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. The Best Overall
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
2. The Best 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
3. The Best Bike 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
4. The Best Long Bike Shorts
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
5. The Best 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
6. The Best Skort
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
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