The 7 Best Running Shorts With *Plenty* of Pocket Space for Your Keys, Gels, and More

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When I first started running long distances, I once made the odd decision to run about 18 miles from Harlem to the border of Connecticut while holding my phone, a water bottle, and multiple snacks in my hands the entire way. I don’t remember which got tired first: my feet, or my fingers. But I only owned one pair of running shorts at that point, and their only pocket was a small slit just big enough for a credit card.

Now, no matter how comfy a pair of running shorts is, or how good they look, not having ample pocket space is a dealbreaker for me. Mostly, I need at least one pocket big and secure enough to hold my phone. But really, what I want is the most pockets possible. The more that a pair of shorts can store, the more likely I’m going to be able to use them for long runs and races.

Because while I own two running belts (the FlipBelt ($34) and a Spibelt ($27), I find both sometimes slide up my waist unless I place them *just so* and wear the right kind of fabric. It's distracting, and I’d much rather stash everything I need to bring with me right in my shorts, and then never have to think about any of it while I’m running.

So I recently went on a hunt for the best women's running shorts with pockets—specifically, pairs with as much pocket space as I could find. I looked up options that had at least one pocket big enough for a standard-sized cell phone, plus three or four additional pockets for keys, gels—anything else I normally bring on my runs. Then I wore them for at least one or two test runs, a neighborhood walk, plus one other kind of workout (like bootcamp, yoga, a bike ride) to get a sense of how they perform during different kinds of movement. Out of everything I researched and tested, these are the seven best I'd recommend you swiftly add to your carts.

The best women's running shorts with pockets for stashing all your stuff

Best for training:

On, Sprinter Short — $70.00

Available sizes: XS-XL

Although On is most well-known for its signature running shoes with hollow “clouds” in the soles, I’d recently heard that the brand also makes excellent shorts, so I decided to try these out—and was not disappointed.

These shorts just feel… sleek. Longer than booty shorts but shorter than your typical bike shorts, this pair features just the essentials without any extra weight. The fabric is light and thin, so it won’t slow you down even as temps heat up. There are three mesh pockets along the back of the waist (including a larger one in the middle for a phone), plus two drop-in pockets on either leg. Gentle compression keeps everything in those pockets secure without squeezing too hard.

Pockets: 5—three mesh pockets around the back of the waist (including one for a phone), plus two drop-ins on either leg
Colors: 2
Care: Machine wash cold and hang dry


  • Sleek style
  • Lightweight  
  • Unique length


  • No zippered pocket

Best for race day:

Tracksmith, Lane Five Short Tights — $68.00

Available sizes: XS–L

I’ve owned three different versions of these shorts over the years, and they remain my all-time favorite for running. With each update Tracksmith’s put out, they’ve made them just slightly better, bit by bit. Currently, they sport five pockets, including a zippered pocket in the back, and four smaller ones that are just the right size for a gel or keys, making them ideal for a long run or race. What I love: No matter how far or fast I run in them, or what the weather is like, they literally never ride up, thanks to rubber grips on the legs’ hems. I’ve never found another pair that stay put this reliably.

Pockets: 5—one zippered back pocket, and four smaller open ones along the back and sides of the waist
Colors: 5
Care: Machine wash cold and hang dry


  • Stays put without riding up
  • Tight fit means items in pockets don’t bounce around  
  • High-quality fabric feels soft yet supportive  


  • Zippered back pocket sometimes causes slight chafing on long runs
  • Only available through a size large

Best for trail running:

Rabbit, Smashems 4" — $64.00

Originally $80, currently on sale for $64 (in orange color)

Available sizes: XS-XL

Both comfy and functional, these shorts are designed for the trails. Soft nylon fabric along the waistband and in the liner gives these a cozy feel, while also featuring super light and airy polyester-based material over the legs to help you stay cool and dry. The entire waistband doubles as pocket space, with a large zippered back pocket in the back, then open slits the rest of the way around. One cool feature that I’d never seen before: Two elastic loops with rubber grips in the back let you store hiking poles.

Because the waist on these is a little on the looser side, I’ve found if I do stash anything in the pockets I really need to tie the drawstring tight to keep my stuff from jiggling around when I run. But the benefit is that I can then loosen it afterward so the shorts transition to a more relaxed fit when I’m just sitting around doing some post-run refueling.

