Athleisure Wear

14 Anti-Chafing Shorts That Make Me Feel Like I’m Working Out in My Pajamas

Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images
I snagged my first-ever pair of running shorts off the clearance rack at Marshall's. They were splattered in highlighter-colored cheetah spots (so. cute.), but after a 3-mile road test, they dyed the tops of my thighs so pink that the lower half of me looked more Double Pop than person. Worse, they chafed in a painful way, and I returned home salty—not just with sweat.

Thankfully, in 2022, anti-chafing shorts are ubiquitous, to which I say: it's about frickin' time. Swooshy fabrics and smartly-designed silhouettes hug all the right places—and blessedly leave the rest alone. Every sport calls for athletic-wear that works with—not against—your body. But when you're setting out to test the best anti-chafing shorts on the market (as I was), running—which involves a whole lot of thigh-to-thigh interaction—proves the ideal fitness litmus test. Below, I rank the comfiest, most pajama-esque speed shorts out there, that leave your thighs in the clear.

Best anti-chafing running shorts, at a glance

The 14 best anti-chafing running out there

Photo: Outdoor Voices
Outdoor Voices, Relay Short — $45.00

Well+Good’s previous beauty and fitness director Ali Finney and I wore a matching pair of these shorts to a 10K we ran in New York’s Central Park. And we both agreed: they were amaze. The lack of lining allows a nice breeze to sift through your nether regions with each step and for those—like me—who don’t wear underwear with athletic clothes, this proved especially divine.

Nike, Elevate Shorts — $40.00

I discovered these shorts when a friend texted me something like, “Dude, just ordered these in three more colors. I cannot stop wearing them.” Months later, I can affirm that she’s absolutely right. The slits on each side makes each stride feel completely freestyle (ie, the fabric doesn’t catch or stick to my skin), and they’re so soft against my skin that I wear them to bed at least once a week. The cherry on top is that they come in the most fun array of colors. I own them in white, black, pale pink, and I have my eye on the peach color, too.

Nike, Dri-Fit Tempo — $35.00

Nike also makes these breezy shorts that are breathability defined. They have the signature curved, inset sides that keeps air flowing while you run. Layer on the easy access pocket for things like keys and ID, and the recycled materials, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

Under Armour, Play Up Inset 3.0 — $25.00

Lately, I’ve been really into bottoms with banded waistbands. I can’t explain it! They just fall way better on my hips—and that is all. Not only do Under Armour’s include my new “it’ feature, they fall longer in the booty area to protect your from chafing and—yes—cheek slippage.

Asics, Ventilate 2-In-1 Shorts — $55.00

Sometimes, you just want that leggings feel in a short package—and that’s exactly what these Asics do. The snug inside holds your thighs in one place, while the ventilated material makes for an overall breezy feel. Bonus: there’s a pocket in the back waist that’s perfect for storing your Airpod case and ID when you’re on the go.

Lululemon, Track That Mid-Riser Lined Shorts — $65.00

Remember when I said earlier that I think athletic shorts should feel like PJs? Yeah, well the design team at Lululemon clearly agrees with me. The brand has a diversity of shorts that follow at all different inch lengths, but the 5″ gets the A+ in feeling. damn. good. Seriously, if seven pairs were in my budget, I would buy ’em and throw out every last one of the raggedy tees I wear to bed each night.

Lululemon, Speed Up Mid-Rise Lined Shorts 4" — $68.00

These are another solid bet, if you’re a fan of the mid-rise feel. The swift fabric makes you feel like a gazelle when it’s on. And the liner is ideal for hot, swampy nights when things can get a bit sticky.

Athleta, Mesh Racer Run Short 4" — $47.00

This pair wins the award for the sweat-to-social hour #lewk. When New York’s temperatures skyrocketed to solar flare hot last weekend, I slipped them on with a simple tank top and—I must admit—I looked more put together than I usually do. The mesh trim is a nice, pretty accent that also makes chafing more bearable. TL; DR, I will be purchasing this pair in a few more colors to rock 24/7.

Brooks, Chaser 5" 2-in-1 Shorts — $65.00

As a company, Brooks designs products that are only for running—and these shorts are emblematic of that laser-focus. Like Under Armour’s shorts, they come with that skin-tight inside layer (with! a! phone-sized! pocket!) and stick out of the outer shell in a way that’s aesthetically cute and accommodating for the thighs. These are runner’s shorts through and through.

Girlfriend Collective, High-Rise Run Short — $48.00

If you’re a fan of all-around compression, look no further than Girlfriend Collective’s high-rise shorts. They’re supportive in all the right places, even miles into your run. They’re also sweat-wicking—a game-changer for chafing, keeping you cool and dry stride after stride. And they come in so. many. colors—you’ll want ’em all, I swear.

Sweaty Betty, On Your Marks 4" Shorts — $68.00

Whether you’re running a full-blown marathon or are taking an evening jog around the neighborhood, these shorts will leave you smiling. They’re made from a sweat-wicking recycled poly blend that just feels so light and breezy as you move. Add in the supportive inner liner, and you might never want to take them off.

Adidas, Run Icon 2-in-1 Running Shorts — $45.00

While some of our other favorite styles feature a shorter built-in bike short, Adidas’ are longer, giving your thighs some extra TLC on the road. They’re an eco-friendly option, made using 60 percent recycled materials, and are convenience-focused, complete with a handy dandy side pocket.

Patagonia, Nine Trails 6" Shorts — $65.00

Attention trail runners: If you want to head into the backcountry, do it in these shorts. The 6-inch inseam is *chef’s kiss*, giving you protection from chafing as well as coverage from things like stray sticks and insect bites. The fabric is stretchy and moisture-wicking, too, so no worrying about puddle splashes or stray mud spray.

New Balance, Impact Run 5" Shorts — $55.00

Drop-in pockets? Check. Reflective piping? Check. Built-in lining? Check. These New Balance shorts have it all, designed to keep you comfortable, even when miles climb into the double digits. Best part is, the material is sustainable, sourced from environmentally preferred partners, so they’re as good for your legs as they are the planet.

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