The Best Running Shorts for Women in 2018
You’re a runner and more. You need apparel that suits your active lifestyle. Shorts are frequently overlooked when people shop for good, high-quality running gear.
But a good pair of shorts will keep you dry and cool, prevent chaffing, provide free range of movement, and last for many, many runs. Shorts shouldn’t bind, cling, bunch, or feel restrictive.
The best running shorts for women will wick moisture from your skin to keep you cool and comfortable. They should have a lightweight feel and ideally offer a pocket or two to carry gels, keys, or ID. Pair them with your favorite top and you’re set for a great run.
We’ve selected the best women’s running shorts and review them for you here…
3” Inseam Shorts
First up, our 3” inseam short reviews. These are the most popular length for runners. They’ll keep you cool and won’t restrict you while running.
Brooks Chaser 3” Short
These versatile shorts are suited a variety of distances. The short length coupled with side splits provide outstanding range of motion, and the semi-fitted cut further enhances flexibility.
Both outer shell and inner briefs are comprised of polyester and spandex; the outer layer’s blend is 84/15 while the brief’s blend is 90/10. This composition makes the Brooks Chaser 3” shorts lightweight with just the right amount of stretch. Breathable material helps keep you cool.
They have two pockets – one sweat-resistant – located in the flattering waistband.
- Wide elastic waistband provides slim look
- Doesn’t ride up
- Doesn’t fit everyone equally well
- Pockets lack zippers
Nike Dri-Fit Tempo Shorts
Classic track-short style with updated Dri-FIT technology keeps you comfortable during runs and general workouts. Nike’s 100% polyester Dri-FIT fabric wicks away moisture so the sorts continue to move rather than stick and bind. You stay cool in the process as well.
Comfort and mobility are highlights of this short because of features like built-in briefs and mesh side panels. The shorts don’t bunch as you run and train. They are practical, performance-enhancing activewear.
- Loose fit
- Can run large
- Only one small internal pocket
New Balance Women’s 3″ Impact Shorts
New Balance has designed this short with a balanced combination of stretch and support. Beyond this, the wide, mid-rise waistband provides coverage, while the 3” length balances that with freedom of motion. The inner brief enhances comfort and movement.
The lightweight fabric made with NB Dry 86/14 blend of polyester and spandex keeps you dry so your performance isn’t held back by discomfort and clinging shorts. The relaxed, athletic fit allow the shorts to move with you and endure for the duration of your run or workout.
- Shorts stay in place thanks to the knit waistband
- Small, zippered back pocket is roomy enough for several gels
- Elastic waistband is somewhat stiff
5” Inseam Shorts
Next up, we have our 5” inseams. This more modest length is great if you want the freedom of movement a 3″ inch length provides but want a little more coverage.
New Balance Accelerate 5” Shorts
Efficient and aerodynamic, the Accelerate shorts from New Balance are great for running and general training. They sport a boxer waistband with a drawstring that fits securely and isn’t prone to ride-ups. These shorts have an athletic fit for comfort and range of motion.
In addition to the fit, the fabric of these shorts enhances performances and movement. The material is light and breathable. The New Balance Dry technology helps you stay cool and dry even during intense runs and workouts.
- No inner lining allows you to layer comfortably
- Thin fabric for ultra-lightweight effect
- Petal hem for feminine style
- Competitively priced
- Only one small pocket
Nike Women’s 5” Dry Attack Shorts
Nike has designed and created this pair of athletic shorts to be comfortable, flexible, and flattering so you can get the most out of any workout while looking and feeling great. The shorts allow you full range of motion—without tightness, binding, twisting, or riding up.
The lightweight Dri-FIT material pulls perspiration away from you skin to keep you cool and dry. The elastic waistband conforms to your waist for a fit that feels customized.
You also have the flexibility to adjust the length of the shorts to what you desire in the moment. Keep it as-is for the full 5” version or roll the waistband down to shorten the inseam. Rolling exposes the “Nike” print around the band for a fun look that, with the curved hemline, looks flattering and stylish.
- Loose fit enhances your speed and agility
- No built-in liner/underwear
- Fit might be too loose for some (wearing over a compression short often solves the problem)
7” Inseam Shorts
7″ inseams are typically the longest length you find on women’s running shorts. They offer the most coverage but can feel confine to some runners.
Brooks Chaser 7” Shorts
Chase your exercise and lifestyle goals in the Brooks Chaser 7” shorts. The relaxed fit provides flexibility and movement even with the longer inseam. Both outer shell and inner brief lining are a polyester/spandex blend to provide a stretch that increases range of motion.
These are well-suited for light running, power walking, milder workouts, and causal wear. The shorts stay comfortably in place—no bunching, riding up, or sliding down. The lightweight fabric helps keep you cool, and the mesh lining wicks away moisture.
These shorts feature two pockets in the waistband, one just large enough for a small-ish phone.
