell dries quickly without feeling confining
  • Comfortable waistband with an internal drawstring for a customized fit
  • The brief-style liner provides support without being restrictive
  • The drop-in pocket is perfect for keys, energy gel, or credit card


  • The waistband isn’t as elastic as it seems

Most Versatile

2. Salomon Cross Twinskin

These shorts are a great combination of supportive compression shorts and loose outer shorts. Highly versatile for any activity!

What We Like

The Salomon brand is built for rugged use, and these shorts are crafted to the same standard as everything else they make.

Made with Twinskin technology, these shorts feature a skin-tight inner layer made of comfortable elastane. This supports the muscles, moves with you so you can have a full range of motion, and does a great job of reducing chafing.

The outer layer is a lightweight shell of recycled polyester, fortified with AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology to keep you dry no matter how hot you get. It even keeps you warm when it’s cold outside.

The comfortably wide waistband also has a hidden drawstring so you can adjust it to your waist’s content.

What we really love about these shorts are the bounce-free leg pocket, the spacious zippered back pocket, and the elastic hook on the back of the waistband, designed to hold a jacket when you need to remove your outer layer.

Why We Like It

The Salomon Cross Twinskin provides excellent support, a comfortable fit, and some extra features that make them well worth buying! They’re quite suitable for a variety of activities, running or otherwise.

What to Consider

These shorts have a slimmer fit than usual, which may not be comfortable for everyone.


  • Inner tights use soft, four-way stretch fabric that moves with you while you run
  • Both the inner tights and shell keep you dry and reduce chafing
  • Bounce-free leg pocket and a secure zipped pocket on the back
  • Features a hook to carry a jacket or shirt mid-run


  • The slim fit may not be comfortable for everyone

Best 2-In-1

3. ASICS Road 2-N-1

With excellent leg coverage and a supportive inner compression layer, the ASICS Road 2-N-1 shorts are a good option for those who like a longer inner brief.

What We Like

If you like a 2-in-1 design, the ASICS Road 2-in-1 is a great choice. With a 7-inch length, they offer excellent leg coverage while providing supportive compression.

The inner layer is tight and stretchy, offering some support for the muscles, a feeling of comfort, and significantly lowering the chance of chafing as you run.

Made of moisture-wicking, lightweight fabric, the outer layer dries fast and moves easily with you, allowing you to run freely and with your usual range of motion. Thanks to a built-in drawcord, you can also get a nice fit on your waist.

Each side features a mesh ventilation panel, allowing air to flow in and cool you down as you exercise. There’s also a slight notch at the bottom of each panel, making your range of motion natural and easy.

Inside the back waistband is a phone pocket; although it’s unlikely to fit larger phones, you can use it for other valuables if you prefer.

Why We Like It

These shorts offer the best of both comfortable compression and light, loose comfort. They’re a great length and move easily with you as you run or do other exercises.

What to Consider

These shorts run a little tight. If you prefer a more spacious fit, it may be a good idea to order a size up from your usual size. There are also no side pockets, which may be a deal-breaker for some!


  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and moving freely
  • The 7-inch length provides good coverage
  • Side ventilation panels for increased breathability
  • Highly adjustable waist with a drawcord and inner back pocket


  • These shorts run a little tight
  • There are no side pockets

3” Inseam Shorts

These are one of the shortest men’s shorts available, usually worn by the guys crossing the finish line first. They’re popular amongst elite athletes for their range of motion and high level of breathability.

Best Overall 3”

4. ASICS Split Shorts

Minimalist and freeing, the ASICS Split Shorts are ideal for those who want something that won’t restrict their movement.

What We Like

These versatile shorts are lightweight and thin. Their 3-inch design means most of your quads are exposed, making them excellent for breathability.

In case you are running on a very hot day, the shorts have laser-cut perforations down each side, along the seam. This allows air to flow into the shorts and cool you down even more.

This is particularly helpful as these shorts have an inner lining, which helps reduce chafing and offer light support.

