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The 6 Best Running Shorts of 2024

We bought and tested running shorts from Patagonia, On Running, Brooks, Rabbit, and others to help you find the best
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Best Running Shorts Men Review (We view the Vuori Kore Shorts more as an all-day gym style short but that doesn't mean it can't work for your running...)
We view the Vuori Kore Shorts more as an all-day gym style short but that doesn't mean it can't work for your running needs.
Credit: Matthew Richardson
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 25, 2024

The Best Men's Running Shorts for 2024


Searching for the best men's running shorts? We researched over 100 models before purchasing 12 of the most popular for this side-by-side review. Our experts tested and compared each model across a variety of diverse terrain and adventures, including long mountain traverses, daily trail running loops, and interval sessions on local dirt roads. We noted how each performed for several key considerations, such as waistband comfort, liner comfort, pocket functionality, moisture-wicking, and versatility. We've analyzed all of the small details so you can focus on which style, inseam length, and price fits your needs. Whether you want the very best or simply a solid pair that can be had for less than the rest, read on for our recommendations.

Running doesn't have to be a sufferfest. The right gear can make your experience much more comfortable. We've tested the best running shoes for men and top running shoes for women, and if you prefer to get off the beaten path, we've reviewed the top trail running shoes. Whatever you're in the market for, we can help you find the best running gear for your needs and budget. And if you're looking for the best women's running shorts, our review is an in-depth analysis written by women, for women.

Editor's Note: We updated our men's running shorts review on June 24, 2024 to share some information on updates to the Patagonia Strider Pro.

Related: Best Running Shorts for Women

Top 12 Running Shorts

Displaying 1 - 5 of 12
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $80 List
$80.00 at REI
$59.50 at Backcountry$70 List
$64.00 at REI
$60 List
$29.83 at REI
$68 List
$68.00 at REI
Overall Score
83
74
73
72
66
Star Rating
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Pros Waistband comfort, liner comfort, phone pocket designWaistband comfort, multiple external pockets, secure phone pocketUnique standout designs, thin streamlined feel, great phone pocketGreat liner comfort, thin breathable fabric, comfortable elastic waistband sits flat against the skinExtremely comfortable brief liner, hand pockets, durable fabric
Cons Only available in 7-inch inseam, features only one rear pocketExpensive, waist pocket reportedly no longer fits iPhonesMinimal pocket storage, high fabric water absorptionZipper catches when putting on shorts, standard-sized phones difficult to remove from pocketHeavy, long inseam for running, brief liner less snug
Bottom Line Best overall comfort and performance with an excellent, snug phone pocket designOur favorite long-distance running shorts combine great pocket performance with a comfortable waistband and linerUnique standout designs that offer a great liner and waistband comfort, these are perfect shorts for tempo efforts with their streamlined designMicroscopic holes in the fabric make these the most breathable shorts we've tested. These shorts are great for hot and humid conditions without soaking up too much moistureWith its longer inseam and heavier fabric, this model is made for more all-around usage. We can't recommend this purely for running but if you need a short to do it all this could be the one for you
Rating Categories On Lightweight Short Patagonia Strider Pro Janji AFO Middle REI Co-op Swiftland... Vuori Kore Shorts
Waistband Comfort and Fit (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Liner Design and Comfort (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Pocket Functionality (20%) Sort Icon
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Moisture Wicking and Drying (20%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
5.0
Style and Versatility (10%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs On Lightweight Short Patagonia Strider Pro Janji AFO Middle REI Co-op Swiftland... Vuori Kore Shorts
Inseam Length Tested 8.6 in 5 in 5 in 5 in 7.5 in
Available Inseam Lengths 8.6 in 5 in, 7 in 4 in, 5 in, 7 in 5 in, 7 in 5 in, 7.5 in
Measured Weight (size Small) 4.1 oz 3.4 oz 3.8 oz 3.9 oz 6.8 oz
Interior Liner Type Brief Brief Brief Brief Boxer brief
Material 85% nylon, 15% elastane 100% recycled polyester stretch ripstop 88% recycled polyester, 12% elastane 73% nylon, 27% spandex 88% polyester, 12% elastane
Pockets 1 elastic rear pocket 4 elastic hip pockets, 1 zippered rear pocket 1 zipper rear, internal front key pocket 2 interior drop, 1 back zippered 2 external hip, 1 external back


