The Best Running Shorts for Women in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
Written by
Last update:

Running shorts are a staple of any runner's wardrobe. They are perfect for keeping the thighs protected during running, which can help prevent chafing and rashes that can occur during long runs.

Finding running shorts that are comfortable and flattering can be a challenge. You want shorts that are practical, wearable after your sweaty workout and also a good style.

That’s why we have written this dedicated list of the best running shorts for women. We have picked three shorts from different price points that will suit new runners, intermediate runners and running enthusiasts alike.

Find out which shorts to wear, why they are great and what to look for when buying new running shorts.

NameCategoryProduct
Under Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Shorty ShortsBest OverallUnder Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Shorty Shorts
Brooks Women's Greenlight 7" Short TightBudget PickBrooks Women's Greenlight 7" Short Tight
Brooks Women's Chaser 3" ShortUpgrade PickBrooks Women's Chaser 3" Short

1. Under Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Shorty Shorts

Our rating: 9 / 10

Under Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Shorty Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Moisture transport material wicks moisture and dry’s faster
  • Solid material that is both durable and comfortable
  • Thumb holes for more coverage and a snug fit
  • Solid colors

The Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Armour Shorty Shorts is a moisture-wicking alternative to underwear that provides an amazing silhouette-shaping power. The compression material is designed to keep everything in place, while also giving your legs an unlimited range of motion.

These workout shorts run true to size and feel amazing on the skin. They are designed with a smooth, performance-enhancing compression fit that is eviscerated with unique heatgear technology.

The shorts are seamless, and they also have thumbholes that keep them in place during intense exercises. They have a brief design, so they are perfect for high-impact activities.

2. Brooks Women's Chaser 3" Short

Our rating: 8 / 10

Brooks Women's Chaser 3" Short

Check Price on Amazon

The Brooks Women’s Chaser Short is a high-quality pair of running shorts that are fast drying, lightweight, and have a built-in skirt that feels like you’re wearing leggings. They fit well and are perfect for running in the summer days.

The shorts have a form-flattering design with large padded mesh side panels. They are also reflective, so they’re great for night runs.

3. Brooks Women's Greenlight 7" Short Tight

Our rating: 7 / 10

Brooks Women's Greenlight 7" Short Tight

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Perfect for comfort and performance
  • Superior wicking capabilities keep you cool and dry
  • Moisture-wicking and mesh-lined crotch
  • Feels like a second skin, even when you work up a sweat.
  • Top rated and best-selling
  • Great support for females in their 20s and 30s

The Brooks Greenlight short is a great option for women who are looking for a durable short that provides exceptional moisture management with a breathable, lightweight, and versatile design.

Its lightweight and multi-dimensional design make it a great option for both training and racing. You might not find a better option if you have very low body fat or if you run longer distances as it simply can’t offer enough support/compression.

However, if you’re running shorter distances or if your body fat is higher, you really can’t beat these shorts. They’re very comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. Plus, you can quickly and easily wash away any unwanted sweat buildup.

4. R-Gear Women's 5-Inch Running Workout Shorts

Our rating: 7 / 10

R-Gear Women's 5-Inch Running Workout Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

The R-Gear Women’s 5-Inch Running Workout Shorts are a great option for women who are looking for a modest, solid pair of shorts for working out or other athletic activities. They are a wonderful option in a market that’s dominated by extremely short workout shorts.

The shorts are made of a polyester-spandex blend with a hint of lycra. The fabric is smooth yet flexible, and the shorts have a lining that’s design to prevent chafing.

The shorts come in a variety of sizes ranging from small to 5XL. They have a slim and streamlined design that’s comfortable and flexible. This allows them to fit any body type and regardless of the size of your thighs.

5. Brooks Women's Chaser 5" Short

Our rating: 7 / 10

Brooks Women's Chaser 5" Short

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Wide range of sizes
  • Quick dry fabric
  • Lightweight
  • Great price
  • Comfortable

Nike offers a sport-specific line of clothing called Nike Sportswear, which includes workout gear. This includes a variety of contemporary silhouettes and fabrics, which leads to a wider range of products in their product category.

Nike also collaborates with other brands and culture icons, such as Kendall Jenner, Hiroshi Fujiwara, and Hiroshi Matsushita. Including smaller brands and up-and-coming designers through their Nike Sportswear Collective line.

The Nike Sportswear collection is just as suitable for chilling out in as it is for working out. And its recent collaboration with Off-White has even taken the brand to the luxury segment.

6. Under Armour Women's Qualifier Speedpocket 2-in-1 Short

Our rating: 7 / 10

Under Armour Women's Qualifier Speedpocket 2-in-1 Short

Check Price on Amazon

The Under Armour Women’s Qualifier 2 in 1 training short has been made with fast-wicking fabric. These shorts are also seam lined to make them more comfortable against your body.

The fit is very comfortable and you don’t have to worry about any chafing. There are also two side mesh pockets which are great for storing a car key or a few dollars. A hidden pocket for your phone and a short run key are also included. This makes it much safer and easier to carry your valuables when heading out for a run.

The shorts have a built-in compression band that has been designed to shape and support your stomach. This adds to the overall comfort of the product and also makes exercising a more enjoyable experience. Like all Under Armour products, the shorts are made to shrink up to 15 per cent when they begin to get wet. This is great for the fit as it will not move around when running.

