There are tons of things that can make or break a run. An amazing playlist, supportive sports bra, and shoes with just the right amount of cushion are obvious must-haves, but may I emphasize another vital one? Running shorts that don’t ride up.
The right running shorts are so, so important, especially when it’s hot and humid out and everything’s getting a little sticky. Shorts that don’t fit the bill can rub uncomfortably—I’ve gotten some really painful thigh chafing from a couple pairs—and migrate, shall we say, north. Let me tell you, spending time pulling shorts out of your crotch (only to have to do it again a quarter mile later) does not make for a pleasant run.
As SELF’s fitness director, I try out a lot of running shorts, and ride-up is one of the top factors that consistently makes me put the pair right back in the drawer before another wear. So finding running shorts that stay in place has always been a goal of mine. And this summer, I can honestly say I have a solid rotation of ones that stay right where they should.
But before I list my favorites, though, I just want to emphasize one thing: Running shorts are very individualized, and they fit differently on all bodies. For instance, I’m just over 5’0” with relatively muscular thighs, so the same shorts I swear by may fit differently on someone taller or with a different build. My best advice? Walk and move around in the shorts you’re thinking about before you commit—say, in a dressing room, or just in your home if you buy them online—if you can, and definitely walk around your house in them before you take the tags off and go on your run. If you feel your shorts riding up or shifting when you’re just moving around, it doesn’t bode well for when you’re actually striding (when your range of motion is much bigger).
Below, the four shorts I’ve been wearing throughout this hot, humid, and sweaty summer that don’t require mid-run adjustments.
1. Nathan Front Runner Shorts
These are my go-to shorts when I’m running long and don’t want to spend any of that time adjusting my bottoms. I even wore them for my first marathon, and I can honestly say ride-up was not one of the multitude of thoughts going in and out of my head during those 26.2 miles. The stretchy inner shorts (3-inch inseam) simply stay put, even when the shorter outer-level layer breezes up and down. This pair is also great for my long runs because it has deep, open front pockets in the inner layer, which are perfect for stashing a few energy chews or gels. Note: There’s actually a newer version of these available, the Nathan Front Runner 2.0 shorts ($65, nathansports.com), which stay put just as well, and even have a new zippered pocket along the back waistband. But I’ve been sticking with the OGs since I’ve found they tend to lie flatter against my butt with zero bunching.