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The Best Running Shorts for Women in 2022

 

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 chafing, provide free range of movement, and last for 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 reviewed them for you here. Our first choice is the Brooks Chaser 3-inch. They’re light, stylish, and have a wide, comfortable waistband.

But browse through the full list and see if you can find a pair that suits you in both style and functionality.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Brooks Chaser 3″

 

  • Wide, elastic band
  • Doesn’t ride up
  • 2 pockets
Check Price

 

Under Armour HeatGear Mid Rise Shorty

 

  • Added compression
  • 4-way stretch
  • HeatGear fabric
Check Price

 

Rockay Women’s Shorts

 

  • Made with recycled materials
  • Pocket on inner brief
  • Anti-odor technology
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Brooks Chaser 3″

These 3-inch inseam shorts are ideal for warm weather running and come in various colors to match every running outfit.

What We Like

The Chaser is made of Brooks’ DriLayer fabric, a polyester blend designed to keep you cool and comfortable. The outer layer and inner lining wick away sweat, helping you stay dry in summer weather.

The inner lining offers light compression, supporting the muscles underneath it and lowering the chances of chafing as you run.

Moisture-wicking fabric and a semi-fitted style further reduce the risk of friction. The elastic waistband is soft and comfortable, as well as wide enough to not cut into your skin.

Each leg has a small split in the material, which looks stylish and helps you move through your full range of motion comfortably. This can help to improve your performance as you can move comfortably and without restriction.

There’s a handy key loop inside the waistband and a drop-in pocket for small valuables. On the back of the shorts, you’ll find a larger zippered pocket that can easily fit a phone.

The shorts come in various colors and five different sizes to suit every woman.

Why We Like It

The Brooks Chaser 3” shorts are lightweight, allowing for a great range of motion, and have more storage space than you might expect from a small pair of shorts.

What to Consider

These shorts run a bit tight, so if you prefer a looser fit, you may want to size up. Thanks to the elastic waistband, you should still be able to get a good fit.

PROS:

  • Brooks’ DriLayer polyester-blend fabric wicks away moisture, keeping you dry
  • Semi-fitted with a split leg for a full range of motion while running
  • Jersey fabric brief liner provides light compressive comfort and support
  • Drop-in pocket at the waistband and zippered back pocket for storage

CONS:

  • These shorts run small
 

Top Value

2. Under Armour HeatGear Mid Rise Shorty

These shorts are affordable, provide light compression, and come in many shades and sizes.

What We Like

The Under Armour HeatGear fabric on these shorts helps to wick away moisture and dries quickly again, keeping you feeling dry and cool throughout your run.

Its 4-way stretch nature means these shorts feel comfortable when you’re wearing them, like a second skin; you can move freely without being hindered by this material.

The light compression adds a touch of support to the muscles and stops chafing. Flatlock seams also help lower the friction chance so you can run at your best.

With a wide, flat waistband, these shorts are made to hug your body and sit comfortably at a mid-rise waist level.

Why We Like It

These shorts do their job well and are quite affordable. They’re especially excellent for summer weather.

What to Consider

These shorts run a little small. According to multiple reviewers, they are supposed to be a tight fit, but they seem to run short in leg length.

There are also no pockets in these shorts, although, with their skin-tight fit, it may be hard to fit anything comfortably into a pocket anyway.

PROS:

  • Compression provides added support and comfort
  • 4-way stretch construction provides unhindered movement
  • HeatGear fabric is designed to keep you cool and dry
  • Flatlock seams minimize chafing and keep you comfortable

CONS:

  • There aren’t any pockets in these shorts
  • They run a bit small, even though they’re supposed to be tight
 

Best Eco-Friendly

3. Rockay 2-in-1 Shorts

Rockay makes amazing products that are good for the environment and good for your running performance too!

What We Like

These shorts are a great option if you’re trying to be more eco-friendly. The outer layer is made entirely from recycled polyester, and the inner layer consists of 80% recycled polyester.

