A few years ago I compiled a pretty popular list of fitted running shorts, and it is time for an update! The primary criteria here are: no chafing, POCKETS, and availability. We’ve all had that “perfect” short that you can’t find any longer — these are ones you should be able to buy, right now. I crowd-sourced recommendations, too, to help cover a variety of brands and lengths.
FWIW, no skin in the game here — no affiliate links, no compensation, no free apparel.
This is clearly not a comprehensive list, but you can help — add your recommendations in the comments!
Shorties — less than 4″
Hoka OneOne Performance Knit 3″ short — honestly the reason for redoing this list, because I’m obsessed with this short. I own three pairs now! I saw an Instagram story of Steph Bruce wearing a teal pair and they caught my eye — my go-to marathon shorts are, um, funky, and need to be replaced. These have three pockets: two side holster pockets, one with a zipper and one without; and a front key pocket. The holster pockets will hold a phone but be forewarned me and another friend both had chafing issues from the phone on humid days, from the seam at the bottom of the pocket. Otherwise these shorts are a dream. Great fabric, great fit, very useful pockets. Black or teal, $58.
Rabbit First Place 2.5″ short — great pocket situation with a rear zip and two front waistband pockets. Fabric/length combo does not stay put for me, rolls right the hell up. Black or navy/neon green, $48.
Tracksmith Bell Lap 3″ short — I love their fabrics and fit, but they put no pockets in this one. Does have silicone grippers on the leggies. The Lane 5 (in next section) has lotsa pockets, though. Multiple colors, $70 (for 3 inches and no pockets!).
Senita Rio 3.75″ short — this is actually one of the few shorts to carry over from my original compilation in 2019. Super high waist, side holster pockets, always cute colors. The only reason I don’t have these is because they seem to sell out quickly and I never seem to time it right to get a size/color combo I want. Multiple colors, $24 (yes, for real). Also in 7″!
Longies — 4″ or more
Oiselle Pocket Joggers — comes in 4.75″, 7″, and 8.25″ options and received multiple votes. Large rear zip pocket, waistband mesh pockets, side holster pockets. Recently received a waistband update thanks to customer feedback. Lovely pintuck detailing. Wish they’d do a 3″ version. Lotsa colors, $62-$66 depending on length.
Saucony Fortify Hot Short 4″ — I’ve heard good reports from friends about this short. Side holster pockets and a back zip. Black only, $55.
Tracksmith Lane 5 5″ short — this fabric is amazing, and so are the pockets. Two on each hip for gels and a larger zipper back pocket that’s phone sized. Silicone leg grippers help keep them in place. I like a lot about these shorts, but they’re really long on me and the legs don’t fit snug enough for the grippers to really grip. And y’all, I’m not a girl with stick legs, that’s for sure. I really want to love these. Multiple gorgeous colors, $68.
Brooks Method 5″ short — received multiple recommendations for this one. Two side holster pockets and a large envelope back pocket. Also says it has a built-in key loop, not sure what that means but I’m hear for it in theory. Nice mesh detailing on the waistband. Black, hot pink, and gray (when will brands stop making gray shorts?!?), $54. Also comes in an 8″ version.
Senita Rio 7″ short — included this in the shortie list, but got multiple nods for the long length so don’t want folks to miss it if they skipped over the first section. Super high waist, side holster pockets, cute colors, $25 (really).
CVG — high-waisted, holster pockets, standout colors/patterns, leg grippers, multiple lengths! Ostensibly designed more for cross-fitters, these were recommended for running as well. Not all colors available in all lengths, but options in 2.5″, 5″ and 7″. (Shorties don’t have the grippers, probably for the best at that length tbh.) These remind me of some old Popflex Active shorts I got for Pilates but ended up loving running in, too. If you want something fun, these are worth a look, $45.