19 pairs of running shorts that won’t ride up, chafe or smell, from £7.99

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  • Sounds of enchantment – summer is here.

    So you’re looking for a pair of running shorts that won’t ride up, chafe or smell like your old gym set within weeks?

    As a health editor, I sweat exercise gear for a living and have bought guides to the best gym leggings, the best sports bras, the best running trainers for women and more. Next? Shorts that help you go the long way, specially designed with the female form in mind.

    I’ve sweat tested every pair of shorts in this roundup and can personally vouch that I enjoyed running in them. As a woman with a big bum and thighs, I know how hard it can be to find shorts that are both supportive and flattering, so trust me when I say: the ones below do just that. (For more on our testing process, read here).

    Need more persuasion to lace up and get out? Our summary of the many benefits of running can help. In the meantime – happy shopping (and don’t miss our edit of the best cycling shorts for women while you’re here).

    Running shorts that don’t ride up: Shop our health editor’s 19 top picks now

    What should you look for when searching online (or in the store) for a good pair of training shorts? Good question, which we’ve covered below.

    They may seem minor now, but when you’re 10km into a 20km run and realize your card has bounced out of your pocket because you don’t have a zip, you’ll wish you’d trusted us. Thank us later…

    Best running shorts for a marathon

    Flex Essential 2-in-1 Training Shorts – £32.95 | Nike
    When I tried on these Nike shorts, I found the 2-in-1 shorts – complete with supportive cycling shorts underneath – supportive and flattering. Plus, sweat-wicking technology kept me dry, up to the 20 mile distance I tested them over.

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    Track Speed ​​3.5″ Running Shorts – £50.00 | Sweaty Betty
    A new take on the brand’s much-loved racing shorts, I rated these straight away. They are very comfortable, sweat wicking and super supportive around the stomach, thanks to the high waistband. Although they are short, they are not so short that they feel revealing or cause chafing. Expect small sweat stains, but nothing noticeable.

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    Best running shorts with pocket

    Impact Run Fitted Short – Now £25.20, was £38 | New balance
    Offering not one, not two, but three – yes, three! – pockets (one on each leg and one in the lower back), these cycling shorts from New Balance are amazing. I’ve tried them on many training sessions and they always dry quickly. They’re cheaper than other options, but note though – they’re mid-rise, provide less tummy support than high-rise options, and therefore slightly less flattering.

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    Chaser 5″ Short – £50 | Brooks
    Not too short but not too long, I found the Chaser 5 inch shorts from Brooks to be airy, supportive and long lasting too (I’ve had mine for a few years now). The brand also offers a 90-day trial period, so if you don’t love your shorts after a few months, you can return them for free.

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    Best 2-in-1 running shorts

    Primeblue Designed to Move 2-in-1 Shorts – now £16.10, was £23 | Adidas
    They’re one of the brand’s best-selling styles for a reason—when I tested them, I found them soft and breathable. They offer maximum support thanks to the underlay too – no chafing or shifting around here.

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    GOODMOVE Woven Gym Shorts – £22.50 | MISS
    A good bargain option is the shorts from the M&S GOODMOVE range. I found these 2-in-1 shorts to be particularly good value for your money thanks to their drawstring waist and zip pocket (just don’t expect them to last for years).

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    Best cycling style running shorts

    Power 9 Inch Cycling Shorts – £60.00 | Sweaty Betty
    With over 1,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.8*, you can see why I was keen to try these SB cycling shorts. I found them perfect for running, gym sessions, pilates and more – a true all-rounder with what they call ‘bum-sculpting technology’. *Adds to cart*

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    Women’s Epic Luxe Trailrunning Shorts – £49.95 | Nike
    Trailrunners, listen up – you’ll be hard-pressed to find shorts with more pockets than the Epic Luxe. They have seven (yes, seven!) and are a flattering fit too – I wore them on my Ultra training last year and carried gels, keys, cards and my phone in them.

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    Best split running shorts

    Track That High-Rise Lined Short 3″ – £58 | Lululemon
    When I tested the Track That shorts, although I didn’t find them the most supportive style (don’t buy if you like shorts that have a firm grip when you move), I found them to be light, airy and a joy to run i if you are a fan of split style on the leg. Also, I found they had plenty of room for movement.

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    Race Shorts – £70 | ON
    Fun fact: the design team at ON collaborated with elite athletes to design this short, specifically designed for race day. They’re for the speedsters among you – perforated to accelerate airflow and with smart ventilation to boost every step. I liked running in them because they felt light as a feather.