A half-split on each leg’s seam serves to increase your range of motion to its maximum.

A waistband drawcord, reflective elements, and a handy interior key pocket make you comfortable and visible, allowing you to easily carry small valuables.

Why We Like It

These shorts are speedy, light, and offer an amazing range of motion with no restriction whatsoever. Excellent for a variety of activities!

What to Consider

Although these shorts are designed to be minimalist and as short as possible, they seem to run a little small. You may want to choose a size up if you’d like a bit of extra room in the shorts.


  • A high split allows for a full range of motion while running
  • Soft inner liner reduces chafing & keeps you comfortable on tempo and long runs
  • Laser-cut perforations make these shorts extremely breathable
  • Versatile shorts that work well for all types of runs and cross-training


  • These shorts run a little small

Top Value 3”

5. New Balance Accelerate 3” Split Shorts

Short and fast, these shorts won’t get in your way while you’re aiming for new PBs. Includes 45% recycled polyester, so they’re also great for the environment.

What We Like

These shorts have a close-to-the-body fit, delivering comfort and a supportive feeling. With a built-in mesh liner, the shorts contour to your body without feeling loose.

NB Dry technology in the fabric keeps you from being weighed down by sweat, but the shorts’ natural design allows for plenty of ventilation.

Each side is split, although the split is smaller than others in this class. It could be considered a notch more than a split, but it does a good job of freeing up your range of motion and allowing air in.

A mesh brief liner increases the comfort of the shorts. An inner pocket in the comfortable elastic waistband can also fit something small like an energy chew or your house key.

Why We Like It

A classic split-short design, the New Balance Accelerate 3-inch is light and easy to wear no matter what kind of running you’re doing. They’re also quite affordable for the high quality you get.

What to Consider

The split is more than adequate for a great range of motion, but it is a smaller split than others, which means you miss out on a small bit of motion in comparison. However, it’s more than enough for most runners.


  • Close-to-the-body design clings in all the right places
  • Notched sides give you plenty of range of motion to run comfortably during speed workouts or long runs
  • Drop-in pocket in the rear offers modest storage and isn’t bulky
  • Comfortable elastic waistband keeps the shorts in place


  • Split offers less range of motion than some others

5” Inseam Shorts

Next up, 5” inseam shorts. This is the classic running short length and the most popular length by far. Most runners prefer this as it offers a little more coverage than 3” but less restrictive than longer shorts.

Best for Pockets and Storage

6. Brooks Sherpa 5” Short

These shorts are ideal if you prefer to carry your phone, some nutrition items, a house key, or other small valuables with you when you run.

What We Like

The Brooks Sherpa 5” shorts are versatile and have a casual, sporty design. They’re excellent for running but just as great if you want to take a quick jaunt into town while wearing them!

They have a stretch brief liner that helps to support you from the inside out. It’s made of moisture-wicking material to help you stay cool and dry at the core.

This extra layer also helps to eliminate annoying and painful chafing, allowing you to run free. Also reducing chafing is the newly-designed waistband, created to prevent rubbing and not roll down as you run, and flatlock seams.

But where these shorts truly shine is their storage. There’s a large pocket on the back of the waistband, big enough to hold most phones. You’ll also find two smaller elasticated pockets on either hip, perfect for on-the-go nutrition.

Take note that you can also get these shorts in a 2-in-1 version, which has a boxer-style inner lining and offers an extra zippered side pocket.

Why We Like It

With plenty of storage space, these Brooks shorts are ideal for those who have to carry items with them while exercising. Their 5-inch length is also the most popular of all lengths.

What to Consider

The regular brief-lined shorts and the 2-in-1 boxer-lined shorts are extremely similar. It can be easy to accidentally buy the wrong one and end up with something you didn’t want! Take extra care when buying.


