If you regularly run long distances or train for marathons, you understand the importance of having comfortable apparel that won’t distract you or interfere with the task at hand. Running is a fairly low-cost sport, but there are some essentials worth investing in, especially if you’re spending more than an hour or two a day using them. For me, shorts are at the top of my priority list, right up there with comfortable shoes and a quality sports bra.
Living in Houston, Texas, I train in shorts year-round and sometimes, in brutally hot conditions. If my shorts don’t fit well, I know I can end up dealing with painful chafing, or the annoyance of constantly pulling them down when they ride up.
I found my perfect pair of shorts seven years ago: the Oiselle OG Distance shorts. In addition to fitting me well and not being too short for my liking, they have two zip pockets, which are a must for anyone who’s ever lost their keys on a run (as I have), and for carrying up to four gels on a long run or during a marathon. I keep five pairs of them in heavy rotation during Houston’s ridiculously hot and humid summers (black only, so they won’t turn see-through when I sweat). No lie: I might cry a little if they ever get discontinued. I realize, though, that these shorts only go up to a size 12, so while I love them, they’re unfortunately not going to be a good choice for all runners out there.
Even though I’ve found my perfect pair of running shorts, I know there are many runners still on the hunt for theirs—especially because it’s still harder than it should be to find size-inclusive activewear. Some mass brands are slowly but surely extending their size offerings, and many new and wonderful size-inclusive activewear brands have launched in recent years (check out these 40 plus-size brands our Big Fit Girl columnist, trainer Louise Green, recommends), but we still have a long way to go when it comes to this issue.
For this reason, we gathered running shorts recommendations from a wide variety of professional and recreational runners so that we could include as many options as possible, with the hope that all runners can find something that might work well for them.
Here are 34 running shorts to help get you through your longest training runs and races.
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