The 11 Best Running Shorts with Pockets of 2021, According to a Running Coach

Bring your essentials with you on the open road

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Best Running Shorts with Pockets

Verywell

Our Top Picks
Your new go-to shorts for both short and long-distance runs, the stretchy fabric allows for excellent range of motion.
The 2-in-1 pair features an internal compression short to reduce chafing and breathable shorts on the outside for extra coverage.
Affordable without skimping on features, the zippered pocket in the back is ideal for securely stashing on-the-run essentials.
Affordable and versatile, it features a quick-dry fabric that wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and cool as you log miles.
Ideal for distance runners, it features a waist pocket for your phone, while a back zippered pocket provides more storage.
Run with your phone but stay hands-free with this pick, complete with two large side pockets and a sweat-resistant waist pocket.
Perfect for warm weather runs, its breathable mesh panels and Nike’s Dri-FIT technology work to keep you dry and cool.
Designed for runners of all shapes and sizes, the high-rise waistband keeps the shorts in place, no matter how much you’re moving.
With a high-rise waistband and 10-inch inseam length, it'll keep you confident and comfy when you’re running.
Designed to prevent riding up or bunching, these compression shorts offer mobility and bounce-free storage.

An essential piece of running gear, running shorts can help boost your comfort and performance, and they’re also extremely practical. Many running shorts feature pockets in the front, back, and sides, giving you plenty of room to stash must-haves like your phone, keys, energy gels, and other running nutrition.

Not all shorts are created equal, so we’ve done the research and selected ones that are functional, while also excelling in the areas of comfort and style.

Here are the best running shorts with pockets that won't let you down as you log miles.

Best Overall for Women: Lululemon Fast and Free 6” Non-Reflective Shorts

Lululemon Fast and Free 6” Non-Reflective Shorts
Pros
  •  Stylish

  • Comfortable

  • Deep, drop-in pockets offer lots of storage

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Pricier than some other choices

Lightweight and comfortable, these Lululemon shorts will quickly become your go-to pair for both short and long-distance runs. The stretchy fabric allows for excellent range of motion while preventing the shorts from riding up or slipping down and reducing your risk of painful chafing. The material is thin so you’re not overheating on hot days, but still thick enough to provide plenty of coverage, even if you’re squatting and bending.

With deep, drop-in pockets on both sides, these shorts have plenty of room to stash your phone and items you may need to grab on the run. Five small waistband pockets are ideal for securing other essentials such as your money, keys, or credit cards. They’re available in sizes 0 to 14 and come in 6- or 10-inch lengths, so you can opt for more coverage if you want it.

Storage: Two side pockets and five waistband pockets | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low | Materials: 84% Nylon and 16% Lycra elastane

Best Overall for Men: Brooks Men’s Sherpa 2-in-1 Shorts

Pros
  • Excellent breathability and moisture-wicking

  • Good storage

  • Stylish

Cons
  • Pricier than some other choices

As the name implies, these Brooks Sherpa shorts are perfect for carrying plenty of essentials. The two side pockets can hold gels or other nutrition while the sweat-resistant zippered pocket in the back is ideal for storing your phone. The mesh liner also features another small security pocket for a key or credit card.

These shorts excel in the areas of comfort and performance, which are crucial when selecting running attire. The 2-in-1 functionality features a compression short on the inside, to reduce the risk of chafing, and breathable, moisture-wicking shorts on the outside for additional coverage. These versatile shorts are available in sizes small to extra-large and in several different color options.

Storage: Two side pockets, back zippered pocket, interior security pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry   | Materials: 100% polyester

Best Budget for Women: C9 Champion 3.5” Knit Premium Running Shorts

Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Stay securely in place

  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons
  • No pocket for large phone

  • White color is see-through

For a comfortable, affordable pair of shorts with storage space, you can’t go wrong with these lightweight ones from Champion. The zippered pocket in the back is ideal for securely stashing on-the-run essentials. The inner brief has wicking fabric that keeps you dry, and the stretchy fabric allows you to move with ease.

Your shorts will stay in place thanks to the wide, stretchy waistband with elastic drawstring.