  • The rear back pocket and two oversized hip pockets make it easier to carry essentials
  • Moisture-wicking inner short stays comfortably in place and will keep you dry even in humid conditions
  • Flatlock seams prevent skin irritation and reduce chafing
  • Versatile enough to go for a Sunday run and then walk around town in after


  • The 5-inch regular shorts and the 2-in-1 shorts are similar, and it can be easy to get the wrong one

Top Lightweight 5”

7. Salomon Cross Rebel 5”

No pair of 5” shorts is really heavy, but the Salomon Cross Rebel 5” is specifically designed to be lightweight and not hold you back while you’re running.

What We Like

The Cross Rebel 5” is light and air. While it’s already made of lightweight material, it becomes even lighter thanks to mesh panels on either side and at the back of the legs.

Not only does this make the shorts a touch lower in weight, but it also does an excellent job of helping air to flow through the shorts, keeping you cool in summer weather. It works well with the moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool and dry.

Although the length is quite decent, there’s no restriction, thanks to spacious leg openings. This allows for the optimal range of motion so you can run freely without feeling hindered.

A comfortable and stretchy waistband provides comfort and has a drawstring if you need extra tightening. It doesn’t loosen or bunch up as you’re running.

What you don’t see from the outside is the comfortable inner brief and the small key pocket located inside the waistband.

Why We Like It

These shorts are super lightweight and comfortable. You’ll have a great range of motion and won’t feel held back at all, wherever and whenever you run.

What to Consider

Despite their regular fit and generous leg holes, the shorts can run a touch small in size. If you like something with a bit of a looser fit, you might want to go a size up.


  • Extremely lightweight and airy with excellent mobility
  • Generous leg openings allow for comfortable all-day wear
  • A comfortable and secure waistband won’t bunch up or loosen on the run
  • Moisture-wicking fabric helps keep you cool


  • These shorts run a little tight

Best Ventilated

8. Under Armour Speedpocket 5″

A lightweight build and a unique ventilation pattern make the Under Armour Speedpocket 5” shorts great for those hot summer runs.

What We Like

These shorts are a great addition to your gear if you run in warm weather. They have a unique laser-cut perforation pattern up each side, which looks stylish and creates airflow throughout the shorts to keep you cool.

There’s also a brief liner inside the shorts, which is moisture-wicking and helps you to stay dry with as little chafing as possible.

A wide waistband stays in place easily as you move, without rubbing or rolling in on itself. Inside the front of the waistband is a hidden pocket big enough to hold a sizable smartphone.

One of the best things about this pocket is that it’s water-resistant, so your phone won’t be damaged by sweat. There’s a zippered pocket on the back for storing other valuables.

Why We Like It

In hot weather, these shorts provide excellent ventilation and a comfortable fit. Highly recommended if you want to look cool and feel cool!

What to Consider

Although the waistband of these shorts is designed to be comfortable and carry a large phone, it may feel less comfortable when you have a large phone in the front pocket.


  • Ultralight fabric with perforation zones for impressive breathability
  • Water-resistant center pocket keeps your valuables secured and protected
  • Built-in brief liner wicks moisture and provides support and comfort
  • Wide, non-chafing waistband keeps you comfortable as you run


  • The waistband may become uncomfortable when a large phone is placed in the front pocket

7” Inseam Shorts

7” inseam shorts provide a bit more coverage for those who prefer longer shorts. They are not the longest out there. But they’re perfect for someone who wants a longer short but doesn’t want to feel too restricted.

Best Overall 7”

9. New Balance Accelerate 7” Shorts

These shorts offer excellent coverage with an athletic fit. If you prefer longer shorts but still want a good range of motion, these are a great choice.

What We Like

The New Balance Accelerate 7” shorts are the longest of their popular Accelerate range. Made from lightweight, soft material with integrated NB Dry technology, they’re not only comfortable but designed to keep you cool and dry as well.

A crepe brief lining helps to wick moisture away from the inside of the shorts while reducing the chance of chafing, thanks to its close but comfortable fit.

The waistband isn’t overly wide but still manages to be comfortable on the skin and provides a snug fit without a drawstring.

