Off The Rack: The Best Running Shorts Under $30

How can I get comfort, fit and style without breaking the bank?

How can I get comfort, fit and style without breaking the bank?

Written by: Cielestia Calbay

Shopping for running apparel can be just as daunting as shopping for street clothes – how can I get comfort, fit and style without breaking the bank? With more and more brands jumping on the fashion bandwagon, it seems even the simplest running shorts can send you over budget.

So how do you find a good pair of these essentials without offending your wallet? We rounded up our picks for the best running shorts under $30, and also asked Kristin Jones, merchandise manager for adidas Running, and Tracy Byrnes, senior manager of innovation and product information for Athleta, for tips on finding the perfect pair and their predictions for the next running short trend.


Choose soft, almost silk-like fabrics with fine breathable fibers to absorb and evaporate moisture from the skin. “When trying on running shorts, make sure the fit of the liner isn’t too loose or too snug.  Move around in the fitting room, paying extra attention to the fit and feel of the lining – it should stay put without riding up,” said Byrnes. “Anything that annoys you while trying the shorts on will only be amplified when you are actually running!” Jones recommends staying away from cotton and nylon. “Nylon is commonly used for windbreakers and tends to be very hot, which will cause you to sweat and leave more moisture inside the garment than out, which can cause chaffing. Cotton is a non-wicking fabric which will retain moisture and contribute to blisters or chaffing.”

Are you a split leg or v-notch?

The two refer to the way the outside seam on the leg is constructed. The v-notch, which is the most common type of shorts sold, is a sewn seam running the length of the leg to form an upside down “v.” Split shorts are popular among runners for its flexibility. It’s created by overlapping the front panel over the back.


Byrnes: “We are seeing more fabric combinations in popular running shorts, like knits mixed with wovens. Two different fabrics mixed together add extra style to your running wardrobe staples.”

Jones: “More fashion fabrics being incorporated into performance running apparel; brighter colors for men and women; and anti-order fabrics.”