The Best Running Shorts In 2021 [For Men & Women]

David Welch
Written by
Last update:

What makes a great pair of running shorts? They should feel like second skin, fit comfortably and be able to wick sweat away.

They should be flexible yet supportive and allow for maximum breathability.

They should be able to withstand the toughest of workouts.

The material should be light enough that you barely notice you’re wearing them, but thick enough that they can protect you from chafing.

And they should be able to last a good amount of time before they start to fade in color and fall apart.

Here are the best running shorts in 2021 for men and women, plus tips on how to choose the right pair for your workouts.

NameCategoryProduct
Under Armour Men's HeatGear Sonic Compression ShortBest OverallUnder Armour Men's HeatGear Sonic Compression Short
Nike Women's Dri-fit Tempo Track 3.5 ShortBudget PickNike Women's Dri-fit Tempo Track 3.5 Short
Brooks Chaser 5 Inch Women's Running ShortsUpgrade PickBrooks Chaser 5 Inch Women's Running Shorts

1. Under Armour Men's HeatGear Sonic Compression Short

Our rating: 9 / 10

Under Armour Men's HeatGear Sonic Compression Short

Check Price on Amazon

Under Armour are a brand that many people think of when they are asked about athletic apparel. They were founded in 1996 and quickly became the single biggest supplier of sports apparel in the world. Their top-selling products include their ArmourBite shoes and SpeedForm shoes.

As an American company, their customers can also identify as being patriotic, as 90% of their products are made in America. They have a reputation for being a leader in the development of new moisture wicking technology and they continue to be one of the ‘go-to’ brands in the running world today.

There has been a lot of attention to detail put into creating these shorts. The mesh material provides maximum breathability and you will find that the extra-long draw cord is a great feature, helping to ensure you have the control you need to make sure that the shorts stay in place.

2. Nike Men's Pro Combat Core Compression Six-Inch Short 2.0

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nike Men's Pro Combat Core Compression Six-Inch Short 2.0

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • ergonomic fit
  • Unique soft and comfortable feel
  • Great looking shorts
  • Casual or work style pant
  • Excellent for training and competition
  • Excellent for everyday wear

These shorts are designed to fit the contours of your body properly. They also provide great comfort thanks to the compression fabric used in the making. The style is a casual one and so it can be worn at work or while recreationing. You can also wear this while playing tennis, playing golf, skiing, or jogging. The material is made from 100% polyester.

The waistband in the front is made of a soft fabric that is elastic. It does not ride up. Apart from being fashionable, the removable cup inserts add to the uniqueness of these compression shorts. There is also an internal drawstring but it can be removed.

The internal leg gusset makes room for the groin and offers greater freedom of movement when you exercise. This also helps in reducing the risk of chafing that occurs when you exercise vigorously.

3. Under Armour Women's Heatgear Armour 3" Shorty

Our rating: 7 / 10

Under Armour Women's Heatgear Armour 3" Shorty

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Seams are flatstitched
  • Highly functional camo print
  • Mesh inserts

Cons:

  • Colors might not last long
  • Not as durable as the regular Heatgear shorts

If you're looking for a running short that I would recommend. I would choose the Under Armour Women's Heatgear Armour 3" Shorty for my top pick. It is very functional compared to other shorts on the market. I really love the mesh inserts and hot camo print. Providing you with a more breathable material compared to other design will help to hike your confidence levels. You will be able to focus on the run instead of trying to figure out why you have an extra leg during the long run.

4. Under Armour Men's Launch sw 5'' Shorts

Our rating: 6 / 10

Under Armour Men's Launch sw 5'' Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Dries fast
  • Moisture wicking fabric
  • Reinforced edges at the seams
  • Crisscross drawstring for adjustable fit
  • 3-inch inseam
  • Mesh pockets
  • Bias-cut waistband for more comfort

Cons:

  • Not a lot of color selections: Black, grey/black, and grey/neon green are your color choices

The Under Armour Men’s Launch Short is a great looking pair of running shorts. With a lightweight and highly durable nylon/polyester composition that will wick moisture away, these shorts will be able to keep you at the right temperature.

