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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The Best Running Shorts
A Doctors of Running Team Editorial

As many shoe varieties as there are to choose from, sometimes there's just as many shorts. From various length shorts to half tights to briefs and everything inbetween, the options are numerous and can make it hard to decide what to choose. We've had the opportunity to try a number of brands over the years and decided to pull together a guide of our favorites we've run in. These are all tried-and-true shorts from the team, with a tons of miles logged in each. Find the shorts that fit your needs best in our guide today!

Shorts Highlighted
Most Breathable
: Mizuno Infinity Shorts 5"
Best Trail Running: Path Projects Graves PX
Best Racing Shorts for Men:
Best Racing Shorts/
Half Tights for Women: Rabbit Speed Leggy 4"
Best Women's Shorts: Brooks Chaser 3"
Best Women's Briefs for Racing: Tracksmith Race Brief
Best Women's Briefs for Training: New Balance Women’s Athletic Briefs 2.0
Best Men's 3" Shorts: rabbit Fuel n' Fly 3"
Best Men's 5" Shorts: Saysky Core Pace 5"
Best Men's 7" Shorts: Vuori Kore
Best Men's Half Tights: rabbit Speedsters
Best Budget Shorts: adidas Core Run It 5"

Most Breathable Shorts: Mizuno Infinity Shorts 5"
Price: $40
Material: N/A

David Salas, Senior Contributor
: The Mizuno 5" short on this Infinity line definitely knocked it out of the park. The material is incredibly light on the skin and maintains great breathability throughout the run. The material is very good at wicking moisture off and reminds me a lot of some of the lightweight performance shorts I have run in from Nike and rabbit. One fun thing is that the shorts do have pockets. These have been shorts that I have been able to turn over when running faster in as well. They offer great versatility and comfort. The only thing I really notice is occasionally the pocket on the inside will catch on the thigh, but it is a minor catch. Overall a phenomenal 5" short I keep reaching for.  

Positives: Highly breathable and lightweight
Negatives: Limited and unstructured pockets

Shop the Shorts at Mizuno here

Best Trail Running Shorts: Path Projects Grave PX
Price: $58
Material: 100% Toray Prime Flex Polyester

Bach Pham, Content Manager: There are few shorts I have put more miles in over the past two years than the Graves PX from Path Projects. I found this to be great for any easy day distance. The material in this pair is a fairly structured throughout rather than loose and freeing like some shorts can be. It can definitely take a beating and is top-notch for those looking for a durable pair to handle trails. The material feels very sturdy and confident. It being structured and keeping form also helps with navigating bushy areas, whereas a looser pair of shorts may get pulled and twisted. Path shorts are somewhat unique in that it is unlined, providing a lot of inherent breathability. Path sells base liners for those who need it, but I found the shorts to feel good as is. They've held up well to several long runs for me, providing no chafing issues of any kind. They've also been durable, with no wear after several hundred miles of use. The material also does a nice job of wicking on the run and keeping dry.

The pockets are generously size and all have YKK zippers which feel very satisfying to zip and good durability. There is plenty of room for gels and are easy to access on the move. These shorts have really provided everything I look for in a pair of shorts and feel confident taking anywhere I go, whether road, trail, or anywhere in between.

Positives: Well-fitting, sturdy, and durable pants perfect for almost any condition. Great rear phone pocket, and sturdy side pockets
Negatives: Not for those looking for minimal or completely free range of movement

Shop the Shorts at Path Projects here


Best Split Short for Men: BOA Men's 1" Elite Split Short
Price: $32
Material: 100% Polyester

Matt Klein, Chief Editor
: BOA has always been a favorite of mine as it is a local Southern California company. Their shorts usually have high splits and are great for running fast. The split goes very high like most BOA shorts, which provides fantastic range of motion. Despite their toughness and ample storage, they have BOA's typical high split and work well for workouts and racing. I typically wear a medium in shorts and this one fits me true to size. The liner is extremely comfortable and I have had no chaffing issues using these up to 17 miles. So for your next long run, ultramarathon, marathon or all day outing, the BOA Alpaca Short could be your go-to.

Positives: Built to run fast
Negatives: Limited pockets

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here.


Best Racing Briefs for Women: Tracksmith Race Brief
Price: $58
Material: Fabric 57% Nylon / 43% Elastane

Megan Flynn, Contributor
: The Tracksmith Race Brief are my go-to racing briefs for the half marathon/marathon distances. I prefer racing in briefs versus shorts, probably more of a mental reason since I got used to it during races in college and have run my fastest times in briefs. But, a big obstacle in racing longer distances in briefs is that they obviously have very little material, and therefore very few options/methods to store gels. Then I discovered the Tracksmith Race Briefs a couple years ago and the problem was solved. These briefs have 3 pockets to store gels for the longer races which I have yet to see in another pair of briefs. The shorts are mid/high rise, which I find to be most comfortable for running in general. The material is nylon, moisture-wicking, and very breathable. Another big positive - which is also hard to find with briefs - is that they don’t ride up. They stay put without any adjustments for the entirety of a marathon for me.

