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The Best Women’s Athletic Shorts

young woman wearing running shorts, a sports bra, and tennis shoes stretching her leg on the beach

When the weather begins to warm up, working out or playing sports in leggings or sweatpants can quickly become hot and uncomfortable. For many activities, athletic shorts are the better option. Here are some that we recommend.

Buying Women’s Athletic Shorts

Here are some things to pay attention to while shopping:

  • Inseam: When looking at athletic shorts, it is important to know how long the inseam of the legs is. Longer shorts give more coverage and prevent chafing, while shorter ones are cooler and less likely to get in the way. For women’s athletic shorts, the most common inseam lengths are 5 and 7 inches.
  • Material: When it comes to athletic shorts, breathability is very important. Make sure to check what materials your athletic shorts are made out of before purchasing them. While cotton shorts are lightweight, they don’t dry quickly if wet. Meanwhile, polyester and spandex shorts are more likely to dry quickly but may sacrifice airflow.
  • Waistband: Different athletic shorts may have different types of waistbands. If you want yours to be adjustable, then drawstring shorts are the way to go. For ones that are simply stretchy and conform to your body, elastic waistbands will suffice.

Best with Pockets: Under Armour Women’s Play Up 3.0 Shorts

woman wearing black pair of athletic shorts with "Under Armour" on the waistband
Under Armour

These athletic shorts from Under Armour are made from a mixture of polyester and elastane, allowing them to dry quickly and wick away sweat. The soft and lightweight knit construction features an anti-pill and anti-odor design. They also have two side pockets and an exposed elastic waistband printed with the brand name.

Best with Pockets

Under Armour Women's Play Up 3.0 Shorts

These soft and lightweight athletic shorts feature an anti-pill and anti-odor design that dries quickly and wicks away sweat.

Best with Liner: Blevonh Women Yoga Running Shorts with Pockets

a pair of soft wine-colored athletic shorts with a drawstring and a liner

These athletic shorts feature an adjustable drawstring waistband, a hidden pocket, and an inner lining that won’t ride up and will prevent chafing. The hidden inner pocket is designed to hold your phone securely during your workout. Machine washable, these shorts are also available in 13 other colors.

Best with Liner

Blevonh Athletic Shorts with Pockets

These athletic shorts feature a hidden pocket to securely hold your phone, an adjustable drawstring waistband, and an inner lining that won't ride up.

Best Long: BALEAF Women’s 7-Inch Long Running Shorts with Liner Back Zipper Pocket

black pair of athletic shorts that come a little above the knee


These athletic shorts feature a 7-inch inseam that prevents rubbing and chafing. The loose-fit shorts allow unrestricted movement and added breathability. With a 3-inch thick elastic waistband, these shorts will control your stomach while exercising. They also feature one zipper pocket along the back of the waist to store essentials.

Best Long

BALEAF Women's 7-Inch Running Shorts with Liner

These loose-fit shorts allow unrestricted movement and added breathability while preventing rubbing and chafing.

Best Pack: Liberty Imports Pack of 5 Women’s Quick-Dry Training Shorts with Zipper Pockets

five of the same athletic short in different colors; a woman models the black and gray colors
Liberty Imports

This five-pack of athletic shorts is machine washable and features a 5-inch inseam. They’re made with an elastic waistband and internal drawstring and zippered mesh pockets. Made from a polyester blend, these shorts are lightweight, sweat-wicking, and allow for easy movement.

Best Pack

Liberty Imports Quick-Dry Training Shorts

With an elastic waistband and zippered mesh pockets, these shorts are lightweight, sweat-wicking, and allow for easy movement.

Best Plus Size: Champion Women’s Mesh Shorts

woman wearing green athletic shorts with elastic waistband

These athletic shorts are made from 100% breathable polyester mesh fabric. They are machine washable and feature a tag-free design to eliminate discomfort. With a 5-inch inseam and elastic waistband, these shorts are ready for any athletic activity. Choose from several color options.

Best Plus Size

Champion Women's Mesh Shorts

Made from 100% breathable polyester mesh fabric, these athletic shorts feature a 5-inch inseam and elastic waistband.

Ellie Miller Ellie Miller
Ellie Miller is a full-time copy editor and occasional writer for LifeSavvy’s reviews articles. With years of experience in substantive and copy editing, proofreading, and publishing, she has edited thousands of online articles, as well as memoirs, scientific essays, book chapters, and workplace training documents. She hopes you’ll find some new favorite products here on LifeSavvy like she has. Read Full Bio »
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