Best Running Shorts With Built-In Compression

Among the worst mistakes, a novice runner can do is skipping the search for top-quality running shorts. Nope, using your favorite gym apparel just won’t do! We bet you don’t want your run to be spoiled by chaffing, itchiness, or surprise wedgies. 

To save you from all these uncomfy (and awkward) situations, we’ve rounded up the best running shorts with built-in compression. 

Like regular running shorts, these are built for mileage and boasting lightweight, moisture-wicking materials. But as a bonus, its liners help avoid pain and heat from the rubbing of your thighs. Its compression technology also facilitates blood flow during exercise, thereby boosting muscle recovery too.

Read on to know more about our top picks, which are categorized according to the gender it’s designed for. You’d notice that shorts for men got more length than those for women, and their styles also vary to match the user’s femininity or masculinity.

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    Women’s Top 3 Best Compression Running Shorts

    Under Armour Women's Speedpocket 2-in-1 Shorts

    We’d hate to see you with an ice pack between your chaffed red thighs after a run, that’s why our top pick is specifically designed to avoid all that unnecessary pain. The secret is with Under Armour Women’s Speedpocket 2-in-1 Short’s ergonomic flatlock. This type of stitching creates a thinner, almost flat seam to reduce the chances of chafing. It also gives this gear’s polyester fabric better stretching properties.

    These shorts come in five color options, with sizes from extra small (25.5” waist) to 3XL (53” waist). 

    Pros

    • Water-resistant and bounce-free pockets so that your carried belongings won’t mess with your focus as your run
    • 4-way stretch construction supports multidirectional movements without the shorts running up your thighs
    • Its fabric is treated to block out odor-causing microbes, so you won’t smell bad even after miles worth of sweat
    • Has reflective details for added protection when you run on low-light terrains
    • Made of fast-drying polyester material with dependable sweat-wicking properties

    Cons

    • There are customers who found it too short for their liking. One suggested going for a size larger than usual, then just tighten the waistband for it to fit.

    Want proof of how effective these shorts are in expelling sweat? Just take it from water sports athletes who hailed the Under Armour Speedpocket as their go-to swimsuit bottom! One of the satisfied buyers shared that these shorts allowed her to climb, row, swim, and even pee conveniently and discreetly. It’s a must-have companion for every (and any) active woman!

    Baleaf Women's Compression Running Shorts

    Among the things we hate about poorly-built running shorts is how it often exposes more than it should. Cheap see-through material. Irritating ride-ups. This is why the next BWH-approved apparel is equipped with anti-exposure properties so you can say bye-bye to wardrobe malfunctions. The Baleaf Women’s Compression Running Shorts has a black tight-fit inner layer with a longer length for extra coverage. Meanwhile, its outer layer is made of a lightweight but opaque nylon-spandex fabric.

    You get to choose from four color variants (grey, navy blue, light blue, and orange), and sizes ranging from extra small (24” waist) to 3XL (43” waist)

    Pros

    • Mid-rise, wide elastic waistband that is adjustable to any body type
    • Breathable, sweat-wicking fabric to keep you dry and comfortable
    • Soft but tight-fitting inner compression layer that doesn’t ride up
    • The lightweight outer layer features a four-way stretch property that matches your movement
    • Optimum length and opacity to reduce skin exposure near your private area

    Cons

    • Some customers wished its rear zipper pocket would be large enough to easily fit their phones

    Baleaf prioritized users’ comfort and security with their compression running shorts. Beyond running, this activewear is also great for regular workouts, yoga, and swimming.

    Hometa Women 2-in-1 Sports Shorts

    Beyond functionality, you could also be looking for activewear that fits your style. If the color options of our first two recommendations seem too limiting, feast your eyes on Hometa’s collection of 17 sports shorts! From basic plains to fancy animal prints, you’d surely find one that fits your personality. 

    Similar to the Under Armour and Baleaf shorts, it has a dependable 2-layer design for a snug fit. Its sizing ranges from extra small (25.2” waist) to large (42.5” waist).

    Pros

    • Its elastic waistband is complemented with a drawstring to better adjust its fitting
    • Built with breathable and lightweight acrylic fabric
    • Has two open side pockets for your small essentials
    • Quickly wicks away sweat for maximum comfort even on long runs
    • Its 2-layer design combines the freedom of movement and security as you run, twist, or bend

    Cons

    • Its pockets are not designed to be bounce-free or water-resistant, better not place any fragile object in there

     

    Hometa specifically designed their running shorts to look feminine and sexy with their side split hem. The brand markets it as multipurpose gear, recommending it to any woman passionate about running, yoga, gym, cycling, golf, and other exercises.

    Men’s Top 3 Best Compression Running Shorts

    Born Tough Air Pro™ 7" Liner Shorts

    Tired of wearing a waist bag when you run? Our top pick for men may seem like your regular gym shorts at first, but it has TONS of room for your essentials. Keep your phone from bouncing around with its fitted pocket on the inner compression, then secure your keys from falling within the two zipper pockets on its outer fabric. That’s plenty of room already, but this activewear even has a waist loop where you can hang your towel!