The built in elastic waistband will ensure comfort, no matter how long you are wearing these shorts. A specialized moisture management layer will help wick moisture out of your body. The UPF 30 rated fabric will protect your skin from harmful Ultraviolet rays.

The high performance chamois pad will give you maximum comfort while it wicks moisture away from your body. This makes these shorts the one to have for those hot summer days.

5. Salomon Fast Wing TW Trail Running Shorts

Our rating: 6 / 10

Salomon Fast Wing TW Trail Running Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Dynamic Fit
  • Soft and Breathable
  • Antimicrobial and Quick-Drying
  • Nice Pockets for Keys or ID
  • Allows Greater Range of Motion When Running
  • Great Looks for Men and Women
  • And the Perfect Length!

Great running shorts for men and women! I have not tried on a better fit. The price is comparable to other running shorts, but these are worth paying more for.

The build quality is fantastic. They are hands-down the most comfortable shorts I have ever exercised in. They are lightweight, but they really don't feel like they are.

They have pockets that fit my iphone 6 with no problem, and the side pockets are accommodating to both a key and personal identification card. They also have a little pocket on the outside of each leg (one on the right leg, one on the left) that's big enough to hold a gel or some money.

6. Brooks Men's Sherpa 2-in-1 7" Short

Our rating: 6 / 10

Brooks Men's Sherpa 2-in-1 7" Short

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Well-built
  • Noisy for some customers
  • Issues regarding size
  • Comfortable
  • Not as comfortable for larger men
  • Inconsistent sizing

The Brooks Men's Sherpa 2 in 1 is a running short to offer many people a great pair to enjoy.

This pair is offered in men's sizes medium through extra large, and in black only.

These shorts are made from polyester with a cotton liner and are able to stand up to the rigors of the average runner.

7. Brooks Chaser 5 Inch Women's Running Shorts

Our rating: 6 / 10

Brooks Chaser 5 Inch Women's Running Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Great fit
  • Athletic and fashionable
  • Made of high-quality materials
  • Some styles come in pick colors and prints
  • Amy loved these running shorts and could barely feel the short on her skin
  • Material is very soft
  • Legs were tight which was a good thing
  • A variety of sizes to choose from
  • Shorts were very comfy!

8. Nike 589364 Women's 3" Pro Core Compression Shorts

Our rating: 6 / 10

Nike 589364 Women's 3" Pro Core Compression Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Made from soft fabric
  • Helps to provide thermal protection
  • Multiaxial compression for support and comfort
  • Great design, both stylish and functional
  • Affordable price

The Nike Women’s 3” Pro Core Short is designed with elongated seams and full length interior taping to promote airflow and moisture management.

Its ergonomic design is focused on preventing chafing during extended periods of wear.

The flat-seam construction also aides in comfort and fit.

9. Nike Women's Dri-fit Tempo Track 3.5 Short

Our rating: 6 / 10

Nike Women's Dri-fit Tempo Track 3.5 Short

Check Price on Amazon

The Nike Women’s Tempo short is made in a polyester and spandex blend. The Nike Tempo shorts are made with Dri-FIT technology that won’t stick to you, which is great for long distance runs.

This short has 4 different pockets to safely store your small belongings, such as your keys, tissues, energy gels or probably your phone, if you can fit it. Its waist band is also flexible and comfortable.

This short also features a mesh lining that wicks moisture from your skin to the outside of the short, where it evaporates quickly.

10. Brooks Women's Chaser 7" Short

Our rating: 4 / 10

Brooks Women's Chaser 7" Short

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great for running and training
  • Air mesh fabric to keep you cool and dry and fabric is very soft
  • Ultra-stretchy materials
  • Waistband has a flat seam to prevent rubbing
  • 7 inch inseam
  • Seamless chafe-free flatlock seam technology
  • Moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry

11. 2XU Men's G2 Pace Shorts

Our rating: 4 / 10

2XU Men's G2 Pace Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • * Supportive Small to Medium Fit

2XU has a newer version of this product: 2XU Men's G2 Pace Shorts with Compression 2XU 2XU has a newer version of this product:

2XU has a newer version of this product: 2XU Men's G2 Pace Shorts with Compression If you want a superb pair of shorts for running, this is the one. These 2XU running shorts are made from a 2XU’s Performance Compression fabric with Gradient Compression”, they also include the 2XU’s PB (Primary Body)” technology.