- Two pockets, one waterproof, inside waistband
- The length provides coverage
- Flattering fit
- Moves out of position during intense runs
2-in-1 Boxer Brief Shorts
2 in 1 shorts offer a boxer liner instead of a brief (or no liner). These shorts provide an extra layer for runners who like more compression underneath.
New Balance 2-in-1 Woven Shorts
A combination of an inner compression boxer briefs and a woven outer layer make this New Balance short flexible, versatile, and comfortable during runs and workouts. The breathable inner shorts with their odor-resistant Icefil gusset to keep things cool.
Comfort and performance come from the moisture-wicking, polyester, NB Dry material. Additionally, the inner compression shorts are tight enough to stay in place while you move but not so tight that they are restricting. With an inseam of 4 inches, these shorts allow you range of motion as you train.
- Two pockets, one in waistband and one in back; back pocket holds small media device
- Safety features like front and back reflective trim and an In Case of Emergency (ICE card) in the back pocket
- Those looking for tight compression shorts may find the inner layer too loose
Nike Women’s Flex Training Shorts
Flexibility is a key component of these aptly named shorts. The mid-rise cut doesn’t rise or slide as you run and train, and the slim fit creates an aerodynamic quality that isn’t binding. The blend of polyester and spandex in both layers provide stretch to enhance your range of motion.
The Flex Training shorts are technologically advanced. The Dri-FIT outer layer and Pro Cool knit fabric of the inner layer keep you cool and dry for the duration of your run. A drawstring waistband lets you adjust the fit for custom comfort.
- Soft feel
- Supportive throughout workout
- Doesn’t fit all body types equally well
- Single inner pocket doesn’t hold much
Salomon Agile Shorts
With taffeta material, these lightweight shorts perform well in warm and hot weather. They consist of a light outer shell and an inner brief for comfort and support. Together, they keep moisture away so neither sweat nor fabric clings to you restrictively.
The relaxed, athletic fit moves with you to enhance your range of motion during your daily runs and competitive racing events. While they offer excellent performance for your runs, the Salomon Agile Shorts are versatile and great for multiple active uses.
- Single zip pocket in back won’t carry items you might want on long runs
Short tights are another good option for female runners. These aren’t full compression shorts, but a snug fit for freedom of movement.
Brooks Greenlight 7” Short Tights
Brooks has given you the green light to run comfortably without restrictions. These fitted tights offer firm support and hold everything in place. The polyester/spandex blend provides a high degree of stretch and flexibility for great range of motion.
The Greenlight 7” Short Tights are made for performance. They remain in place while you run. The fabric blend is light and breathable. As you work up a sweat, the shorts wick moisture so you remain cool and dry. The 7” inseam prevents chafing.
- Two hidden key pockets rather than the single pocket of many women’s running shorts
- Not prone to riding up during running and other activities
- Some people do experience riding up or rolling down of the waist depending on individual body type
Nike Women’s Pro 3” Shorts
These versatile shorts allow you to comfortably run a range of distances and perform well while training or competing. Wear them, too, for lifting, CrossFit, yoga, and in any other activity that requires flexibility and range of motion.
Nike’s signature Dri-FIT fabric quickly wicks away moisture, so you remain cool and dry even as your workout intensifies. The polyester/spandex fabric blend yields a flexible material to help you move effortlessly. The waistband keeps the shorts in place.
- Can be worn alone or as a base layer
- Tight-fitting compression gives you streamlined motion
- Four-way stretch fabric further increases range of motion
- Tend to ride up
Skorts are a combination short and skirt. Offering the freest of movement, skorts are lightweight and keep you cool. They usually have a boxer or brief liner under the outer skirt.
Asics Love Skort
The Love Skort is aptly named. It gives you lots of love with its many performance-enhancing features. The skirt’s fabric has a soft suede feel but is a polyester/spandex blend. This creates a skort that is neither too light nor too thin so is suitable for different conditions.
The love skort moves with you, affording you flexibility and range of motion as you run. The shorts are on the loose end of compression and provide ample support without uncomfortable tightness. The gusset is made of CoolMax material for ultimate cool comfort.
- Excellent for distance running
- Performs well in activities like tennis and golf, too
- Hitting slightly below the belly button, the waist is supportive and flattering without being restrictive
- Pleats cause extra movement when running
- Shorts don’t always stay in place
- No ball pocket if using for tennis
Salomon Agile Skort
This skort by Salomon is very lightweight, making it well-suited for warm and hot weather runs. The skirt moves easily with your body, providing flexibility and increased range of motion. The inner shorts provide consistent support.
AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology keeps sweat away from your skin as you train and go the distance. The inner shorts have a mesh lining that enhances cooling air circulation. Material and fabrics of taffeta, stretch jersey, and polyester/elastane combine to give you a skort that stretches and flexes with you.
- Relaxed fit doesn’t bind
- Salomon UPF 50 for sun protection
- Only 1 small zipped side pocket limits what you carry