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Running Bottoms

Types of Running Bottoms

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Active Shorts

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Running Skirts

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Performance Pants and Tights

Top Picks

How we choose: The best running bottoms highlighted here were selected based on 52 reviews of 43 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Top Active Short

Showers Pass Gravel 10" Shorts

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The gravel shorts are made for mountain biking and double as a good pair of hiking shorts. Some cycling-related features and adjustments make these a good choice for biking. The shorts have no padding, so I liked these better with a padded undershort for longer and rougher rides. For hiking and cycling, these shorts are a winner.

Reasons to Buy

  • Cycling-related features
  • Comfortable
  • Versatile - good for hiking too

Reasons to Avoid

  • If you like bike shorts with cushioning, you will need a padded undershort

BASIC INFORMATION The gravel shorts are made for mountain biking. They are made from a 95% nylon/5% spandex fabric that has a nice bit of stretchiness that cyclists will appreciate. They have two big front pockets and one smaller, rear pocket, all with mesh liner material that helps with ventilation. The rear pocket is actually a dual pocket - it’s an open pocket, but within that, there’s a section that’s secured by a zipper.    The shorts have a number of design elements that make them particularly good for their mountain-biking purpose.

Read more: Showers Pass Gravel 10" Shorts review (1)

Top Performance Pant/Tight

Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Fjällräven Abisko Trekking Tights are the perfect solution for comfortable and durable trekking pants as well as a thermal baselayer, all wrapped up into one. They feature functional pockets and robust construction, providing so much utility that one may find that no other pants are ever needed.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durability
  • Comfort
  • All-around utility
  • Good pocket design

Reasons to Avoid

  • Insufficient waist drawcord to prevent slouching
  • Can get a bit smelly after prolonged use

Specifications: Design: Reinforced Knees/Rear, gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and flat-lock seams Knees/Rear Material: 62% polyamide, 16% aramid, 12% elastane, 10% polyester; Stretch material: 82% polyamide, 18% elastane Pockets: 3 Weight: 265 g in size small (my sample, size small, weighs 9.7 oz/276 g) Conditions of Test Period: When I say that I lived in these tights for four months, I am not exaggerating much. These were the only pair of pants that I brought during a thru-hike of Te Araroa, New Zealand’s long pathway.

Read more: Fjallraven Abisko Trekking Tights review (1)

Active Short

Patagonia Baggies Shorts 5"

user rating: 5 of 5 (5 reviews)

Patagonia's Baggies are my go-to, do it all shorts. They are lightweight, breathable, packable, abrasion-resistant, water-resistant, quick drying nylon shorts. The DWR treated Baggies sport a 5" inseam, two quick drain pockets with mesh in the bottom, and a stretchy elastic waistband with tie. I hike, kayak, wakeboard, play tennis, jog, work out and do just about everything in these shorts! If I had only one pair of shorts, these would be the ones. Patagonia has been making these for years and are made for babies on up to men's and women's.

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable (abrasion-resistant)
  • Lightweight (4.8 oz)
  • Quick draining pockets
  • DWR treated (water-resistant)
  • Nice length (5")
  • Available in a variety of colors and patterns
  • Come with a lifetime warranty
  • Flattering fit

Reasons to Avoid

  • No zippered pocket
  • Pricey (but worth it)

My Patagonia Baggies have been through it all. I love these shorts! I would literally wear them every day if I could. I bought them primarily for hiking because I had heard so many great things about them. They are perfect for hiking because they have pockets (but they are not big baggy cargo pockets), they resist abrasion and water, they are breathable and comfortable, and they do not chafe. Nowadays, ladies' shorts tend to be rather short (3" inseam), but the 5" inseam in these is the perfect length for me.

Read more: Patagonia Baggies Shorts 5" reviews (5)

Active Short

Patagonia Strider Pro Short

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

Light but protective short that gets out of the way, yet lets you carry tons of stuff.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Breathable
  • 5"
  • 5 pockets for ample storage

Reasons to Avoid

  • Durability of pocket area?
  • Bit pricy
  • Waistband bit thick

Fit I will say it up front, I love the Strider Pro shorts. When trail running or hiking up steep hills I love the fit of them. The 5" inseam means they do not pull on your quads when going up steep terrain. They have a split on the side to give you extra freedom of movement while covering you up well enough. For me a 5" inseam is perfect. The waistband is a good elastic, but also has a lace that you can tie in case they would sag on you. I can't speak for everybody of course, but the fit on me is great, and the adjustability makes me think it would fit most people very well..

Read more: Patagonia Strider Pro Short reviews (3)

Active Short

Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

The Patagonia women's Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts pack a host of straightforward, well thought out features into a simple pair of shorts. The material and seams stretch together, offering an unrestricted range of motion, and the lightweight fabric wicks moisture, repels water, and dries rapidly. They were hands down my favorite shorts to ride in this past season.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Great stretch—including seams!
  • Adjustable waist
  • Zipper pocket
  • DWR coating

Reasons to Avoid

  • Had trouble standing up to thorn bushes—caused pilling

Testing Conditions: I tested the Patagonia women’s Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts as a member of the Trailspace Review Corps. I wore the shorts mountain biking in and around the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire from June through October 2018. I also brought them with me on an October road trip, mountain biking in Bentonville, Arkansas, and around Asheville, North Carolina. Temperatures during testing ranged from about 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.                                                       Out for a spin Fit and Comfort: I’m 5'4" with a fairly curvy lower body (35" hip, 27" waist).

