12 of the best running shorts for women this summer

If your running shorts don’t make you feel confident and ready to smash your session, it’s not you – it’s the shorts, says runner Katie Yockey. And to prove it, she’s gathered together 12 of the best pairs of shorts for runners of all levels.

Finding a pair of shorts you feel good in is a huge part of getting ready to go out for a run. Take a second: how do you feel about the pairs in your wardrobe? Are they comfy, supportive and make you feel confident? Or are they a bit ill-fitting, stiff and make you self-conscious about your legs?

If you don’t feel good in your shorts, it’s not you – it’s the shorts. And if they don’t make you feel incredible and ready to crush your workout, it’s time to find a pair that will.

Don’t fret: we’ve rounded up 12 of our favourite pairs of running shorts to mark the official start of shorts season. There are a range of styles, so whether you love tiny, breezy shorts, prefer a tight, compressive pair, or want a lightweight, longer option, there’s a pair here you’ll love.

  • Under Armour Play Up Shorts 3.0

    12 best running shorts for women: Under Armour

    Breezy and lightweight, these are a classic workhorse pair of shorts that will get you through sticky summer runs. They have a thick, soft elastic waistband that’s comfy and supportive, and they’re made of wicking material that keeps sweat away from your body. Oh, and they have a massive range of sizes – from XXS to XXXL – so there’s a pair for nearly everyone.

    Sizes available: XXS to XXXL

    Shop Under Armour Play Up Shorts, £22 (sizes 1X-3X here)

    Buy now

  • Hoka Glide 4” Short

    12 best running shorts for women: Hoka

    Hoka is known for its durable, cushioned shoes – but they make great shorts, too. The Glide four-inch pair has a handy waistband zip pocket where can fit your keys, bank card and gels, and they’re made from extra-lightweight recycled polyester. The material also has some stretch, so they’ll move with you and won’t chafe.

    Sizes available: XS to XL

    Shop Hoka Glide 4” Short, £35

    Buy now

  • H&M Double Layered Running Shorts

    12 best running shorts for women: H&M

    This pair from H&M is double layered but surprisingly breathable, so won’t stick to your body on hot days. The tight, stretchy inner shorts are covered by a lightweight, slightly stretchy shell, making them your secret weapon against thigh chafing. Although they’re admittedly lacking in the pocket department, they’re a durable, comfy pair at a reasonable price point.

    Sizes available: XS to XL

    Shop H&M Double Layered Running Shorts, £17.99

    Buy now

  • Gymshark Speed Shorts

    12 best running shorts for women: Gymshark

    These shorts have a thick, supportive waistband that is super-comfy and features a hidden pocket. They’re short, but not too short, and they’re made of super thin, wicking material that won’t trap sweat. Although they don’t come in many fun colours, they’re a great basic pair that won’t break the bank.

    Sizes available: XS to XXL

    Shop Gymshark Speed Shorts, £15

    Buy now

  • Nike Tempo Luxe

    12 best running shorts for women: Nike

    Nike Tempos are a classic, and this updated version is the perfect go-to pair of running shorts. Unlike older models that were lightweight but stiff, the Tempo Luxe has stretchy fabric and side slits that give you more range of motion and offer a breezy feel. They’ve also added a larger zip side pocket that’s big enough to fit your phone (huzzah!).

    Sizes available: XXS to XXL

    Shop Nike Tempo Luxe, £37.95

    Buy now

  • Allbirds Natural Bike Short

    12 best running shorts for women: Allbirds

    We’re obsessed with everything about these shorts – the earth-toned colour palette, soft yet supportive material, and amazing size range. Although this pair from Allbirds is called ‘bike shorts’, they’re great for running, and the seven-inch inseam is the perfect length to stay put and not creep up your thighs mid-run. 

    (Hint: the trick to finding compression shorts that won’t ride up is to choose a pair that hits just below the fullest point of your thigh).

    Sizes available: XS to XXXL

    Shop Allbirds Natural Bike Short, £68

    Buy now

  • Lululemon Track That MR Short 5” Lined

    12 best running shorts for women: Lululemon

    If you’re all about everything high-waisted, this is your dream pair of running shorts. They come well up to your belly button and have a thick elastic waistband with an adjustable drawcord. 

    Even though they sit high on the waist, they have a generous five-inch inseam, so they offer plenty of coverage for people with long legs. Oh, and the leg opening is extra-roomy, so you don’t have to worry about these restricting your thighs.

    Sizes available: 0-20 (US sizes)

    Shop Lululemon Track That MR Short 5” Lined, £34

    Buy now

  • Brooks Chaser 5” Short

    12 best running shorts for women: Brookes

    The Brooks Chaser is a fan favourite, and it’s the perfect pair if you don’t want shorts that are either super-long or super-short. They have a wide, smooth waistband, and they’re made of wicking yet stretchy material that won’t chafe. In addition, they have a back pocket big enough for a phone and a nifty little elastic band to secure your keys.

    Sizes available: XS to XXL

    Shop Brooks Chaser 5” Short, £50

    Buy now

  • Kiprun 2-in-1 Women’s Running Shorts

    12 best running shorts for women: Kiprun

    This pair has a tight, elastic inner layer and a lightweight, airy shell, making them perfect for people who want to avoid chafing. They also have an average 4.5 out of 5 stars in reviews, and people have a lot of good things to say about them.

    Sizes available: XXS to XL

    Shop Kiprun 2-in-1 Women’s Running Shorts, £11.99

    Buy now

  • Sweaty Betty On Your Marks 4” Running Shorts

    12 best running shorts for women: Sweaty Betty

    We love 2-in-1 shorts, and they’re especially handy for avoiding the dreaded thigh chafe on longer runs and hotter days. This pair from Sweaty Betty is made from spandex and recycled polyester, so they have a bit of give while remaining breezy and dry. They also have two zip side pockets, so you’ll have plenty of space for your phone, keys and long-run gels.

    Sizes available: XXS to XXL

    Shop Sweaty Betty On Your Marks 4” Running Shorts, £60

    Buy now

  • Adidas Marathon 20 Shorts

    12 best running shorts for women: Adidas

    Another classic go-to short, these are super-breathable and have built-in mesh briefs that won’t trap sweat. They come in a wide range of colours, and they also have both 3” and 4” inseam options, so you can pick the coverage that’s best for you. Plus, they have 4.8 out of 5 stars in reviews on the Adidas website.

    Sizes available: XXS to XL

    Shop Adidas Marathon 20 Shorts, £23

    Buy now

  • Asics Road 2-N-1 5.5” short

    12 best running shorts for women: Asics

    If you’re not into tiny inseams but don’t want to feel like you’re wearing basketball shorts, look no further. This pair from Asics has a moderate 5.5 inch inseam and tight compression undershorts that keep you comfortable and secure. They also have an adjustable drawstring waist.

    Sizes available: XS to XL

    Shop Asics Road 2-N-1 5.5” Short, £48

    Buy now

Images: courtesy of brands

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