2022 Best Running Shorts For Men

We researched more than 100 pairs of running shorts before finding 8 that made the cut for our best of 2021 list.

That starting 100 were made up of the best of the best of the best. Those cut out for diverse terrain—from your daily running loop to those neverending dirt roads and mountain trails. Those are made to wick away sweat and keep you drier for longer. Those made to minimize chafing, eliminate rubbing waistbands, and nix ride up around the boys.

We wanted liner comfort. We wanted pockets. We wanted versatility, comfort, and style. Oh yeah—we also wanted affordability. Want to know which men’s running shorts made the grade for our ultra-high expectations?

TENJOY Men’s Running Shorts are officially a staple in my running wardrobe. Super-affordable, comfortable, and with a minimal footprint, I’ve ordered enough of these that I can store a pair in my gym back, drawer, and a pair in my glovebox for a spur of the moment run with friends.

These shorts just feel fast. They’re sleek, soft, and minimalistic—but with enough features to let you know the designers have running in mind.

How so? For starters, there are secure side pockets with zippers—but the pockets are small enough to keep things pretty much bounce-free. You’ve also got a secure, well-fitted waistband and internal liner to eliminate chafing and discomfort.

Moisture-wicking is also an essential feature in the TENJOY Men’s range, and you’ll appreciate how it stands up to the competition in hot, humid climates.

Price: $

Durability: Reasonable—but buy several for when the time comes to replace them

Pockets: Yes

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: 92% Polyester, 8% Spandex (Liner: 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex)

Size: Small to 2XL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

Best Overall Men's Running Shorts: Under Armour Men's Tech Graphic Shorts

4.5/5

Under Armour Men’s Tech Graphic shorts with a 10” inseam offers the best blend of high performance and affordability. Throw in the functionality that is a breathable liner and hand pockets, and you’ve got yourself a wallet-friendly pair of running shorts that looks good, feels good, and goes the distance on your daily run.

Side note: this isn’t the only Under Armour model to make the grade. Where the UA Tech Graphic shorts excelled was as a basic pair of quality running shorts that will take you from the trail to the track to the grocery store without skipping a beat.

Price: $

Durability: Machine washable, quick-drying, and high-quality UA Tech fabric keeps your shorts going further—for longer.

Pockets: 2 mesh hand pockets

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: 100% Polyester

Size: XS to 5XL / 5XT

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

Leidowei comes out of China with a lightweight, ultra-versatile running short that delivers meticulous detailing and styling despite sitting in the sub-$25 category. And our fellow runners agree—this model has racked up more than 3,000 5 star reviews on Amazon.

The fabric of the inner short is soft and lightweight, but firm enough to provide comfort and wick away sweat on longer runs. The mesh outer short delivers the right amount of circulation and movement, while providing comfort and coverage on the track.

Price: $

Durability: Reasonable—still going strong after 6 months of heavy use

Pockets: Yes

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex (Liner: 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane)

Size: Small to 2XL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

Lululemon might be a go-to for women’s activewear—but they might be your new brand of choice once you check out the men’s Pace Breaker offering.

Incredibly comfortable, we find ourselves reaching for these even when we’re not heading out to pound the pavement. Lightweight and soft, they also deliver a comfortable, breathable, seam-free waistband that hasn’t chafed at all to date.

The shorts liner—Lululemon’s proprietary Out of Mind liner—fits like another pair of shorts, and is made of quick-drying mesh to keep you supported on the go.

Expect more from a brand that charges up to $100 for a pair of running shorts? Same—and here it is. A versatile envelope pocket that holds your gear in place without a zipper (and has a little outlet to thread wired headphone cords through), for starters. There’s also top of the line sweat-wicking tech that you won’t find with any other running shorts on our list.

Price: $$$

Durability: Excellent

Pockets: Yes

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: 86% recycled Polyester, 14% Elastane (Liner: 82% recycled Polyester, 18% Elastane)

Size: Small to 2XL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

Champion men’s 10” Core Training Shorts are our top choice for affordable trail running gear. Champion’s Vapor tech wicks moisture away from your skin fast, and keeps you dry for longer, while an internal drawcord and side venting keep you comfortable and cool for longer.

Being an affordable model, though, you can expect the basics to be pretty—well—basic. On-seam pockets let you store your essentials, but don’t expect zippers or velcro to secure them in place. You’ll find plenty of room for energy gels and an oversized device, though—if you’re willing to risk it.

