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Best running shorts for women

Comfort, practicality and style in one package. We're not asking much in a pair of women's running shorts. Here, we look at nine of the best options on the market...

best womens running shorts

Picking the right pair of shorts can make or break your run training. The best women’s running shorts need to be comfortable, have the right fit and be practical for your running needs.

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Consider the material used and whether the shorts are breathable, whether they’re long enough to avoid that dreaded thigh-chafe and if they offer any handy pockets to store keys, a phone and maybe even a gel for longer efforts.

Here’s a round-up of some of our favourite options and why…

Best women’s running shorts

Queenieke Sport Shorts

Credit: Amazon
  • £21.99

We know picking the right running shorts can be a bit of a minefield, to say the least. But we can attest to the durability and fit of these Queenieke shorts from Amazon, having used them for years.

What we like about these shorts is that with a six-inch inseam, they’re just the perfect length. They’re long enough to cover the upper thighs, but not too long that they go all the way down to the knee.

A thick and high waist band keeps you feeling secure and comfortable, with a flattering seam placement and multiple colours to choose from.

The best part? The Queenieke has two side pockets large enough to fit a chunky smart phone, plus keys and gels, so there’s no need to carry an extra hip bag or running backpack. They must be one of the best women’s running shorts with pockets we’ve come across.

Verdict: Impressive durability and pocket capacity; ideal length for avoiding thigh chafing, too.

Score: 85% 

Hoka Hupana 5in Short

  • £35

These women’s running shorts from Hoka are some of the softest and comfiest we’ve ever worn. The 5” inseam’s long enough to protect the inner thighs from chafing, while the wide, high waistband is supportive and flattering.

It’s designed with three in-built pockets too, enough for all your mid-race essentials. If you’re after practical and soft shorts, you won’t be disappointed.

Verdict: Very practical and a pleasure to wear; worth the price tag!

Score: 95%

Castore Carolina Speed Shorts

Credit: Castore
  • £55

This lightweight and stylish pair of performance running shorts from Castore just feels like quality. Ideal for running in warmer climates, the shorts have a mid-rise, mesh waistband with in-built moisture-wicking properties and an inner drawstring.

They’re designed with a flattering curved hem and slight side slits for ventilation, with reflective detailing. When on, the shorts feel secure and comfortable; all they’re missing is some pocket capacity for the essentials.

Verdict: Very lightweight shorts with a quality build.

Score: 87%

Brooks 2-in-1

Credit: Brooks
  • £55

Also available in black or blue, these Brooks run shorts are supremely comfortable thanks to the soft, sweat-wicking inner lining that also has useful in-built side and front pockets.

We like the five-inch inseam, making them just long enough to protect against thigh chafing, while ventilation panels throughout are great for long runs. Plus, these women’s running shorts have pockets in-built along both sides (as well as a smaller zip pocket) that are just big enough for a phone/gel.

Verdict: Comfortable and functional, a great option for runs of any distance.

Score: 90% 

Hoka Performance Shorts

Credit: Hoka
  • £39

If you’re after a pair of super light and no-fuss running shorts, this feather-thin pair from Hoka will do the job perfectly.

A mid-rise and sweat-wicking waistband secures the woven, four-way stretch shorts, which are designed with slits along both sides for ventilation on the go.

These minimalist shorts feel like they’re barley-there, but still offer a small inner pocket with bungee to secure keys and small valuables. These performance shorts from Hoka would be our pick for hot weather running.

Verdict: Simple yet effective; a top pick for running in hot weather.

Score: 86%

Also consider…

Nike Women’s Elevate Shorts

Credit: Amazon
  • £31.82

Constructed with Nike’s ‘Dry-Fit’ technology, these performance run shorts are designed to provide sweat-wicking comfort and freedom of movement.

An in-built rear zip-pocket comes complete with a ‘vapour barrier’, which aims to keep your valuables and phone dry when on the move, while an additional left inner pocket offers extra storage capacity.

Nike says the material used here is lightweight and airy to help avoid overheating on the run, while it’s available in a range of colours and patterns for all tastes.

Under Armour Women’s Play Up Shorts 3

Credit: Amazon
  • From £17.90

These everyday run shorts from Under Armour are designed to be lightweight and comfortable, featuring a thin polyester material for hot runs and a thick elastic waistband.

They’ve also got two upper side pockets and are built with flattering curved hems, styled with that classic Under Armour branding.

Sundried Women’s 2-in-1 Running Shorts

Credit: Amazon
  • From £10

Made from 100% recycled materials, these double-layered sports shorts from Sundried offer a bit more coverage than others in this round-up, with a compression-style inner short giving way to a thinner upper layer with ventilation slits.

Sundried says that the wide, drawstring waistband is ultra-soft and comfortable, housing a small inner pocket to stash keys.

Sweaty Betty Women’s Shorts

Credit: Amazon
  • From £48

These Sweaty Betty shorts are designed in a longer style with an adjustable drawstring waistband. Sweaty Betty says that they’re both sweat-wicking and quick-drying, and have been designed with bum-sculpting technology.

These fitted shorts also have a small, zip-up back pocket and a side pocket that is said to be suitable for a phone.

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Top image credit: Greg Rosenke/Unsplash