     

    These shorts are available in the colors Military Green, Black, and Gray, and can fit sizes small (29” waist) to extra large (36” waist)

    Pros

    • Built with a mix of polyester, spandex, and nylon which are all known for sweat-wicking properties
    • Supports lateral and vertical stretchability for optimum comfort while in motion
    • 3 pockets and a waist loop allows you to carry multiple items with you while exercising
    • Born tough stands behind their product’s quality and offers a one-year warranty for any manufacturing defect
    • Elastic plus drawstring combo to adjust the waistband snugly to your body 

    Cons

    • One customer wished it would be modified to fit men with more defined glutes, and warns that these shorts tend to sit low on the back so it may show the top of your bum

    We’re amazed by how Born Tough Air Pro™ 7″ Liner Shorts was able to fit all these features in such a minimalist-looking apparel. Unlike the other two compression shorts on our list, its inner layer is completely hidden beneath the loose outer fabric. Buyers loved its balance of style and functionality, with many considering this as their favorite shorts for yoga, gym training, running, and other workouts.

    Under Armour Men's Launch Stretch Woven 2-in-1 Shorts

    For those who hate that moist, icky feeling during and after runs, you’d like how Under Armour upgraded the traditional built of 2-in-1 shorts. It has the same sweat-wicking and fast-drying fabric properties. But as a plus, its outer layer has mesh side panels to better facilitate ventilation. It even boasts of an “anti-odor technology” that keeps you smelling fresh even after a couple of miles.

    Under Armour gave us four color options (all black, black + orange combo, grey + black combo, and all orange), with sizes ranging from extra small (26.5” waist) to 5XL (59” waist).

    Pros

    • Lightweight and stretch-woven polyester-elastane mix which allows unrestricted movement
    • High breathability and comfort with its mesh side panels, anti-odor, and fast-drying features
    • Comes with two open side pockets for your small items on the outside and a power mesh phone pocket on its compression layer
    • Designed with reflective accents to help you stay visible even on low-light jogs
    • Elastic band and drawcord combo to better adjust the shorts to your waist

    Cons

    • Some customers suggested improving its pockets – make the inner phone pocket fit tighter and add a zipper to the outer pockets

    These shorts fall on a more expensive price point, but the fabric quality, comfort, and protection you get make it worth every penny. One buyer shared that while all his other running shorts and boxers got holes, his Under Armour Men’s Launch Stretch Woven 2-in-1 Shorts would seem to last for years.

    Lixada Men's 2-in-1 Running Shorts

    Do you sweat a lot? Do you have really sensitive, chafe-prone skin? The Lixada Men’s 2-in-1 Running Shorts has been a holy grail for other men who struggle with the same concerns as you! Its polyester compression has a mesh texture that’s gentle on your skin, but tough enough to prevent irritation from rubbing. It also has air vents on the outer layer that will help keep you cool throughout your runs.

    Featuring a wide collection, Lixada has 10 color variants for this model that ranges from small (24.4” waist) to 2XL (43.3” waist).

    Pros

    • Built to last with double reinforced stitching
    • Dries and wicks moisture quickly to keep you cool and dry, thanks to its mesh liner and air vents
    • Customizable fit with its elastic waistband and internal drawstring
    • Secure your small essentials with its zippered back pocket and two open front pockets
    • Features a reflective brand logo for safety when you run at night

    Cons

    • Some customers got confused about its sizing since it’s in EU size, Lixada recommends ordering one size up

     

    With its unisex style, Lixada’s men’s running shorts are also favored by women who dislike the skimpy length of those marketed towards them. This activewear can be used on multiple types of exercises, and even when camping or traveling.

    Is It Ok To Run In Compression Shorts?​

    Absolutely. And if you read through these amazing benefits, you’d probably be convinced not to wear any other type of running shorts:

    • Reduces muscle fatigue, thus boosting athletic performance
    • It Helps prevents strain and promotes healing from similar injuries
    • Protects you from muscle soreness
    • Seemingly effortless workouts with lower perceived exertion
    • Proven to improve jumping abilities and overall power
    • Facilitates muscle oxygenation
    • Dependable groin support

    Why are built-ins better than straight compression shorts?

    Straight or stand-alone compression shorts may feel too awkward to be worn outside. They tend to hug your curves tightly and can also ride up your thighs, thereby exposing too much. It also has limited room for built-in pockets, so you’d have to wear a waist bag when exercising.

    This makes 2-in-1 running shorts the superior option. The outer layer gives added coverage and ample room for extra pockets. Our top pick for men even has a loop where you can hang your towel! Entries in this buying guide vary in length in style to cater to your personal preference.

    Why are built-ins better than straight compression shorts?

    As you consider these options, make sure that you know your exact size. If you pick the wrong one, your shorts may feel too loose to protect you or too tight that it already restricts blood flow. Double-check its length and see if it matches your height. 

    Our recommended running shorts are all lightweight, breathable, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking. But if you want the best of the best, go for the Under Armour Women’s Speedpocket 2-in-1 Shorts or the Born Tough Air Pro™ 7″ Liner Shorts.