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These High-Performance Running Shorts Are Built To Go The Distance

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When it comes to running shorts, inferior pairs have a tendency to ride up, slip down, and hold onto sweat. Fortunately, the best running shorts for women are designed to stay comfortably in place, wick moisture, and prevent chafing, so you can stay focused on your run.

One of the first things to look at when making a selection is the fit. To avoid some of the issues listed above, the shorts should stay in place with the help of an elastic waistband, adjustable drawcord, or other similar feature. It's also great to have special stitching, like flat-lock seams, to prevent the fabric from scraping your skin.

Next, look at the material. It should be moisture-wicking and breathable with the ability to dry quickly — that way if you sweat a lot or it starts to rain, you won't spend your entire run damp and sticky. Polyester and nylon are two particularly great materials for this.

Lastly, consider freedom of movement. The fabric makes all the difference in this arena too, so make sure it has something stretchy like spandex, LYCRA, or elastane mixed in. If you opt for form-fitting styles, look for a gusseted crotch seam to maximize your range of motion. Pockets will also help by providing secure storage for your valuables and freeing up your hands.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, check out the best running shorts for women below.

1

A Pair Of Minimalist Under Armour Shorts

What’s great about them: Amazon shoppers are obsessed with these Under Armour shorts, which boast a near-perfect overall rating of 4.8 stars from over 9,000 shoppers. They’re made from a lightweight, sweat-wicking knit fabric, and have a built-in liner as well as an anti-odor treatment. The elastic waistband features a minimalist version of the Under Armour logo, and there are also two roomy side pockets.

What fans say: “I have purchased MANY pairs of athletic shorts over the years. By far, these are my favorite. First, they have pockets that are useful, but very concealed. The way they are made, the pockets lie complete flat against the body and are not the least bit visible. Second, the fabric is lightweight and not scratchy or crunchy like some shorts. Third, the waistband is comfortable and smooth on the inside.The style is super cute, and they are the perfect length as well. Not too long or too short.”

  • Available sizes: XX-Small to 2X

2

A 2-Pack Of Retro Gym Shorts

What’s great about them: These retro-style gym shorts are sold in a pack of two, which means they come out to just $6 per pair — a pretty great deal. They’re made from a super breathable, lightweight blend of cotton and polyester, and they have an elastic waistband and slim-fit design that makes them a great choice for everything from running and lifting to pairing with your favorite street style basics. They’re also pretty popular on Amazon, with an overall 4.5-star rating from over 6,000 shoppers.

What fans say: “I wear these around the house or before bed and they look so good on! I have like 8 pairs that's how much I love these!! I feel great in them, I feel confident and they are pretty comfortable.”

  • Available sizes: Small to 3X-Large

3

Some Shorts That Come In A Ton Of Fun Patterns

What’s great about them: These casual athletic shorts have a wide, comfortable elastic waistband and a built-in liner that won’t ride up for added comfort and coverage. There’s a zippered side pocket that’s big enough to hold your phone, and the split hem gives your legs plenty of room to move. The best part about these shorts though is the fact that they come in so many fun patterns and colors, which makes them easy to style for post-workout brunch or casual wear in addition to running and gym sessions.

What fans say: “I’ve been searching high and low for a breathable pair of shorts that fit my hips, waist, and thighs. These are slightly high waisted, which is amazing, and they’re super lightweight. The liner isn’t tight or pulling the shorts down. The pocket is perfect for my phone, but wouldn’t fit an iPhone plus. The slits on the sides aren’t revealing but they’re perfect for squatting without worrying they’ll ride up or give a show.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small to 3X-Large

4

A Pair Of Anti-Chafe Shorts

What's great about them: If your thighs are prone to chafing when you train, these soft anti-chafe running shorts are just the ticket. They feature a stretchy polyester-spandex blend with a special liner underneath to prevent your skin from rubbing together. The fabric is moisture-wicking, with a soft exterior that dries quickly. The drawcord waistband is comfortable, according to fans, and they have hidden pockets to stash things like cash, keys, or credit cards.

