Best Women's Running Shorts 2021

Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet

Shop All Women's Running Shorts

The best women’s running shorts make your workouts more comfortable—especially when the weather heats up.

Running shorts for women have limitless combinations of fits, fabrics, colors and features to choose from. With options from flowy and breezy split shorts meant for the lightest feel to form-fitting styles that hug your body—and don’t forget pockets!—every woman can find the perfect running shorts for their training and lifestyle.

There are plenty of lengths and styles to choose from, but we think these are the best running shorts for women:

[Updated March 15, 2021. This article is part of the Best Running Clothes 2021 Buyer’s Guide.]

Brooks Chaser 5” Short

Neither too tight nor too loose, Brooks tailored the Chaser 5” Short for a fitted, athletic feel without any chafing.

Brooks cut the Chaser from its DriLayer fabric that’s 89 percent polyester and 11 percent spandex. The combination fabric feels soft against your skin to keep irritation at bay.

The Chaser also has a slight bit of stretch. That stretchiness, paired with the just-right 5” inseam, gives you a full range of motion for cruising on the run or doing squats during your strength session.

Brooks sewed a flat, wide waistband onto the Chaser short for a snug fit, and designers added a sweat-resistant pocket into the band to hold your phone or other essentials. Lined with a sweat-wicking mesh brief, the women’s Brooks Chaser 5” Short is a go-to piece for many runners.

Features

Brooks Chaser 5” Short

Inseam

5”

Liner

Pockets

Stretchy

New Balance Impact Run Bike Short

The New Balance Impact Run Bike Short boasts plenty of coverage and plenty of pockets.

Cut from NB DRY, 77 percent recycled polyester fabric, the Impact Run Bike Short keeps you feeling comfortable and dry by wicking away sweat and allowing exceptional ventilation. A mesh insert provides added breathability where you need it most so even long runs are comfortable.

The midrise fit and wide waistband sits comfortably above the natural waist to prevent slipping while you move. The shorts are fitted throughout, so there's no uncomfortable riding up and no excess fabric to get in your way. Plus, two drop-in side pockets and a zippered back pocket help you enjoy a hands-free run while keeping all your essentials within reach.

Features

New Balance Impact Run Bike Short

Inseam

9"

Liner

Pockets


Stretchy

New Balance 3” Impact Short

Comfort is key when you’re running (and lounging), so New Balance made the women’s 3” Impact Short for all-day wearability.

New Balance used a polyester-spandex blend fabric for a lightweight and stretchy feel. The athletic fit is designed for active movements, like running and gym workouts—no bagginess to get in the way.

An internal mesh brief adds comfort, and NB Dry technology pulls sweat away from your skin to keep you cool and dry. Like many of the best running shorts for women, the Impact Short has hidden drop-in pockets for your larger items, like a phone, and one zippered back pocket for your keys.

Topped off with a wide and soft waistband, the women’s New Balance 3” Impact Short is an easy choice for warm weather runs or tough gym sessions.

If you’re looking for the same performance in a longer cut, New Balance also makes the 5” Impact Short.

Features

New Balance 3” Impact Short

Inseam

3”

Liner

Pockets

Stretchy

Rabbit Hopper Short

Rabbit created the Hopper Short to feel weightless when you run.

The women’s Hopper Short is a lightweight and airy women’s running short designed for speedy workouts. To coax the quick feeling from the shorts, Rabbit pared the Hopper down to the essentials: a thin polyester-spandex blend fabric, wide waistband for a snug fit and a breathable mesh liner for comfort.

Even with the minimalist feel, though, the Rabbit comes with some key features. Designers hid a pair of small pockets in the waistband and added a zippered pocket in the back. The fabric wicks sweat to keep you dry, and it’s slightly stretchy to maintain a full range of motion.

With a 4” inseam and slim fit, the Rabbit Hopper is one of the best running shorts for women who want to push the pace.

Features

Rabbit Hopper Short

Inseam

4”

Liner

Pockets

Stretchy

On Running Short

Nothing is more annoying during your run than running shorts that ride up. So Swiss brand On designed its women’s Running Shorts to stay put.

The women’s On Running Short uses two layers to deliver premium performance: a looser outer layer and a snug inner lining. On cut the feathery outer layer from four-way-stretch fabric for the ultimate freedom of movement, while the supportive inner layer sits snugly against your skin.

Hidden just inside the hem of the liner, On added subtle grippy dots that keep the shorts from riding up your thigh as you run whether you’re running sprints on the track or cruising through your weekend long run.

With a short cut and lightweight feel, On optimized the women’s Running Short for race day.

Features

On Running Shorts

Internal liner

Pockets

Stretchy

Brooks Method 5" Short Tight

The Brooks Method 5" Short Tight is designed to stay put and stay comfortable mile after mile.

Cut with a high-waisted fit, wider waistband and internal drawcord, the Method 5" Short Tight provides a smooth, customizable fit. The shorts are engineered from Brooks' DriLayer Horsepower fabric for a sleek, supportive feel. A lightly compressive feel works with the powerful, moisture-wicking fabric to create a cool and comfortable fit.

Plus, two side pockets and a zipped back pocket let you keep all your essentials close while you enjoy a hands-free run.

Features

Brooks Method 5" Short Tight

Inseam

5”

Liner

Pockets

Stretchy

How We Picked the Best Women’s Running Shorts

The best women’s running shorts for you comes down to personal preferences. Fit, features and style all play a role in finding the right pair. But there are things that set some shorts apart from the rest.

We picked the best running shorts for women based on a combination of real-life use, quality of materials, details and our own top-sellers lists. With all of that in mind, we picked women’s running shorts that lived up to our own personal (and professional) expectations.

Standing Behind Our Picks

We’re confident this gear is some of the best you’ll find, but we don’t want you to get stuck with running shoes or apparel that don’t work for you. That’s why we offer our Happy Fit Guarantee. Our return policy means you have 60 days to put your gear to work. Wear it, run in it, wash it. If you’re not satisfied with the way it looks, fits or performs, we’ll take it back within 60 days and give you a full refund.

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