Athleisure Wear

12 Pairs of Cute Running Shorts to Work Out in Now, Because It’s *Way* Too Hot for Leggings

Erin Magner

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Photo: Getty Images/Tara Moore

Sure, leggings may seem like the perfect seasonless wardrobe staple, but try walking home in them after a sweaty bootcamp when the temperature is over 80 degrees. Not so comfy anymore, are they?

In times like these—or as I like to call it, summer—it’s running shorts to the rescue. They may not be as buzzy as bike shorts are right now, but hear me out: They’re loose enough to let in a cooling breeze, they’re usually made from material that doesn’t retain sweat and heat, and this season, at least, they’re showing up in all kinds of elevated iterations. Metallic fabrics, neon colorblocking, floral and camo prints—as you can see from the options below, there are tons of ways to upgrade from the pair you stashed in your high-school gym locker.

Running shorts don’t just work for workouts, either. I can picture myself styling a black (or leopard-print) pair with a silk camisole and strappy heels for a summer night out, or tossing them over bike shorts and adding some kind of t-shirt and Tevas. Or you could follow designer Virgil Abloh’s lead and stick highlighter-yellow running shorts under a sheer maxi-dress. (This is not for the sartorially shy, but definitely a fresher option than the sheer-dress-over-granny-panties look, IMO.) Oh, and most pairs cost well under $100—if not under $50—which is a pretty good deal on something you can wear absolutely everywhere.

The only reason why running shorts don’t fully trump leggings: It’s hard to go commando if you’re in public and your workout involves, say, bicycle crunches or bridge lifts, and your shorts don’t have a built-in pair of their own. But if it means freedom from soggy leggings on a hot summer’s day, wearing undies is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Especially in the name of style.

Running shorts and colorblock sneakers are another hot couple—pack them in your vacation carry-on along with an extremely cute, under-$40 Target swimsuit

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