Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Summer Running Shorts Review
A Doctors of Running Team Editorial

Finding the right short can be so dependent on the desires of the runner and what you want in shorts? Do you carry a lot in your shorts? How long do you like them? Are you more looking for athleisure that allows shorts to hold multiple roles in your wardrobe? At Doctors of Running we care a lot about biomechanics and science, but we also simply love to run and be comfortable doing it. When it comes to shorts and science, there are some things to consider such as weight distribution when carrying items or flexibility of the shorts to allow appropriate hip range of motion. Therefore we touch on those in these reviews, but the goal is to help you find the right shorts for your needs and to help you get through the warmer months. 

Short Categories in this Feature
Best for Secure Carrying
Most Comfortable Lining
Most Breathable
Best Crossover
Best Road to Trail
Best Split Short 

rabbit Speedsters: Best for Secure Carrying
Shop: $75 USD at Running Warehouse (men)
Material: 87% polyester, 13% spandex 

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor: The speedsters half tights continue the trend of rabbit’s extremely comfortable materials. Previous versions of their half tights had an “adhesive” material on the lower aspect to help hold the tights in place, but really it led to them being a bit abrasive on the skin. This newer model removes that piece, which enhances comfort but still finds a way to keep the 9.5in inseam from riding up. I am 5’10”, weight 160lbs, and I purchased a size M. These fit great and are neither too loose nor constrictive. There are large side pockets on each side as well as a zipper pocket in the back, all of which are big enough to hold my iPhone SE with some room to spare. These pockets also provide plenty of space for carrying other fuel on the run. Given the nature of half tights, I found that these are the most secure bottoms for carrying various items without bouncing. In addition, the material is on the slightly thicker side, which keeps the items in the pockets from poking at all, but also makes these tights run slightly on the warmer side on really hot summer days. Best of all, there are no special washing instructions. In the words of rabbit, “Machine wash cold, tumble dry low, don’t bleach, mmkay?”

Fit: A
 (No issues with being too loose or tight, no areas of restriction)
Performance: A- (Excellent for carrying, very comfortable, a tad warm on hot days)
Comfort: A (No areas of irritation, tights stay in place and don’t ride up)
Overall: A 

Saysky 5" Pace Shorts: Most Comfortable Lining
Shop: $75 USD at Running Warehouse: Men | Women
Material: 46% recycled polyester / 46% polyester / 8% spandex.

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor: We recently tested a number of items from the Saysky line. The Pace Shorts 5” were a standout. Overall the shorts consist of very comfortable materials and detailing/style that heightens their fashion. The standout comfort, though, comes from the liner. The material and shaping prevent any irritation, particularly in the stitching where I have had other short liners cause problems in the past with chafing. It’s a liner that disappears while running. As for the remainder of the short, there are some things to note. There are three pockets. Two are embedded within the liner (one on each side) to hold gels and the third is a sweat proof pocket in the back (not big enough for a phone). The nature of the shell is designed to be streamlined and a bit more narrow to prevent any movement of the short. Because of this, you can feel the pressure from the shell on the gels put in the liner (no issues with this in the rear pocket). Additionally, if you have larger thighs, you may want to consider going to a larger size if you are between two. I have a size small and typically alternate between small/medium, and I did find the outlets for each leg could feel slightly restrictive when striding out, and I would prefer a medium. Despite this, I find these shorts as a go-to for easier days and longer runs due to the comfort. 

Fit: B+ (Slightly tight at outlet of the shorts)
Performance: A- (No chafing, lightweight, but a bit restrictive for faster running)
Comfort: A (Top level comfort, particularly of the liner) 
Overall:  A- 

Mizuno Alpha Eco 5" Short: Most Breathable
Shop: $45 USD at Running Warehouse: Men | Women
Material: 90% Recycled Polyester (mystery other 10%)

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor: Mizuno recently released their Alpha ECO line to push some of their efforts within sustainability. One thing all the pieces had in common was how lightweight and breathable the pieces were. The shorts are no exception. The stretch woven material is lightweight and ventilated well making them one of the best options I have for the really warm days. The material is flexible enough to stretch for various paced efforts and striding out, and it has a very comfortable waistband. The liner is unremarkable, which isn’t a bad thing, and overall is on the loose end. The one downfall of these shorts is the functionality of the back pocket. It does fit my iPhone SE, but it is quite bouncy on the run, is not sweat proof, and the zipper is a bit sticky/difficulty to open. Therefore carrying my phone in that pocket is not a solid option for me. I’d also love to see some side sleeves for fuel storage. Besides that, the breathability is top notch and I love these shorts for hot days. 