The 2-layer construction is well-ventilated thanks to a subtle split-leg design. Closest to your skin, you’ll find a layer of compressive material, giving you some support and light comfort in its compression.

Also, in this layer, you’ll find two “stealth pockets” big enough to fit a phone. This is handy as you can carry valuables close to you without looking like you have full pockets.

The outer layer is thin and breezy. The waistband is wide and soft and includes a drawcord to help you get a good fit around your waist.

Both layers include Polygiene anti-odor technology, which offers the dual purpose of wicking moisture away from your skin and helps the fabric to dry quickly.

One of the most interesting features about Rockay shorts is that they’re designed not to be washed after every use. You can leave them to air dry, and they won’t hold scent.

This is part of the company’s bid to be eco-friendly—a way to save water!

Why We Like It

These shorts are comfortable and built to keep you cool and dry; they’re also one of the best choices you can make if you’re environmentally conscious!

What to Consider

These shorts are amazing for the environment, but they come with an elevated price tag.

PROS:

  • Made with 90% recycled materials
  • Handy pockets in the inner layer keep your valuables safe and sound
  • Polygiene anti-odor technology keeps you fresh and odor-free
  • Drawcord waistband allows you to get a custom fit

CONS:

  • These shorts are a little more expensive than others
 

3” Inseam Shorts

3” inseam shorts are the most popular length for women runners. They’ll keep you cool and won’t restrict you while running.

Best Wide Waistband

4. Nike Eclipse 3″ Shorts

If you’re looking for 3-inch shorts that don’t cut into your waist, then the Nike Eclipse shorts are an excellent choice.

What We Like

The Nike Eclipse 3-inch shorts are made for comfort. Soft material with Nike DriFit technology keeps you both cool and comfortable, removing sweat and drying the fabric as quickly as you run.

The Nike Flex material is lightweight, thin, and ultra-flexible. It moves easily with you as you go through your range of motion, and the small split on each side helps you to move freely.

For comfort, these shorts are on top of the pile. As well as their soft and stretchy material that wicks away moisture, they have a soft, wide waistband that disperses pressure to prevent chafing and discomfort.

There’s also a brief-style mesh liner which offers some security and increases the shorts’ ventilation. The outer layer also features small perforations that allow air to flow to your skin.

A sweat-proof pocket at the back allows you to carry small valuables safely, and there’s a small zippered side pocket too.

Why We Like It

These shorts may be minimalist, but the wide waistband disperses pressure evenly. This alleviates hotspots when you run, keeping you more comfortable and pain-free.

What to Consider

These shorts are designed to be close to the skin, but some reviewers mention that they run a little on the small side. This could cause them to ride up when you’re running.

PROS:

  • A wide, soft waistband eliminates chafing and pressure points
  • Nike DriFit technology helps to get rid of sweat as you run
  • Super-stretchy Nike Flex fabric with 50% recycled polyester
  • Brief-style liner with mesh zones for increased ventilation

CONS:

  • They run a little small and may ride up
 

Top Lightweight

5. New Balance Accelerate 2.5″ Shorts

These shorts are short, but that’s one thing that makes them so lightweight. You’ll hardly feel them at all while you’re running.

What We Like

The New Balance Accelerate 2.5-inch shorts are perfect for summer weather. They have an athletic fit and are loose around the legs, allowing ventilation and comfort, while the NB Dry material wicks away any moisture that forms.

The material is eco-friendly, featuring recycled materials. They meet New Balance’s Green Leaf Standard, proving that they’re more environmentally friendly than many other options.

The shorts also fit in a small pocket on the waistband, where you can easily store a key or credit card.

Why We Like It

These shorts are stylish, flexible, and very lightweight. You’ll hardly feel them when running, and we like that they also meet New Balance’s Green Leaf Standard.

What to Consider

These shorts are designed with a snug waistband and less fitted legs. This creates a fit that some people may feel is uncomfortable, as the legs can feel too loose or the waist can feel too tight.