For extra breathability, each side features a thin mesh insert. This adds to the style of the shorts but, more importantly, keeps you cooler for longer.

A hidden key pocket on the waistband is perfect for storing small valuables that don’t take up a lot of space. Two hand pockets are also featured on either side of the waist.

Why We Like It

We like the versatility of these shorts. They’re appropriate for all situations, be it the gym, a training run, or visiting friends. They’re also comfortable and look good.

What to Consider

The pockets are more than adequate to fit some energy gels and tissues, but they may not hold a phone comfortably. Not only is there likely to be some uncomfortable bounce, but you may end up hanging onto your phone to make sure it doesn’t fall out.


  • NB Dry fast-drying technology keeps you cool in all weather
  • Crepe brief liner offers a little extra support and wicks away moisture
  • Side mesh inserts increase the breathability of these shorts
  • Two side pockets and a hidden key pocket for plenty of storage space


  • The pockets may not fit a phone comfortably

Top Liner-Free

10. Salomon Cross 7” No Liner

Finding running shorts without a liner can be tough! The Salomon Cross 7” No-Liner is the best liner-free pair of shorts that will still support you and keep you comfortable.

What We Like

These shorts have the classic sleek Salomon look. Made entirely from recycled polyester, they’re good for the planet and comfortable for you.

The external shell is lightweight and dries exceptionally quickly. As it’s thin and flexible, it moves with you, allowing you to keep a great range of motion even though these shorts offer some extra length.

There’s no liner of any kind in these shorts. However, they remain quite comfortable, moisture-wicking, and supportive in all the ways they should be.

No liner means you can pair these shorts with your favorite stand-alone running underwear. They are also great in the winter if you want to add a pair of shorts over your running tights.

We like the zippered pocket in the middle back of the waistband and the handy stow-hook just above it. You can easily stick a jacket or hat in there and continue to run while it’s safe.

Why We Like It

For those who don’t enjoy the feeling of a liner in a pair of shorts, this one is liner-free and yet still offers excellent support; they’re comfortable, good-looking, and free from inner irritations.

What to Consider

Although the presence of a spacious zippered back pocket is appreciated, some runners have expressed disappointment that there aren’t more pockets in these shorts.


  • The absence of an inner liner frees up your range of motion
  • Lightweight, quick-drying shell made from 100% recycled polyester
  • Single zippered back pocket for safe storage of valuables
  • Stow-hook allows you to carry other items of clothing comfortably


  • Some runners wish these shorts had more pockets

Best With Pockets

11. Brooks Sherpa 7” Shorts

If length and pockets are what you need, the Brooks Sherpa 7” is the perfect choice. It’s got space for everything you need to carry!

What We Like

These shorts offer style, comfort, and more than enough storage space. They have a “secure fit”, which is closer to the body, so if you like something looser, then these may not be for you.

However, they truly shine when it comes to pockets. Easy-access elasticated drop-in pockets are found on both sides, perfect for mid-run nutrition items.

There’s a sizable zippered pocket on one side, which is slim and long enough to fit a phone comfortably. A hidden key loop is ideal for storing your house key in a safe place as you run.

The lightweight shell consists of 4-way stretch material that moves with you, allowing you to get a great range of motion despite the length of these shorts.

Inside you’ll find a stretch boxer-brief lining, which is closer to compression shorts but without such a compressive fit. It wicks away moisture and keeps you well-supported.

The waistband is another excellent feature of these shorts. It’s high, wide, and flat, lying against the skin comfortably. It’s highly unlikely to roll or slip, but there is a drawstring if you need more security.

Why We Like It

They’re light, comfortable, and have plenty of storage space! We also like the wide, flat waistband, which is roll-proof and unusually comfortable.

What to Consider

The inner lining has a few seams, which can be uncomfortable on long runs. However, the shorts will fit everyone differently, so it’s unclear whether or not you’ll find them uncomfortable.


