What to Look for When Buying Running Shorts
While they may seem pretty basic, running shorts are a lot more than just a simple garment. They keep you cool, allow freedom of movement, and are available in a wide range of styles that intend to suit the unique needs of specific types of runners. Whether you prefer running on a smooth indoor track or you like to hit rugged trails that are off the beaten path – or anywhere in between – there's a pair of running shorts that will perfectly cater to your particular needs. Here's a look at some key features to consider when you're shopping for the best pair of running shorts.
Three Inches (Short)
The higher the shorts extend up the thigh, the better ventilation they will offer and the more range of motion they will allow. Many competitive runners opt for shorts that measure around three inches, as they're suitable for both sprints and marathons.
Five Inches (Medium)
Running shorts that measure five inches long will let you take advantage of the best of both worlds. This length combines the aggressive competitiveness of the short three-inch shorts with the robustness of longer-length shorts. Five-inch shorts are highly versatile, making them a great choice for modern athletes who like to switch up their runs and go from trail to track.
Seven Inch (Long)
Primarily the length that male runners opt for (though there are females who like them, too), seven-inch shorts are ideal for running shorter distances and changing conditions. If you opt for this length, moisture-wicking material is your best bet, as the longer length tends to trap-in more heat and the more heat, the more sweat; hence why the moisture-wicking fabric is important, as it will help to prevent your legs from becoming sweaty.
In addition to the length, you're also going to want to consider the style. There are several different styles of running shorts, including:
As the name suggests, compression shorts are designed to hug the body (think spandex). Thanks to the snugness, they can provide muscle support, and they offer the most flexibility, while they also help to prevent chafing.
The reversed V-shaped cutout on the sides of the leg seams is why this style of running shorts is referred to as "V-notch." Thanks to the V cutout and the looser fit, V-notch running shorts are the most popular, as they're comfortable and won't hold you back.
This style is similar to V-notch, except the V on the seams isn't sewn together; instead, they are split and made with overlapping fabric. The design allows for even more flexibility than their V-notch cousin, and the split can vary in length from about one-half an inch to as high as the waistband.
Running shorts are made of a wide range of materials, including natural and synthetic fibers. The majority of running shorts are made of polyester or a blend of polyester and spandex, as polyester is quite durable, is lightweight, and has moisture-wicking capabilities. While natural fibers might seem like the obvious choice, they tend to absorb moisture, which can lead to chafing and can end up making you uncomfortable.
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