Best Overall Men's Running Shorts


On Lightweight Short


83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Liner Design and Comfort 8.0
  • Pocket Functionality 9.0
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying 7.0
  • Style and Versatility 8.0
Inseam Length Tested: 8.6 in | Pockets: 1 rear elastic rear pocket
REASONS TO BUY
Exceptional waistband comfort
Outstanding rear phone pocket
Great breathability
REASONS TO AVOID
Pricey

The On Lightweight shorts are so comfortable that we wore them throughout the day, even after we finished our run. The waistband is exceptional and is the best we tested, and the liner felt supportive for running but also allowed for all-day breathability. This comfort is combined with a unique zipperless phone pocket design, making this one of the only shorts we tested without any zippers at all. The folding pocket has the least bounce we tested and also allows easy access for checking your route or snapping some quick photos.

The only downsides of the On Lightweight Short are the higher price tag and the lack of a 5-inch inseam model. We prefer 5-inch inseams for running due to the reduced fabric movement and potential chafing, while 7 to 8-inch inseams typically allow for more comfortable all-day wear. Unfortunately, there are no hand pockets on this model, which we feel could easily be added without detracting from the comfort. We hope On makes a 5-inch version of these shorts in the future. If you're looking for an ultra-comfortable option with a shorter inseam, check out the Patagonia Strider Pro.

running shorts mens - the on lightweight shorts received top marks for their...
The On Lightweight Shorts received top marks for their ultra-comfortable waistband and awesome phone pocket design that allowed for easy access and bounce-free storage.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Best Shorts on a Budget


Under Armour Launch SW 7"


55
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit 5.0
  • Liner Design and Comfort 6.0
  • Pocket Functionality 5.0
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying 5.0
  • Style and Versatility 7.0
Inseam Length Tested: 7 in | Pockets: 2 hand pockets
REASONS TO BUY
Great value
Comfortable liner
Two hand pockets
Versatile use outside running
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks rear phone pocket
Waistband less comfortable than others

The Under Armour Launch SW 7" shorts offer a good blend of performance and versatility at an affordable price. These shorts have a comfortable liner and two hand pockets, a nice addition that allows for uses outside of running, such as bopping around town or going to the gym. While these shorts don't have the extras that the higher-end models have, these, without a doubt, won't let you down on runs around town.

We'd love to see a rear phone pocket added; unfortunately, hand pockets simply don't cut it for storing items while running. The waistband comfort also didn't receive the highest of marks when compared to the more expensive models. A model in this price range has trouble competing with the latest designs and ultimate comfort of the premium materials that cost much more. For an affordable short with a higher comfort rating, take a look at the Nike Flex Stride 7".

running shorts mens - the under armour launch sw is a comfortable versatile short that...
The Under Armour Launch SW is a comfortable versatile short that works well for those with a tight budget or who simply want an extra pair of solid running shorts.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Best Long Distance Performance


Patagonia Strider Pro


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Liner Design and Comfort 7.0
  • Pocket Functionality 8.0
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying 6.0
  • Style and Versatility 8.0
Inseam Length Tested: 5 in | Pockets: 4 elastic hip pockets, 1 zippered rear pocket
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable waistband and liner
Great external pockets for nutrition
External drawstring closure
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
New design doesn't fit standard phones
Updated Since Testing
Patagonia updated the Strider Pro with a 90% recycled polyester and 10% spandex material designed for more stretch, and a PFC-free DWR coating. However, we are seeing many online consumer reviews referencing that the back pocket no longer fits a standard size iPhone. The waist phone pocket was previously a feature we enjoyed on this short, so we're bummed to hear that Patagonia has made the pocket opening smaller. We hope to test the new version for comparison in an upcoming update, and we'll report our findings then.
The Patagonia Strider Pro is our top choice for trail runs and long-distance activities. We were impressed with the liner and waistband of this model and appreciated the exterior drawstring closure, which reduces chafing for extended runs. The waistband felt comfortable and secure without the bunching or looseness we experienced on other shorts. The Strider Pro also features multiple pockets, but as reported above, the latest model reportedly no longer accommodates most modern phones. This model is available in both 5" (which we tested) and 7" inseams.