  • A high, flat waistband offers an unprecedented level of comfort and won’t roll down
  • 4-way stretch fabric shell for lightweight comfort and easy range of motion
  • Stretch boxer-brief lining delivers light support and comfort while wicking away moisture
  • Drop-in elasticated pockets on each side, plus one zippered pocket and a hidden key loop


  • The liner has multiple seams in it, which may be uncomfortable

9” Inseam Shorts

9” inseam shorts are the longest running shorts you can get. There aren’t too many options since this is the least popular length. Many runners like the coverage but find the length too restricting in terms of the range of motion.

Best Lightweight 9”

12. On Lightweight Shorts

On is known for making great, supportive, lightweight shoes, but they’ve done the same thing with these shorts. If you’re looking for shorts just above the knee, we recommend these.

What We Like

Made from a blend of light, stretchy material, these shorts are breezy and light, although they are the longest length you’ll find for running.

The material offers plenty of space, allowing you to move freely without feeling restricted. It’s also sweat-wicking and quick-drying, keeping you feeling fresh in all weather at all times.

An inner brief liner provides light support and reduces the chance of chafing as you run.

There’s a single large pocket in the middle of the back. It’s spacious enough to fit a phone, but note that it isn’t zippered. It uses a foldover flap to close, which makes for easy access but this leaves a slight chance of heavy things—like phones—bouncing out.

Why We Like It

These shorts are very lightweight, considering their length. These are highly recommended if you’re looking for something that offers excellent coverage but won’t weigh you down.

What to Consider

These shorts run slightly tight. On is based in Switzerland, so the EU sizing may be slightly different. If you’re after a looser fit, try sizing up a little.

Although, the material on the back of the shorts is a little see-through. It’s thin and flexible but in some light, can look transparent.


  • Large back pocket for holding your valuables while you’re on the move
  • Lightweight, stretchy material allows you to move comfortably and freely
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying so you can stay cool in the summer heat
  • Reflective detailing for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions


  • They run slightly tight
  • The back material is a little see-through

Top Tight Shorts

13. Brooks Source 9″ Short Tight

The Brooks Source 9” shorts are streamlined and comfortable if you prefer to run in compression-tight style shorts.

What We Like

Made from a polyester blend that meets bluesign® criteria, these shorts are not only comfortable, but they’re eco-friendly as well.

They move easily with you, so you’ll be comfortable whether doing some pre-run stretches or upping the speed mid-race.

A seamless-side design means there’s even less chance of chafing, although that risk is already lowered thanks to the skin-tight design of these shorts.

For even more comfort, the waistband is flat and wide, lying lightly along the waist and not rubbing or rolling down as you run.

Two drop-in pockets allow you to take various items with you on your run. They’re deep enough for a phone to fit comfortably and tight enough for it to be bounce-free and worry-free.

Why We Like It

These shorts offer a tight enough fit to move with you comfortably, allowing you a full range of motion so you can run freely. They also have excellent pockets.

What to Consider

These shorts are not the most breathable due to their compression-like construction. Wearing them in summer weather could result in overheating.


  • Polyester blend material moves with you and wicks away sweat as you run
  • Two drop-in pockets give you space to carry nutrition or valuables with you
  • Seamless design reduces the chance of chafing or hotspots
  • A wide, flat waistband lies comfortably on the waist and doesn’t rub or roll


  • These shorts are not very breathable

Most Breathable

This style of running shorts features a tight, boxer-length inner lining instead of the traditional bikini-style brief. The advantage is that you’re much less likely to experience chafing; however, some runners find this style of short too restrictive.

Most Breathable

14. New Balance Q Speed Fuel 2-in-1 5-inch

These shorts are 2-in-1 and offer a light compression lining, but the short outer layer allows for plenty of ventilation.

What We Like

The shorts themselves come to mid-thigh, but the compression boxer lining sticks out a little below that, providing better coverage of the legs.

