Whether you’re training, trail running, jogging or even competing in a marathon or triathlon, running is fun – it motivates you to beat your personal best and it’s good for your health. ,However, it can also be strenuous, especially while running in hot weather. This leads us to the topic of clothing. Functional running shorts or running tights are specially designed for the activity. Such shorts are super comfortable, functional and are brimming with great technical features. But what exactly should you consider when buying running shorts? Can you wear your old gym shorts for a short run? Which shorts are best suited for which purpose? Well, you can find the answers to all these questions in this buyer’s guide for running shorts!
No need to wear your old gym shorts as modern running shorts have so much more to offer
As already mentioned, high-quality running shorts and tights are brimming with so many great features. They’re super functional, offer excellent moisture management properties and can keep you comfortable in strenuous moments.
Before getting into their features, let’s first take a look at what types of running shorts are out there. In general, there are two types of running shorts: tights, which are form-fitting, and slightly looser cut models. A good pair of running shorts, regardless of their fit, should be super breathable. You’re bound to sweat whilst running, which is why your shorts should have breathable fabrics that absorb sweat and wick it away to the outside where it can evaporate, keeping you pleasantly dry. At the same time, breathable fabrics also prevent heat from building up between your clothing and your skin.
Of course, people usually wear running shorts in summer, but if the weather takes a turn for the worse, you’ll need to find a good pair of weatherproof shorts. You can look for special technical fabrics, such as Gore Windstopper, as they provide excellent protection against the wind. If the fabric is also water-repellent, then any rain will be kept at bay. In winter, you could also use these shorts as an insulating layer underneath thick, tightly woven running trousers for extra warmth.
Other features, materials and comfort
Form-fitting running shorts and tights have a few extra tricks up their sleeves. For example, their tight fit improves their breathability and moisture-wicking properties. Since the fabric lies directly against your skin, it’s able to immediately absorb your sweat. However, the greatest advantage of tight shorts includes their compressibility. This effect stimulates blood circulation and it can relax your muscles. As a result, it’ll improve your performance and support regeneration. In addition, it’ll prevent muscle vibrations. These vibrations can cause fine tears in your muscle tissue which, in turn, can cause muscle soreness the next day.
If you’re planning on running in low light conditions, then your shorts or tights should have reflective elements. This will tremendously increase visibility and safety. This, along with funky, bright colours will ensure you’re seen from afar. Another important feature that I couldn’t do without is zipped pockets. You might be surprised to find out that not all running shorts have pockets to offer space for your keys or phone. But, that’s just a matter of preference.
Now, let’s take a look at the fabric. Running shorts and tights are usually made from high-performance polyester. Plus, since maximum freedom of movement is so important when running, the fabrics also include elastane. This makes the fabric stretchy and prevents it from restricting your movements. Technical cuts, such as the Formotion cut, are built to conform to your every movement.
In addition, your tights or shorts should fit you perfectly and shouldn’t slip whilst moving around. It should almost feel like you don’t have anything on while wearing comfortable, form-fitting shorts. Another great feature includes flatlock seams which prevent chafing. If you’ve had to deal with poorly finished seams like me, then you know how unpleasant and painful they can become after a while.
Tight or loose? Short or long?
Having so many choices isn’t always a bad thing. If you already know what you like, then choosing new shorts or tights will be a breeze.
Tight running shorts are breathable, moisture-wicking, compressive, lightweight and offer maximum freedom of movement. However, if you don’t like body-hugging fits, then you can opt for looser models. They’re just as functional, but they won’t have all of the advantages of the narrower models. As for the length, that’ll depend on your personal preference. Typically, you’ll want to wear shorts in hotter temperatures and tights in cooler temperatures.
We’ve now covered all the important aspects of running shorts and tights. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you in your decision. Whether you opt for a short or long, tight or loose model, what matters is that running shorts and tights can enhance your performance. I wish you a good run with your new super comfortable shorts!