To run is to love simplicity. All you need is a good pair of takkies, some open road and you’re good to go. Or are you? Most runners will assure you that there’s more to running than a good pair of takkies. There’s the socks, watch, heart rate monitor, perfect playlist and the running shorts. A good pair of running shorts can make you forget you’re wearing anything (in the best way possible), a bad pair leads to irritation or worse – the dreaded chafe.
We’ve sifted through the newest and best running shorts for men on offer this summer. Scrutinising the prices, fabrics and add-ons. We then sent sports scientist Brandon Hinton on many runs to test out each pair in real life conditions and report back. The result? The list of the Best Running Shorts for Men this summer, at every price range and for every type of runner.
adidas supernova shorts, R599
I’m a big fan of the thought and detail that has gone into these shorts and because of that they stand-out the most to me. adidas has managed to merge both style and performance into these supernovas and as a result have created the ultimate pair of athletic shorts. Making them a worthwhile investment for any active occasion.
Good to Know
Sizing | The medium ran perfectly true to its size. The adidas supernova shorts are available from sizes small to xx large.
Comfort | A very well cut and lightweight material makes these shorts one of the most comfortable out of the lot.
Pockets | 1 on the right hip. Not big enough for an iPhone, but will comfortably take a set of keys and a gel. The pocket is a sweat-guard pocket so it will keep your items nice and dry.
Best features | I found the adidas “supernova” material has a very unique, stretchy component to it unlike any of the other test shorts, allowing it to adapt and move freely with your body as you move. Another big plus for me was the cut. A slightly tapered cut down the thighs with the front ending higher above the knee then the back continuing to swoop slightly and ending 1 -2 cm’s lower than the front – showing that a lot of thought has gone into this design.
Best for | The unique cut to these shorts makes them all-rounders. Not too short to wear in public and not too long to run in. I found these perfect for both the gym and long runs.
Asics 5 inch Running Shorts, R550
The biggest stand-out for me with this particular pair was the material. Asics have managed to create something completely unique when compared to any of the other brands in the test with an unbelievably lightweight material that allows breathability and avoids any chafing. And although a bit of a boxy cut, the length of the shorts is ideal for running.
Good to Know
Sizing | The waistline runs a bit big and although normally I’m a medium, I found in this particular pair I would need to size down to a small. The Asics 5 inch running short is available in sizes small to xx large.
Comfort | The unique, lightweight “MOTIONDRY” material is possibly the closest you’ll get to running naked – and that’s a good thing! These are some of the most comfortable running shorts I’ve ever worn!
Best features | The inner underwear liner is noticeably thin and without any stitching seams which allowed me to forget that it’s even there, yet provided just the right amount of support.
Pockets | 1 pocket above the bum, although too small for anything other than a set of keys.
Best For | These are great all-rounders and ideal for anything from a 5K to a marathon.
Salomon Agile shorts, R579
The combination of the wider waist-band and unique colours is what really made these shorts stand out for me and I found them ideal for my longer runs. I would however have liked the cut to be slightly more tapered as I found a bit of excess material floating around my butt area. Although this wasn’t anything I noticed or affected me on the run, it was more of a personal style preference when looking in the mirror. These shorts would really stand out to me amongst the bunch and would definitely be my pick if I was looking to purchase a pair for either trail running or marathon running.
Good To Know
Sizing | Great fit, runs true to size.
Comfort | Very comfortable! These have a unique stretchy waist tie inside a wide waistband, allowing for a great secure fit without squeezing too tight or digging into your skin – a really great, noticeable feature.
Pockets | 1 pocket above the butt which is big enough for an iPhone and a gel or 2.
Best Features | The choice of 2 completely different colors and patterns is a huge plus! The material of the shorts is noticeably light with minimal stretching, avoiding any chaffing or rubbing between the legs.
Pockets | 1 pocket above the butt which is big enough for an iPhone and a gel or two.
Best For | Solomon’s unique ActiveDry fabric makes these shorts ideal for hot, sweaty long runs or trail runs where wet shrubs will be brushed past.