This design offers both support from the liner and breathability, as the outer layer is light and loose, allowing airflow to circulate freely. It also features NB Dry technology, wicking away sweat and drying quickly to keep you cool.

Its athletic fit offers both comfort and a great range of motion. You can move freely and easily, unrestricted and knowing that you’re covered.

A zippered back pocket and two slip-in side pockets provide all the space you need to carry valuables with you, whether on a run or at the gym.

Why We Like It

These shorts are both supportive and breathable, thanks to their 2-in-1 design. They’re also quite lightweight while providing great coverage.

What to Consider

The waistband is elasticated, but it doesn’t offer as much stretch as others. This could be difficult for some.


  • 2-in-1 design offers the best of both support and breathability
  • Athletic fit offers a high level of comfort and an excellent range of motion
  • Zippered back pocket and two side pockets for storage
  • Quick-drying technology keeps you fresh all-day


  • The waistband doesn’t stretch much

Top Eco-Friendly

15. Nike Dri-FIT Stride

Made with a minimum of 75% recycled polyester fabric made from plastic bottles, these shorts are comfortable, good-looking, and eco-friendly!

What We Like

Made from recycled polyester, the outer shell of these shorts is thin, loose, and comfortable. A wide waistband with thin drawstrings keeps your fit perfect and won’t roll down as you exercise.

Nike Dri-FIT technology helps you to run comfortably in all weather, as it wicks sweat away from the skin and towards the shorts’ surface to be evaporated.

A full-length inner lining hugs your muscles supportively and provides light compression, improving circulation as you move. It also helps to limit the chance of chafing.

You’ll find two side pockets and a zippered back pocket. There’s a built-in moisture shield to ensure that your stored valuables don’t get damp!

Why We Like It

These shorts are comfortable, look good, and you can wear them without any guilt. When you buy them, you’re wearing shorts made from recycled plastic bottles with 30% fewer carbon emissions!

What to Consider

These shorts run a little tight, although they do seem to stretch out after wearing them a few times. If you want a slightly looser fit, especially in the compression lining, you should order a size up.


  • Made with a minimum of 75% recycled polyester fabric
  • Nike Dri-FIT technology moves sweat to the surface for quick evaporation
  • Secure side pockets and a zippered back pocket, with built-in moisture-shield
  • A full-length inner liner reduces the chance of chafing and moves with you freely


  • They run a bit tight in the liner

Buyer’s Guide – Men’s Running Shorts


Short Length (3-inch)

This is the shortest length you can get, which makes it the most well-ventilated. They also offer an excellent range of motion, and they’re ideal for all kinds of running, from sprinting to marathons.

However, some may find that they’re too short for comfort. If you’ve never run in 3-inch shorts before, it may take some time to get used to them.

Medium Length (5-inch)

5-inch shorts—known as medium-length—are the most common and the most versatile length of shorts.

They’re suitable for various activities, making them an excellent choice for triathletes or biathletes.

These shorts still offer good ventilation and range of motion.

Long Length (7-inch or longer)

Long shorts are a great choice for men who are uncomfortable wearing mid-thigh or higher shorts.

Although they provide excellent coverage, they are less breathable and offer less range of motion than shorter ones.



These shorts have an upside-down V-shaped notch on each outer leg. This allows for a greater range of motion as well as a higher level of breathability.


These shorts are similar to the V-notched shorts, except this is achieved by the front panel of the shorts overlapping the back panel. It isn’t an actual cutout.

This style of shorts also offers excellent flexibility and range of movement, as well as more than adequate ventilation.


Compression shorts are skin-tight and the least breathable of the styles, but they offer extra muscle support and are excellent at preventing chafing. They’re also highly flexible, allowing you to move with ease.

Underwear/ Liner

Most pairs of running shorts for men come with a built-in liner. If you want to, you can wear underwear with your shorts for extra support, but the liner offers support without an extra layer of fabric that could chafe.