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    Marathon Shorts – £128 | SOAR running
    A word of warning about these shorts: they’re not for you if you prefer more coverage and support for your runs, but they is sweat-wicking, high-performance athlete-style split shorts that I found great for speedwork or running. Also, I love the colors and their 80s inspired design.

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    Best cheap running shorts

    Women’s UA Fly-By Elite 3″ Shorts, £34 | Under Armour
    I was a little worried that these shorts would be see through but I was wrong. They are the perfect budget shorts IMO – simple but supportive, comfortable but sweat wicking. Plus, the design includes super-breathable mesh panels (to keep you from overheating) and a built-in brief. What’s not to love?

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    Women’s Running Shorts – £7.99 | Decathlon
    With 1,356 reviews and at just £7.99, you can’t go wrong with these Decathlon shorts. I found that, while they weren’t for yonks, they supported me through shorter runs once or twice a week, plus they’re made with stretch fabric and a wide waistband for ultimate comfort. Zip pocket included.

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    Women’s Favorite Woven 3 Inch Running Shorts – £20 | Puma
    Not for those of you who like more coverage, but I was pleasantly surprised by these Puma running shorts. They sweated well and didn’t chafe, despite being a slightly stiffer material. Plus, while the waistband wasn’t super high, I found it high enough to support my stomach during an 11 mile run.

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    Plus size running shorts

    Sportswear Essential Women’s Mid Rise Cycling Shorts (Plus Size) – £27.95 | Nike
    Lightweight, breathable and, according to one reviewer, without restricting seams, these cycling shorts can be worn for training or for coffee too. Please note: they are medium sized, not high-rise designed, but also offer a supportive waistband.

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    Best gym pants

    Ultimate Crop Shorts – £32.99 | Adanola
    If you’re someone who runs occasionally but works out regularly, I *love* the Adanola kit. Not only did I find it soft as anything, but flattering, supportive and comfortable too. Also, it didn’t go up or down either. Go go go.

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    Timeless 5 Inch Shorts in Tourmaline – £38 | SEFI
    From personal trainer Stef Williams comes SEFI, a stripped-down gymwear brand that offers seriously supportive yet stylish kit. I have found that while these shorts are not best suited for long runs, they are great for shorter runs, deadlifts or days at the cafe.

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    Studio Pocket Short – £65 | Vuori
    A cult favorite in the US rumored to be one of Harry Styles’ favourites, I loved these Vuori shorts for how soft they feel, how flattering they are and how functional they were for both short runs and gym sessions.

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    Claude Shorts in Ultraviolet – now £33, was £48 | Pocket Sports
    Pocket Sport shorts are my absolute favorite – I’ve never sweat tested a pair of shorts (or leggings, for that matter) in these colors before that didn’t show sweat stains. Pocket Sport shorts, on the other hand, I’ve never done—and I’ve put them through some seriously grueling workouts. I find them flattering, comfortable and a real all-rounder.

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    Women’s running shorts: what to look out for

    1. Built-in pants

    Fun fact: the pants built into running shorts are normally always made of special moisture-wicking fabric, designed for exercise and to keep you both cool and dry mid-sweat session. Basically, they are kinder to your skin, and = less washing too.

    2. Supportive style

    What you consider “supportive” varies from individual to individual. Some will love cycling shorts, some will like more traditional shorts with a loose fit, and others will prefer the dual feel of 2-in-1 cycling shorts layered under a more fluid outer.

    Top tips: Not sure what suits your body shape best? Trial and error is the way here. Don’t be afraid to spend ages in the dressing room, is my advice – and remember to jump around a lot. Your legs will face a lot more movement during the run.

    3. Key pocket

    Probably not the number one thing on your mind when shopping for gym gear, but trust me on this one – an absolute must if you’re a regular runner or even someone who goes to the gym a lot but doesn’t want to carry a bag.

    Having a pocket on the back of the shorts that closes with zippers for your keys, phone and cards is a game changer. Note.

    I’m not sure I’m confident enough to wear running shorts – help!

    Know this: you are not alone. Although the statistics on the matter are few and far between, I know from chatting with female friends that the thought of wearing shorts often fills many with dread.

    That’s largely because the number of women being harassed while running appears to be at an all-time high, with a study from St. Mary’s University which found that 84% of female runners have experienced street harassment in London.

    In addition, many of us do not wear shorts due to fear of:
    a.
    lack of support and
    b. showing more skin.
    I used to be the same, but can’t tell you how liberating and liberating running in shorts can be, if you embrace self-love. Not sure where to start? Our guide to self-care ideas can only help.

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