So you’re looking for the best running shorts for men that look great, last the test of time, and perform at the highest level… well you’ve definitely come to the right place.
But before I share our running shorts reviews, let me quickly talk you through my testing environment and explain the feature requirements that allowed these mens running shorts to make it this far.
My testing environment for these running shorts
If I’m not deep in our local mountain trails testing trail running gear, or the latest camping, backpacking, and cycling gear, I can usually be found cruising our local bike/running paths, working on my speed, and endurance training.
My local stomping grounds in Northern California offer some of the most diverse, epic trails in the world, and beautiful paved running routes. It’s super important for us to have such a varied training environment so that we can test outdoor gear thoroughly.
The feature requirements to pass as best running shorts
Men’s running shorts have a few differences when it comes to the features needed for trail running as opposed to running on the pavement.
In my experience, it’s the trail running shorts that have the most features and have been designed with more thought for a runner’s needs.
You will not find any budget, or cheap running shorts on this list as in my experience when you pay any less than $30 for a pair of running shorts you get what you pay for – and that’s something that’s not very comfortable or lacks durability.
So, this list of the best men’s running shorts includes both types of shorts because, at the end of the day, I’m here to help you find the best men’s running shorts for your requirements, whether you enjoy jogging, 5km races, mountain running, marathon racing, or even trail ultramarathon.
We enjoy all kinds of running and never pigeonhole ourselves to one niche within a sport – otherwise, we would never find growth within ourselves.
While compiling this list of the best running shorts for men there are a few key feature requirements for these running shorts that needed to be met in order for them to be worthy of making it onto this list.
Feature requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Shorts must have a breathable, sweat-wicking, odor neutralizing inner liner. Whether that be a 2-in-1 short with liner, modular liner/outer short design, compression liner, or standard brief-lined.
- The liner must contain and support the ‘crown jewels’ while running.
- Shorts must have storage pockets, either on the outside or attached to liner.
- They must have a comfortable adjustment mechanism around the waist. This means no constricting, and conversely no riding up as you run for long periods of time.
- Must be lightweight.
- Must not have an overly long inseam, or flap around while running. Every inch of fabric needs to have a purpose.
- Must look stylish! I don’t ask for much, do I? 😉
The Best Running Shorts For Men | With Reviews
Path Projects Sykes PX – 5″ Short [$49] | WINNER
When Path Projects first began, back in 2017 they hit the market with a concept that would become something that I would find myself adopting for road and trail running adventures.
Path Projects realized that there is no perfect liner material for all weather conditions and distances. I’m inclined to agree with them there because, during my testing, I quickly discovered they produce some of the best running shorts for men.
Shorts and liners can benefit a runner by being separate – that way runners are able to pair them to their specific needs. It actually makes a lot of sense when you start mixing and matching all the different running shorts and liners together as I have done over the years.
For example, if you plan on running long distances, then a base liner with a bit more compression will suit you better. On the other hand, if you need a longer, more protective liner for cold weather running, or conversely a more breathable lightweight liner for summer running in hot weather, Path Projects has options for that too.
However you plan to run, Path Projects has your legs covered, so to speak!
The three pockets at the rear are perfect for storing a smartphone, keys, and some nutrition. I use the center pocket for my phone. Check out all the colors available at pathprojects.com.
Janji AFO Middle Short [$62] | RUNNER UP
One of the many things I love about the Janji brand is how brave they are with their colorways and patterns. When it comes to Janji’s running shorts, I wear the AFO Middle Short 5 inch running shorts but they are also available in 3″ inseam or a 7″ inseam to fit your style.
I have collected so many different colorways of these shorts over the years as Janji collaborates with local artists from the places that inspire each collection. When I want to feel happy and vibrant while running, I grab my Janji shorts.
Each Janji collection is inspired by a region of the world where they collaborate with local artists. You can check out their latest collection here.
These running shorts with liner (a comfortable moisture-wicking brief liner, I might add) are made with high-grade, post-consumer recycled plastic instead of virgin synthetics. This helps Janji lower the impact of this product on the planet without sacrificing durability, comfort or performance.
I really like how the pocket at the rear can fit a smartphone for when you don’t want to take a running hydration vest with you on a run (sometimes minimal runs are what you need).
Janji is a running brand that truly speaks to us (Trail & Kale) on so many levels!
Nike Dri-FIT Flex Stride [$60]
Comfort and utility are a must when you’re out on the trail. These mens running shorts have 5 pockets (2 at the side, 2 drop-in pockets, and 1 zippered pocket at the back that fits most phones).
There are also multiple waistband loops to help keep your essentials like keys, gels, or protein bars secure.
The Nike Trail collection of apparel makes for a more unique style even when running on the road – visit the Nike Trail page to view their entire range of apparel.
The Nike Flex Stride shorts uses Dri-FIT technology to move sweat away from your skin for quicker evaporation – this helps you stay dry and comfortable for longer.
They also have stretch-woven fabric at the front and a breathable fabric at the back – this results in a soft feel that allows for movement in any direction without the restriction of movement.
If you’re interested in trying the Nike Trail shoes range have a read of my ultimate Nike Trail running shoes comparison post next, to make sure you choose the right pair for you.
I like the elastic waistband with a drawcord because it lets you adjust the fit just how I like it, without having to do them up too tight. Check out all the available colors via the button below.
lululemon Pace Breaker 7″ – 2 in 1 running shorts [$68]
One of my favorite 2 in 1 running shorts for jogging is the Pace Breaker by lululemon. I really like the layer of compression that the attached liner provides.
lululemon offers these shorts in various great colorways so visit the ‘Pace Breaker Lined Short’ product page to see them all. lululemon also sells other Pace Breaker jogging shorts with a standard brief liner if you prefer that style.
Click here to see the entire Pace Breaker men’s running shorts range.
I’ve also been using Pace Breaker shorts for at-home workouts on my Tonal home gym (which by the way is insanely awesome!) because they are lightweight, have 4-way stretch, are sweat-wicking, have compression in the liner, and provide simple zippered pocket storage.
For lululemon running shorts with a liner, $68 is a very reasonable price to pay.
On Running Lightweight Shorts [$79.99]
At a minimum inseam length of 8 inches (depends on the size you go for) the On Running Lightweight Shorts are longer than the others on this list – this will suit taller runners.
The shorts are also designed to sit higher than traditional men’s running shorts so they may feel more like a 7-inch inseam to most. They work when worn higher up due to the unique elasticated waist band which hugs your waist and keeps the shorts in place when running.
The waistband is where the pockets can store things like your phone, gels, keys etc. It’s nice that On Running didn’t add a zip closure on the pocket – but instead opted for a fabric flap, so less to go wrong with them over time and it holds your phone in perfectly.
READ NEXT: Best On Running Shoes Ranked With Reviews
There is a small loop inside the pocket too, to secure a key if necessary. The fabric is very lightweight and dries quickly, plus you’ll find a small reflective logo on both legs for additional safety when running in low light conditions.
I hope you enjoyed reading this ‘best running shorts for men buyer’s guide’ with insightful running short reviews, and that it helped guide you to your next favorite pair.
If you have any questions on the shorts on this list, please let me know as I have tested them all myself and should be able to help with any queries.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest and greatest outdoor gear reviews.