By Sarah Bowen Shea 

Gone are the days when there was one style of running short—nylon split-leg style that threatened to reveal (way) more than we wanted. Now we have choices galore—longer-and-loose; fitted; a hybrid of the two; and everything in between. We love having options, yet it can be overwhelming finding your perfect pair. So we put our brand ambassadors (“BAMRbassadors”) on the case, putting numerous pairs of shorts through their paces on numerous runs and hikes. Here are nine pairs that cover what you want while  showcasing your hard-working gams! (And, yes, three pairs might look familiar: They were in our spring gear round-up last month, but they won rave reviews so we figure they warrant being included again.) 

Brooks Chaser 5” Short

We love a 5” inseam—long enough to cover the goods, yet “short” enough to afford freedom of movement. Fall in love with these lightweight, fast-drying shorts? There are available in eight colors to stock your drawer! Also served up in 3” and 7” lengths. 

Pros: “These shorts are definitely for warm-weather running: They are soft and airy with ‘air vent’ openings in the back. I had no visible sweat marks after a humid, warm 8-miler.” A wide, smooth waistband with an infinity drawstring offers a comfortable, secure fit. “My phone did not bounce when in the back pocket in the waistband.” Our tester also appreciated, “the small front pocket with a [bungee] loop to hold my key so I didn’t have to worry about losing it.”

Cons: “My only complaint is the back pocket has no zipper.”

Take it from a mother runner: “The shorts were so comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. No sweat marks or chafing!”

Price: $64

Tracksmith Off Roads Shorts

These 2-in-1 shorts are innovative AF! Sure, they certainly aren’t the only loose shorts with a compressive short underneath, but get this: They also include an adjustable elastic belt at the back for stashing an extra shirt or light jacket, plus two waist pockets for GUs and side pockets on the liner big enough for your phone. If you’re between sizes, our tester recommends opting for the bigger size. 

Pros: “These shorts have back pockets second to none: They’re more like stretchable pouches that can hold a surprisingly large amount of items. It easily held my ID, car key, a few gels, and a sandwich!” [Editor’s note: Tester wore them hiking.] “Best of all, the pockets ride high, just below your waist and not on your butt cheeks so your gear never bounces. It’s heavenly.” Another notable feature is the belt. It’s removable so if it’s not your jam you don’t have to wear it, but it’s

specifically designed with an opening in the back of the shorts so you can tie your shirt to it if you get too warm, or tie on an extra layer if you’re worried about rain or cold.

Cons: Well, they are a major investment.

Take it from a mother runner: “They’re a high-quality product. The material and cut are superior to my usual gear.” 

Price: $98

Skirt Sports Redemption Shortie

From our friends at Skirt Sports comes these versatile, fit-everyone shorts. Available in an inclusive size range from XS-3X, and three lengths—4-, 6-, and 8-inch inseams, all with a pocket on the outside of each thigh. Our tester, who had never worn anything by Skirt Sports before, was “completely sold” on these shorts. 

Pros: They are made of a soft, body-contouring, midweight compression fabric that wicks sweat well. Our tester “felt comfortable in these shorts” for all her activities, including walking, biking, and running. “They didn’t ride up at all: They stayed put from the moment I put them on with no chafing or thighs rubbing together at all.” Our 5’ 4” tester found the 6” inseam to be “perfect.” In the “wide and comfortable” waistband, these have a continuous drawcord to ensure a secure fit. 

Cons: “The pockets aren’t as deep as some other brands, so for long races, I’d love a back pocket for stashing my car key or extra gels.”

Take it from a mother runner: “I haven’t loved shorts this much in a while: I absolutely will buy more! 

Price: $55

Lululemon Speed Up High-Rise Lined Short 2.5” 

These shorts are a mainstay in the Lululemon line: Our tester has owned them for several years. The shortest shorts in the mix, these shorts are also available in a version with a 4” inseam. They are available in more than a dozen (!) colors and sizes 0-20. 

Pros: “I have owned a version of these shorts for years, and I truly love everything about them,” gushes our tester who wears them running, strength training, and playing tennis. “I like that the shorts are not tight around my thighs so they don’t chafe during the sweaty

summer months.” She also commented on how durable they are, despite years-worth of washings. The high, incredibly wide waistband is made from a knit, while the rest of the garment is four-way stretch fabric, aptly named Swift. A continuous drawcord ensures they stay where you want ’em. There’s a small, zippered pocket on the back plus gel pockets on the waistband. 