Pockets: 6—back zippered pocket, plus openings all along the waist for additional storage
Colors: 2 (plus more in 3-inch and 2.5-inch inseam versions)
Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low


  • Entire waistband is pocket space  
  • Cozy but lightweight feel    
  • Additional slots for trekking poles


  • Slightly bulky drawstring  
  • Need to tie the drawstring extra tight to keep things in pockets from bouncing around

Best for staying cool:

Janji, 3” Multi Short — $78.00

Available sizes: XS-XL

I took these breezy shorts out for a run in 80-degree weather with 91 percent humidity, and stayed as cool as I could have asked for. The shell is made with micro-perforations that make it super airy.

Personally, the split hem on these goes up a bit too high for me to feel comfortable wearing these during other kind of workouts where I lunge or lay on the floor, but the breathability makes them pretty ideal for hot summer running. The waist features a series of five virtually hidden pockets—at first, I didn’t even see they were there until I started poking around. In the back is a slot big enough to fit your phone, and the front right pocket has a key loop.

Pockets: 5—a large one in the back for a phone, plus four open slits along the waist
Colors: 4
Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low


  • Super lightweight and breathable  
  • Hidden pockets don’t add extra bulk  
  • Perforated for airflow


  • Fabric bunches up a bit between the thighs during faster running

Best lined shorts:

Lululemon, Nulux Road to Trail High-Rise Short 4" — $98.00

Available sizes: 0-14

These layered shorts have hidden drop-in pockets in the inner liner on both legs, as well as a zippered pocket in the back for your cell phone. But the real standout feature is an extra loop of fabric right behind that zippered pocket that leaves a loose but secure opening for easy access. When I’m putzing around home, it’s an ideal spot to stash my phone without having to zip or unzip anything. I wore these to a bootcamp class where I was given a branded sweat towel (yay #freefitnessswag), and I was able to easily lace it through the loop for my run home afterwards. It’s a perfect spot to stash a shirt you take off mid-workout, or a pair of hiking poles.

Pockets: 4—a zippered back pocket, two drop-ins in the liner, one large loop in the back of the waistband
Colors: 3
Care: Machine wash cold and tumble dry


  • Flexible storage options, even for bigger items    
  • High waist with a supportive waistband that stays put  
  • Ample coverage without getting too hot


  • Liner rolls up a bit when opening up your range of motion during lunges or sprints  
  • Waistband is on the tighter side. It loosens with wear, but you might want to size up  
  • Features a large logo on one leg

Best budget:

FlipBelt Compression Shorts — $46.00

Available sizes: XS-XL

The entire waist of these compression shorts (available in three-inch or five-inch inseam) is one massive pocket. There are two slits at the front to stick things inside, with a key lock just inside the opening on the right. In the back, there’s a zippered pocket to keep your phone or wallet secure. And if that’s not enough space, the sides feature 7-inch deep pockets—big enough to store a water bottle on either leg if you wanted. (FlipBelt sells a version that’s contoured to the shape of your hips.)

Slipping these shorts on, I understood why reviewers recommend sizing up: The compressive fabric digs in at my waist and the hems of the legs. But I’m not wearing these to lounge around in. I stocked these pockets full for a test run, and although there was a little resettling of items going on at first, within a mile, everything found its place and stayed there for the rest of my run.

Pockets: 5—zippered back pocket, two drop-ins on the legs, and two slit openings for waistband pocket space
Colors: 1
Care: Machine wash cold and tumble dry


  • Entire waistband is pocket space, plus additional pockets on thighs  
  • Relatively inexpensive  


  • Thick fabric is a bit hot for summer runs  
  • Compression can make for a tight fit (consider sizing up)

Best for low-impact activities:

Fair Harbor, Corliss Short — $58.00

Available sizes: XS-XL

To be completely honest, I actually don’t recommend running in these shorts. Although you can fit a phone in either of the two side drop-in pockets in the inner liner, it bounces around as soon as you start jogging. But I included this pair on this list because I know many of us like to wear “running shorts” to hike, or walk, or paddleboard, or kayak. As long as you’re not doing anything that requires you to bound up and down, these are both super convenient and comfortable.

In addition to the drop-in pockets, the outer shell includes two zippered pockets on either side to keep valuables safe; the left even has a key loop. Meanwhile, the stretchy fabric makes these shorts comfortable enough to wear all day long, whether you’re working out or working from the couch. One more thing I appreciate: Even though these are roomy, the two-tone design is pretty flattering.

Pockets: 4—two slide-in pockets on the inner bike short liner, and two zippered hip pockets on the outer shell
Colors: 11
Care: Machine wash cold and tumble dry


  • Multiple pockets for larger items  
  • Provides ample coverage  
  • Flattering design  
  • Quick-drying shell


  • Pockets aren’t tight enough to keep items from bouncing while running or jumping

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