PROS:

  • Athletic fit for a comfortable feeling and a great range of motion
  • NB Dry pulls moisture from the skin to keep you from getting damp
  • The environmentally-friendly design uses recycled materials
  • The small pocket in the lining allows you to keep valuables close

CONS:

  • The loose-leg design may feel too big for some people
 

5” Inseam Shorts

5” inseam shorts are a more modest length if you want the freedom of movement a 3″ inch length provides but want a little more coverage.

Best Lightweight

6. New Balance Accelerate 5” Shorts

If mid-length shorts are more your thing, we recommend the New Balance Accelerate pair. They’re the same design as the shorter pairs above, but with some extra length.

What We Like

These shorts have a great length and a flattering fit. The wide, elasticated waistband helps to spread the pressure across a wider surface area, reducing chafing and tightness.

A slightly looser fit around the legs allows for excellent ventilation, helped by the small split at the side seams. If you sweat, the natural ventilation plus NB Dry technology will quickly eliminate the moisture and keep you dry.

The shorts also feature three pockets, two on the sides and one on the waistband. They’re perfect for carrying a key, phone, or an energy gel or chew.

Even though they’re longer than the previous 2.5-inch version of these shorts, they’re lightweight and comfortable to run or relax in.

Why We Like It

These shorts are the perfect length, lightweight enough to be comfortable, and have usable pockets. Everything you need!

What to Consider

While not everybody will want a liner in their shorts, the absence of one here may be a deal-breaker for some. It does change the feeling of the shorts slightly, although they still have a flattering cut.

PROS:

  • Mid-thigh length and split seam make these shorts comfortable and flattering
  • A wide, elasticated waistband disperses pressure and moves easily with you
  • Moisture-wicking fabric makes these shorts cool and dry on every run
  • Three pockets give you plenty of space to carry what you need

CONS:

  • There is not a liner in these shorts
 

Top Seamless Design

7. Brooks Chaser 5” Shorts

The unique seamless design of these shorts significantly reduces chafing and makes them extremely comfortable.

What We Like

A similar but longer version of our top product, the Chaser shorts are comfortable and effective at keeping you moving freely while running.

These shorts are virtually seamless, increasing their comfort and reducing the chances of chafing or rubbing.

We particularly like the angled hem for a prettier fit, the comfortable high waistband with adjustable drawstring, and the rear vent for improved breathability.

With three pockets—a large back pocket, two waistband drop-in pockets, and a key cord—you’ll have plenty of space to carry what you need with you on the run.

Why We Like It

The seamless design of these shorts reduces chafing and helps you stay streamlined! Ladies who prefer a slightly longer pair of shorts will also appreciate the 5-inch length.

What to Consider

The back pocket is designed to hold a phone, but some larger phones may be too big and too heavy for it to hold. Even if they do hold it, it’s likely to be uncomfortable.

PROS:

  • Vented design, angled hem, and seamless construction skyrocket comfort
  • High-waisted design with a drawstring for a better fit around the waist
  • Multiple pockets plus a key bungee cord for convenient carrying
  • Rear vent for extra breathability so you can stay cooler for longer

CONS:

  • The back pocket may not hold larger phones
 

Best With Pockets

8. KORSA High Five Pocket 5″ Short 2.0

If you need pockets, we recommend the KORSA High Five shorts. They feature three handy, closable pockets that offer more than enough room for valuables.

What We Like

These shorts feature three pockets for you to use. The two side pockets are zippered, so you can easily carry anything you need without worrying about losing it on your run.

There’s also a back pocket on the right-hand side, which uses a Velcro closure. It’s a great spot to store an energy gel or some tissues—something that fits nicely and has a low chance of falling out.

The 4-way stretch material is constructed in a relaxed fit, which allows you to get the best possible range of motion while feeling comfortable with the fit of the shorts.