The only real downside of these shorts is the high price. In the future, we think there could be improvements in its drying times, but we also understand the need to provide moisture-wicking in a short. While you probably won't want to wear the Strider Pro all day while not running, it's without a doubt our go-to trail and long-distance short. If you want an all-rounder that you can run in and wear all day, the Vuori Kore Shorts is quite comfortable and scores decently across our metrics.

running shorts mens - the patagonia strider pro shorts receive recognition for their...
The Patagonia Strider Pro shorts receive recognition for their comfort and versatility on long outings.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Best Tempo/Racing Shorts


Janji AFO Middle


73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Liner Design and Comfort 8.0
  • Pocket Functionality 7.0
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying 6.0
  • Style and Versatility 7.0
Inseam Length Tested: 5 in | Pockets: 1 zipper rear, internal front key pocket
REASONS TO BUY
Sleek, lightweight design
Unique colorways
Comfortable waistband
REASONS TO AVOID
Minimal pocket storage
High moisture absorption

The Janji AFO Middle shorts are our go-to for uptempo and fast efforts. These shorts feel fast due to their sleek, fitted design and minimal features. We appreciate the secure phone pocket on the rear, which includes a zipper pull for easy access. This secured our older iPhone 11 Pro nicely and maintained it bounce-free. The waistband and liner on this model are also extremely comfortable and did not contribute to any chafing or discomfort. These shorts come in some unique colorways and styles that differ from other models we tested, so if you are looking to stand out from the crowd, take a look at this model.

We were slightly confused by the placement of the internal key pocket, which is located at the front of your stomach. While we appreciate the inclusion of this feature, we think the hip would be a better location. We were also surprised by the amount of water this fabric absorbs. While moisture wicking is an essential feature of athletic wear, we think this could get frustrating in warmer humid climates. And because of the slimmed-down minimal design, these are less versatile than other shorts that offer multiple pockets for nutrition and other items. If you like a longer inseam, check out the On Lightweight Short, which is our favorite short of the bunch.

running shorts mens - the streamlined fit of the janji afo middle makes for a fast feeling...
The streamlined fit of the Janji AFO Middle makes for a fast feeling short. The unique designs are sure to stand out when at the start line or when dropping the pace during your tempo runs.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Most Comfortable Liner


Rabbit FKT 5"


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit 7.0
  • Liner Design and Comfort 9.0
  • Pocket Functionality 5.0
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying 5.0
  • Style and Versatility 6.0
Inseam Length Tested: 5 in | Pockets: 2 elastic hip pockets, 1 zippered rear pocket
REASONS TO BUY
Superior liner comfort
Comfortable elastic waistband sits flat against the skin
Great pocket capacity
REASONS TO AVOID
Pockets have minimal closure tension, which lessens security
Round drawstrings are bulky when tied
Product Updated Since Testing
The latest version of this short is the FKT 2.0 5". The side stash pockets are now able to fit water flasks, and the back center pocket is integrated into the waistband to help prevent bounce. There is also a new diamond ripstop stretch fabric with a slightly different material makeup (read: more spandex) than the version we tested. Our affiliate links point to the 2.0 version, but since we haven't tested that model yet, our review still pertains to the previous version.
The most noticeable factor when putting on a pair of running shorts is the liner. The Rabbit FKT 5" has a liner so comfortable you don't even know it's there. We were stunned by how even hot conditions led to premium comfort mile after mile. If you are looking for absolute liner comfort or haven't been able to find a chafe-free option, we suggest you take a look at these shorts. While we can't guarantee they will work for you, our team loves them.