7. New Balance Women's 4" Printed Impact Short

Our rating: 7 / 10

New Balance Women's 4" Printed Impact Short

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Tactically designed for superior movement
  • Breathable mesh material
  • Floral printed waistband
  • Powerful New Balance logo in back

The New Balance Women’s 4” Printed Impact Short features a moisture-wicking fabric with a secure hold over the skin. It comes with a wide, dropped crotch and a wide waistband. It also has a reflective graphic design.

It comes with a printed pattern on the waist complete with a touch of mesh. They’re perfect for low intensity workouts or for everyday casual wear.

8. Under Armour Women's Fly By Running Shorts

Our rating: 7 / 10

Under Armour Women's Fly By Running Shorts

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Quick-dry material
  • Shape retaining panels
  • Moderate compression
  • Made of lightweight material
  • Several color options
  • Variety of sizes
  • Reasonably priced

These shorts are made of polyester and elastane. Featuring a StrechGauge fabric that will keep its shape and proper length when airborne.

It has an ultra-lightweight design with a soft hand-feel. The panels and the products branded waistband—all deliver a perfect fit. It has several pocket options and has a moderate compression.

These shorts are a nice pick for jogging and running. It offers a moderate degree of compression and offers a comfortable fit. The fabric doesn’t look or feel like Lycra.

9. Salomon Women's Agile Skort

Our rating: 6 / 10

Salomon Women's Agile Skort

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Quick drying
  • Comfortable
  • Three pockets
  • Reflective elements for safe running
  • UPF 50+ sun protection to shield against harmful UV rays of the sun
  • Available in multiple colors and sizes

Cons:

  • The sizing runs small
  • The shorts are snug and may be uncomfortable for women with larger hips

The Salomon Women’s Agile Skort is from the Da Vinci Collection, and is made in a lightweight, quick-dry material that helps you stay cool and dry throughout your rigorous exercise routine. It’s a performance stretch fabric that has a four-way stretch that conforms to the body.

In addition, this skort comes with three pockets, which is very handy for keeping important items like your keys, ID, cash, and credit/debit card. It’s a great bonus for women who like to wear shorts when they run!

The skorts come with a reflective material on the back, which is great for nighttime runs. Salomon makes a handful of women’s running shorts, but the agile design is one of their most popular.

10. New Balance Women's Accelerate Short

Our rating: 6 / 10

New Balance Women's Accelerate Short

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • A few users find it a good compression short
  • Stays in place while running
  • Very comfortable for running

Cons:

  • A few find sizing to be a bit off
  • The short is a bit too short
  • The fabric is thin

` The New Balance Women’s Accelerate compression short is a basic, standard compression short. It comes in five different sizes ranging from small to extra-large. The compression shorts are available in one color – which is black.

It is designed to be worn during workouts. And contains a single pocket which can be used to carry your phone/keys/small devices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which running shorts are best?

Deciding which pair of running shorts are best for you will all depend on your own individual needs and preferences. Here are some of the top running shorts for women out there:

Puma RS Fire Flash “ Puma is one of the leading brands in running clothing. This pair are made from a blend of polyester and elastane, while also being made from a mixture of recycled plastic bottles.

Under Armour Heat Gear “ This pair is made from a mixture of polyester and elastane. They are extremely breathable, making them great for exercise of all kinds.

Gatorade All Sport “ These are great for short runs and workouts, plus they are suitable for the gym. They are made from a mixture of polyester and spandex, allowing a range of motion.

Why do women's running shorts have liners?

A number of reasons:

  • Comfort liner – to go between your skin and the main running shorts
  • Gaiters – prevent debris entering the main shorts when running
  • Security pocket – for your MP3 player or phone
  • Reflectivity – make you safer from vehicle lights and people running behind you
  • Adjustable waistband – to ensure best fit and comfort
  • UV protection – Longer lasting colour and waterproof for drizzle

You can read more about the most important features in the paragraph below.

What are the best running shorts to prevent chafing?

Chafing is a serious issue. It occurs when skin is rubbed against skin over time, causing irritation, rashes, cracked and bleeding skin. There are a lot of things that can cause this effect, including but not limited to fabric, moisture, friction, weight and rubbing. Chafing is far more likely to occur for women due to the lack of coverage provided by tight fitting clothing. Tightness provides an excellent opportunity for chafing to occur if you are not dressed properly.

The best way to prevent chafing is to dress accordingly. Here are the most important things you need to look out for when deciding on the best running shorts for women.

Are spandex shorts good for running?

The best running shorts for women are shorts that are both comfortable and functional. However, one thing to keep in mind when picking out running shorts is that not all running clothing is created equal. Spandex shorts for women are very popular. They do offer a lot in terms of comfort and function while also looking fantastic. However, that’s not the only option that is available to you.

Areanceous does a great job of compiling womens running shorts reviews. If that’s what you’re looking for than you should check out their website. But, if you’re looking for more information on running shorts in specifically then keep reading.

Conclusion

When it comes to running short, there are a lot to choose from but we’ve found that the Lululemon Opia shorts are made with a high-quality, light, soft fabric that offers ample support and great comfort for female runners.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Under Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Shorty ShortsBest OverallUnder Armour Women's HeatGear Armour Shorty Shorts
Brooks Women's Greenlight 7" Short TightBudget PickBrooks Women's Greenlight 7" Short Tight
Brooks Women's Chaser 3" ShortUpgrade PickBrooks Women's Chaser 3" Short