To get the best fit around your waist, an internal drawcord can be adjusted. The waistband is wide and soft, so there should be no worry about chafing.

There’s also an integrated liner that’s designed to be moisture-wicking and antimicrobial, keeping you fresher for longer on the road or trail.

Why We Like It

The pockets are easy to access, and unlike most pairs of shorts, the side pockets have zippers that help to keep your valuables safe as you’re running.

What to Consider

The manufacturer recommends only machine washing these shorts in cold water and with items of similar colors. It’s possible that the colors may run; it may be a little inconvenient for some to have to wash their shorts separately from their normal laundry.

PROS:

  • Two zippered side pockets and a Velcro back pocket for storage
  • Antimicrobial, moisture-wicking brief liner for comfort and freshness
  • 4-way stretch fabric with a relaxed fit allows you the greatest range of motion
  • Internal drawcord on the waistband helps you to get a secure fit

CONS:

  • These shorts can only be machine washed with cold water
 

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 confining to some runners.

Best Overall Long Shorts

9. Brooks Chaser 7” Shorts

Looking for shorts with the best coverage of the legs? These 7-inch Chaser shorts from Brooks are our first choice.

What We Like

These are the longer version of our favorite Brooks shorts, with 7-inch inseams. They come down to about mid-thigh, providing extra coverage for ladies who may not like very short shorts.

Their longer length also yields more pockets than their shorter counterparts. Whatever you need to take with you, you should be able to fit in these shorts.

They have 5 pockets in total—one on either side, two in the waistband, and one in the middle back with a zipper that is suitable for a phone.

On the back, you’ll find uniquely-designed vents, which increase the breathability of the shorts.

Underneath the top layer, there’s a moisture-wicking brief. This makes the shorts more comfortable by giving them a tighter feel while they have a loose look. It also stops any riding up that could cause discomfort.

Why We Like It

These shorts have ample storage space and a comfortable, extra-coverage design with 7-inch legs.

What to Consider

According to multiple reviewers, these shorts seem to run a little tight around the butt and thighs. If you like a looser fit, you may have to size up, although that could throw off the waistband sizing a little.

PROS:

  • Constructed from recycled material made from plastic bottles
  • A total of 5 pockets provide all the space you need to carry items with you
  • Sweat-wicking brief liner prevents riding up and keeps you comfortable
  • Back vents increase airflow, keeping you cooler for longer

CONS:

  • They run a little tight
 

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.

Best Overall 2-In-1

10. New Balance Impact Run 2-in-1

These dual-layer shorts over improved coverage as well as light compressive benefits for your run. They look good too!

What We Like

These shorts are made of polyester material, which is soft and highly comfortable. The outer layer is thin and less fitted, but the inner brief-like layer is skin-tight and offers some light compression.

This increases the shorts’ comfort and keeps them from riding up. You can find these shorts in a few colors, some of which feature two colors—one for each layer.

An unusual feature of these shorts is the “storage tunnel” at the back middle. This is handy if you often find yourself shedding your jacket or a base layer when you warm up during a run and have nowhere to store it. Simply slide it in.

Aside from that, there’s a drop-in pocket on the inner lining where you can store something small safely.

NB Dry technology helps to keep moisture away from your skin and prevent sweat from soaking you as you run.

Why We Like It

If you like the 2-in-1 style, these shorts are our top pick. They’re soft, comfortably compressive, and have extra storage space. They’re also available in six different sizes, so there’s something for every woman.

What to Consider

These shorts only come in one length. If you like this style but aren’t comfortable with the length, you may have to find another pair of shorts.

PROS:

  • Soft, polyester material provides a high level of comfort
  • Inner fitted compression shorts offer extra coverage and comfort
  • Storage tunnel for carrying larger items like a jacket once removed
  • Drop-in pocket on the inner shorts

CONS:

  • Come in one length
 

Top Value 2-In-1

11. Under Armour UA Play Up 2-in-1

These 2-in-1 shorts come at an attractive price point and do the job they need to do. They’re also available in multiple exciting colors!