Positives: Pockets!!! High comfort and breathable.
Negatives: Cost is a bit high, but quality is there

Shop the Shorts at Tracksmith here


Best Racing Shorts/Half Tights for Women: Rabbit Speed Leggy 4"
Price: $60
Material: 75% nylon, 25% spandex

Andrea Myers, Senior Contributor
: I prefer short tights for training and racing because they stay in place and do not chafe. I have tried many types of short tights, and the Speed Leggy 4" is my hands-down favorite. One of my favorite features of these shorts is the material. It is thin enough that it doesn't get bogged down with sweat in the summer, but thick enough to stay in place. The wide waistband never sags and does not put any noticeable pressure on my abdomen. I have raced two marathons and countless shorter races from 1 mile to half marathon in these shorts, and have had zero issues with fit or comfort. The shorts have two large side pockets, each of which can accommodate three Maurten gels. There is also a zippered rear pocket that is large enough to hold another two gels easily. At $60, I think these are very reasonably priced for the quality and performance. I have two pairs that are over a year old, both of which get worn once or twice a week, and they still look new. Honorable mention goes to the 2.5" version of this short, which I also like to use in shorter races, but would not use in a marathon because the shorts get too weighed down if the pockets have more than 1 gel in them, resulting in a small amount of waistband sagging.

Megan Flynn, Senior Contributor: The Rabbit Speed Leggy 4” shorts are my favorite tight shorts to run in when it comes to easy runs, long runs, tempo runs, speed work - you name it. The nylon/spandex combination results in very comfortable and lightweight material. There are no areas of discomfort or chafing which has been put to the test against very hot/humid conditions. The shorts provide moderate compression, enough for a snug fit and to stay tight to the body, but allow for some minimal movement. I think this helps with the decreased chafing and increased comfort of the short. The waist is mid-rise, which is also what I prefer in a short adequate coverage on those hot sports-bra run days. I always look for pockets in shorts these days and sometimes don’t even buy them if there aren’t any pockets. The Rabbit Speed Leggy shorts have a multitude of pocket options - zipper key pocket in the back, and two side pockets that can fit gels/phone. Another perk is that the patterns/colors are AWESOME!

Positives: Versatile and no chafing. Great in hot, humid conditions. Pockets and great colors!
Negatives: None

Positives: Impeccable fit, no chafing, plenty of pocket storage for marathon distances
Negatives: Honestly hard to think of any negatives for these shorts

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best Women's Shorts: Brooks Chaser 3"
Price: $60 
Material: Shell: 89% polyester, 11% spandex. Liner: 92% polyester, 8% spandex

Andrea Myers, Senior Contributor
: While I prefer short tights for training and racing, sometimes it is nice to run in a pair of regular shorts that barely feel like they touch my legs. The Brooks Chaser 3" has quickly become my favorite regular short of 2023. Even without a split design, the leg openings have enough room to allow total freedom of movement, without feeling baggy. The material is lightweight and breathable, even in 80F and high humidity. The 1.75" waistband is thick enough to not put pressure on my abdomen and does not ride up. Most importantly, the liner stays in place and never needs adjusting while running. These shorts also have 3 pockets - one large rear zippered pocket and two front waistband pockets, one of which has a bungee to attach a key to. In classic Brooks fashion, there are 10 colorways of these shorts to choose from, including some cool patterned versions. I would highly recommend these shorts for anyone looking for a comfortable, functional pair of shorts for training or racing.

Positives: Great material, liner does not ride up, waistband stays in place
Negatives: Front pockets not quite large enough to hold a gel, so storage space is limited for longer runs

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best Women's Briefs: New Balance Women’s Athletic Briefs 2.0
Price: $30
Material: N/A

Megan Flynn, Contributor
: The New Balance Women’s Athletic Briefs are my preferred briefs for shorter distances such as the 5k/10k or shorter when I do not need to worry about carrying fuel/gels with me. The New Balance briefs do not have any added pockets, however they are another pair of briefs that I have raced in many, many times and have never ridden up or chafed in any conditions. The briefs fit true to size with light compression throughout. The waistband is thicker and comfortable around the waist - not too tight. These are my go-to briefs if a pocket is not necessary!

Positives: Lightweight, affordable for quality
Negatives: No pockets

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best 3" Men's Shorts: rabbit Fuel n' Fly
Price: $75
Material: 91% recycled polyester, 9% spandex

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor
: The rabbit 3" shorts have been a go-to of mine for hot summer runs and workouts. I appreciate the comfort of the waistband with an infinity drawstring and the half-split short design. I typically do not like full spit shorts due to them feeling a bit floppy and how exposed I feel, but the half-split gives the same freedom of movement while keeping things a bit more covered. There are perforations along the short that help with breathability, and the short overall is very light and unobtrusive when running at faster paces. There is a small pocket in the back for a key or gels, but it is not big enough for my phone (iPhone 12). There are some other internal sashes for a little more storage. I grab this pair for workouts or runs when I don't need a lot of fuel (or if I am wearing my Naked belt). Overall, it is a well-executed half-split short that is light, breathable and allows for an unencumbered range of motion.

