Photo: Unsplash

There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a run, so simplifying your gear is the easiest way to make a lot go right. Running shorts are one of those critical items that can make or break a run. If they fit poorly, they can ruin your life. They ride up. The built-in underwear find their way into your butt crack. They chafe in weird areas.

We learned a lot about your favorites during this recent runner poll where you voted the Lululemon T.H.E. Short the overall favorite. But I’ll be frank: we feel otherwise.

We spent the past six weeks trying out a number of running shorts to see if our tests aligned with your preferences. Some did and some did not. Keep reading to see if your favorite made it onto our list!


Outdoor Voices Hudson Short

Outdoor Voices Hudson Short
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Sorry, guys. We loved this short... but it’s only for the ladies. The Hudson short swept our test with women of all body shapes proclaiming a perfect fit. A 2.5-inch inseam is long enough for coverage but short enough to stay out of the way. The thick compression waistband sits just below the belly button, offering full coverage and a stay-put structure. They aren’t cheap, but I’ve already bought two pairs because I love them so much.

Patagonia Strider Pro (Men | Women)

Patagonia Strider Pro (Men | Women)
Graphic: Shep McAllister

When the Strider Pro arrived, I immediately questioned the sanity of those who voted for this option (since it logged a close second in the reader poll) since they looked beyond flimsy. Where was my coverage?! But, I pulled them on and logged a five-miler in the name of testing. Guess what: you guys were right. These shorts are ultralight, leading me to frequently question whether I was running naked, and the recycled polyester material dries quickly. A tiny waistband had me questioning whether they would sit comfortably on my waist, but miraculously, they sat on my hips and I never noticed the waist.

Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts

Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Yet another favorite that is only available for the ladies! The Chaser short tested incredibly well with women who like to run fast and hard. Thanks to hidden side slits, the front and back of the shorts move separately, making it easy to lengthen your stride without dealing with fabric bunching. The polyester/spandex material is super soft (albeit not as light as the Strider Pro) and never stuck to our skin when we began dripping sweat. The inseam is longer than both the previous models, so women looking for more coverage may love these shorts.

The North Face Flight Better Than Naked Shorts

Dudes, you win this round (TNF’s only offerings for women are the Better Than Naked Skort; no shorts!) These classics have been on the favorite list for awhile. They’re pricey, but that’s because they’re fully-featured with a zip pocket, two stash pockets, and a kangaroo pocket which means you have plenty of room for snacks on long hauls. Plus, they’re still lightweight and uber stretchy, so you never feel bulky or slowed down.

New Balance Accelerate Short 5" (Men | Women)

New Balance Accelerate Short 5" (Men | Women)
Graphic: Shep McAllister

The Accelerates are the only shorts on this list below $50, so don’t expect bells and whistles. That said, these basic shorts do what you need them to do: fit comfortably and move well. They dry quickly and a single key pocket adds a little bit of storage. The brief liner wasn’t our favorite—it moved just a bit— but wasn’t a deal breaker either. Plus, at this price point, I’m willing to make a few exceptions.