The best running shorts for men, by Nike

Buying guide

Hit your stride in these winning picks.

Last updated: 11 March 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 shortlist

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 elastane) 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 10cm (approx.) Brief-Lined Running Shorts

You'll hit your stride in this standout pair. Slits up the side, four-way stretch woven fabric and a 10cm (approx) 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 12.5cm (approx.) Brief-Lined Running Shorts

These 12.5cm (approx.) split shorts are sleek but with the added benefit of more storage. Seven pockets (some drop-in and zipped) 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-elastane fabric, corded elastic waistband and brief liner.

When you want a loose fit: Nike Unlimited Men's Dri-FIT 18cm (approx.) Unlined Versatile Shorts

Though not quite as aerodynamic, these 18cm (approx.) 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-elastane fabric and move freely due to the four-way stretch woven fabric and side hem vents. Store your essentials in the three pockets and an interior key loop.

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

For a snugger fit, opt for these half-length leggings. The stretch-knit, sweat-wicking Dri-FIT fabric cuts down on chafing, while the brief liner and corded elastic waistband provide 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 Leggings

Another top pick for trail runs and marathons, these half-length leggings offer support thanks to their brief lining and compressive feel. The stretchy, lightweight Dri-FIT fabric keeps you dry while allowing for 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 7.5cm (approx.) Brief-Lined Running Shorts

Reach max speed in these sweat-wicking classics. The side slits, light and stretchy polyester-elastane fabric, and 7.5cm (approx.) 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 types 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 from a blend of a moisture-wicking fabric (like polyester) and a flexible fabric (like elastane).

What shorts are best for long-distance running?

Prioritise moisture-wicking fabric and opt for half leggings 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 inseams. 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 quicker 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: 21 February 2024

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