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What Kind of Shorts Are Best for Running? What Kind of Shorts Are Best for Running?

Design: Best Running Shorts

What Kind of Shorts Are Best for Running?

Running shorts come in various styles, materials, and designs, each with specific features that cater to different needs. However, amidst the sea of options, finding the right pair of running shorts can be a daunting task. To simplify your search, this article delves into the different kinds of running shorts and their unique characteristics, helping you identify what kind of shorts are best for your running needs.

Understanding the Different Types of Running Shorts

There are several types of running shorts, each designed to meet the diverse needs and preferences of runners. Here are the most common ones:

Split Shorts

Split shorts, as the name suggests, have a split along the sides. This design increases the range of motion, making them an excellent choice for competitive runners.

Key features of split shorts:

  • Maximized Mobility: The split on the sides allows for maximum leg movement, beneficial for high-speed running.
  • Lightweight: They are typically made from lightweight materials, reducing the overall weight a runner has to carry.
  • High Breathability: Split shorts often have a high level of breathability, ideal for hot and humid conditions.

V-Notch Shorts

V-notch shorts have a side seam, usually cut in a V-shape. They provide a balance between modesty and mobility.

Key features of V-notch shorts:

  • Balanced Mobility: The V-notch design provides decent leg movement without exposing too much.
  • Versatility: They are versatile and suitable for different types of running, from casual jogs to long-distance runs.
  • Good Coverage: V-notch shorts offer a good balance between coverage and comfort.

Compression Shorts

Compression shorts are form-fitting shorts that hug your muscles tightly. They are typically made from a blend of polyester and spandex.

Key features of compression shorts:

  • Muscle Support: Compression shorts provide support to the thighs, potentially improving performance and reducing muscle fatigue.
  • Reduced Chafing: Since they stick close to the body, they minimize the risk of chafing.
  • Temperature Regulation: Compression shorts can help in regulating body temperature, keeping the muscles warm during cold runs.
Man Wearing Compression Shorts

Image from Adobe

Built-In Brief Shorts

Built-in brief shorts come with an integrated support brief. This design eliminates the need to wear additional undergarments.

Key features of built-in brief shorts:

  • Added Support: The integrated brief provides additional support during runs.
  • Reduced Chafing: With fewer layers of clothing, the risk of chafing is reduced.
  • Increased Comfort: The built-in brief ensures a comfortable fit and keeps everything in place during your run.

Choosing the Best Running Shorts

The best running shorts depend on your personal comfort, running style, and specific needs.

Consider Your Running Style

If you’re a competitive runner or into speed training, split shorts or V-notch shorts might be suitable for their high mobility. For trail runners, longer, protective shorts could be preferable. If you engage in cold-weather running or need muscle support, consider compression shorts.

Prioritize Comfort

No matter the type, your running shorts should be comfortable. They should fit well, not chafe, and ideally have moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry.

Pay Attention to Material

The material of your running shorts matters. Look for lightweight, breathable fabrics that will keep you cool and dry. Common materials include polyester for its durability and quick-drying properties, and spandex for its flexibility.


The best kind of shorts for running ultimately depends on your personal needs and preferences. Whether you prefer the high mobility of split shorts, the balanced features of V-notch shorts, the muscle support from compression shorts, or the comfort of built-in brief shorts, the key is to choose a pair that maximizes your performance and comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are compression shorts good for long-distance running?

Yes, compression shorts can be beneficial for long-distance running as they provide muscle support, potentially reducing fatigue.

Can I wear running shorts for other workouts?

Absolutely. Running shorts can be versatile enough for other workouts like gym training, hiking, or sports, depending on their style and your comfort.

Do all running shorts have built-in briefs?

No, not all running shorts have built-in briefs. Some runners prefer shorts with built-in briefs for added support, while others prefer those without for added freedom. It comes down to personal preference.

How should running shorts fit?

Running shorts should fit comfortably. They shouldn’t be too tight to restrict movement, nor too loose that they slide or chafe. They should feel light, allow a good range of motion, and keep you dry.

What material is best for running shorts?

Lightweight, breathable materials are best for running shorts. Polyester is often used for its durability and quick-drying properties, while spandex is favored for its stretch and flexibility. Some shorts also use a blend of materials for combined benefits.