Positives: Liner comfort, freedom of movement, style, lightweight, great for workouts
Negatives: Limited storage for longer runs

Shop the rabbit Fuel n' Fly 3" short at Running Warehouse here


Best 5" Men's Shorts: Saysky Men's Core Pace 5" Short
Price: $77.00  
Material: 88% polyester, 12% spandex. Lining: 100% polyamide

David Salas, Senior Contributor
: The Saysky Core Pace 5" short became a staple in my running rotation very quickly upon getting them. I have two pairs and wear both almost every week. The Core Pace shorts fit well and are not too flowy. The material and liner are both comfortable and lightweight. I normally use these for daily mileage or long runs, but if you want to turn over and run faster the shorts do not fight you. The only thing I've noticed is the draw string is on the longer side and has a tendency to get pulled in the wash. Because of this I will have to level it out sometimes once I put it on and just tie a little bow on it so the string doesn't fall too low. 

Positives: Good pocket size, good fitting, breathable and sweat resistant, versatile
Negatives: On the pricey end, draw string gets tossed around in the wash

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best 7" Men's Shorts: Vuori Kore Shorts
Price: $68
Materials: 79% Recycled Polyester, 44% Polyester, 10% Elastane

Bach Pham, Senior Contributor
: When I think 7" shorts, I think about easy day and comfort. Out of the many shorts I've tested over two years, none come close to the Vuori Kore shorts in terms of both. The material is so soft, if it didn't have boxer brief's I'd buy several pairs for everyday lounging at home. The briefs help bring performance in keeping you dialed in the run though. The shorts also do a fine job of wicking moisture and staying relatively dry, even on the most humid days which impressed me. Total easy day heroes, they also make for excellent lounge wear and would be great for park days or immediate errands after a run. I also appreciate the variety of pockets in the Kore shorts, including a key pocket in the rear. Some shorts don't have the integrity to hold a phone in side pockets, but these have enough strength in case you want to use these for walking and errands on the run.

Positives: So soft and versatile for different activities
Negatives: Price is a premium

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best 2-in-1 Men's Shorts: Brooks High Point 2-in-1 7"
Price: $78
Material: 90% recycled polyester/10% spandex

Bach Pham, Content Manager
: 2-in-1 shorts and I don't usually get along. It's a lot of material and in the hot South Carolina summer I typically rather go for breathability over performance. The Brooks High Point 2-in-1 is one of the few that deliver both though. With a performance tight inner that feels a touch longer on the run than the shorts themselves, it does a good job of avoiding that problem where you feel like you are carrying more shorts material and not really getting the benefits of the 2-in-1 concept. These are great for people who have chafing issues. The tights fit nicely and true to size. There are pockets galore with four small pockets for keys and gels and a large zip pocket for phones in the back. All-in-all, these definitely changed my mind on how 2-in-1 shorts can feel and I would recommend them to anyone who prefers this style of shorts for running.

Positives: Excellent balance between tights and shorts. Lightweight and comfortable, tons of pockets
Negatives: High price point

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best Men's Half Tights: rabbit Speedsters
Price: $75
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?”

Positives: Excellent for carrying, very comfortable, a tad warm on hot days
Warm for very hot days

Shop the Shorts at Running Warehouse here


Best Budget Shorts: adidas Core Run It 5" shorts
Price: $20
Material: 100% Recycled Polyester Plain Weave

Bach Pham, Content Manager:
Running can be expensive, especially when it comes to clothing. Unusually, some of the best deals you can find when it comes to starting your own apparel collection comes directly from the brands themselves. The adidas Core shorts are a premium example of that. These super breathable, very thin shorts feature AEROREADY technology which is a design that incorporates micro holes throughout the shorts for even 360 breathing. These absolute fit the bill and have served me well on recent humid days. What you sacrifice in quality when it comes to our previous selections, you do gain in still getting a well-performing, highly breathable, and of course highly inexpensive package that is also sustainable to boot.  

Positives: Thin and super breathable shorts, briefs feel comfortable. Stays dry on the run. Solid price for a higher end pair of shorts
Negatives: Limited pockets. A bit of a relaxed fit which some may prefer, some may not

Shop the adidas Core Run It 5" Shorts at Running Warehouse here.


Guide to Summer Running Shorts
Mizuno Alpha Eco Apparel
Mizuno Breath Thermo Collection
Path Projects Apparel
Run Commute Apparel
Saysky Apparel Review
Tracksmith Apparel

Nathan Sports Apparel

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist.

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