The 11 Best women’s running shorts in 2021
Eleven of the best women’s running shorts from popular brands including Rockay, Nike, Adidas, and others!
Shopping for the very best pair of women’s running shorts can be difficult. However, taking the time to search for a great pair of shorts can not only make your running more enjoyable, but you’ll be more comfortable, perhaps even faster, and, of course, looking your best.
When searching for a pair of shorts, there are multiple factors that you need to consider. For example, these factors include the price, the fit of the shorts, and the technology included, e.g. how effective these are at sweat-wicking, preventing a build-up of nasty odours, and so forth.
Finding a balance of these components is essential, providing you with ultimate comfort and performance benefits for those tough weekend runs or races.
This article is a round-up of our top eleven women’s running shorts, beginning with a hybrid pair from the popular sustainable running brand, Rockay.
Please note: this post contains links to Amazon and other affiliate sites. As an amazon associate (and others), we will earn a small percentage on qualifying purchases. Find out more here.
Alternatively, you can also view our selection of the men’s best running shorts, too.
1. Rockay Hybrid 2 in 1 women's running shorts
- Polygiene anti-odour technology
- Dedicated “stealth” phone pocket
- Created using recycled materials
- 5″ length and 2 in 1 design
- Ergonomic side-split leg design provides maximum mobility & comfort
- Sweat-wicking and chafe-free performance soft inner liner
- Perforated ventilation for increased breathability and sweat-wicking potential
- More expensive than other women’s running shorts
Our number one pick of women’s running shorts is this 2 in 1 pair from Rockay. For starters, the shorts are created using recycled materials, removing ocean waste and contributing to a greater sustainable future. However, these Hybrid 2 in 1 women’s running shorts also contain impressive Polygiene anti-odour technology to keep your shorts fresh and long-lasting, even between washes.
This is further complemented by the perforated ventilation, increasing breathability and general comfort when running. Overall, these shorts are comfortable, performance-enhancing, and even contain multiple pockets, one of which is dedicated to your smartphone with a no-bounce design – something very few shorts offers.
Despite the many benefits, however, this pair from Rockay are more expensive than others, definitely a premium choice of running shorts.
2. TCA perform women's 2 in 1 running shorts
- Inner compression design enhances comfort and performance
- Zip pocket to store essentials
- Quickdry fabric
- Adjustable waistband for added comfort
- Developed using extensive testing with various elite athletes
- More affordable than similar women’s 2 in 1 running shorts
- Zipped pocket may not be large enough to hold some smartphones
Next up, we also have another pair of women’s 2 in 1 running shorts, this time from TCA. Although slightly less well-known than other popular brands, TCA creates various sports and running gear, usually much more budget-friendly options, too.
For starters, the compression inner layer provides additional muscular support and performance benefits, allowing you to get the most out of each run. However, with this being said, the compression is not the same as a dedicated pair of compression shorts or tights, more so like our number six choice of Nike Pro compression shorts.
Notwithstanding this, this pair from TCA is an excellent option for beginners runners and veterans alike. For example, you will benefit from multiple zip pockets to store your essentials, quick-drying fabric for a comfortable and dry run, and an adjustable waistband for added comfort.
Also, TCA tests their products, including these shorts with various elite athletes, ensuring a universal but optimal design for various sports.
It is worth noting that the zipped pockets may not fit all smartphones. However, all in all, most runners reported the pockets to be more than big enough for all their essentials.
3. Rockay Flare half tight running shorts women's
- Supportive & compressive design
- HeiQ® Fresh odour control technology sweat-wicking design
- Sweat-wicking design
- Multiple pockets
- Created using recycled materials
- Dedicated smartphone pocket/sleeve
- Does not require frequent washing with no nasty odours
- More expensive than others shorts
- Some runners may prefer a more traditional pair of women’s running shorts
Another pair of women’s running shorts from Rockay, we have the flare half tights. With a greater compressive design, these running shorts provide enhanced support, whether running intervals on the track or a quick and easy 30-minute run.
Using similar technology to the Hybrid 2 in 1 women’s running shorts from Rockay (this time HeiQ® fresh odour control), you can wear these shorts multiple times before washing, all without a build-up of nasty odour. Also, you benefit from the equally as good sweat-wicking performance, keeping you dry and comfortable for the entire duration of your run.
Much like the other pair from Rockay, the flare half tight running shorts for women are also constructed using recycled materials, helping to combat ocean waste. The shorts also make use of the same phone sleeve pocket we seen from the other Rockay pair – secure, plenty of room, and containing a no-bounce design. There’s also an additional pocket for other smaller items, whether keys, cash, or nutritional items.