Of course, with premium materials and quality stitching comes a high cost. The Rabbit FKT 5" is one of the more expensive shorts we tested, but we think they are worth the price tag. These liners are simply that good. They're a great all-around short that could easily fit your needs for everyday use or long trail adventures. If you want to save a few bucks, we also found the liner of the Brooks Sherpa 5" pretty comfy, but we aren't huge fans of the internal drawstring on the waistband.

running shorts mens - the rabbit fkt short has an exceptional liner which helps make it...
The Rabbit FKT short has an exceptional liner which helps make it one of our overall favorites.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Best for Hot Temperatures


REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit 7.0
  • Liner Design and Comfort 8.0
  • Pocket Functionality 7.0
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying 7.0
  • Style and Versatility 6.0
Inseam Length Tested: 5 in | Pockets: 2 interior drop, 1 back zippered
REASONS TO BUY
Thin but comfortable liner liner
Elastic waistband sits flat against the skin
Thin breathable material
REASONS TO AVOID
Zipper catches when putting on shorts
Standard-sized phones difficult to remove from pocket

In hot temperatures, we want our shorts to feel light and airy. The REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts are the most breathable we tested. This is due to the fabric's gridlike pattern, which has air channels to supply maximum airflow. These shorts are also one of the lightest we tested, lending to a breezy and unrestrictive feel. We also like that when they get wet, they sag less than the competition.

The pocket could use some refinement; our standard-size iPhone barely fit and was a pain to remove. (We love the rear phone pocket on the On Lightweight Shorts.) We think the Swiftland's zipper could be lowered, too; it tended to flip inside, scraping your skin when putting these on. At first we thought it was a fluke, but it continued to happen throughout our testing. Luckily, this is a minor complaint and does not detract from us picking this model on the hottest of days.

running shorts mens - the rei co-op swiftland running shorts are the most breathable...
The REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts are the most breathable shorts we tested. Perfect for hot runs or when drying speed is a priority.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
83
On Lightweight Short
Best Overall Men's Running Shorts
$80
Editors' Choice Award
74
Patagonia Strider Pro
Best Long Distance Performance
$85
Top Pick Award
73
Janji AFO Middle
Best Tempo/Racing Shorts
$70
Top Pick Award
72
REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts
Best for Hot Temperatures
$60
Top Pick Award
66
Rabbit FKT 5"
Most Comfortable Liner
$75
Top Pick Award
66
Vuori Kore Shorts
$68
65
Brooks Sherpa 5"
$64
62
Nike Flex Stride 7"
$55
58
Salomon Cross Shorts
$50
55
Under Armour Launch SW 7"
Best Shorts on a Budget
$38
Best Buy Award
54
Adidas Saturday Split Short
$45
48
Baleaf 5" Pocketed
$24

running shorts mens - we subjected each pair of running shorts to head-to-head testing in...
We subjected each pair of running shorts to head-to-head testing in real-world situations.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

How We Test Running Shorts


We put these shorts to the test on both trails and roads around Durango, CO, and the Texas Hill Country. Initial impressions were gained on a standardized 7-mile test loop around town. Long runs and tempo efforts were performed to analyze the shorts under various athletic outputs. Once we understood the comfort of each pair of shorts, we analyzed the more nuanced details like pocket performance and fabric breathability/drying times and tested their versatility throughout the day.

We rated and scored each pair of shorts based on five rating metrics:
  • Waistband Comfort and Fit (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Liner Design and Comfort (25% weighting)
  • Pocket Functionality (20 % weighting)
  • Moisture Wicking and Drying (20% weighting)
  • Style and Versatility (10% weighting)

We tested each product on our standardized 7-mile test loop.
We tested each product on our standardized 7-mile test loop.
We tested in all kinds of conditions and temperatures.
We tested in all kinds of conditions and temperatures.
Our testing terrain includes roads, trails, gravel, grass, and...
Our testing terrain includes roads, trails, gravel, grass, and mountainous terrain.

Why Trust GearLab


Passionate runner and mountain athlete Matthew Richardson heads up this review. Based in Durango, Colorado, Matthew is one of GearLab's running experts, and he also takes the lead in our review of the best men's road running shoes. For Matthew, both competitive and personal objectives require a commitment to finding the best gear possible to increase the odds of success and completion.

