Winter may be coming, but it’s not here yet! There’s still time to enjoy the breezy feel and freedom of that most sacred piece of running apparel: shorts. In fact, even though temperatures will fluctuate through the fall, the right to enjoy a run in the perfect pair of shorts isn’t seasonal: it’s universal. The weatherperson that recommends layering up is not your parent! You don’t have to do what they say! The cold may take our warmth, but it can never take our thighs’ freedom! Give me shorts or give me death!
Now that the tirade is over and we both agree that running shorts are the best, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Which shorts are going to provide that lighter-than-air, Ma-I-can-fly, is-this-even-real-life kind of experience? The answer will differ for each individual, but it’s quite possible that your next BSF is hiding in the text below. In order to facilitate decision making, two recommendations for each style of short have been included, one with the spice (that premier technology) and one with the price (biggest bang for your buck).
Short Length (1-3” Inseam)
rabbit Men’s Best In Show Short – MSRP: $48.00
You might be tempted to think that we included these shorts simply because of the unique paneling, but there’s an all black version as well, and both shorts deserve this recommendation. The brushed elastic waistband has a no-slip grip that doesn’t dig, and the half-split design with stretchy fabric allows for an uninhibited run. To top it off, an internal key pocket is included for quick storage.
ASICS Men’s Core 3” Split Short – MSRP: $30.00
Running in a split short is supposed to free you from excess. Excess heat. Excess sweat. Excess modesty. All you want to do is run. Well, these are the shorts for you. With a high split, a rear zipper pocket, and reflective detailing along the sides, the only excess is the number of miles you’ll run.
Medium Length (5” Inseam)
Patagonia Men’s Strider Pro Shorts 5” – MSRP: $65.00
Although it’s designed with trail runners in mind, this short fits the needs of any runner looking for mid-thigh coverage. The ultralight fabric has a DWR finish to keep your legs warmer in inclement weather, and mesh paneling to facilitate airflow at all times. It also features a brushed waistband for comfort and a Polygiene-treated liner to keep the stank at bay. For storage, the short includes four stash pockets around the waist and one zipper pocket in the rear.
adidas Men’s Sequencials Run 5” Short – MSRP: $28.00
If you enjoy the freedom of a lightweight and moisture-wicking running short, but you’d rather not expose your entire thigh to the cruel world that exists beyond the liner, this is the short for you. For added utility, there’s an internal key pocket and reflective detailing on the front and back.
Long Length (7″ Inseam)
Nike Men’s Aeroswift 7” Short – MSRP: $100.00
Rarely do we see the same level of attention paid to running apparel that is paid to running shoes. This short is an exception. The perforated waistband holds the waist snugly and allows cooling air to draw away sweat build-up. Within the short there is a small key pocket, and the rear zipper pocket is water-resistant. Even the liner is advanced, with a wider mesh at the rear for improved moisture-dispersal and, for those of us who enjoy a good burrito, increased ventilation.
New Balance Men’s Accelerate 7” Short – MSRP: $34.99
Your legs are the tools with which you run. They are not a display for others to gawk at. Take care of business without the unnecessary panache, and while you’re at it, save some cash. Yes, we did do a poetry unit in my sixth grade English class; let’s focus on the shorts though. Mesh paneling along the sides lets your legs breathe, while an internal key pocket and two hand pockets provide necessary storage.
The North Face Men’s Better Than Naked Long Haul 7 – MSRP: $65.00
There’s no need for belts and packs with this short. Mesh stash pockets encircle the entire waistband for easy access to gear, while a zipper pocket at the rear provides secure storage for a phone or small valuables. Top it off with five stash pockets on the outside of the inner short and you have the packhorse of shorts. Layer all of that inside a lightweight shell with mesh paneling for ventilation and you’ll never wear another short again—ever.
Saucony Men’s Throttle Short – MSRP: $48.00
2-in-1 shorts are a utility option for the runner who wants a specific feel and performance, and this short satisfies those requirements. Mesh paneling improves ventilation, while two rear zipper pockets deliver secure storage. Should your run run long (heh heh), reflective details on the front and back help signal your presence to cars.
CW-X Men’s Endurance Pro Short – MSRP: $80.00
The cream of the crop, the top of the top. Here’s all the ways this tight takes training to a whole new world: compressive paneling along the lower back and hips helps to stabilize the pelvis as well as the gluteus maximus to reduce muscle fatigue, UPF 40+ protects against UV rays, reflective logos increase low light safety, and an internal key pocket keeps your valuables secure. Shining. Shimmering. Splendid.
ASICS Men’s Sprinter – MSRP: $34.00
There’s nothing special about this half tight, other than the fact that it does everything that a half tight should. The fabric is stretchy and fitted, the seams are flatlock to minimize chafing, there are reflective details, and the upper rear has a zipper pocket. So, like we said, nothing special. It just does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
Looking for a short but unimpressed with our picks? Check out our complete catalogue below.
Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.