Storage: Zippered pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: 90% Polyester, 10% Spandex

Best Budget for Men: BALEAF Men's Running Athletic Shorts with Zipper Pocket

Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Lots of color options

  • Plenty of storage space

Cons
  • White color is translucent

  • Phone doesn’t fit in zippered pocket

For affordable, high-quality men’s running shorts, look no further than this pair from Baleaf. Comfortable and versatile, they have plenty of storage space for your running essentials. With two deep side pockets and a large back zippered pocket, there’s enough room for your wallet, phone, keys, and more.

These lightweight shorts feature a quick-dry fabric that wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and cool. There’s also a built-in mesh brief to provide more breathability and support. Available in two dozen colors and in sizes small to 3XL, these budget-friendly shorts are a fantastic addition to any running wardrobe. 

Storage: Two side pockets and one back zip pocket  | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex

Best for Long Runs: Under Armour Women’s Qualifier Speedpocket Shorts

Pros
  • Fast-drying

  • Anti-odor technology

  • Water-resistant pocket for phone

Cons
  • Limited color options

Distance runners need high-performance running shorts that are not only comfortable over many miles but also have plenty of space to stash all the stuff that they need during long runs or distance races. These shorts from Under Armour feature an expandable, water-resistant waistband pocket that keeps your phone protected, with no bouncing, and a back zippered pocket that provides additional storage.

The durable, stretchy fabric allows for an excellent range of motion while delivering outstanding comfort and wicking capabilities. UA’s anti-odor technology also keeps them from getting smelly. 

Storage: Expandable waistband pocket and back zippered pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: 88% Polyester and 12% Elastane

Best for Storing Your Phone: Brooks Greenlight Essential Performance Shorts

Brooks Greenlight Essential Performance Shorts
Pros
  • Don’t ride up or chafe

  • Moisture-wicking, breathable fabric

  • Can hold large phones

Cons
  • No zippered pocket

  • Waist might be a bit high for petite runners

  • Limited color options

If you always like to run with your phone but prefer to do it hands-free, these shorts from Brooks may be the pair for you. The two side drop-in pockets can comfortably hold even a large phone and the sweat-resistant waistband pocket provides another storage option for small items.

These lightweight shorts will also keep you dry and cool, thanks to the moisture-wicking fabric and mesh side panels. The super-smooth polyester/Spandex fabric allows for excellent range of motion, while the flatlock seams prevent chafing and irritation from rubbing.

Storage: Two side pockets, one waistband pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: Polyester and Spandex

Best Lightweight: Nike Women's Tempo Running Shorts

Nike tempo running shorts
Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Comfortable for running

Cons
  • Features only one small pocket

Need a comfy, lightweight pair of shorts that’s ideal for warm weather runs? These Nike Dri-FIT Tempo running shorts may be exactly what you’re looking for. With a 3-inch inseam, curved hem, elastic waist, and a fully-lined mesh brief, they feature the coverage, comfort, and flexibility you need.

The breathable mesh side panels and Nike’s signature Dri-FIT moisture-wicking technology help keep you dry and cool. The interior pocket is just the right size to securely stash a key and debit or credit card. These budget-friendly shorts come in women’s sizes 0 to 18 and in several color options, so you may want to stock up. 

Storage: Interior pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: Polyester

Best Plus Size: Athleta Ultimate Stash 9” Short

Athleta Ultimate Stash 9” Short
Pros
  • Lots of size options

  • Plenty of storage space

  • UPF 50+ sun protection

Cons
  • Limited color options

Available in a wide range of sizes (from 0 to 26W), these high-performance Athleta shorts are extremely comfortable for runners of all shapes and sizes. Made of a soft, recycled Nylon and Lycra combination material, they’re breathable and moisture-wicking, so they’re an ideal choice for warm weather running.

With pockets on both sides and another in the back waistband, there’s plenty of room to stash your keys, tissues, money, or other items you might need on a run. The comfy high-rise waistband helps the shorts stay in place, no matter how much you’re moving.

Storage: Two side pockets and one in the back waistband | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: Recycled Nylon and Lycra

Best Longer Shorts: Lululemon Invigorate High-Rise Shorts

Lululemon Invigorate High-Rise Shorts
Pros
  • Excellent coverage

  • Plenty of storage

  • Fast-drying and moisture-wicking

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Pricier than some other choices

If you worry about mid-run peek-a-boo incidents with too-tiny shorts, this pair from Lululemon has got you covered. With a high-rise waistband and 10-inch inseam length, they’ll keep you confident and comfortable, whether you’re running, squatting, or stretching.