What We Like

The Under Armour UA Play Up 2-in-1 shorts are made of lightweight, airy knit mesh. They’re light and have a helpful anti-pill finish that increases their durability, which is an excellent feature to see on an affordable pair of shorts.

Built-in compression shorts made of the same material are soft against the skin and provide light support and increased coverage.

There’s a small mesh panel on either side at the seam of the shorts, which allows more air in so you can stay cooler.

The shorts also have “hidden” pockets on either side, although they’re best for hands and nutrition, as they aren’t zippered, so valuables could fall out.

Why We Like It

These shorts are affordable, come in great colors, and do everything other shorts do. They’re well worth a buy if you’re happy with the length!

What to Consider

The shorts are quite loose, and the pockets are zippered, so there’s a chance that items may fall out of your pocket when you’re running. Be careful!

PROS:

  • Lightweight knit fabric is soft and dries quickly
  • Anti-pill finish enhances their durability
  • Built-in compression shorts increase the coverage
  • Pockets on either side for some storage

CONS:

  • Valuables might not stay in the pockets
 

Short Tights

Short tights are another good option for female runners. These aren’t full compression shorts, but a snug fit allows for freedom of movement.

Best Overall Short Tights

12. Brooks Method 8″ Short Tight

Do you prefer tights over loose shorts? These short tights are the perfect pair for running and other activities.

What We Like

These compressive tights have a sleek and modern fit. The stretchy, supportive fabric supports all the areas that need it without restricting your range of motion.

You can still run and exercise comfortably in these tights. A wide waistband provides support around the waist without causing pressure or pain. They also come in six different sizes so every woman can find what’s right for her.

Three pockets and a handy key loop meaning you can carry your house key safely, slide your phone into the back pocket or take along an energy gel or protein bar.

Why We Like It

These tights are high-quality and allow a full range of motion while providing light support around the hips, thighs, and tummy. We like the color variations as well.

What to Consider

Due to these shorts’ compressive nature and lack of breathability, they may not be the best choice for use in hot weather. They do wick away moisture but only to an extent and may not handle high heat levels.

PROS:

  • Modern fit and supportive fabric keep you comfortable while allowing you a full range of motion
  • A wide waistband provides a secure fit without creating pressure points
  • Three pockets and a key loop for multiple storage options
  • Available in six different sizes to suit every woman

CONS:

  • They tend to run warm in hot weather
 

Skorts

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.

Best Overall Skort

13. KORSA Proven 4-Pocket Skort

Do you like the look of a skirt? Running in skorts could be your happy medium—looking stylish but still practical.

What We Like

The KORSA Proven 4-Pocket Skort is our top choice for those who would love to run in a skirt but need the support that a regular skirt doesn’t give.

This skort has a soft, woven skirt on the outer layer and inner knit shorts for coverage and support. You can run with the look of a skirt but get all the support of shorts.

4-way stretch material provides all the freedom you need to move. It’s also anti-static, so there should be no friction between the skirt and the shorts.

The inner brief is made of moisture-wicking material to keep you as dry as possible. It’s also infused with antimicrobial technology so there’s little chance of it developing an odor, even if you do sweat quite a bit.

You have 4 pockets in total that you can stash goods in during your run.

Why We Like It

This skort looks good and feels good. It provides the right balance of freedom of movement and stylish fashion.

What to Consider

Currently, this skort is only available in black. Multiple users have mentioned that they would love more color options, but you’re stuck with just the one right now!

PROS:

  • Inner shorts provide coverage and support so you can run freely
  • Total of 4 pockets for all the storage space you need
  • 4-way stretch material is sleek and moves with you while preventing static
  • Antimicrobial features to keep you fresh at all times

CONS:

  • Only available in black
 

Top Value Skort

14. ASICS Match Skort

This skort is pretty and affordable. If you’re looking for a skort instead of regular shorts, we recommend this one if you want something flowing and budget-friendly.

