Running shorts don’t have to be boring. If you choose the right ones, they’ll replace running belts and waist packs with plenty of storage for long runs!
While they need to be lightweight, comfortable, and allow for plenty of movement, another important factor is pockets. Choosing the best women’s running shorts with pockets gives you the whole package, and you won’t have to leave the phone or energy gels at home.
Our top product is the Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts, as they’re suitable for any type of running or hiking, have a moisture-wicking antimicrobial liner, and a center-zipped pocket for safekeeping of personal items.
We’ve also found many other styles and brands at different price points to choose from. Read on to see our top picks…
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts
Nike Tempo Luxe 2-in-1 Shorts
New Balance Impact Run Shorts
1. Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts
Patagonia Nine Trails shorts are breathable and lightweight with nice pockets. They can be adapted to any situation.
They’re made from a blend of polyester and spandex, with a wide waistband for comfort and a slight scoop out of each leg for increased airflow.
A built-in antimicrobial liner wicks away moisture and has Polygiene odor control so you’ll stay as fresh as possible. They feature a DWR finish, which helps mud, water, dirt, and other debris slide right off.
The center pocket is perfect for storing keys, cards, IDs, or supplements. You can customize the fit with the elastic waistband and drawcord, which keeps the pocket as safe as possible, too. There’s another zipped hip pocket for extra space.
These shorts come in a few different colors, patterns, and designs.
- Zippered hip pocket & center front pocket
- Polygiene permanent odor control
- Elastic, drawstring closure
- DWR finish
- Some people may find the low-rise cut falls down easily if it’s not over the hip
Top 2-in-1 Shorts
2. Nike Tempo Luxe 2-in-1 Shorts
Whether you’re on the road or the trail, these shorts will be a comfortable companion.
They’re made of lightweight, stretchy material that feels good against the skin and features an inner brief that adds an extra layer of support.
Luxe shorts have a hybrid waistband with smooth elastic on the inside to prevent chafing and discomfort, and pleats on the outside for a bit of texture. Fit it to your waist with the drawcord, so it’s as you like it.
There’s a handy internal drop-in pocket for very small items, and a back zipper pocket to store a phone or money. The nice thing is that the pocket has a vapor barrier, so your possessions will be safe from sweat, splashes, and rain.
The Nike Flex fabric and DriFit technology keep you comfortable and won’t chafe or rub. This allows you to stay focused on your run and not worry about anything else.
- Dri-FIT technology
- Hybrid waistband
- Nike Flex fabric
- Internal drop-in pocket
- The shorts can run big and you may want to order a size smaller
Most Comfortable Design
3. New Balance Impact Run Shorts
If comfort is important, then these shorts may be best for you. The fabric is 86% polyester and 14% spandex, creating a soft material that will be comfortable on the skin and prevent chafing and discomfort.
One of the things that makes these shorts very comfortable is the unusually large waistband. It distributes pressure over a greater area so you hardly feel it around your waist, unlike others that are narrower.
Although the waistband fits snugly and can be adjusted with the drawcord, the rest of the shorts are quite a loose fit, so they won’t be annoying or uncomfortable. But they also aren’t so loose that they have extra material flying while you run. It does conform to the shape of your body, so they look as good as they feel.
A mesh underwear liner adds extra support and doesn’t ride up when you move. NB DRY technology also helps get rid of moisture quickly and keeps you even more comfortable on the road or trail. You’ll find two small, drop-in waistband pockets for little items to stay safe. There’s also a larger zipper pocket at the back that can hold bigger items securely.
That large waistband isn’t for everyone. Some online reviewers have found that it’s too large and sits too high on their waist to be comfortable.
- 2 drop-in waistband pockets
- NB DRY technology
- Conforms to the shape of your body
- Contour knit waistband
- Some may find the high waistband to fit too snugly
Top Sustainable Design
4. Nike Eclipse Shorts
The Eclipse shorts from Nike are made to be sustainable. They are manufactured from recycled materials and contain at least 50% recycled polyester that comes from plastic bottles.
It may sound like a pair of shorts made from plastic would be uncomfortable and hard, but these shorts are surprisingly soft and breathable (in fact, many synthetics are technically forms of plastic).
The design is very feminine, with an outer shell consisting of less material than the average pair of shorts, and a stretchy inner that provides support and extra coverage. The fabric stretches with your body as you move, and the high, split hem allows for a greater range of motion.