The 10” inseam makes for a decent amount of coverage as you pound the pavement, and the waistband with pull-on closure was comfortable and secure without bunching or sagging.

Price: $

Durability: Easy, machine washable, and durable

Pockets: Yes

Inner shorts liner: No

Material: 100% Polyester

Size: Small to 2XL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

Most Basic Men's Running Shorts: Champion

4.5/5

Champion have found the running shorts sweet spot with their men’s Mesh Short. With a 9” inseam for easy coverage, you’ve got more flexibility while on the track and plenty of room to move.

Champion also tend to lean towards the classic US men’s body type, so you’re likely to find the perfect fit if you focus on the waist size. With an enclosed elastic waistband and continuous drawcord, we’re fans of the little finishing touches that put Champion ahead of the running game.

Add in some side vents for air circulation on the go, a classic Polyester mesh and tricot lining, a couple of side pockets, and a wide range of colors—and you’ve got yourself a top performing running short for under $15.

Price: $

Durability: Consistent performance and style after 6 months of use

Pockets: 2 side pockets

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: 100% Polyester

Size: XS to 4XL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

There’s a lot to like about Under Armour’s Launch running shorts.

For starters, the ultra-light stretch-weave fabric gives total mobility and agility on the go—no rubbing, no squeezing, no pinching in awkward places.

Secondly, you’ve got premium comfort with every footstep thanks to a breathable liner, premium materials and construction, and mesh side panels.

Finally, let’s circle back to that liner: the UA proprietary liner design is so comfortable you won’t even notice it’s there. Even under scorching Arizona conditions in the middle of August, these Launch running shorts stood up to the challenge and wicked away moisture, whilst keeping everything where it’s meant to be.

Throw in an encased elastic waistband, flatlocked seams, PowerMesh internal phone pocket, and over a dozen colorways—and you’ve got yourself one of the best running shorts of any year (but especially 2021).

Price: $

Durability: Yes

Pockets: Yes

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: HeatGear—Under Armour’s proprietary breathable fabric blend

Size: Small to 3XL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

You probably already know about Nike Flex Stride running shorts. But just in case you don’t, here’s the rundown:

These are the titans of running shorts—and the body’s equivalent of the Vaporfly and Zoom Pegasus running shoe. The woven Dri-FIT fabric delivers superior breathability, and the 50% recycled Polyester fabric wicks away moisture fast.

Ever mindful of functionality, Nike have included a classic drawstring closure, reflective elements, 7” Knit Liner, narrow waistband with adjustable drawcord positioning (wear it internally or externally on the shorts), and zippered back pocket.

Seriously, this pair of shorts is what keeps Nike on top with runners everywhere.

Price: $$

Durability: Reasonable

Pockets: Yes

Inner shorts liner: Yes

Material: 100% Polyester

Size: Large and XXL

What We Liked

What We Didn’t Like

Review Process

I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for a while. I’ve also wrangled in some of my buddies (all runners and trainers in their own right) to test drive some of the hundreds of pieces of running gear on the market. Here’s what we’re looking at:

Price

I know you can get a lot of pricey running shorts out there—I’ve even included a pair on this list. But a sub-$30 pair of shorts isn’t unthinkable, and it doesn’t always mean sub-quality, either. In my reviews, here’s what to expect per price bracket:

$ (Under $30)

$$ ($30 to $50)

$$$ (Over $50)

Durability

For a pair of men’s running shorts to make the cut here, they need to withstand 6 months of heavy use (and they’re always machine washed) without showing signs of pilling, tearing, fraying, or separating at the seams.

Material

The fabric choice is crucial when it comes to durability, sweat-proofing, moisture-wicking, and overall comfort. Innovations in fabric tech are constantly evolving, so we want a pair of running shorts that are lightweight, breathable, and draw sweat away from the body. Usually, this manifests as a Polyester or Polyester blend.

Weight

Good running shorts need to be lightweight, right? This helps with running comfort, agility, portability, ease of packing for travel, and bulk.

The heaviest contestant on our list is the Nike Flex Stride men’s running shorts, which weigh in at 12.6 oz for the XXL.

Size

Overall, the shorter the shorts—the faster you’re going to want to go in them. If you go for endurance over speed, you’ll probably want a longer inseam. It’s all a personal choice.

What matters across the board, though, is size range. We typically go for the more inclusive brands (offering sizes from Small to 3XL).

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