The tingle that began in your core has spread through your legs. Your thoughts feel clouded, but a strange peacefulness has taken hold of your mind. Is this a stroke? Is this how it ends? Nah. You’ve just slipped on your favorite shorts again for the first time since Old Man Winter reared his pox-scarred face. This, this feeling, is the good life.
Spring means many wondrous things, but for the distance runner the most wondrous of all is getting to slide back into shorts. Whether they be split or long, there is a special relationship between a runner and his shorts. It is one of care and passion. Calculated efficiency and mind-blending exhilaration. Fire and gasoline!
Now 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 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 (< 5” Inseam)
Mizuno Aero 1.5 Split Short – MRSP: $45.00
One musn’t assume that a minimalist short necessitates minimal technology. Small but mighty, the Aero Split Short features a 1/2 split, rear zipper pocket, internal key pocket, and laser cut ventilation for a calculated, fully-mobile experience. If you race like a technician, get the short to match.
New Balance Athletics Split Short – MSRP: $32.00
How can you fully explain a dream? It wasn’t real, so no one else can appreciate the conviction with which you believe that your Second Grade Teacher has just won a debate against the Dali Lama on the efficacy of solar panels in Montreal. However, you have to try and explain it now because you brought it up in the first place, so, here goes. These are my favorite shorts. They have a ¾ split, soft polyester body, and a flat, brushed waistband that provides the perfect hold. They are freedom, and freedom is grand.
Shop all Men’s Split Shorts
Shop all Men’s Short Length Running Shorts
Medium Length (5” Inseam)
The North Face Better Than Naked 5” Short – MSRP: $55.00
The North Face Better Than Naked 5” Split Short – MSRP: $55.00
Breathable, flexible, and chock-full of storage, this short is ready to explore. A rear zipper pocket and stash pocket can be loaded with small essentials, while the dual access stash pocket can carry larger apparel. As an added benefit, this short comes in both a standard version and a split version for the coverage of your preference.
ASICS Everyday Short 5” – MSRP $40.00
With a board short vibe and a performance oriented design, the Everyday Short is the favorite of many the runner. A side zipper pocket can fit a phone and additional items while reflective detailing on the sides helps to keep you safe. Throw in the side split and you’ve got a daily short that can’t be beat.
Shop all Men’s Medium Length Running Shorts
Long Length (7″ Inseam)
Patagonia Strider Shorts 7” – MSRP: $55.00
Built to explore in any weather, the Strider Short incorporates a DWR finish for water resistance and an anti-microbial liner that set it apart from standard daily training shorts. It also has a brushed waistband interior, mesh paneling at the sides, and a rear zipper pocket, making it one of the most versatile shorts available.
Nike 7” Challenger Short – MSRP: $35.00
With hand pockets, an internal key pocket, and mesh paneling along the sides, the Challenger Short takes care of the basics so that you can take care of the running. If you have no need for bells and whistles, here’s the 7″ short that gets the job done.
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Salomon Intensity TW Short – MSRP: $90.00
This bad boy is built to go the distance. With a flat waistband for a snug hold, a compressive internal short to prevent chafing, and mesh paneling on the rear for increased breathability, this short is comfortable through the final step. A grip pattern on the thighs allows the fastpacker to ascend with hands-on-legs if desired, while UPF 50+ UV protection keeps your skin safe. And I haven’t mentioned storage! Two rear stash pockets, one rear zipper pocket, and an internal key pocket mean that you can stash to your heart’s content.
Brooks Sherpa 7” 2-In-1 Short – MSRP: $56.00
Similar to the Intensity TW Short, the Sherpa 2-In-1 has two side stash pockets, one rear zipper pocket, and an internal key pocket to make packing equipment is easy. A lightweight mesh inner short keeps everything ventilated while a small V-notch at the side increases your range of motion. It seems wrong to label any 2-In-1 as basic, so we’ll call this short the introductory 2-in-1.
Shop all Men’s 2-in-1 Running Shorts
CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator Short – MSRP: $80.00
With targeted support to the lower abdominals, hips, and back, the Stabilyx Ventilator Short is designed to support your joints and thereby allow you to run further. Open mesh panels above the knees increase ventilation where you need it most, while UPF 50+ protection shields your skin from the sun’s rays. You can also store your keys in the hidden pocket inside the shorts.
Nike Power Race Day Half Tight – MSRP: $40.00
When racing, less is more, and the Power Race Day Half Tight is just enough. An ergonomic crotch and fitted design provide for optimal mobility and aerodynamic performance. Everything else is superfluous.
Shop all Men’s Fitted Running Shorts
Shop all Men’s Compression Running Shorts
Shop all Men’s Running Shorts
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.