Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Speed Up Short Long 4" Updated Fit at Lululemon
"The shorts feature a lightweight waistband and an easy-access back pocket that allows you to store running essentials."
Best Overall Runner-Up: Hylete Iris Short at Hylete
"The built-in no-show breathable mesh liner doesn't ride up or limit your range of motion, even during high-intensity workouts."
Best Compression: Sweaty Betty Contour Shorts at Sweaty Betty
"Perfect for women who want longer shorts that are lightweight, stay put and don’t chafe while offering optimal coverage."
Best for Distance Running: Brooks Greenlight Short Tights at Zappos
"Two no-bounce pockets are perfect for stashing essentials, with a sweat-resistant one in the waistband that’s ideal for phones."
Best Coverage: Lululemon Fast and Free Shorts at Lululemon
"The high-rise shorts are a great warm-weather option for those who typically run in tights or capris in cooler weather."
Best Budget: Adidas Women's M20 4” Shorts at Zappos
"Made from soft and stretchy Adidas Climacool fabric, these shorts pull moisture away from your skin so it can evaporate quickly."
"With a mid-rise waist and a longer 6-inch inseam, they're designed with women in mind and flatter all body types and sizes."
Best Reflective: Under Armour Women's Fly-By Shorts at Under Armour
"The reflective detailing makes them a perfect choice for running in lowlight conditions, and they're very reasonably priced."
Best Design: Athleta Mesh Racer Run Shorts at Athleta
"Made with water-repellent fabric, it quickly wicks away sweat and shields against rain during outdoor runs."
Best Splurge: Lululemon Tracker Short at Lululemon
"The waistband lies flat, so it won’t dig in, and it has a continuous drawcord that doesn’t fall out in the wash."
From lightweight racing shorts to compression shorts, running shorts come in all shapes and sizes, which is good news for runners who have specific needs and preferences. Choosing the right shorts can mean the difference between a comfortable, successful run and one that gets cut short due to chafing, irritation, or wardrobe malfunctions.
No matter what kind of running shorts you prefer, quality and comfort are non-negotiable factors. Many runners prefer shorts with built-in briefs to avoid chafing and pockets to stash essentials. We've researched and selected the best women’s running shorts for every type of budget and exerciser to help you get the most out of your runs.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Speed Up Short Long 4" Updated Fit
These classic women’s running shorts from Lululemon earn our top spot for their performance, quality, and comfort. Designed with runners in mind, the shorts feature a lightweight waistband and an easy-access back pocket that allows you to store your most valuable running essentials.
Made with lightweight, sweat-wicking material, the shorts are also quick-drying and feature four-way stretch fabric that makes them comfortable to move in and ensures they retain their shape after many washes. The machine-washable shorts are made of 86 percent recycled polyester and 14 percent elastane, making them breathable and long-lasting.
With a 4-inch inseam, they're the perfect length—not too short or too long. They come in women's sizes 0 to 14 and in a variety of beautiful colors.
Best Overall Runner-Up: Hylete Iris Short
These shorts have a built-in no-show breathable mesh liner that doesn't ride up or limit your range of motion, even when you're sprinting or doing other high-intensity exercises. The high-stretch waistband and four-way stretch fabric move with you while you exercise, but the shorts still stay in place without digging into your sides.
Side zipper pockets keep your valuables secure while you're out on a run and are big enough to fit most phones. Durable and lightweight, these high-quality shorts will last you a long time. The athletic shorts come in a range of colors and in sizes 0 through 14.
Best Compression: Sweaty Betty Contour Shorts
Are you sick of your shorts riding up or bunching while you’re running? These mid-rise compression shorts are perfect for women who want longer shorts that stay put and don’t chafe. The lightweight, four-way stretch fabric gives you superb mobility and range of motion, while Sweaty Betty’s compression fit ensures that your shorts won’t ride up or fall down, so you don’t have to worry about any mid-run wardrobe malfunctions.
Extremely versatile, these shorts are the perfect length to wear alone or underneath a baggier pair of shorts. The soft, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and comfortable.
Distance runners love shorts that can hold all their essentials—phones, keys, sports gels, and some emergency cash. Designed with the needs of runners in mind, these Brooks Greenlight Short Tights have the storage space you need, as well as superior comfort and performance. The two no-bounce pockets are perfect for stashing essentials, with a sweat-resistant one in the waistband that’s ideal for holding your phone.
