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.), and after a three 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 like a mother f**cker and I returned home salty—not just with sweat.
Thankfully, in 2019, 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 athleticwear that works with—not against—you. 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.
The 7 best women’s running shorts for zero chafing ever.
Well+Good 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 ($30)
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.
Lately, I’ve been really into bottoms with banded wastebands. 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.
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 outer material makes for an overall snuggly feel. The liner in these shorts happens to be mesh—so it’s also a little less grippy than something like, say, a nylon or polyester.
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.
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.
As a company, Brooks designs products that are only for running—and these shorts are emblematic of that laser-focus. Like Under Armour’s, 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.
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