As the weather warms, having the right pair of shorts can make all the difference for a run. A cute pair can get you out the door; a comfortable pair will keep you running long after your legs tells you to stop. Because a great bottom can keep you going, we at Janji, like last year, came up with the list of the best running shorts for women in 2017. From the simple to the bold to the expensive compression, we came up with the best women’s running shorts so you can get running, mile after mile.
Best Black/Simple Women’s Running Shorts
3. Women’s Asics Distance Shorts, $40
Asics is best known for making traditional—and incredibly popular—running shoes. The Women’s Distance Shorts, which has a 3.5” inseam, carries Asics' committment to a simple styling and great manufacturing. The shorts have a quick drying fabric that stretches well, 3 (count 'em 3!) pockets on the back and a stash pocket on the front waist. The shorts have flat, flattering waistbands and some reflectivity to keep you visibile in case running at night. A simple, basic pair that won’t do you wrong during your typical run.
Adidas’ Techfit Short tights are cheap and, as the name implies, short and tight. More like running tights that go halfway down your quad, the shorts are extremely comfortable, fast wicking, and come in about 20 different colorways—from the monochromatic to the very funky. If you want a pair of shorts made with thick fabric, containing lots of pockets, and leaving room to the imagination, these are certainly not your pair. But if you want something simple, fun, and inexpensivie, try them out.
The Fly-By short by Under Armour has a very traditional cut for a women’s pair of shorts. With a smaller waistband, breathable side panels, and a polyester fabric that dries quickly, the simple sillouette of the Fly-By is also its strength: it makes it an easy go-to short for a run, from the spring to the fall. These shorts are also priced reasonably and come in about a bajillion different colorways—from a simple black to a loud purple.
Best Bold Women’s Running Shorts
3. Women’s Zoot Board Short, $45
Zoot, a brand better known for California inspired tirathalon gear, makes an incredibly cute pair of shorts. The Board Shorts, as the name implies, takes its inspiration from west coast waves. The 3.5” shorts is flexible, has an internal brief (like most shorts on this list), and has a nice stretch woven shell that to the touch feels like a board shors but to the wearer feels like a running short. The bottom comes in plain black and fun beachy patterns. This pair is perfect for a run on the sand or just a run around town.
Now for the Janji pitch! The Mangu Mangu Race short, which has a 4” inseam, a zippered back pocket, and a fun waistband, is inspired by Ugandan art work. The shorts, if we do say so ourselves, are also incredibly comfortable. But there’s more! Every piece of Janji apparel gives 5% of the sale back toward funding clean water projects around the world. This Uganda-inspired piece gives 5% of the sale back toward a clean water project in Uganda. (an aside: we’d put this number one but we’re just super humble/crave any semblance of credibility)
The popular 4” inch rival shorts have been a keystone item in runners' closet for years. Fun without a hint of indecency, the printed 4” rival have historically had simple (yet easily matchable) colorways from black to blue. No longer! The Women’s Dri-Fit Printed 4” Rival Shorts have some wild and wacky colorways that are suited perfectly in a MoMA exhibit. Yet these shorts are also practical: they have a flattering waistband with an interior drawstring, fast drying fabric, and a zip pocket in the back. A great buy if you want to add some flair to your running wardrobe.
Best High End Running Shorts
Ya ya, we know we put two Janji shorts on the list. But Janji's women’s running shorts are that good. In fact, if it didn’t smack of total and blatant bias, we’d put these shorts as our favorite high end running shorts. Why? Because these shorts a) give to a great cause b) have a super flattering design c) have mesh paneling for easy breathability and d) are built with a 2-in-1 liner that feels like beautiful nothingness. And did we mention these shorts have an interior pocket and a 2-in-1 cell phone pocket? Ya ya, they’re pretty awesome.
2. Women’s Oiselle Roga Shorts, $48
The Roga shorts gave birth to Oiselle, a women’s only running brand that has developed a loyal (if not cult) following since it got its Seattle start in 2007. The Roga shorts were built by Oiselle's founder as the perfect women’s bottoms; fitted, not fit; flattering, not frumpy (looking at you Nike Tempo Shorts). These shorts rock, from the styled silhouette to the modest price point. The Roga shorts come in a variety of colors and even lengths. Give them a try, especially because they’re made by a brand we really like.
1. Lululemon Speed Shorts, $58
The Canadian yoga brand is synonymous with high quality gear (and a sky high price point). So is there any surprise that the Speed Short, lululemon’s flagship fast short, makes it to the top of our list? These shorts come in some super stylish colorways and are sculpted perfectly to support your bottom, whether during a fast, quick run or a slow, long run. The shorts have a flattering, big waistband, a medium rise, and a relaxed interior—all to provide the sensation that you’re running free and comfortably. A great buy for any runner.
Best Women’s Compression Shorts
Holy mackeral! And we said lululemon was expensive?! While the price for the women’s compression shorts by SKINS might seem sky high, these shorts do provide value. As we told you on our best compression shorts for men list, SKINS makes a pair that truly soothes the muscles, whether during a run or after it. The A400 has a Dynamic Graient compression that maximizes blood flow to active muscles, which ensures your tired muscles get all the energy a single piece of clothing can get it! The shorts are flat seemed, fast-drying, and last forever. That being said, you’ll have to make sure you’re ok with the price before diving into these well-made—and high performing—shorts.
Noticing a theme? High grade, high quality compression shorts for runners aren't cheap. Luckily, just like the SKIN A400, the 2XU Mid-Rise Atheltic Compression Shorts is an incredible pair of shorts that really does perform. The shorts dry quickly, fit superbly, and honestly do get the job done: when you wear these shorts you can feel the blood pumping back quicker into the quads—especially after a serious long run. The shorts come in a variety of colors, although each of them has 2XU’s signature (if not annoying) X on the side. If you’re looking for a fantastic pair of shorts and feel comfortably investing in something that’ll help you feel better, get these women’s compression shorts.
Like 2XU and SKINS, CW-X specializes in compression. And like the other best compression shorts on this list, CW-X truly performs (and at a cheaper price point!): it targets the hip, pelvis, hamstring, and IT band to ensure maximum support, and uses exo-web technology (a good thing!) to ensure faster recovery. The shorts are well constructed with flat-locke seams and is made with some of the fastest drying fabric on the list. Whether you’re running, biking, swimming or just resting, you’re going to feel much better after wearing the CW-X Endurance Pro Fit Shorts.