One of the great things about running is that it requires no specialist equipment or paid membership. We do, however, find that as we improve our performance, we want to improve the quality of our gear too. There are some excellent men's running shorts out there, and we’ve been finding the best of them.
Running leggings have become quite a popular option for runners these days, especially for winter and recovery. But come spring, summer, and early autumn, it’s time to ditch them and return to good old running shorts.
We know everyone has their own preference when it comes to shorts, particularly regarding length. That’s why in this guide, we’ve tested and recommended a wide range of different options so there’s something for everyone.
1. Best in Test: Rab Talus Trail
2. Best Value: Alpkit Veyper
3. Best twin-skin shorts: Smartwool Intraknit Active Lined Short
4. Best lightweight shorts: Montane Men's Slipstream Trail Running Shorts
5. Best split shorts: OMM Speed Shorts
6. Best for versatility: On Running Hybrid Shorts
7. More recommended options: click here
The best running shorts for men
1. Rab Talus Trail
Best in Test
No matter what kind of run I was going on, the Rab Talus Trail Shorts were always fantastic.
- Very breathable
- Great for year-round use
- Suitable for all types of runs
- PFC-free DWR
- Slim fit may not suit everyone
- No recycled material used
2. Alpkit Vayper
A pair of top-notch running shorts is all very well, but sometimes the price is simply too high.
- Great value
- Two lengths available
- Doesn't use recycled material
3. Smartwool Intraknit Active Lined Short
Best twin-skin running shorts
With twin-skin running shorts, you’re after more support. The longer inner brief on these shorts
- Soft and breathable liner
- Recycled polyester outer
- Good coverage and support
4. Montane Men's Slipstream Trail Running Shorts
Best lightweight running shorts
These 7- or 5-inch shorts weigh just 80g and provide the ideal mix of coverage, breathability, and
- Highly breathable
- 7 and 5-inch lengths available
- Great for summer and races
- Main material not recycled
5. OMM Speed Short
Best split shorts
If you’re a fan of the minimalist approach to running shorts, the OMM Speed Shorts are your best
- Best freedom of movement and breathability
- Good price
- Great for long distance and races
- Super short style not for everyone
- No mention of recycled material used
6. On Running Hybrid Shorts
Best running shorts for versatility
Describe these shorts in one word: versatile. That might sound strange for twin-skin running
- Removable lining
- Plenty of pockets
- Good range of colour options
- Suitable for everyday use too
- No mention of recycled materials
More recommended men's running shorts
7. The North Face Summit Pacesetter Shorts
Another excellent design, the Summit Pacesetter running shorts tick most boxes. The [North Face’s
- Very comfortable and breathable
- Recycled fabric
- PFC-free DWR
- Overkill for casual runners
8. Cimalp Aoste French Montagnard 2-in-1
These not only look great but are super comfortable and offer a fantastic amount of storage space.
- 360-degree waistband pocket arrangement
- Bluesign-approved fabric
- Breathable and supportive
- Heaviest shorts here
9. Icebreaker ZoneKnit Merino Shorts
You might be a runner who’s a fan of natural materials. The good news is that Icebreaker makes
- Made entirely from naturally derived material
- Soft and breathable
- Pockets aren’t big enough for a phone
10. Salomon Cross Twinskin
Best lightweight running shorts
Salomon is a popular place to turn for running gear, being many runners’ first port of call. Like
- Good support and coverage
- Ther are better options for more demanding runs
What to look for in men’s running shorts
Length: This is a subjective thing, of course. Longer shorts provide extra coverage, and sun protection. Shorter ones are more breathable and offer better freedom of movement.
Pockets: Most runners like to head out with their phone. And if you don’t use a running belt, a pocket to stash your phone is important. For endurance races, so too are extra ones for your other bits and pieces.
Lining: Many running shorts have a liner, be it mesh or a tight-fitting brief. The latter gives you more support, often more pockets, and a bit of extra warmth in cooler conditions. But going without one increases breathability and freedom of movement.
Materials: Though specialists like Icebreaker and Smartwool do some pretty clever things with wool, synthetic materials are still the go-to for making running shorts. They’re lighter, faster drying, and cheaper. It’s best if you find running shorts that use recycled or bluesign-approved fabrics and a PFC-free DWR if it has one.