All things considered, there a couple of potential downsides. Firstly, these shorts are more expensive than others. And second, these are slightly tighter than other pairs, perhaps not to everybody’s liking. Instead, if this is you then you may prefer our number one pick, also from Rockay.
4. Nike women's 2 in 1 running shorts
- Nike Flex fabric stretches to your every movement, increasing mobility
- Inner shorts provide additional comfort, warmth and support
- Multiple pockets
- Sweat-wicking and breathable design
- Competitve price
- Waistband can be adjusted for a comfortable fit
- Mesh pannels further increase breathability
- Pockets could be a little bit bigger
- Minimal reflective details
The Nike women’s 2 in 1 running shorts provide unrestricted movement, thanks to the Nike Flex fabric and high split heam design. The inner of the shorts, although somewhat compressive, do not offer the same benefits of compression as opposed to a proper pair of compression shorts, such as the Nike Pro pair, as seen at number six in our list. However, the inner lining is stretchy and comfortable, adapting to your every movement to maximize performance.
While there are multiple pockets, admittedly, these run quite small. Sure, they’re great for storing small items, such as keys or cash, but you’re going to struggle to fit your smartphone. Similarly, compared to other running shorts for women, such as the Adidas M20 (as seen below), this pair from Nike also contain fewer reflective details – just something to watch out for.
As always, you can expect signature Nike breathability and sweat-wicking benefits too, ensuring a comfortable run no matter the distance.
5. Adidas M20 running shorts women's
- Aeroready technology eliminates excess moisture
- Key pocket
- 360 degree reflectivity increases visibility in low light conditions
- Increased reflective details (compared to other shorts)
- Adjustable waistband for a comfortable fit
- The pocket runs small and cannot find a smartphone or other larger items
The Adidas M20 is one of the more basic women’s running shorts on our list, low in price, and containing just enough technology to get you through your run.
For example, the Adidas Aeroready technology will eliminate excess moisture and sweat, keeping you comfortable. You also have the option to adjust the waistband for a better fit, and you will benefit from 360-degree reflectivity – a component many running shorts currently do not offer.
Despite this, you are missing out on various other benefits as seen with other running shorts, perhaps perforated ventilation as incorporated into the Rockay Hybrid 2 in 1 shorts, a dedicated smartphone pocket, and fresh odour control technology to reduce the need for washing while preventing a nasty build-up of odour.
It is also worth mentioning that although there are pockets, these do run slightly small.
6. Nike Pro 3 inch women's compression running shorts
- Nike’s signature dri-fit technology wicks sweat away from the body, keeping you dry and comfortable
- Compression fit provides additional support for your muscles
- Flatlock seams reduce chafing and further enhance comfort
- Compression technology offers an increase in performance
- Nike Pro fabric keeps you focused on your run
- No pockets
- Some runners may find these a little too short for comfort
This pair of women’s compression running shorts from Nike are the only proper pair of compression shorts included in our list. A staple piece of kit for many runners, it’s no surprise that these are often in high demand.
To begin with, the compressive fit provides additional muscular support, increasing blood flow to the muscles to aid with performance and recovery. You will also receive the other many benefits of compression technology, including reduced soreness and increased oxygen to your muscles.
Alongside the compression design, however, you also receive the standard Nike treatment – Dri-fit technology to wick sweat away from the body, flatlock seams to reduce chafing, and Nike Pro fabric for a soft but performance feel.
Having said this, there is one obvious potential downside of these shorts – there are no pockets. Also, some runners may find these a little too short for comfort at 3 inches, perhaps preferring a slightly longer pair. However, this is down to personal preference and without a doubt, these shorts are greater intended for racing and performance as opposed to regular training.
7. Under Armour 2.0 Fly women's fitness shorts
- Comfortable and loose fit
- Provides additional support when working out
- Built-in underliner
- Reasonably priced
- Provide full range of motion and unrestricted movement
- These shorts contain no pockets
- Some users reported these not to be the best for running
These yoga and women’s fitness shorts from Under Armour are a great entry-level pair of shorts for beginners. While the technology isn’t as advanced as others (similar to the Adidas M20 women’s running shorts), there is plenty on offer for a comfortable run.
For starters, there is a built-in under liner for additional support and comfort. Likewise, the material is soft knit and comfortable, providing an ideal fit for working out.
Some runners, however, did report this pair of shorts to be better suited to yoga and general working out, as opposed to running. Also, much like the above Nike Pro compression pair, these shorts do not contain any pockets – a major downside for many runners.