Analysis and Test Results


Besides general field testing, the five metrics that we assessed for each pair of shorts are waistband comfort, liner comfort, pocket performance, moisture-wicking and drying, and style and versatility. Our metric sections below outline how each pair of shorts fares in each performance metric.


Value


When considering running shorts, you must weigh your desire for premium comfort and performance with the value that they provide you. All of the shorts we tested can provide a good running experience, but the higher-end models provide the highest quality materials and construction. However, you may be looking to buy more than one pair of shorts, and spending top dollar may not be what you're after. The Under Armour Launch SW shorts provide the best value with solid all-around performance and a relatively low price. Many other high-end models outperform the Launch but at nearly double the price.

Waistband Comfort and Fit


There are two main comfort factors when discussing running shorts: the waistband and the liner. Everything else generally is extra, and while other features can provide benefits, the waistband and liner have the capability to make or break running shorts. Just like anything, people have their personal preferences regarding waistbands; some prefer thicker waistbands, and some prefer thinner ones. Regardless of aesthetic and feel, the priority must be lack of movement and chafing. Anytime you have movement, you have friction, which creates discomfort and chafing. The same factors influence a liner.


We made sure to test a wide variety of waistbands in this analysis. Some are flat and skinny, while others are thick and tall, almost resembling yoga pants — which have grown in style and popularity for both men and women. Others have more classic bunch drawstring designs that remind us of high school gym shorts. Generally, these designs differ in the amount of contact between the hips and lower stomach. We often strive to find the tightest-fitting shorts without being too constricting. From our experience, if shorts are sized correctly and the material has good stretch and compression, the drawstring is rarely needed. This may not be the case for others, and if so, it's even more reason to analyze how and where the drawstring is located.

We find that external drawstrings are superior to internal drawstrings because they reduce the possibility of creating friction against your skin. A knot on the inside touching your skin during long-distance events isn't ideal. Our favorite waistbands either have a unique design that reduces internal bulk or has a drawstring on the exterior.

running shorts mens - the tall thin waistband found on the on lightweight short is our...
The tall thin waistband found on the On Lightweight Short is our favorite and provides great compression without feeling constricting. These shorts fit so well we didn't even need to use the internal drawstring.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

The On Lightweight Short has the most comfortable waistband by far, which is tall and super thin. While the drawstring is tied on the inside, we found that the band materials are supportive and compressive, which reduced the need to use the drawstring at all. Also among the most comfortable is the flat, narrow, and mesh patterned waistbelt on the Janji AFO Middle shorts and the similarly flat and thin material and comfort of the Patagonia Strider Pro. Both of these models feature external drawstrings. We experienced no chafing or discomfort from either of these models from the first to the last mile.

The thin waistband found on the Janji AFO Middle is a comfortable...
The thin waistband found on the Janji AFO Middle is a comfortable band, and while not as wide as others, we love the slim snug feel that quickly made this one of our favorites.
The waistband on the Patagonia Strider Pro is comfortable and thin...
The waistband on the Patagonia Strider Pro is comfortable and thin. There is ample compression without constriction and we appreciate the external drawstring, which reduces chances of chafing.

Liner Design and Comfort


Virtually all pairs of running shorts come with a built-in liner. The liner is there to allow for breathability and support, which often is not offered with standard underwear. When you are running, you generate loads of heat, and tight compression shorts often do not allow that heat to escape very well. If you have had trouble finding liners that work well for you, we suggest prioritizing liner comfort. Liners should ultimately provide you with the best of both worlds: bounce-free support and breathability for long days.


Since they need to be comfortable, liners are most often made with silky smooth synthetic materials and sometimes mesh. They are designed to breathe well and dry out quickly. When assessing their comfort, we noticed two things that tended to bother us: the way that the edges of the liners are sewn, which, depending on quality, can cause itching and chafing over time, and the tightness of the fit. Some liners manage to cup what needs to be cupped without being too tight, while others hug under the glutes and insides of the legs in a super noticeable way.