If you’re not familiar with the PB (Primary Body)” technology, it is a form of high-tech performance compression fabric. Besides all the benefits you get from this compression, the fabric is also as it is designed to increase blood flow during an active run so you get more oxygen to your muscles. The PB (Primary Body)” technology has been proven to enable endurance athletes to train harder by over 15% without impacting muscle fatigue.

12. Saucony Men's Throttle Shorts

Our rating: 3 / 10

Saucony Men's Throttle Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Compression panels above the knee
  • Smooth waistband
  • Splash proof material
  • Full length frontal zip
  • Hyperskin inseam

Cons:

  • Don't seem to have enough pockets
  • Fabric is too thin for some

If you've been looking for that elusive mid-length option, then you might want to take a look at a few different options. The Mizuno breathable and light fabric makes this a viable option for a warm weather race or training, and the compression panels above the knee ensure you'll stay comfortable and focused. For an affordable price point style and comfort intersect.

These shorts have become a favourite of many athletes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What shorts to wear for running?

Shorts are an important component of running attire because they help extend your range of motion, and they act as a buffer layer between your skin and the ground. The right pair of shorts can significantly improve your comfort and performance on a run, but finding the best pair is tough.

It’s a good idea to consider the following things when choosing running shorts:

Are running shorts worth it?

Running shorts have several advantages, but one of the biggest is comfort in both warm and cold temperatures. They keep you warm, yet you don’t overheat as much.

Running shorts also add some leg coverage which prevents body part rubbing and chafing from long-term wear. They also offer some UV protection.

Running shorts can be bulky for some people, though, and they offer less room for carrying things than regular pants. Also, they’re usually made of thick material which can take a long time to dry and they may not be suitable for cold weather.

Can guys wear women's running shorts?

There are a few important differences between men’s and women’s running shorts. If you are looking to wear running shorts but don’t know the difference and just pick up whichever set looks the best to you, you’re going to find that the design is simply not going to work as well and you’re going to have a less comfortable experience.

Men should avoid buying women’s running shorts and women should avoid buying men’s running shorts.

Here are some of the main differences:

Men’s shorts tend to be shorter and more variety is available in this style. They are also stiffer and less tapered.

Why do men's running shorts have liners?

There are two key reasons why you don’t want to wear just shorts when you’re running outdoors. First, chafing. If you’re going to be out for an extended amount of time and exposed to the elements and sweating, you’re going to want the comfort and protection of a good pair of trousers. With a liner, you also avoid the wear and tear of that rough material of running shorts rubbing against your skin. These also offer more air flow and wick moisture away from your crotch.

Second, security. Most running shorts have an open design, making them easy to grab or expose. If you’re running in a neighborhood or a park and you see a kid you don’t recognize approaching, you may want to consider keeping on your pants. That way, you can just keep going!

Conclusion

As you can see, the best running shorts for men are clearly divided into two groups – one for training and one for racing, but for women, the options are very different. This raises the question of whether the distinctions made by men’s running shorts are also applicable to women. We believe there are many similarities. However, in most cases, there is no best running short for women. They are all excellent, and each of them offers different advantages and disadvantages. As a result, women need to determine what they really want and look for the best running shorts that can deliver what they need.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Under Armour Men's HeatGear Sonic Compression ShortBest OverallUnder Armour Men's HeatGear Sonic Compression Short
Nike Women's Dri-fit Tempo Track 3.5 ShortBudget PickNike Women's Dri-fit Tempo Track 3.5 Short
Brooks Chaser 5 Inch Women's Running ShortsUpgrade PickBrooks Chaser 5 Inch Women's Running Shorts