Shop the Salomon Agile Shorts at all Salomon Concept Stores Nationwide
Under Armour UA Launch 5” Run Shorts, R649
If you are generally not affected with chaffing thighs and are comfortable showing off your white wintery legs, the more traditional shorter cut of these Under Armor’s make for a great pair of running shorts and compete with the more running specific brands such as Adidas and Asics. Because of the fit, these quickly become my personal favourite when heading to the track for my weekly speed runs.
Good To Know
Sizing | Although a slightly more slim fitting pair in comparison to the others, the sizing ran perfect. The Under Armour UA Launch 5” shorts are available from small to xx large.
Comfort | Paired with a good fitting waist-band and a breathable underwear inner these were noticeably very comfortable.
Best features | As Under Armor’s “HeatGear”, the material is thin and lightweight. The cut of the shorts were also notably shorter than average.
Pockets | 1 small pocket above the bum which could only take a gel or a key.
Best for | I definitely favoured these over the others for track running or speed work as the slimmer fit made for a hassle-free run.
Second Skins Square Cut Lite Running Shorts, R199
Although the shorter more traditional cut may be what some runners favour, I found that this led to some chaffing between the legs on longer runs. However, when taking these to the track for a speed run, I found the smaller, simple fit to be hassle free. In summary, these shorts fit a very niche’ group of runners and if that niche’ is you, then the local price tag makes the Second Skins an obvious choice.
Good to know
Sizing | A bit of a small cut, I had to bump up from a usual 32 to a 34. Second Skins Lite Running shorts are available from sizes 32-44
Comfort | The netted attached underwear is quite basic with a tight hugging band around the groin which if you have slightly bigger than normal sized legs can become a noticeable hassle.
Best features | Although the material is nothing special, the short cut and simplistic design is what makes these Second Skins unique.
Pockets | None
Best For| Track running.
H&M Running Shorts, R399
When first slipping these on it was obvious that the main focus here for H&M was on style, and although it ticked all the boxes for key aspects that you look for in a pair of running shorts, I found that the materials were heavy and not very breathable. That being said, I am a huge fan of the fit and visual aspects of these shorts, and if you’re looking for an affordable pair of stylish gym shorts, then these would be my pick! However, I did have an incident with the waist-band’s string snapping on me when tightening them around my waist.
Good to Know
Sizing | True to its size, I had no issues here.
Comfort | With a set of thigh-length long attached underwear, chaffing was no issue – although, the material felt a bit thick and heavy which jeopardized what could have been a very well fitted, comfortable pair of shorts.
Best Features | The aesthetics of these shorts are a big plus in my eyes
Pockets | 1 above the bum, just big enough for a set of keys or gel.
Best for |These are a definite favourite for gym and yoga classes. I wouldn’t rush out for a long-run in these.
Salomon Park 2 in 1 short, R699
As with the other pairs of Salomons tested, the quality is top-notch. The “ActiveDry” lightweight, breathable and water resistance material paired with very thin stitching is what makes these shorts so unique. The wider waistband and slightly tapered cut makes for a very comfortable fit, although I struggled to figure out what these longer cut shorts are truly made for. I personally would not run a marathon in these and certainly wouldn’t rush to the track in these either. I therefore tended to find myself reaching for these when heading to the gym or running some errands.
Good to Know
Sizing | Perfect! Runs true to size.
Comfort | These Salomons carry the same wide waistband and as the previously mentioned “Agiles” with the elastic waist string – making for a great, secure fit around the waist.
Best features | A longer length pair of shorts with a slightly tapered cut grabbed my immediate attention. Paired with a mid-thigh length underwear (taking away any concern for chafing) and Salomon’s “ActiveDry” material makes this pair very unique when compared to our other tested brands.
Pockets | 1 pocket above the bum which will fit a couple gels, or an iPhone 5 with a squeeze.
Best for | Because of the longer length, I felt these more suited towards hiking or gym wear.
Shop the Salomon Park 2 in 1 short at all Salomon Concept Stores Nationwide
Think we missed a pair of the best running shorts for men this summer? Tell us in the comments below!
REVIEW: Brandon Hinton WORDS: Brandon Hinton and Zissy Lewin IMAGES: copyright Nutreats