If you are conscious of sustainability, these shorts would be a good pair to buy. Nike has been focusing more on sustainability in the last few years, and this recycled, less-fabric pair of shorts is proof of their efforts.
They’re breathable and include mesh sections on the inner to increase airflow. The front panels of the outer shell are also perforated to allow better circulation of air. In additional to staying cool, a wide non-chafing waistband and drawcord let you set the size to what’s comfortable for you.
Place your phone and other valuables in the waterproof, zipper pocket at the center back to keep them safe on your run.
- Perforated front panels
- Zippered back pocket
- Nike Dri-FIT technology
- Wide, knit elastic waistband
- Some phones may be too big to fit in the zippered back pocket
Best Brooks Shorts
5. Brooks Rep 3″ 2-in-1 Short
If you’re a fan of Brooks running shoes, you may love these running shorts as well.
The combination of semi-fitted cut and soft fabric helps to prevent the shorts from riding up or irritating and chafing the skin.
The DriLayer fabric helps to draw moisture away from your skin and dry quickly so that you can have a comfortable run. The mesh inner is breathable and you’ll find that it keeps you cool but it may not stay in place for the entire run.
You can take your phone with you as there’s a decent-sized pocket on the right thigh. The pocket is big enough to hold your phone firmly and you won’t have to worry about it bouncing off your thigh as you run. Stash your car keys or cards in the smaller pocket hidden inside the waistband.
The waistband is ribbed elastic, and doesn’t have a drawstring to adjust the fit. So make sure you order the right size.
- Semi-fitted cut
- DriLayer fabric
- Hidden pocket
- Reflective logo
- Some women find that the liner doesn’t stay in place when they run
Top Shorts with Water Bottles
6. Ultimate Direction Hydro Short
These shorts are a great addition to your closet if you’re a long-distance runner or hiker.
The waist is a belt-style and it holds two built-in 300ml bottles so you can take extra water with you. The bottles have an ergonomic design with a tilted cap so that they don’t distract you or irritate the skin while you run or hike. However, some people may experience chafing around the waist.
The hex-mesh holds the bottles in place so you have a bounce-free run. The waistband has a hidden waist adjuster and the 2-way stretch fabric provides support and stability as you move.
There’s a back pocket that’s wide and deep enough to carry an iPhone and another small item such as a protein bar.
The soft nylon and stretch woven fabric helps to keep you cool as it draws moisture away from your skin and drys quickly. The material lets you move freely and without chafing.
- Built-in, bounce-free bottle pockets
- 2-way stretch knit
- Hidden waist adjuster
- Easy access hydration
- Some people may find that they experience chaffing around the waist
Top 360 Degree Pocket
7. Salomon Sense Shorts
If you run every day, then you may want to add these shorts to your running kit.
Salomon’s Sense shorts have been made use of 37.5 technology, which helps the fabric dry quickly and reduce odors naturally. The fabric helps to maintain your body’s “microclimate” and maintain the best level of humidity.
These shorts use natural material that dries up to five times faster so that you have a cool, comfortable run without irritating your skin.
The elastic waistband has a 360° mesh pocket where you can keep your phone, keys, gels, and other essentials. It also has a smaller zipped back pocket that you can use to keep your cards.
The fabric is a 4-way stretch and you’ll find that it moves with you in any direction. This is great for hiking or running trails when you may need a bit more stretch. The mesh inner allows for breathability and you’ll find it stays in place while you’re active.
The waistband doesn’t have a drawstring for you to adjust the fit, so you’d need to make sure that you order the right size for you. This will ensure that you have a comfortable and secure fit.
Make sure that you buy the right size; there’s no drawstring or adjustable waist to create a snug fit
- Made with 37.5 fabric
- 360°elastic waistband with all-round mesh pocket for your essentials
- 1 zipped back pocket
- 4 Way stretch
- You would need to make sure that you buy the right size as there’s no drawstring or adjustable waist to create a snug fit
Best Shorts with Inner Pocket
8. Adidas Supernova Glide Shorts
These regular-fit shorts give you a semi-fitted feel as they fit the shape of your body.
Made from climalite fabric, these shorts let you run fast and at your full stride without restricting your movement. The material also wicks moisture away, leaving you dry so you can run for longer.
The built-in briefs are made from mesh. They provide additional ventilation to keep you cool and prevent the material from sticking to or irritating your skin. The waistband has a convenient inner slit pocket where you can keep your key.