8. Asics performance women's running shorts
- Highly breathable and moisture-wicking fabric
- Wind and water-resistant
- Two side pockets
- Various reflective details increases visibility
- Elasticated waistband further enhances comfort and provides a personalised fit
- Side pockets do not contain zips
Another performance pair of women’s running shorts, this time from Asics, offer superior reflectivity, much like the Adidas M20, alongside highly breathable and moisture-wicking fabric.
Although there are two side pockets, a much-welcomed addition, especially following on from the last two pairs of shorts in our list, these do run fairly small and do not contain zips. Nonetheless, as mentioned previously, as this is a performance pair of shorts, the design is centred around faster running and racing.
9. CRZ women's running shorts
- Zipped back pocket for storing small items
- Wide choice of colours, including black, grey sage, lemon, dark purple, and white
- Quick-drying and highly durable fabric
- Fits true to size
- Additional internal waistband pockets
- Inner lining prevents chafing and general discomfort
- Pockets (including the inside pockets) are only big enough for a key or bank card
- Slightly shorter than expected
The CRZ running shorts for women provide a great balance of many different components and features, all available at a competitive price, as opposed to more premium and expensive options, such as those from Nike and Rockay.
Firstly, you have the choice of many, many different colours, customization unlike any others shorts on our list. You will also favour the quick-drying and highly durable fabric, lasting a long-time and providing a comfortable ride no matter how long you intend on running for.
The zipped back pocket is a welcomed addition, too. There are also multiple other pockets, but these do run a little small and you will struggle to fit your smartphone, as opposed to other shorts, such as the Rockay Hybrid 2 in 1 that contains a dedicated, no-bounce smartphone sleeve design.
Some runners also mentioned how the shorts run slightly shorter than expected – perhaps not a game-changer, but something to potentially be wary of before placing an order.
Alongside our top nine women’s running shorts above, we’ve also put together a couple of honourable mentions. You can find these below.
Best high waisted women's running shorts
- High waisted design
- Inner pockets for added convenience (fits a smartphone)
- Anti-microbial and dry wicking technology
- Choice of seven different colours
- Material is non-see-through
- No chafing and comfortable fit
- You may need to order a size smaller than usual
Our first honourable mention is this high waisted pair of running shorts from Joyspels. For runners who prefer a fit that is high waisted, you can’t go wrong with this pair of shorts.
You will benefit from inner pockets for added convenience (similar to the Rockay smartphone pocket, but slightly less advanced), yet still big and secure enough to fit your smartphone and other larger items. Also, the anti-microbial and dry wicking technology will keep those nasty odours from building up, also increasing comfort during your run.
Many runners enjoyed the wide choice of colours (seven, to be exact) and the material, specifically how you could not see through it when working out in the gym, or running. Nonetheless, sizes may run a little larger than normal, so it’s worth using the size guide and perhaps ordering a size slightly smaller than usual if needed.
Best women's running shorts with pockets
- 3 zipper pockets (2 side pockets and 1 back pocket)
- UPF 50 sun protection
- Skin-friendly and smooth fabric
- More than enough room to store a smartphone, cash, keys, nutritional items and other gear
- Soft and adjustable waistband design
- Sit in place (do not ride up and are not too lose)
- Some colours may be a little see-through (perhaps stick to the darker colours where possible)
Our eleventh and final pair of women’s running shorts, and another honourable mention is this pair from BALEAF. However, where these shorts really stand out from others is in the pockets. For example, there is a total of three zipper pockets, all of which contain plenty of room to store your essentials. And yes, that includes your smartphone (similar to the two Rockay pairs mentioned in this article).
You will also reap the benefits of UPF 50 sun protection and skin-friendly and smooth fabric for further comfort. However, some runners reported the lighter colours to be a little see-through, so it may be best to stick to darker colours where possible.
Frequently asked questions
Finally, we have also gathered together various frequently asked questions regarding women’s running shorts. You can view these below:
Your shorts have a liner to wick moisture away from your skin, reduce chafing, and other general discomfort (this liner can also prevent infection in some rare instances).
Your running shorts should be a fine balance between tight and loose, not too tight that it’s uncomfortable, but not too loose that they fall down every time you take a step.
Generally, it’s down to personal preference and feel, and you will likely know whether or not your shorts are a good fit or not.
Once again, the length of your running shorts is down to personal preference. Some runners prefer shorter shorts, perhaps 3 inches, while others prefer longer ones.
Generally, however, performance running shorts are slightly shorter, providing increased mobility and freedom of movement.
Two in one women’s running shorts are currently very popular. These contain two layers, a compression layer, and a base layer. The inner (compression) layer is designed to increase muscular support and warmth while the outer layer acts as a regular pair of running shorts.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.