Read more: Patagonia Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts review (1)

Active Short

Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

Patagonia's Dirt Craft Bike Shorts are a lightweight, breathable mountain bike short for everyday riding on the singletrack. Made with a nylon/spandex outer short for full range of movement and a removable inner padded liner, they're soft, stretchy, don't chafe, and are super comfortable whether climbing or descending. I've worn my Dirt Craft Bike Shorts for two seasons of riding—cross-county, enduro, and lift-assisted—and have found them incredibly comfortable for long days of riding and reasonably durable, though not impenetrable. They're expensive, but they're well-made and essentially you get two shorts, which can be paired up with other bike shorts and liners for versatility.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Nice stretchy material

Reasons to Avoid

  • Small pockets
  • Not impenetrable, mine tore on first big crash

Construction The Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Short is the most comfortable pair of shorts I have ever worn mountain biking. The outer shorts are made mainly from a stretchy nylon (95%, 65% of which is recycled) with some spandex (5%) and have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish for longevity. The breathable padded liner short (72% polyester, 28% spandex) is separate and has a 3-D engineered Italian chamois for cushion. It's also treated with HeiQ Fresh for odor control. The padded liner is removable, so people like myself who prefer to ride without one can do so.

Read more: Patagonia Dirt Craft Bike Shorts review (1)

Active Short

Patagonia Endless Ride Liner Shorts

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Patagonia Women’s Endless Ride Liner Shorts are a straightforward padded liner designed specifically for mountain biking. My personal litmus test when it comes to outdoor gear is whether or not I notice it when I’m out on the trail. I want my gear to fade into the background so I can focus on riding. This liner passes with flying colors. It stays in place, provides unrestricted movement, and vents moisture—keeping me comfortable while my body gets worked (...scraped, bruised) and enjoys some time to play.

Reasons to Buy

  • Mesh panels for breathability
  • Comfortable yet grippy leg openings
  • Unrestricted movement
  • Durable seat padding

Reasons to Avoid

  • Some chaffing on 40+ mile days

Testing Conditions: I tested the Patagonia women’s Endless Ride Liner Shorts as a member of the Trailspace Review Corps. I primarily wore them mountain biking in and around the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont from June through October 2018. Temperatures during testing ranged from about 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. I also wore them on a mountain biking vacation to Bentonville, Arkansas, and Asheville, North Carolina. This was a fall vacation, so temperatures during riding were around 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read more: Patagonia Endless Ride Liner Shorts review (1)

Performance Pant/Tight

Ridge Merino Crowley Tights

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Ridge Merino's Crowley Tights are a highly compressive, warm, and durable running tight for women. Made from a nylon-spandex-merino wool blend, they offer the best of synthetics (stretch and durability) with merino wool (comfort and odor control) for cold-weather active pursuits. I've been wearing the Crowley Tights for running during Maine winters and find them most comfortable in temps below freezing. These tights are...tight, so if you're not looking for a lot of compression consider sizing up. If you want a durable, warm compression tight that includes wool, keeps its shape, doesn't get stinky, and is comfortable on the run, check these out. Ladies, you'll have to wait till fall to get a pair as they sold out. Gentlemen, Ridge Merino is planning a men's version, but probably not for this year.

Reasons to Buy

  • Synthetic-wool blend
  • Lots of compression
  • Excellent odor control
  • Retain shape well
  • Durable exterior, not prone to snagging
  • Large, stretchy pocket on the thigh

Reasons to Avoid

  • Tight (well, they are compression tights)
  • Women's only (for now)
  • Wool can shrink in dryer (this was user error)

  Material The Crowley Tights from Ridge Merino are made from panels of Polartec Power Wool, a synthetic-wool compression combo. The garment is one fabric, but inside against the skin it's a soft merino wool twill (288 g/sm) for comfort, moisture wicking, temperature regulation, and odor control; while the exterior is nylon jersey for durability and stretch. Inner face of Crowley Tights with Polartec Power Wool Exterior of Crowley Tights with Polartec Power Wool Polartec Power Wool's material breakdown is 53 percent nylon, 26 percent Spandex, and 21 percent wool.

Read more: Ridge Merino Crowley Tights review (1)

Performance Pant/Tight

Ronhill Trackster Classic

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

The iconic product, which still works, after all these years. Super-light, stretchy, tough, comfy, versatile, and easy to care for. Extensively copied, but still relevant.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Protection
  • Durability
  • Versatility
  • Zero restrictions

Reasons to Avoid

  • One tiny pocket
  • Not waterproof (you can't have everything)

Ron Hill was an English long-distance runner, in an era when all athletes wore cotton. Best known, to US readers, as the first British winner of the Boston Marathon (1970), he pioneered carbo loading, redesigned shoes and clothing, and used his academic background as a Textile Chemist to shift the entire paradigm of sportswear, to make it less restrictive and thus, more efficient. I've been wearing Trackster tights since the 1980s. They're light—almost filmy—crazy-stretchy, wind resistant and bug-resistant, for those days, when shorts would be a bad idea.

Read more: Ronhill Trackster Classic reviews (2)

More Running Bottoms

Trailspace reviewers have shared 52 reviews of 43 different running bottoms. Narrow your search and view more specific running bottom recommendations in these categories:

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Other Types of Running Clothing

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Running Shells

Running Baselayers

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