Briefs or 2-in-1?
Liners come in two varieties — briefs and 2-in-1. We prefer the design of briefs because less material means lighter weight and less heat, and the shape of the liner itself does a better job of cradling and preventing excessive bouncing. 2-in-1 designs have a boxer brief-shaped liner, but we find that these versions trap heat and moisture next to our skin more and often aren't designed to cradle and prevent bouncing. Ultimately, it is a personal preference.

running shorts mens - you will have to take our word for it, the rabbit fkt shorts simply...
You will have to take our word for it, the Rabbit FKT shorts simply have the most comfortable liner design when compared to the competing models.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

The Rabbit FKT has by far the most comfortable liner that we tested. It fits perfectly and has nicely sewn edges that cause no disturbances, even after a full day of running. The Janji AFO Middle Shorts and the On Lightweight Shorts have flat sewn edges that reduce friction and noticeable bulk towards the stitching. The light, airy liner found on the REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts was our favorite for running in hot conditions. This liner is the thinnest out of all the models we tested.

running shorts mens - the rei co-op swiftland running shorts has one of the thinnest...
The REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts has one of the thinnest liners we tested and still manage to fit well and not cut into our skin.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

All of these models receive high marks for their blend of support and tightness without limiting freedom of movement. We never felt constricted in these pairs and noticed no liner movement during any style of running.

running shorts mens - the on lightweight shorts have an all-day comfort liner that we...
The On Lightweight Shorts have an all-day comfort liner that we loved. We often found ourselves using this for multiple activities throughout the day.
Credit: Matthew Richardson


Pocket Functionality


Pockets are a personal preference, but on long training runs or exploratory outings, pockets are key. If the goal is a fast effort on a familiar route you do weekly, pockets may be less essential. The most essential pocket items are a gel, a phone, and a key. Holding anything more is asking too much out of your short pockets; we would suggest investing in a running belt or a hydration vest, which will offer more room and less bounce. These days, we rarely find ourselves leaving for a run without one.


In this write-up, we will assume some pockets are wanted, which we expect the vast majority would agree with. The decision-making behind our scoring in this category is different from others because the pocket count differs between models. Ultimately, pocket performance is just that— assessing the performance of the pockets. Simply having more pockets does not equate to a higher score. This is also why we have introduced the versatility metric, which takes these factors into account. Shorts with hand pockets are generally more versatile than those without hand pockets.

The four hip pockets on the Patagonia Strider Pro are very effective...
The four hip pockets on the Patagonia Strider Pro are very effective at carrying gels and we like the pull-over tab which keeps items secure and worry-free.
The On Lightweight Shorts have only one rear phone pocket near the...
The On Lightweight Shorts have only one rear phone pocket near the waistline but it is very comfortable and secure.

The best pockets sit high on the hip, where their contents will bounce less. They are large enough to hold typical snacks, like gels or a small bar, and tight enough to keep contents secure so they don't jostle around. Most shorts have a rear pocket right under the waistband and are centered in the middle. This is another spot that usually doesn't bounce much and is a good place for a smartphone if the pocket is big enough. Those pockets typically are zippered for added security. Often, phone pockets are either too loose or too tight. Too loose and your phone will bounce; too tight and it performs well but is a pain to take in and out. We prefer a tighter phone pocket for its running performance. That brings up the next dilemma — what size phone can your shorts accommodate? We performed all of our tests with an older iPhone 11 & iPhone 13 Pro.

running shorts mens - the folding pocket design found on the on lightweight short is a...
The folding pocket design found on the On Lightweight Short is a standout feature of the model. We love how the pocket is secure while running but also allows for easy access -- something that zippered pockets struggle with.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Even though the On Lightweight Shorts only have one phone pocket, it is a joy to use and receives high marks in the category. The unique folding pocket is zipperless and creates a secure pouch for your phone, allowing easy stowing and retrieval. Thanks to the large waistband, the phone naturally sits within this band, creating a snug fit against your back. Due to this folding design, it can accommodate different-sized items, which we appreciate. While not as secure as a zippered pocket, we had no issues with security, and unless you are going upside down, we don't think you will have any, either.