There’s also a back zippered pocket with sweat-guard where you can keep your cards or gels while you run.
The elastic waist has a drawcord so you can adjust the shorts for comfort and a secure fit. Some may find the 2-inch inseam to be too short or revealing. Others like the freedom of movement the shorter fit provides. Reflective detail makes you visible in low-light conditions
- Climalite fabric
- Back sweat-guard zip pocket
- Drawcord elastic waist
- Reflective details
- Some may find the length of the shorts to be too short for comfort
Top Front Pocket Shorts
9. Under Armour Qualifier Speedpocket Shorts
If you have a plus-size phone that you have to leave at home when you run, then these may be the shorts for you.
The wide knit waistband has an expandable sweat- and water-resistant pocket. The material has a slight stretch to it, and this will hold your phone in place without any bouncing while you run.
The shorts are made from 4-way stretch material that lets you move in any direction freely while providing comfort and support.
The fabric lets sweat evaporate quickly, keeping you dry and cool on your run. The anti-odor technology keeps you and the fabric fresh workout after workout.
The shorts have ergonomic flatlock seams, and the brief is made from a soft mesh that will leave you chafe-free and comfortable. The shorts do run big in size. Consider ordering a size smaller for a comfortable and secure fit.
- Wide knit waistband
- Front Speedpocket and back zip pocket
- Mesh panels
- Ergonomic flatlock seams
- These shorts run big and you may want to order a size smaller
Best Side Pockets Shorts
10. Brooks Chaser 7″ Short
When you’re running, the last thing you want to distract you is shorts that cling. Brooks Chaser 7″ shorts are fitted and designed to be close to your skin, but won’t cling or cause skin irritation.
The petaled hemline prevents them from riding up and adds a feminine touch to the design. There are hidden slits on the side that give you a wider range of motion so you can run unhindered at full stride. The poly stretch fabric allows the material to move with you and doesn’t restrict your range of motion.
The mesh brief allows for better air circulation and helps to keep you cool without chafing or irritating the skin. However, some people may find the mesh brief to be a bit small, and it may show as a panty line.
The wide elastic band has two pockets that you can use to keep your valuables close to you. The one inner waistband pocket is sweat and water resistant and you have additional pockets on the side of your shorts.
- Front hand pockets
- Made from polystretch fabric
- Wide elastic waistband
- Mesh brief liner
- You may find the inner lining to be a bit small – it may show as panty lines
What length shorts should I buy for running?
When you’re looking to buy running shorts, you may want to consider the type of running you’re going to be using them for.
Women have an especially broad selection of running short lengths. If you like more coverage, you can go for a longer inseam, or knee-length (or longer, but then they’re not really shorts anymore) compression shorts. On the opposite end of the spectrum, plenty of professional racers wear little more than briefs for competition.
Medium length shorts are versatile are will allow you to run the trails just as quickly as you can run on the track. Shorts that are seven inches in length might be more suitable to off-road running as they’ll provide more protection from shrubs. Check out Courtney Dauwalter’s long-short kit choices if you’re iffy on whether top-notch female runners are rocking baggy shorts while dominating. (They are).
Some runners will use longer length shorts when they’re training to help protect them from the harmful rays of the sun or for a bit of added protection on cooler days. It will also come down to personal preference and what you’re comfortable running in.
How many pockets do I need?
Having pockets is great. But you only really need two pockets.
A small hidden pocket, where you can keep a key or two, is a must-have feature. Then look for a pocket that’s big enough to hold your phone and additional small items like your credit card and gel while you run.
Having a bigger pocket that repels sweat and water is always best, as you never know when you may get caught in the rain. Or if you sweat heavily, your know your items are protected.
What materials are running shorts made out of?
Running shorts are made from either synthetic or natural fibers, while the liners are most often made from synthetic fibers.
The technical fabrics that shorts are made from, such as variations of nylon, help to wick moisture away and dry faster. Fabrics that blend in fibers such as Lycra have more stretch to them.
The big benefit of blended synthetics is their breathability. Even if you don’t live where it’s hot and humid, keeping your body dry while running is paramount. It keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The big recent innovation is fabrics that have anti-microbial properties to prevent the growth of bacteria and help to prevent odors.
You may find shorts that have been made from natural materials like cotton. While cotton does stretch and allows for free range of motion, it doesn’t do well with wicking moisture, and chafes like few 0thers.