The Best Running Shorts for Men, by Nike

Buying Guide

Hit your stride in these winning picks.

Last updated: March 11, 2024
4 min read
The Best Running Shorts for Men, by Nike

The best running shorts do the seemingly impossible. Breathable and flexible, they make movement a breeze while providing enough support and storage at the same time. Whether you're a sprinter or a marathoner, Nike has you covered with split, loose, tight and pocketed styles.

The Short List

Here are the top qualities that separate the winners from the stragglers:

  • Quick-drying and made to reduce chafing, thanks to moisture-wicking fabric, like polyester.
  • Allow free movement, thanks to flexible fabric (like spandex) and side slits.
  • Feature waistbands with drawcords to fit comfortably without digging in.
  • Include pockets for storage.
  • Supportive mesh brief or compression tight liner.

The Best Running Shorts for Men

If your current shorts are coming up short, stock up on these picks. They’ll help you go the distance on the track, trail or road.

Best split running shorts: Nike AeroSwift Men's Dri-FIT ADV 4" Brief-Lined Running Shorts

You’ll hit your stride in this standout pair. Slits up the side, four-way stretch woven fabric, and a 4-inch inseam allow for a full range of motion. Meanwhile, Nike’s Dri-FIT ADV moisture-wicking technology helps to keep you dry, and the knit liner provides the support you need. For the right fit, adjust the corded elastic and mesh Flyvent Waistband, and keep your phone, gels and snacks in the five pockets.

Ideal for trail running: Nike Trail Second Sunrise Men's Dri-FIT 5" Brief-Lined Running Shorts

These 5-inch split shorts are sleek but with the added benefit of more storage. Seven pockets (some drop-in and zippered) hold all your essentials, from pre- and post-run gear to your phone and keys. While on the trails, you’ll stay comfortable and supported, thanks to the breathable, sweat-wicking polyester-spandex fabric, corded elastic waistband and brief liner.

When you want a loose fit: Nike Unlimited Men's Dri-FIT 7" Unlined Versatile Shorts

Though not quite as aerodynamic, these 7-inch running shorts offer more coverage. With an easy, larger fit and a corded waistband, they’re versatile enough for running, training and yoga. You’ll stay dry thanks to the sweat-wicking, polyester-spandex fabric and move freely with credit to the four-way stretch woven fabric and side hem vents. Store your essentials in the three pockets and an interior key loop.

Top tights: Nike Fast Men's Dri-FIT Brief-Lined Running 1/2-Length Tights

For a snugger fit, opt for these half-length tights. The stretch-knit, sweat-wicking Dri-FIT fabric cuts down on chafing, while the brief liner and corded elastic waistband provides support and the right fit. Store your phone and other essentials in the three pockets; and run without distractions.

To help you go the distance: Nike Trail Lava Loops Men's Dri-FIT Running 1/2-Length Tights

Another top pick for trail runs and marathons, these half-length tights offer support thanks to their brief lining and compressive feel. The stretchy, lightweight Dri-FIT fabric keeps you dry while allowing for a free range of motion. Also critical on long-distance runs: You’ll have room for all your essentials. A whopping eight pockets can hold water flasks, gels, snacks, your phone and more.

If you’re a sprinter: Nike Track Club Men's Dri-FIT 3" Brief-Lined Running Shorts

Reach max speed in these sweat-wicking classics. The side slits, light and stretchy polyester-spandex fabric, and 3-inch inseam lets you move freely, while the liner and three pockets provide support and storage. Plus, you’ll look good on the track, thanks to the woven side panels, Nike Track Club and Swoosh logos, and corded elastic waistband guaranteeing the right fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of shorts are best for running?

The best running shorts for men should include a light shell, a comfortable and supportive inner liner and pockets. They should be made with a blend of a moisture-wicking fabric (like polyester) and a flexible fabric (like spandex).

What shorts are best for long-distance running?

Prioritize moisture-wicking fabric and opt for half tights or split shorts with a shorter inseam to cut down on chafing. Seek out pairs with enough pockets.

Are tight or loose shorts better for running?

Whether tight or loose is better comes down to personal preference. For maximum speed, consider split shorts with the shortest in-seams. Tight shorts, though, won’t get bogged down by moisture on rainy days and can offer the added benefits of compression (to activate muscles and boost blood flow), coverage and warming up the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Loose, long shorts are the most likely to slow you down and inhibit your movement.

Should I choose lined or unlined running shorts?

Focus on what’s most comfortable for you. If you’re loyal to your brand of underwear, consider unlined. However, lined pairs are more efficient. Since you don’t need to wear underwear, you’ll get dressed more quickly and cut down on laundry. Plus, built-in liners provide the added advantages of sweat-wicking qualities and sometimes compression. If you do go for lined running shorts, make sure the liner is comfortable.

Words by Dina Cheney

Originally published: February 21, 2024

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