The best running shorts for my beefy wheels?
June 29, 2009 10:07 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for awesome, durable warm-weather running/gym shorts, in a spandex-y bike-short style with a longish inseam. Picky specifications within.

I work out five days a week, and run on at least three of those days. Despite my commitment to fitness, I am (and probably will be for some time) a bit of a chunkster, and my thighs rub together. This presents some problems when picking out running shorts: short inseams will chafe me up, and looser shorts will bunch up. Compression-style pants and shorts solve most of my problems, but even then I have an unfortunate tendency to wear them out in the inner-thigh area.

My favorite running pants of all time are from Lululemon (similar, but not identical, to these) – they are stretchy without being compression-y, super lightweight and sleek and smooth and wicky, and have stood up to hundreds of miles of hot thigh-on-thigh action with hardly any wear. I’d wear them for every run if I could, but with the warmer weather, I’ve been going out and thinking, “hmmm, my knees are kind of warm.” Unfortunately, Lululemon’s running shorts all have dinky inseams and don’t seem to be made with chunky girls like me in mind.

My current running shorts are these Under Armour shorts, which are good but not great. I loved them at first, but they’ve worn out really quickly.

You can probably guess where this is going: I’m looking for a pair of shorts with the durability and feel of my Lulus, but with the inseam/profile of my Under Armour. Shorts that will still feel comfortable in 90-degree weather, that I won’t feel the urge to peel off the minute I step in the house, and that won’t need replacing after two months.

A little bit more about what I’m looking for in my dream shorts:

-An inseam anywhere between 7 inches and knee-length
-A not-too-low rise. I prefer to run in shorts that fit either at the navel or just below. Low-rise pants tend to fall off my butt when I move around.
-A drawstring waist (in addition to elastic) is preferred but not essential
-Black or gray would be my preferred colors, though I’m not particularly picky
-I’d like to keep the price under $50, but am willing to pay for quality
-If they’re available locally (Boston/Cambridge) and I can try them on, so much the better

I’d prefer recommendations based on experience, along the lines of “I own these shorts and they’ve lasted five years” instead of “hey, I Googled ‘running shorts’ and here are some random links.” Surely I’m not the only thunder-thighed runner who has high expectations from her shorts.

Thanks in advance, as always!
posted by Metroid Baby to Shopping (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You're looking at this wrong: fix the chafing. Even at my skinniest, I chafe when I run if I don't use Bodyglide. It comes in a stick, like a deodorant. There is also a Band-Aid branded version you can get at Target.

The shit rocks.
posted by notsnot at 10:32 AM on June 29, 2009

Why not get another pair of the Lululemon pants and hem/have them hemmed to the length you like?
posted by libraryhead at 10:35 AM on June 29, 2009

N-thing Notsnot. Body glide is amazing and will save you from all sorts of chafing woes no matter what you have on.
posted by zara at 11:05 AM on June 29, 2009

Response by poster: Hmm. I'd always assumed that my thighs were too much for Bodyglide to handle. It probably couldn't hurt to test it out for a couple miles and see if I can still walk the next day.

If that doesn't work and I don't find a pair of shorts I love, hemming the pants is probably an option.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:19 AM on June 29, 2009

Definitely have another pair of the pants you really like hemmed. It's hard to find the right fabric, and it sounds like you found a winner. Stick with it!
posted by jacquilinala at 11:30 AM on June 29, 2009

Have you been to Marathon Sports on Mass Ave in Cambridge? They might be able to make some good recommendations.

That being said, it looks like the first thing to do is to try to Body glide.
posted by canine epigram at 1:43 PM on June 29, 2009

Bodyglide doesn't solve the bunching, though. I find that shorter compression shorts ride up no matter how tight they are, or how "sticky" the band is. Also, I'm just not comfortable wearing shorts witha 4" inseam, because they cut my thigh off at its meatiest point and make them look twice as wide.

I have these and love them. I've had them for a year, trained for and completed a tri in them, and now I wear them once a week to ride my bike to work. I also wear them for road races.

Since they are tri shorts, they have a tiny bit of padding which you may not love - but it's way less padding than a bike short. Also, that model is probably seven feet tall - the rise looks short on her, but it's really not, plus the rise in the back is higher than in the front. Has a drawstring, too.
posted by peep at 3:16 PM on June 29, 2009

Response by poster: Late update: I ended up buying another pair of Under Armour shorts, almost the exact same style (I didn't look at the label and got 4" instead of 7", but they work nonetheless). Either the fabric has been updated or my old shorts have changed a bit from numerous washings, but I am really liking them. I figure $25 is a pretty good deal for how they wear.

Additionally, I think I've been a bit unfair to my old shorts - I haven't worn them out "really quickly" at all. They're still totally functional, just pilly, and I've had them for over a year, which is a pretty good lifespan. I'll see how the new ones hold up.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:35 PM on September 19, 2009

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