Cons: Testers with bigger booties might find the built-in liner too skimpy. 

Take it from a mother runner: “These are my favorite shorts to run in—so light and airy!”

Price: $68

UnderArmour Women’s Fly-by 2.0 Running Shorts

What a bargain: These quality shorts cost just $25 (and some colors are on sale)! These 3.5” inseam, track-style shorts offer a classic look with some modern updates, like a crossover side hem with breathable mesh panels. These have a built-in liner and a soft, knit waistband with an internal drawcord. 

Pros: Available in sizes XS through 3XL and offered in more colors than a box of Crayola crayons! “There is a small inside pocket in the back, perfect for a car key or my must-have, Chapstick.” The 100% nylon fabric is “so comfortable and light!” 

Cons: No phone-stashing pocket.

Take it from a mother runner: “ I always feel like I look fast when I wear shorter shorts.”

Price: $25

Stio Women’s Terral Run Short

When we recently heard of Stio, we immediately knew it was a brand we could get 100% behind because of its business practices, such as its commitment to using preferred materials, including recycled ones, in more than 50% of its product line (committed to boosting to 75% by 2025). The brand also has its Second Turn™️ gear renewal program that allows customers to trade in and shop used apparel. 

Pros: Our tester “was  impressed by how breathable and feather-light” these microfiber shorts are. The material is a two-way stretch, allowing “unrestricted movement” and “no riding up at the thighs.” The elastic waist has an exterior drawcord to allow you to customize the fit. The tester felt the 3” inseam “was perfect—not too short and not too long.”

Cons: Only a single pocket, yet at least it’s secure with a zipper. 

Take it from a mother runner: “These shorts were a game changer for me, a runner who had never ever run in shorts before!” 

Price: $53.40 (on sale!)

Pressio Half Tight Mid-Rise

These fitted, 8” inseam shorts are made with a revolutionary no-dye technology that allows for significantly fewer chemicals, less water, and less electricity usage than other fabrics. The knit fabric also offers enhanced support for decreased muscle soreness and zero sheerness (bend over with abandon!). 

Pros: Innovative seam placement means no inner-thigh rubbing or break down where thighs touch. Our tester liked how “smooth and soft” these shorts are, plus how well they stay in place. “The waist did not slip down, and the legs did not ride up. They fit like a glove!!” Despite the style name of these shorts, our tester deemed them “high rise,” which she appreciated. And no stink: “After wearing and washing, they did not retain any sweaty odors.”

Cons: “I was sad these shorts had a pocket only on the right leg; I would have liked one on each leg.”

Take it from a mother runner: 

Price: $75

Oiselle Pocket Jogger Shorts

All hail the size range on these versatile shorts: from size 2 to 24/26! They are made from a soft, stretchy fabric that holds you in (especially one tester’s “menopot!”) and wears like nails. These beauties have five pockets—three along the rear waistband (including one zippered pocket), plus two on the side legs. (We love these shorts so much, we even made co-branded ones that we sell in our online store!)

Pros: The cut of these shorts won praise: “The length of the shorts were perfect, and they did not ride up at all.” (Note: They are available in several lengths.) Our testers also loved, “how the shorts were very high waisted.” The side-thigh pockets on these shorts are brilliant: “They are large enough for any type of phone, and my phone did not bounce around at all.” 

Cons: “I can’t think of a thing wrong with them!”

Take it from a mother runner: “I love the pockets on the thighs.”

Price: $66

Rab Women’s Talus Trail Shorts

Let us introduce you to Rab, a UK brand focused on mountain adventures and sustainability. E.g. In just the last three years, they’ve increased their usage of recycled fabrics by nearly 50%. These two-in-one shorts are intended to keep a runner or hiker cool and comfortable and offer loads of storage space. 

Pros: These shorts have an incredibly wide waistband with a large stash pocket on the front and a zipped back pocket. Our tester appreciated the easy access to GUs in the front pocket, and she also put her “key fob in there and had no issues with it falling out.” Need more storage? There’s also a large pocket on the outside of each leg of the stretchy, fitted liner shorts. The loose outer layer is made from fast-drying fabric. “These shorts are super-light and comfy—the fabric stayed dry my entire run!” 

Cons: The price tag

Take it from a mother runner: “All in all, a great pair of versatile shorts for many activities.”

Price: $95


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