What fans say: "These are the best shorts. I have been searching for a pair for years that cover my thighs to prevent [chafing and] that stay in place and that don’t break the bank. These do all that. The undershort doesn’t ride up at all. They are worth the cost!"

  • Available sizes: X-Small to 3X

5

These Running Shorts With A Smartphone Pocket

What’s great about them: These running shorts have a built-in liner that can help to prevent chafing and ensure extra coverage where you want it, and the liner also has a pocket that can fit most smartphones, which is a huge plus. They’re made from a lightweight, moisture-wicking blend of nylon and elastane that has just the right amount of stretch, and the split hem design of the outer layer provides greater freedom of movement.

What fans say: “I LOVE the phone pocket! It fits my iPhone 11 Pro Max even in its case! It’s a bit on the shorter side, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I run on it and the phone stays put in the pocket [...] I eventually bought 7 pairs.

  • Available sizes: X-Small to X-Large

6

A Pair Of High-Waisted Tie Dye Shorts

What’s great about them: Perfect for anyone who loves a stretchy, high-waisted bike short, these are a great pick for running, yoga, or casual wear. The wide waistband offers light compression, and there are two side pockets big enough to hold a smartphone. These shorts boast an impressive 4,600 perfect five-star ratings on Amazon, and they come in 19 colors and patterns.

What fans say: “I bought these shorts to expand my running wardrobe for the summer months, and I absolutely love them [...] The side pockets are awesome, and I can fit my phone (Pixel 2) with the case with no worries of it falling out. As others have mentioned, the material is really breathable without being see-through. Overall, these are my new favorite running shorts (especially for the price!) and I would definitely buy them again.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small to X-Large

7

A Skort That’s Great For Running And Jogging

What's great about them: Offering the ultimate freedom of movement combined with extra style, this women's running skort is a great option for your training sessions. According to customers, the material is lightweight, moisture-wicking, and super comfortable. They slide on easily, with a smooth blend of breathable nylon and flexible LYCRA. They come in five colors, and thanks to the built-in compression shorts, you get a little added support.

What fans say: "Love these shorts. I bought white, blue, and black. They are incredibly comfortable, fit cute, and they are functional."

  • Available sizes: X-Small to XX-Large

8

Some Bike Shorts With A Longer Inseam

What's great about them: With more than 1,800 reviews on Amazon, these women's long running shorts offer similar properties to my previous selection but in a style that runs farther down your thighs. Like the shorter pair, they're made from a smooth polyester-spandex blend that's soft and stretchy with quick-drying capabilities. The waist has a similar high-rise design with a snug band that keeps them from slipping down. They have a gusseted crotch, oversized phone pockets, and chafe-free seams.

What fans say: "I love this shorts so much! They look good and they feel great. Not only do they have the side pockets, there's also a key pocket on the waistband. My phone (and anything else I've put in there) stays snug in the pockets without bouncing or moving around when I run. And they dry fast!"

  • Available sizes: X-Small to XXX-Large

9

These Teeny Tiny Soffee Shorts

What’s great about them: Made for people who like their shorts super short, these classic Soffe shorts have a low-rise waistband and a 2.5-inch inseam, so you’ll barely notice them while you’re working out. They’re made from lightweight polyester birds eye mesh that offers great breathability, and they come in 14 colors.

What fans say: “I love these shorts! They're very comfortable - so easy to wear. I think I've literally purchased them in every color”

  • Available sizes: X-Small to X-Large

10

These Brightly-Colored Quick-Dry Shorts

What’s great about them: Amazon shoppers love these high-waisted running shorts, which have over 2,000 perfect five-star ratings. They’re made from a lightweight polyester and spandex blend, and they have two roomy side pockets that are big enough for your phone, keys, and wallet. They also have a built-in liner, and come in a variety of bright, neon colors.

What fans say: “I’ve spent so much on name brand workout gear - and these are my favorite running shorts by far. Comfy, lose but not so much they are bagging out, and easy to run in. My only suggestion would be that if you are between two sizes, go with the larger size.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small to XX-Large

11

This 3-Pack Of High-Waisted Shorts

What's great about them: If you prefer a form-fitting style, these high-waisted running shorts are some of the best bike shorts around — and they come in a three-pack, too. Like the previous option, they're constructed with a blend of polyester and spandex, making them both moisture-wicking and stretchy. They have an elastic band that stops them from sliding down, yet they don't feel tight or restrictive. The flat-lock seams minimize friction, while the gusseted crotch gives you freedom of motion. On top of that, the shorts have a handy pocket that's big enough to hold your phone.