Brief liners are more common. They’re usually made of mesh and allow for excellent airflow. Boxer-brief linings are less common and can help prevent chafing on the inner thighs.


Many shorts are made of polyester or nylon blended with spandex or other stretchy materials. These offer excellent stretch, a great fit, and manage moisture to prevent chafing and discomfort.

We highly advise against choosing cotton shorts. While they’re comfortable and stretch well, they don’t handle moisture well. They leave the runner prone to chafing and pain.


If you want to carry a credit card, cash, a house key, or nutrition items when you’re running, choose a pair with a zippered pocket. Many pairs of shorts come with a small key pocket in the waistband.


If you run at night or in the early morning hours, you may want to choose a pair of shorts with reflective elements on them. This will make you more visible to motorists and other runners, increasing your safety.


What are men’s running shorts made out of?

Most men’s running shorts are made from synthetic fibers, usually polyester-spandex blend or a nylon blend. These types of shorts not only offer a good fit, but they also provide optimal moisture-control to prevent discomfort and chafing. Men’s synthetic-based running shorts provide great durability, so runners can use them frequently.

Why do men’s running shorts have liners?

Most men’s running shorts have a built-in liner. The purpose is to manage moisture and keep sweat away. Most runners choose to wear running shorts sans underwear. The built-in liner provides enough support and keeps you cool.

There are two types of liners in men’s running shorts.

The most common is the bikini brief style. This keeps you cool and supported.

2-in-1 style shorts offer a boxer-brief liner. This are good if you chafe easily on the inside of your thighs.

What are men’s split leg shorts?

Due to their unique design and loose fit, men’s split leg shorts provide the greatest range of motion for the runner. That’s why they most often preferred by the fast runners.

One of the most common features of men’s split leg shortsis the upside v-shape cutout that is strategically located on the outer leg seam. This unique design begins about half-inch from the hem.

As compared to other types of men’s running shorts, split leg shorts typically have a shorter inseam of 2-3 inches.

How much breathing room should men’s running shorts have?

We strongly believe that men’s running shorts should always have a lot of breathing room. When running shorts offer you optimal ventilation, moisture control, and freedom of movement, you are less likely to experience chafing and irritation. In almost all cases, more breathing room in your running shorts equates to a dry and comfortable run.

How are men’s running shorts measured?

Running shorts are measured by the length of the inner seam. This is the distance between the seam located at the base of the crotch and the one at the bottom of the running short’s leg.

Most running shorts come in lengths from 3 inches to 7 inches with a few options that are shorter or longer.

What is the ideal length for men’s running shorts?

There is no correct answer here. It really comes down to personal preference.

Medium length shorts of 5 inches are the most popular length. They offer the best of both worlds: they allow freedom of movement while modest in length.

Many runners don’t go shorter than 5 inches for modesty reasons – or just because casual shorts are longer and wearing something so short doesn’t feel natural.

7 inch inseams or longer are best for cooler weather or if you want a short that covers most of your thighs. This length tends to be more popular with trail runners and weekend runners. Longer shorts usually have more pockets and storage than shorter shorts.

Should you get longer or shorter men’s shorts based on the distance you run?

Most long distance runners prefer longer shorts. Many long running shorts have pockets. And since speed is less of a concern for longer runs, wearing a “fast” pair of shorts isn’t as important.

Although short length shorts of 3 inches can technically be worn for long distance, they are better for short distance and sprints due to their lightweight and non-restrictive design. Since they offer great range of motion and ventilation during a run, they are commonly worn by fast runners at short races.

What is the difference between men’s compression shorts and running shorts?

While men’s compression shorts resemble cycling shorts, have compression concentrated around the thighs (and lack the chamois padding). They are designed to increase the blood flow to your legs, resulting in better performance while running. They are also have long inseams,  typically between mid-thigh to knee-length. Finally, compression shorts provide exceptional flexibility due to its stretchy material.

Compression shorts can be worn by themselves. But most runners choose to wear compression shorts under looser shorts that lack a liner.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner