Waistbands on Women’s Running Shorts

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The waistband on my running shorts changed my life.

That might sound a little dramatic, but hear me out. It’s one of those love stories – I didn’t realize what I was missing until I found it. It was love at first wear.

There I was. Going for runs, wearing running apparel I loved, and feeling fine. What I didn’t know was how much better I could feel. That is, until I tried running in shorts with a wide, flat waistband.

When it comes to shorts, there are a list of features. You have the inseam length (short, medium, or long), the style (racing, training, trail running), storage capacity (key pockets and zippered compartments), the liner (or lack thereof). The waistband style may seem like a bit of an after thought, and you may make none of your buying decisions based on this feature alone. It’s easily overlooked, but perhaps one of the most comfort affecting portions of your running short.

The waist area is tricky on ladies because there are SO many body types. I fell in love with the wide, flat band, but I have a friend who can’t stand that style and much prefers the thin, flat band type. So, my point is not to tell you which kind of waistband you will fall in love with, but rather to tell you, like a good girlfriend should, to shop around. Find the short style that speaks to your heart and honey, and try a variety of waistband styles before settling. You deserve it!

Different Waistband Styles

BOA_w_polly_short_interstellarThin, bunch elastic waistband. You know, the old school, classic running short waistband style. It provides a good amount of hold and is most often featured in basic styles of running shorts, and it has that bunched, elastic look. The BOA Women’s Polly Short Interstellar is a prime example, and you can see the narrow, bunch elastic waistband that it features. There’s not much to this short, but sometimes, that’s all you need.

ua_w_printed_perfect_pace_shortThin, flat elastic waistband. This style of waistband features a smoothed, flat band that feels more comfortable and less “pinchy” around your waist than the bunch elastic band we just talked about. It lies flat and provides you with the option to roll it down. The Under Armour Women’s Printed Perfect Pace Short features a bold waistband that holds well and feels a few comfort steps up from the classic bunch band.

oiselle_w_roga_short_kWide, flat waistband. This waistband rises farther up on your waist, which is a comfortable feature for many women. It lays flat against your skin, providing a layer of moisture-wicking comfort, and oftentimes a key pocket or zip pocket in back. The Oiselle Women’s Roga Short is a classic case – the style keeps it simple and sleek, and the width helps remove any pressure points or hot spots that thinner waistbands may cause.

patagonia_w_strider_pro_short_3_inWide waistband with storage. Some short styles feature a wide waistband, and then take advantage of that extra real estate by adding some built in storage by way of envelope pockets, zippered pockets, stash pockets – you name it. Patagonia Women’s Strider Pro Short 3″ contains five pockets within the wide waistband, which is perfect for long runs and trail excursions because you can stow all the nutrition you need, along with other small running essentials.

nike_w_sidewinder_epic_lux_shortSuper wide, control top waistband. This takes the wide, flat look to the max. The Nike Women’s Sidewinder Epic Lux Short exemplifies this feature. And if you know anything about the Epic Lux fabric, the first thing that comes to mind is “hold”. This super wide waistband provides a control top type of feel, which is great for those who want to keep the lower tummy region held in place on the run.


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