What We Like

While the previous pair of skorts is sleek and sporty, this one has a prettier, more casual look. It’s versatile enough to be worn on the road, on the trail, on the court, or even when going out for a casual walk or shopping trip.

The soft polyester feels good on the skin and dries quickly, so you can wear this in hot weather with no problem.

Although it comes in five sizes, there’s a drawcord in the elastic waistband for an even better fit. The band itself is wide, soft, and shouldn’t chafe or hurt.

These skorts are also made from recycled materials, so you can look good and feel good about playing a role in saving the planet when you wear them.

Why We Like It

These skorts are pretty and look just as good on the road, trail, tennis court, or out for a casual day. They’re affordable and easy to wear!

What to Consider

The inner shorts don’t have a gripper strip, so they may roll up during vigorous activity. However, this won’t happen for everyone.

PROS:

  • Soft, quick-drying polyester fabric feels great to wear
  • The comfortable waistband features a drawcord if you need to tighten it more
  • Designed with recycled materials to be eco-friendly
  • The versatile design can be used for running, other sports, and casual wear

CONS:

  • The inner shorts may roll up during activity
 

Buyer’s Guide – Women’s Running Shorts

Length

Short (3-inch or less)

These are the shortest shorts you’ll find. They provide excellent ventilation and are handy for wearing in the summer heat. They’re also usually lightweight and don’t restrict your movement.

Medium (5-inch)

These are the happy medium. They aren’t too short, so you won’t feel uncomfortable if you aren’t used to this length but they’re also not so long that they feel like they’re in your way when you run.

Long (7-inch)

If you prefer long shorts, then 7-inch shorts provide the fullest coverage of the legs. They’re also a great choice for cold-weather running if you don’t like tights or long pants. They also often have pockets, so they’re great if you want to carry items with you.

Style

Split Shorts

Split shorts are usually loose-fitting and have a cut-out on each leg. This allows for a greater range of motion, as well as improved ventilation.

2-in-1 Shorts

These shorts come with a compression liner. You can often see the compression shorts sticking out of the loose outer layer. They’re excellent to prevent chafing and provide some extra support, but they can run warm.

Fabric

The shorts you choose should be made of moisture-wicking material. Nylon, polyester, spandex, and lycra are common choices. These help to wick away sweat and keep you cool and dry.

Underwear/Liner

A lining offers added support and comfort, as well as preventing chafing. Some runners will be comfortable running with lined shorts, while others won’t be. It’s a personal preference.

Pockets

If you wish to carry nutrition or important items with you, you can use a running belt. But choosing a pair of shorts with pockets provides you with handy built-in storage.

Most pairs of running shorts for women feature a small key pocket on the waistband. Some also have a larger, zippered pocket in the middle of the back waistband.

If you want more pockets, you should choose a 7-inch pair of shorts, as they generally have deeper and more secure pockets.

Visibility

Choose a pair of running shoes with reflective detailing if you often run at night or in the early hours of dusk or dawn. This will make you more visible to motorists and help you to stay safer on the road.

FAQs

Why Do Women’s Running Shorts Have Liners?

Liners can help to provide a subtle layer of support to the muscles, as well as wicking away moisture. They help to keep women dry, cool, and comfortable thanks to their temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, and anti-chafe properties.

What Do Women Runners Wear Under Their Running Shorts?

It depends on what they’re comfortable with. Some women don’t wear anything under their shorts, which is usually easier with lined shorts. Otherwise, they can wear their regular underwear if they wish to.

What to Avoid in Running Shorts

Always avoid a pair of running shorts made from cotton. Cotton retains moisture and heat, so there’s a high chance of you being left overheated and wet during your run.

Why Do Runners Wear Compression Shorts?

Compression shorts offer support to the muscles, increase your level of comfort, improve circulation for better muscle function, and help to reduce the chance of chafing.

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
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