The Best Running Shorts With Pockets, According to a Running Coach

The Lululemon Fast and Free running shorts are good for short or long runs

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Best Running Shorts with Pockets

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

An essential piece of running gear, running shorts keep you comfortable and boost your performance, and they’re extremely practical. Most running shorts feature pockets in the front, back, and sides, to stash essentials like your phone, keys, energy gels, and snacks. Some shorts have special features like reflective stripes or waterproof pockets.

Reviewed & Approved

The Lululemon Fast and Free running shorts offer plenty of pockets and three length options to make them our top overall selection. The C9 Champion 3.5" Knit shorts are a budget-friendly option that don't skimp on features.

It's important to find shorts that fit well so they don't ride up, chafe or bunch and carefully consider what you plan to carry along on your runs so you know what types of pockets to look for. We’ve reviewed and selected shorts with pockets for this roundup based on the number and size of pockets, fit and style, and the material they're made of.

Here are the best running shorts with pockets on the market.

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

4.6
Lululemon Fast and Free 6” Non-Reflective Shorts

Courtesy of Lululemon

Pros
  •  Stylish

  • Comfortable

  • Deep, drop-in pockets offer lots of storage

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Pricier than some other choices

These Lululemon shorts are our best overall pick and will quickly become your go-to pair for both short and long-distance runs. The lightweight, stretchy fabric allows for excellent range of motion and comfort 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 it's 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-, 8- 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

Brooks Men’s Sherpa 2-in-1 Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

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 running essentials, 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 Longer Shorts: Lululemon Invigorate High-Rise Shorts

Lululemon Invigorate High-Rise Shorts

Courtesy of Lululemon

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

C9 Champion 3.5” Knit Premium Running Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

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

BALEAF Men's Running Athletic Shorts with Zipper Pocket

Courtesy of Amazon

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 extra-extra-extra-large, 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

Under Armour Women’s Qualifier Speedpocket Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

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 offers 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

Courtesy of Nordstrom

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 an 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

Courtesy of Nike 

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

Courtesy of Athleta

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 26), 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 Compression: Baleaf Women's High Waist Running Shorts

Baleaf Women's High Waist Running Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

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 extra-extra-extra-large 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

Courtesy of Athleta

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 26.     

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 in 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should you wear under running shorts?

    What you wear under your running shorts is really a matter of personal preference, because what works for one runner may not work for another. Some runners prefer looser fit briefs because they don’t like constricting clothes or they find they’re cooler and more breathable for hot weather running. And some shorts have built-in briefs, so you don't need any additional undergarments.

  • How do you prevent chafing from running shorts?

    Tight-fitting running shorts can help you avoid chafing. You can also use a chafing cream. You rub this product (which is similar to deodorant) around any area on your legs prone to chafing, such as where the running shorts rub against your leg. The cream provides a protective barrier from friction caused by running.

  • Can running shorts impact performance?

    Running shorts can impact performance. 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.

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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