Why Do Runners Wear Short Shorts

We have all seen runners with short running shorts, and we have our own opinion on why they are so short. Sometimes these shorts don’t leave much to the imagination. Regardless of your opinion, we will examine why runners wear short shorts. Shorts are an essential part of the clothes that runners wear running. Shorts are a garment worn over the pelvic area, circling the waist and splitting to cover the upper part of the legs, sometimes extending down to the knees but not covering the entire length of the leg.

Why Do Runners Wear Short Shorts?

  1. The main reasons that runners wear short shorts are

    • To prevent Chaffing
    • Keep Cooler
    • Show off their legs
    • Freedom of movement
    • Lighter
  2. I will look at each of these in more detail below.


Prevent Chafing

This is probably the main reason that runners wear short shorts. The more material in the shorts, the more friction will occur. This will be amplified by various conditions such as cadence, stride length, temperature, and the total amount of time we spend running. Due to these factors, the less cloth we wear in our shorts, the better, resulting in both men and women wearing short shorts.

Keep Cooler

Another great reason to wear short shorts is to keep the air circulating. The more clothes we wear, the hotter we will become while exercising. We all have been running when we are either too hot to too cold. In temperatures above 80F or 27C, you will be hot when out running (about 68f and 20C for me), and the longer time and the faster we run will make it even hotter. Wear short shorts with slit side seams that will circulate the most air. Even in freezing weather, you still see people running in short shorts because our legs always remain hot.

Show Off Their Legs

Some runners like to show off their legs. Considering the time and effort put into training, especially for marathon runners, I believe they are entitled to show off their toned legs. Some runners like to wear bright-colored short shorts and running vests with matching runners to be seen.

Freedom Of Leg Movement

Freedom of leg movement is essential for runners, as all runners want to have the best range of motion possible while running.


Short shorts are lighter in weight when wearing them, so this should also help our speed. On the other hand, no runner doing a marathon wants to run around for 26 miles carrying unnecessary weight by wearing long shorts.

How Short Should Short Shorts Be?

The first thing we need to know before we can decide which shorts we should wear is how to measure them in the first place.

When measuring shorts, we measure from the base of the crotch of the running shorts to the end of the fabric in the inner thigh area. Most of these shorts will have a pocket.

There are three different lengths of shorts that runners wear when running.


Short-length shorts measure 3 inches or less in length. It offers the greatest range of motion as well as the best breathability. 3-inch shorts are popular for professional runners for both men and women. However, these shorts can be a bit too short for men, leaving little to the imagination and barely protecting their modesty.

runners wear short shorts


Medium-length shorts measure around 4-6 inches. This is the most popular length for recreational runners because it offers a bigger range of motion and breathability, and your modesty is covered simultaneously.


Long-length running shorts measure 7 inches or more. It offers the least motion range but the most protection against cold and shrubs when running. For women, we recommend getting compression shorts if you want long-length shorts. The problem with long shorts is that you carry extra weight for no reason.

Final Thoughts

I hope you now understand why runners wear short shorts. Some people wear them for the following reasons

    • fashion statement
    • less weight
    • prevent chafing
    • keep them cooler
    • better freedom of movement

You should also realize that shorts come in different lengths for runners to choose from, short, medium, or long.

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