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Best Running Shorts for Women (2021)

It’s finally warming up outside, so it’s time to put those running tights away, at least for a few months. We spend all winter waiting to bust our shorts back out, and a great time to spice up your collection. Luckily for you, we test out tons of shorts of all lengths here at Believe in the Run, so you’re in the right place for some recommendations. Here are the best women’s running shorts.

Different shorts are made for different runners, and it’s time to play favorites. We’ve polled our entire team of writers for theirs, so these are the best of the best. You’ll find a few different lengths along with some tights for those fast days.

We’re leaving our traditional vocab lesson behind this time, but only because each pair of shorts packs its own technology. Let’s get into it.

〉Janji AFO-Vent Multi-Shorts

Janji AFO Vent Women

We’ll kick things off with Meg’s brand-new pick from Janji. The regular AFO short has always been one of her go-to shorts, but Janji’s kicked it up a notch with the AFO-Vent. They’re designed as a durable trail short, but the 3-inch length is just right no matter the surface. Janji’s lightweight 4-way stretch shorts combine a perforated shell and a moisture-wicking liner for comfort mile after mile.

You’re also looking at a hefty 5-pocket waistband, which is plenty of space for gels and keys throughout a day on the trails. Janji’s classic reflective watermark is present, too, and you can choose from three colors at the moment. The AFO-Vent Multi-Shorts are one of the newest women’s running shorts on the list, so don’t be deterred if your size is out of stock.

PRICE: $72

Shop Janji AFO-Vent

Tracksmith Session Speed Shorts

If you’re looking at Tracksmith’s men’s shorts, the Session Speed shorts are the shortest you’ll find. However, the women’s Session Speed shorts are a touch longer than the 2.5-inch Sessions. They’re made of the same Veloce blend that we know and love, and you have five solid color options to choose from right now.

So, what makes the Session Speeds different from the regular Sessions? Well, they’re lighter, for starters. Tracksmith stripped them down and exposed the waistband to save those precious grams. The liner is lighter as well, and the split sides are a thing of the past.

PRICE: $72

Shop Tracksmith Session Speed

Tracksmith Allston Shorts

We’re right back to another New England favorite in the Allston tights. They measure in at 5-inches (long by Tracksmith’s standards) and they’re made from the aptly named Allston blend. Tracksmith only has three colors for you to dig into right now, but they’re a top-notch tight when you want to go fast.

We’re not ashamed to admit that we’re picking up what Tracksmith is throwing down. The three built-in pockets on the Allston half tights even make storage a breeze without sacrificing your aerodynamics. Tracksmith also came up with a free-cut hem, complete with silicone dots to keep the tights locked in place.

PRICE: $72

Shop Allston

Rabbit Catch Me If You Can Shorts

Rabbit catch me women

The Catch Me if You Can 2.5-inch shorts from Rabbit are another solid selection for your speedy days. They’re short, slim, and designed to dry just about as quickly as you can lay down the miles. You’ve got the same 4-way stretch that we hold so close to our hearts, and RabbitMESH is a lightweight treat.

Rabbit wedged a pair of pockets in the front with a larger zipper option in the back, so don’t be afraid to pack heavy. Of course, you may not want the extra weight on speed days but think of the options. You can catch these shorts if you can in red or blue, or save yourself two bucks and go for classic black.

PRICE: $54

Shop CMIYC Shorts

Rabbit Leggy 4-Inch Shorts

Rabbit Leggy

Our next Rabbit pick comes from Hollie, and it’s the 4-inch Leggy tight. They’re shorter than Tracksmith’s tights (all right, barely) but they still pack pockets that shorts just can’t match. You’ll have the freedom of a side pocket on each leg that’s large enough to handle your iPhone.

If you hadn’t noticed, we’re big fans of half tights here at Believe in the Run. We have our favorites, and we’ll happily gush about the fact that they don’t ride up. Rabbit’s Leggy tights are all business though, so get ready for some sleek black speed.

PRICE: $50

Shop Leggy

HOKA ONE ONE Performance 3-Inch Shorts

HOKA shorts women

Hollie is back with a half tight vengeance, this time from HOKA ONE ONE. The Performance knit shorts are like a great blend between classic shorts and half tights, though. They’re as free as you please at 3 inches, but they have pockets more akin to those on tights.

HOKA’s Performance knit shorts are made from an Italian blend and regenerated Econyl nylon. If you know HOKA athletes, you know Magdalena Boulet, but you might not know that she put 100 miles on a pair of these babies out at Leadville. If she can do that, you can choose from black or Mediterranean Blue and crush your weekly workouts.

PRICE: $58

Shop HOKA 3-Inch

Lululemon Hotty Hot 2.5-Inch Shorts

lululemon hotty hot

Lululemon’s Hotty Hot women’s running shorts are for when it’s, well, hotty hot. The 2.5-inch length is all about breathability, but you can take your pick between low-rise and high-rise waists. Those of you hoping for a little more length can grab the 4-inch inseam instead, but we’ll fight you if you claim to find a more colorful short. Seriously, these Hotty Hots come in 13 lucky hues.

You can beat the heat and run a little later knowing that the reflective hits help you stand out. The zippered seam pocket is good for easy access, but you’ll want the stash pocket in the liner for your more precious possessions.

PRICE: $58

Shop Hotty Hot

ASICS Core Road 3.5-Inch Shorts

ASICS shorts women

Let’s bring things home with the 3.5-inch Core Road shorts from ASICS. We’ve hit you with plenty of expensive options, but ASICS is here for your tried and true running companion. The Core Road shorts follow the Henry Ford rule when it comes to colors, but they also follow the idea that anyone can afford comfort.

The wider waistband offers a secure fit without feeling too tight or restrictive, and it hides your all-important stash pocket. ASICS popped a reflective hit on the back of each leg, and the front logo is reflective to boot. In a world of fancy tech and painful price tags, sometimes a classic just hits the spot, right?

PRICE: $35

Shop Core Road

How we make our choices

We put in a lot of miles here at Believe in the Run, and we have more than a few pairs of shorts in our rotation. You can bet that we’ve tested everything we recommend, and we stick to products that you can actually buy. All of our recommendations come from our team of writers throughout the United States.

1 Comment

  1. Do any of these shorts work well for women with with particularly thick/stronger thighs? I always feel like we get left hanging when it comes to shorts and haven’t found a pair (no I know this isn’t your fault 😅) It’s not really a length issue but more a less a width issue!

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