The best men’s running shorts not too long ago, running shorts came in just one variety: extremely short. Now, there are all sorts to choose from, and anyone who’s developed a painful downstairs chafe midway through a race or training run knows how important it is to get the right pair. We’ve tested running shorts from all the major brands and concluded that these right here – in no particular order – are the very best of the best.
The Best Men’s Running Shorts
As you can see from this list, we are paid-up members of the 2-in-1 running shorts fan club. However, in the summer months having that extra layer of fabric can become a little hot with some 2-in-1 shorts. Not so the Under Armour ISO-Chill shorts through, because the inner compression layer is made from a fabric that draws heat from the skin to keep you feeling cool.
The shorts are comfortable and dry quickly too, and they have a handy drop-in pouch on the inner layer to hold your phone. Our only slight disappointment with them is that the promised anti-odour properties of the fabric didn’t seem to do much – you’ll need to wash this shorts after each run.
Not bothered about flashy names, compression or trying to shave seconds off a PB with drag-reducing design? You can’t go wrong with these light, breathable shorts from European sports superstore Decathlon. We’ve run in ours for a couple of months now and so far they seem just as durable as other brands. No frills. No complaints. A proper bargain.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Impact Run range has a set of shorts to suit every runner. There are long shorts, split shorts, two-in-one shorts, colourful shorts and plain shorts as well as limited-edition shorts celebrating the London Marathon each year. They’re all really good shorts too and offer solid value. We’ve run many a mile in the 5in London Marathon 2018 shorts in particular, which commemorate a very hot race where we blew up and walked most of the second half. Happy days.
We liked the first 2-in-1 shorts we tried from Zone3 – the RX3 Medical Grade shorts – but they were a little heavy on the compression for our liking, and were fairly heavy in general. The new Phantom edition offers a lighter feel, though the inner layer still offers upper leg support without being quite so intense. Crucially, the Phantom also has a useful phone-sized drop-in pocket on the inner layer, so you can ditch the running belt or armband.
We’ve been testing these and the Saysky Pace Short Tights(opens in new tab) of late and they are both fantastic. They provide a comfortable and supportive amount of compression without feeling too snug, while the inner layer on the shorts has two drop-in pockets that can accommodate a phone, soft flask or a couple of gels. We used the Short Tights for a marathon recently and carried two soft flasks in the pockets without any annoying bouncing. Both the 2-in-1 shorts and short tights also have a zip pocket on the back for small essentials like keys or a card.
These comfortable 2-in-1 shorts are thicker and a little heavier than many dedicated running shorts, but the soft material and relaxed design make them great for easy runs as well as a variety of other activities. Bamboo fabric also naturally resists odours and in our experience BAM’s gear stays as soft as ever even after years of regular washing. The shorts have a drop-in pocket on the inner layer that can take a phone and hold it securely during a run, plus two normal side pockets on the outer layer.
While we do enjoy shorts that boast novel features or adventurous colours, there is something inherently satisfying about a solid pair of black running shorts. The DOXA Scott Shorts offer a great fit and a good amount of storage, thanks to a back pocket, two side pockets and two pouches on the inside of the waist hem, where you can store a gel.
Soar’s range of shorts features options for almost every type of run and all of them are perfect for their role. We’ve long been fans of the Speed Short half-tights, which are more comfortable for long races than any other shorts we’ve come across – we’ve worn them for marathons without a hint of chafing – but lack storage, which is useful when tackling marathons. Enter the Marathon Speed Shorts, which offer the same design and comfort, and also have gel loops on the front and a back pocket. This allows you to carry up to six large gels, though be aware that gels in the front loops can come loose when pounding down hills.
As ever, the catch with Soar is the high price, though the quality is there if the cost doesn’t deter you. The company also makes split shorts with the same loop and back-pocket storage system for those who prefer those over half-tights.
We can’t help but look at the large waistband on the Dragon Twin Skin Shorts and wish that Montane used that space to add a front pouch or pocket, but at least there are three pockets on the back. There’s a large zipped pocket that can take a phone, plus two smaller drop-in pouches for gels, keys, cards, headphones and so on. The waistband is made from the same comfortable, sweat-wicking material as the inner liner on the shorts, which are great for long runs and races where you want to reduce the risk of chafing.
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