The Patagonia Strider Pro we tested allowed for phone storage in the rear pocket, but we're hearing a lot of reports that Patagonia's updated 2024 model of this short does not accommodate most phones anymore. But there is room for gels in its four small side compression pockets, which is perfect for long runs. Other shorts that receive high marks for their bounce-free zippered phone pocket zipper are the Janji AFO Middle Shorts and the Brooks Sherpa 5".

running shorts mens - the previous model of the patagonia strider pro is shown here. this...
The previous model of the Patagonia Strider Pro is shown here. This model had a well-designed external rear pocket that could fit a phone, but we've seen a handful of recent online reviews stating the latest version doesn't fit a standard phone any longer.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Mositure Wicking and Drying


When running hard or in hot climates, you generally start to sweat, and your running shorts must remove some of this excess sweat from your skin and allow it to dry. Shorts with high absorption rates generally take longer to dry, but with minimal sweating, can be perfect for spring or fall conditions. In the heat of summer, you will want fast-drying and fast-wicking shorts to make your outing more comfortable. On some days, the dreaded post-run soaked shorts are inevitable, but you may want to take this into account if you often find yourself running in the heat. Finding a short with a higher score in this category should allow more comfort in extended sweat scenarios.


We tested this by fully submerging all of the running shorts and completely saturating them with water. Then, we squeezed as much water as possible from the shorts and hung them up to dry in a cool garage with a fan to provide airflow. After two hours of dry time, we weighed the start and finish weights and calculated the difference. The lower the score, the faster drying or smaller absorption. By analyzing the starting weight and comparing it to the dry weight, we could see the total absorption amount. Both of these metrics influenced our ranking.

running shorts mens - the square pattern found on the rei co-op swiftland running shorts...
The square pattern found on the REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts allows for air to pass easily between the face fabric.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

It was no surprise that the lightest short in our review, the Adidas Saturday Split Short, was also the fastest drying and absorbed the least amount of water. The On Lightweight Shorts and REI Co-op Swiftland Running Shorts performed well in this metric thanks to their extremely thin outer material.

The Adidas Saturday Split Shorts are the lightest and fastest drying...
The Adidas Saturday Split Shorts are the lightest and fastest drying model we tested.
Water beading off of the fabric found on our tests of the New...
Water beading off of the fabric found on our tests of the New Balance Men's Impact Run Short. These received high marks for its quick drying time and low water absorption.

Style and Versatility


Out of all the metrics, style is the most subjective, so we will give you our opinion, but yours is just as valid. We've included versatility as well because shorts this expensive should hopefully be able to perform different tasks throughout the day, like heading out to breakfast post-run or going to the gym. We split shorts into two categories with 5-inch and 7-inch inseams. We feel that models with 7-inch inseams are much more versatile for performing tasks outside of running. With that versatility, we appreciate the hand pockets found on some of these models. They don't add much bulk or impact the running performance, and they're a great quick spot to stash your wallet or phone while walking into an establishment. The fit and feel must allow for all-day comfort. Some liners tend to be more restrictive than others, and breathability diminishes throughout the day.


The top scores for versatility and style are the On Lightweight Short and Patagonia Strider Pro. Both of these shorts look good, allow for all-day comfort, and have accessible pocket options that allow for quick storage and ease of use. The Nike Flex Stride 7" receive high marks for their unique colorways and two hand pockets, which we appreciate on 7-inch inseam models. For those looking for more gym-style running shorts, we'd recommend the Vuori Kore Shorts. The brief liner and looser fit make these more comfortable for extended periods of time. We found this model not form-fitting enough for more running-specific workouts. We are huge fans of the style/fit look of the Salomon Cross Shorts, so it's unfortunate that they didn't score very well in any of the other categories.

running shorts mens - testing the men&#039;s running shorts in the texas hill country. pictured...
Testing the Men's Running Shorts in the Texas Hill Country. Pictured here the Adidas Men's Saturday Split Shorts are a light fast model for race and tempo days.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Conclusion


We hope this has made your decision-making process easier or has given you some things to consider before purchasing. Whether you run trails or roads, long or short, we think there is a pair of shorts here for you. Think about your priorities, how many pockets you desire, and what style fits you, and make the decision. Any of these can suit your needs, and we are glad you came to us to learn more. We hope that your next season in shorts is a great one.

Matthew Richardson