They’re made from a fast-drying, four-way stretch fabric that moves with you and wicks away moisture, keeping you dry and cool. The two side drop-in pockets and a hidden waistband pocket provide plenty of room to securely stash your phone and other items.

Storage: Two side drop-in pockets and a hidden waistband pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low | Materials: 77% Nylon, 23% Lycra elastane

Best Compression: Baleaf Women's High Waist Running Shorts

Pros
  • Inexpensive

  • Excellent coverage

  • Lots of color options

Cons
  • Runs small

  • High-rise waistband may roll down on petite women

If you’re frustrated with shorts that ride up or bunch while you’re running, these compression shorts from Baleaf are the perfect solution. The lightweight, stretchy fabric gives you excellent mobility and helps prevent mid-run wardrobe malfunctions. With two roomy side pockets, there’s plenty of space for your phone and other essentials, and the compression keeps them in place with no bouncing.

The wide, comfortable, high-rise waistband allows for maximum coverage, even when you’re stretching or bending. The waistband also has an internal pocket to stash small essentials such as cash and sports gels. These shorts are available in women’s sizes extra-small to 3XL and in 5-inch or 8-inch inseam options.  

Storage: Two side pockets and hidden waistband pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: Polyester and Spandex

Best No-Slip: Athleta Run With It 3.5” Shorts

Athleta Run With It 3.5” Shorts
Pros
  • Excellent choice for hot weather running

  • Don’t ride up or fall down

  • Wide range of sizes

Cons
  • Just one pocket

  • Limited color options

These shorts from Athleta will keep you running confidently and comfortably, no matter how far you’re going. With a wide, stretchy waistband and an adjustable drawcord, these shorts stay put, so you don’t have to worry about mid-run adjustments.

The shorts’ lightweight feel, targeted ventilation, and quick-drying fabric will keep you cool and comfortable. The back zippered pocket is ideal for securely stashing your cash, credit cards, and other items. They come in a wide range of sizes, from 0 to 26W.     

Storage: Back zippered pocket | Care: Machine wash, tumble dry | Materials: Recycled Polyester and Spandex

Final Verdict

For a comfortable, high-performance, and versatile pair of shorts that have plenty of storage space, Lululemon’s Fast and Free Shorts are an excellent pick for women. They’re lightweight and breathable, but still provide the coverage and support you need on a run.

Men can get a similar quality pair with the Brooks 2-in-1 Sherpa Shorts. They have lots of room for your phone and other essentials and will keep you cool and comfortable no matter how far you’re running.

What to Look for When Buying Running Shorts With Pockets

Storage:

Running shorts offer a wide range of places to stash your stuff, including side pockets, hidden front pockets, and back zippered pockets. If you’re planning to run with a large phone, compression shorts with side pockets are your best bet, since there should be enough room and there’s little risk of bouncing. For carrying valuables such as keys, cash, or credit cards, look for pockets that are secured with a zipper or other fastener.  

Material:

For maximum comfort and performance, opt for shorts that are made from synthetic materials, such as Nylon, Lycra, polyester, or Spandex. They’ll offer the best range of motion, as well as superior breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities. Avoid shorts made of cotton because they’re not quick-drying and can lead to painful rubbing and chafing.

Style:

Some running shorts with pockets are skin-tight, while others feature a looser fit. Shorts with a looser fit often have a built-in brief within the shorts for additional coverage and support. Both styles often come in different lengths, from 3 to 10 inches, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

Should Running Shorts be Tight or Loose?

Whether your running shorts are tight or loose is really a matter of personal preference, because what works for one runner may not work for another. Some runners prefer a looser fit because they don’t like constricting clothes or they find they’re much cooler and more breathable for hot weather running.

On the other hand, some runners prefer compression shorts for better muscle support. Wearing shorts that have loose fabric also increases your risk of chafing, so running in tight-fitting shorts may help prevent painful rubbing and irritation.

Why Trust Verywell Fit? 

As an avid runner, running coach, certified personal trainer, and fitness writer, Christine Luff has researched and tested lots of running gear and attire. She knows that the right pair of running shorts can make the difference between a mediocre run and a fantastic one.

Was this page helpful?