With a 7-inch inseam and a variety of size options (from 0 to 18), these shorts fit snugly enough that they won’t ride up and fall down, but they’re not overly constricting. The flat, wide power waistband holds everything in and stays put, and the flatlock seams to keep you protected from chafing. Made with UPF 50+ fabric, you'll get some added sun protection.
Best Coverage: Lululemon Fast and Free Shorts
These butter-soft, high-rise shorts from Lululemon are ideal for runners looking for flattering shorts that provide plenty of coverage. The stretchy, smooth fabric moves with you as you run, allowing for full range of motion.
They're also quick-drying and sweat-wicking, so you’ll get protection from painful chafing, no matter how far you’re running. The side pockets are perfect for securely holding your phone and other essentials, keeping them close without bouncing or feeling bulky.
Available in a range of sizes and variety of colors, these shorts have a continuous drawcord that’s easy to cinch. If you typically run in tights or capris in cooler weather, you’ll like these shorts as a warm-weather option. Choose between a 6- or 10-inch inseam option.
Best Budget: Adidas Women's M20 4” Shorts
You can’t go wrong with these budget-friendly shorts from Adidas. With a 4-inch inseam, they’re not too short or too long and sit comfortably on the waist. They’re lightweight and feature built-in briefs for enhanced comfort and chafing protection.
Made from soft and stretchy Adidas Climacool fabric, these shorts pull moisture away from your skin so it can evaporate quickly. The small pocket in the waistband is perfect for storing a key, gel, or some cash.
The shorts will quickly become a staple in your summer running clothes rotation and, with a range of colors, you may want to pick more than one pair. They're available in sizes 0 through 22.
If you prefer a bit more coverage than what most women’s running shorts offer, you’ll love these Go Longer Running Shorts from Skirt Sports. With a mid-rise waist and a longer 6-inch inseam, they're designed with women in mind and flatter all body types and sizes.
The built-in briefs give you full cheek coverage, so you don’t have to worry about a peek-a-boo when you bend over. They also help prevent the shorts from bunching or riding up.
You’ll stay dry and chafe-free thanks to the lightweight, UV 50+, quick-dry, and moisture-wicking fabric. We also love the wide, four-way stretch waistband and adjustable, continuous drawstring that won’t come out in the wash, which make for a custom, comfortable fit.
Another useful feature is the hidden pocket to stash your keys, credit card, sports gels or other small items. These shorts come in a few different colors and prints, so you can pick the ones that best fit your style.
A fantastic option from Under Armour, these 3-inch inseam Women’s Fly-By Shorts are made to keep runners cool, dry, and comfortable, even during hot and sweaty long runs.
They feature UA’s signature Moisture Transport System that pulls sweat away from your body and breathable mesh side panels that vent excess heat. The wide elastic waistband gives you a relaxed, comfortable fit and looks great underneath shirts and tank tops.
With reflective detailing, they're a perfect choice for running in lowlight conditions. They’re also very reasonably priced, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Best Design: Athleta Mesh Racer Run Shorts
Made with the needs of sweaty runners in mind, these highly-rated shorts from Athleta have a targeted mesh ventilation system that keeps you cool and comfortable. The soft, stretchy fabric moves with you and is water-repellent, so it quickly wicks away sweat and shields against rain during outdoor runs.
Another great feature is the no-slip waistband, which ensures that you won’t be tugging and pulling your shorts as they slip down or ride up. If you like to carry your phone and other essentials when running, you’ll appreciate the secure zippered pocket and hidden key pocket. The mid-rise shorts have a 4-inch inseam and come in sizes 00 through 18.
Best Splurge: Lululemon Tracker Short
Known for its quality gear with thoughtful features, Lululemon delivers with these lightweight and versatile Tracker Shorts. The shorts’ flattering, comfy fit—as well as the sweat-wicking, four-way stretch fabric—make them a favorite among runners.
The waistband lies flat, so it won’t dig in, and it has a continuous drawcord that doesn’t fall out in the wash. The 4-inch inseam is an ideal length for most runners, and the low-rise design doesn't constrict.
Like many Lululemon products, the Tracker shorts aren’t cheap, but the comfort, fit, and performance are worth every penny. With a range of color and size options, there's a pick for every runner.