Friday, 29 March 2013

Types of running shorts

Ron Hill shorts have proved brilliant
This is me (take my word for it) wearing my trusty Ron Hill running shorts which I bought several years ago and they're still going strong.  These are a brilliant pair of shorts as they have:

  • proved very durable
  • a small zipped pocket at the back, ideal for a bunch of keys or a mobile phone, energy gel etc.
  • good "climate control" where I never feel hot wearing them
  • a light "brief" liner and accordingly designed for men
  • been used for many races, been washed umpteen times and have run thousands of miles with very little signs of wear
And when I run, it's like you wouldn't know they are there - no chaffing or anything like that.  The only time I have ever suffered was in a marathon while it rained throughout and I had chaffing at the top of my legs.  But those conditions were exceptional and I wouldn't blame the shorts in any way.

So while these are my favourites, what are the alternatives?

Ron Hill Vision


These are probably about the closest to mine that are currently on the market.  Reviews are positive and these are pretty no nonsense shorts.  Like mine they have a small zipped pocket at the back.  They are made from a breathable material which is water repellent.  The liner is made from bamboo fibres but if this is new to you, do go ahead and try it as I think bamboo is proving a brilliant ecological material.  Well done to Ron Hill on these.  Expect to pay about £25 which in some ways might seem a lot but by the time you have run a few thousand trouble free miles in them, you'll be saying they're worth every penny.

Suitable for: drivers of Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla cars, Steady Eddies.

Ron Hill Advance Contour

As an alternative, you could try these cycle style shorts which are popular with some runners, I've certainly seen quite a few people, including some really accomplished runners, wearing these.  Made from a PowerLite fabric, this is a close fitting pair of shorts.  They include some mesh inserts, reflective decals and a key pocket on the rear.  These are probably good in the winter in providing some warmth and almost certainly suited to slim lean figures.  Naturally if that isn't you, you're more than welcome to go ahead and wear them but, well.... just think it through.  These aren't cycle shorts though and don't try to pretend they are or try and think they'll do for both.  They won't and if you try to use these as a pair of long distance cycle shorts and get chaffed etc - you only have yourself to blame!

These shorts also provide more coverage and therefore would be good for class-style work-outs in gyms or fitness clubs.  Versions for women are also available and expect to pay around £25 for these.

Suitable for: drivers of modest little soft top cars who need to keep warm while keeping up appearances; wannabe cyclists.

Gore classic baggy AW12 running shorts

fyVMtP8A.jpg These are a little different and well liked by seasoned runners.  Gore itself is a well respected brand and known for quality breathable fabrics applied to an increasing range of outdoor activities.  These particular shorts cost typically around £30 and therefore are a cut above the average.  

This particular pair has side pockets which is useful for energy gels, sunblock sachets etc and also has a zipped pocket at the back for your front door or car key.  These also have a sewn in liner or "inner pants" as Gore say, also referring to "fixed inner tights".  Having reviewed the reviews, the majority of people seem to like these and comment on their usefulness in normal wear because of their relaxed, slightly baggy fit.  One reviewer has suffered chaffing in long desert running conditions but this seems to be the exception.

Suitable for: drivers of small estate cars who enjoy an air of quality such as BMW and who want something good but versatile for the weekday and the weekend.  These shorts may also disguise the full sized spare tyre a little more than some.....

Gore running wear Air GT AS Shorts AW12

H-Gore-TGAIRW9900-Front.jpg I thought these were worth including in this guide as something a "little different" and out of the ordinary.  If you're a modest kind of short wearer, or fancy something with a little extra protection these could be for you.  Made from the same high quality fabrics in common with other Gore garments these are almost certainly going to serve you well.  They appear to have the advantage of having all the right sporty qualities but also have some day-to-day potential.  They're a little more expensive at around £60 to £80 and do have the advantage of an additional stow pocket on the inside.

Suitable for: drivers of big 4x4 who are likely to run and likely to use the extra drive for actually driving off road, unlike those who drive and pose in their black Range Rovers.

Nike Country 2 inch split leg

Finally these shorts from Nike are pretty cool and pretty good.  First of all, I personally would have avoided Nike in recent years but now they seem to have got their act together as far as ethics are concerned, so that's positive.  

These shorts are for runners wanting maximum flexibility and movement i.e not being restricted in any way.  I see quite a few fast runners wearing shorts like these at races and I must admit they do look good on lean athletic bodies.  These exact shorts are new for the 2013 season and therefore no reviews to draw on but I think they are highly likely to be good.  Price is likely to be around £30, less any discounts you might be able to spot.  

For support and modesty there is a built in brief liner as you'd expect and they also have a rear pocket which is useful.  The fabric is Dri-FIT

to keep you comfortable as it efficiently wicks away any moisture.  These shorts would be great for use in the summer including track use.

Suitable for: drivers of lovely carefree cars like the Mazda MX5 and other soft top cars that represent proper sporty cars that are still sensibly priced and where they can enjoy a good bit of drafty air.


  1. Wow, I never knew there are these many options for running shorts! I've been fortunate that I haven't had chaffing issues. Not sure why?

    I love the idea of using bamboo as an ecologically friendly material! Will have to try the Ron Hill Vision shorts.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Many thanks Thomas for your comment.

    Bamboo can be made into a surprisingly soft material - good luck in trying it out. I think it's well worth it. Chaffing can be caused through many things, such as ill-fitting garments or if you get wet. You've done well!

    Also, my apologies if you had difficulties in posting your comment; I saw you had made the identical comment twice so I hope you didn't mind me removing it.

    Thanks again. Kind regards,


  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the wonderful post, your blog is also good with lots informative stuff about menswear clothing. I have been stored your URL for the future references.

    Shop Mens Underwear & T-shirt Online

  4. I am searching for workout or running shorts for men. Which is designed for performance and comfort,styles and sizes that will help my bro leave the other guys behind.and i found it on New balance India online athletic apparel shop.