What fans say: "I purchased these for myself as well as my 3 daughters ages 16-21. We all love, love, love them. We are built ranging from small but curvy, to just fairy-like thin and they fit each of us like a glove! Very opaque, wonderfully soft but smooth fabric and a nicely sized pocket [...] I will definitely be ordering more."

  • Available sizes: X-Small to XX-Large

12

A Pair Of Classic Mesh Running Shorts

What’s great about them: Made from polyester mesh, these Champion shorts have the brand’s signature details, including a small logo and a roll waistband so you can customize the length. The elastic waistband is tag free for added comfort, and they have a 5-inch inseam that offers the perfect combination of comfort and coverage. They come in five classic colors, and are machine-washable for easy care.

What fans say: “Perfect shorts for running! True to size. Good material. Would buy again!”

  • Available sizes: Small to XX-Large

13

These Fan-Favorite Cotton Blend Shorts

What’s great about them: These popular running shorts have an overall rating of 4.6 stars from a whopping 18,600 Amazon shoppers who love how cute and comfy they are. They’re made from a double-layered cotton/polyester blend fabric, and the drawstrings on the waistband are dyed to match. The dolphin hem also provides greater flexibility for runs or workouts.

What fans say: “Love these shorts for weightlifting, running, sleeping, etc... Fit good, feel good, look good and all for good price.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small to XX-Large

14

Some Super Lightweight Shorts With A Back Zip Pocket

What’s great about them: Fans on Amazon say that these lightweight shorts are comparable to some high-end athletic brands, for a fraction of the price. Made from a quick-drying polyester spandex blend, these quick-drying shorts have a wide, comfortable waistband with an interior pocket as well as a back zippered pocket, so you can keep your essentials on hand while you’re out for a run. They also feature a built-in liner and a hidden drawcord to customize your fit.

What fans say: “I have never written a clothing review before, but I am obsessed with these shorts [...] They are comfortable, dry quickly, don’t ride up, and are very breathable. And the fabric feels like good quality - they definitely look and perform like much more expensive brands.”

  • Available sizes: XX-Small to X-Large

15

These Polyester Shorts From Under Armor

What's great about them: With more than 450 reviews, these 100 percent polyester women's running shorts are moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and come with super breathable mesh side panels. They allow you to sweat without getting sticky, and the material is soft and comfy. They have convenient hand pockets in the front, as well as hidden pockets in the back to store small items. On top of all that, they're offered at a great mid-range price and come in a wide assortment of colors.

What fans say: "Greatest shorts ever! I love how comfortable they are and they have pockets. It's hard to find women athletic shorts with pockets. I bought 3 pair."

  • Available sizes: XX-Small to XX-Large

16

A Pair Of Basic White Short Shorts

What's great about them: Whether you like the style of short shorts better, or the extra freedom of movement, these women's running shorts are a fantastic choice. They're built with a combination of moisture-wicking polyester and soft, stretchy spandex. They have built-in underwear that's lightweight and breathable, with a zippered pocket on one side for keeping valuables. They also have secret pockets in the waistband, plus a drawstring to provide a custom fit.

What fans say: "Absolutely love these shorts! Not too short, not too long, not too tight, great quality."

  • Available sizes: XX-Small to X-Large

17

These 5-Inch Running Shorts

What’s great about them: If you like your running shorts to have a little more length, these are a great pick, since they have a 5-inch inseam that’s longer than many of the options on this list. Made from a quick-drying polyester spandex blend, these shorts have a built-in liner and a back zippered pocket as well as two side pockets and an internal pocket. They’re super lightweight, and have a dolphin-style hem for freedom of movement.

What fans say: “These shorts are great! Super lightweight, and they have pockets!!!! Will order again.”

  • Available sizes: X-Small to 3X-Large