Fit: A- (Just a bit loose for the liner)
Performance: B+ (Moves well with the body, but pocket/storage lacking for a 5” short)
Comfort: A- (Waistband great, no irritation from any portion of the short)
Overall: B+ 

rabbit Core Beach Break 5" Shorts: Best Crossover
Shop: $68 USD at Running Warehouse (men)
Material: Coconut Charcoal Polyester Fiber (COCOTEX)

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor: A number of companies have entered the “athleisure” game, and rabbit is one of those companies with their high country tops and now the Beach Break shorts. These shorts genuinely can function as casual shorts for hanging out as well as getting some serious running in. The material isn’t quite as soft and flexible as some of the materials that I’ve come to love from rabbit, but it is not abrasive and moves well during the run. The one fit issue I’ve had is with the liner, where it seems a bit imbalanced with restriction in the front and extra room in the back. Functionally there are two side pockets (more for casual use), with one of those having an internal zipper for some sort of fuel or keys during your run. There is also a zipper back pocket that is on the side rather than central, and therefore I prefer using this zipper during casual use instead of running, though it does a fine job holding my iPhone. Finally, the drawstring is 100% functional, though I do wish the strings had a bit more elasticity to them so they could remain tied while slipping the shorts on and off. These work great for days where you are both looking to get a run in and also get some much needed chillin’ in. Plus, this material seems to resist odors better than others, which is a bonus for dual use.  

Fit: A- (Just a bit of the liner imbalance)
Performance: A (Great for casual shorts and completely functional as runners)
Comfort: B+ (Not quite as soft as other shorts from them, and liner imbalance a bit irritating)
Overall: A- 

adidas Terrex Agravic Trail Pro Short: Prepared for Anything on the Road or Trail
Shop: $75 USD at Running Warehouse: Men | Women
Materials: 73% Nylon, 27% Spandex (Short), 82% Recycled Polyester, 16% Spandex, 2% Polyester (Liner and Waistband), 93% nylon, 7% elastane (Mesh)

Matt Klein, Chief Editor: Most shorts are either performance split shorts or longer easy effort shorts. Rarely do you get a combination of the two of them, but the Adidas Terrex Agravic Trail Pro Short features a 4” inseam without a long split that can handle both types of efforts. Fitting true to size if slightly large, the extra room is appreciated with sweat and movement on aggressive terrain or faster runs. This has caused some mild chaffing from the liner, but this only occurs with runs over 12-15 miles. A light and airy mesh moves well with your legs, while an elastic waistband keeps the shorts surprisingly secure. Despite not being a split short, the lighter material moves well and provides extensive range of motion during both easy and faster runs. This is combined with plenty of storage space. A large zippered pocket sits in the rear, while 3 additional stash pockets sit around the waist band. Two loops sit on each side of the waistband, allowing for extra carrying options, whether it be a shirt or trekking poles. A performance short prepared for almost any distance or terrain, the Adidas Terrex Agravic Trail Pro Short is my go to when I don’t know what lies ahead. 

Fit: A- (Fits true to size if slightly large, but waistband secures this)
Performance: A (Excellent for both faster and longer efforts when you need some additional carrying capacity)
Comfort: B+/A- (Comfortable and moves well, with minor chaffing during longer runs)
Overall: A- 

rabbit Sunset Splitz 2.5”: Ultimate Freedom and Chafe-Free Split Short
Shop: $60 USD at Running Warehouse (Women)
Material: 88% polyester, 12% spandex (short), 95% ice-cafe nylon, 5% spandex (liner)

Andrea Myers, Contributor: The beauty of split shorts is that they provide near maximum freedom of leg motion, as long as the liner stays in place and the shorts do not chafe. The rabbit Sunset Splitz 2.5” are one of the best split shorts I have tried. I received a size small, which is my normal size in rabbit shorts. They fit true to size and are exceptionally comfortable. They are extremely lightweight and breathable and truly feel like you are wearing nothing, which is very welcome in the summer heat. The liner stays in place and is completely unnoticeable while running. I tend to shy away from shorts that are not spandex tights to avoid chafing, but I had zero chafing in the Sunset Splitz. The wider waistband and infinity drawstrings make a secure, personalized fit. I tested these shorts during easy runs and intervals and basically did not notice the shorts at all, which is exactly what you want in a good pair of running shorts! There are two side pockets built into the back of the liner, which are big enough to hold a key or a gel. I received the blue moon colorway, which is a lighter shade of blue. They do get darker when sweaty but do not become transparent, which does happen with some lighter colored shorts. Like all split shorts, these shorts are very short and will show your upper thigh when running or bending over. If you are okay with flashing a lot of leg, these are one of the best split short options out there. I will definitely be getting a lot of use out of my pair.   

Fit: A (Fits true to size, excellent waistband and liner fit)
Performance: A (Disappears when running, no chafing, no riding up of liner, equally great for easy runs and intervals)
Comfort: A (One of the most comfortable shorts I have tried)
Overall: A

More Apparel Reviews

Mizuno Alpha Eco Apparel - Eco-friendly, lightweight apparel made for fun in the sun while saving the Earth
Mizuno Breath Thermo Collection - Unique technology transform sweat into heat
Run Commute Apparel - Some formal wear that works as both run apparel and work attire depending on your profession
Tracksmith Apparel - This Boston-based company uses New England culture to make classic performance apparel
Saysky Apparel - Nordic street styling meets performance

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