Looking for running shorts with good pockets.
May 2, 2015 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for running shorts with a pocket that can comfortably hold my smartphone while I run. I can't believe that this is so difficult but here we are!

What I'm looking for: a pair of running or athletic shorts that have a pocket that is big enough to hold a smartphone, and the pocket holds the phone in a fairly comfortable way. Minimal flopping around, basically. I imagine that perhaps the pocket needs to sit high, or the shorts need to be out of sturdier-than-usual material? I find that shorts these days at best have those teeny tiny small-of-back pockets and those do not cut it for me.

I have one pair of running shorts with side pockets, but the pocket is so big, and because it's not attached to the shorts at the bottom, the weight of the phone actually pulls the pocket down below the hem of the shorts, so the phone flops around against my leg. Uncomfortable and stupid-looking. Because of this, I often run in a pair of cotton hiking shorts. They're actually pretty okay for running in, but I wish I had a better option that wasn't cotton. They aren't so comfortable in rainy conditions.

I put no other restrictions on these shorts. I have other preferences, but I would throw them all out the window for the perfect pocket. I am a woman so I'm looking for lady shorts, but if you've gotten this far and you have great dude short recommendations, feel free to share those too. I'd prefer to spend under $30, but I am willing to pay more if that's what it takes.

I know that I could just get one of those running belt things. That's a last-resort consideration for me - I'd rather just have my shorts deal with that stuff.
posted by mandanza to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You're going to spend twice your preferred $30, but Ink 'n' Burn is what you're looking for. Best running gear ever! You'll never go back once you try them. They have small phone/iPod sized pockets, have smooth seams, and look bad ass. Check out their site here. I obviously love them & think they're worth the money, but don't discount getting them on eBay. As for sizing, I wear 2-5 in street pants/shorts and wear a 2 in their shorts and capris. I can wear 0, but it's a little tight.
posted by bulclippr at 9:01 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is half an answer, sorry, but I know this problem well! I have a miraculous pair of Cynthia Rowley Activewear capri leggings that have pockets big enough to accommodate a phone. Located on the outer thighs like cargo pockets, but without any bulk. I got them for cheap at a Marshall's. I can't find a picture of them for the life of me, so I fear they might be a unicorn.

It's hard to tell if the pockets are big enough, but these might be what you want. These are leggings but have two side pockets.
posted by clavicle at 9:22 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try Raceready shorts. They have pockets on the back big enough to hold an iphone 6. About $35 for comfortable and hard wearing shorts.
posted by monotreme at 11:24 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

The best I've found for this are a pair of REI running shorts with a built-in bike short liner, where the pocket was made of the tight bike-short material. Unfortunately they don't have them on their website anymore (tear) but if you see the bike-running-combo short somewhere, it should do what you want!
posted by DoubleLune at 11:27 AM on May 2, 2015

Rather than shorts, which end up with what I find to be a weird weight on one side that's bouncing around, I prefer something like this belt, which is super light weight and holds a phone and keys just fine.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 1:34 PM on May 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: They are more than $30, but the Pearl Izumi Ultra short has the best phone pocket I've come across. They're the only shorts I wear when I run with my phone (I have three or four pairs at this point). The pocket is part of a stretchy waistband that is connected to the liner so it really keeps the phone from bouncing around, and it's big enough for my iphone. As a bonus, there are mesh side pockets for gels or keys (I stick my inhaler in one). I find the split style the most comfortable to run in, but they have a straight style as well. Pearl Izumi tends to run a little small, so order up.
posted by Tentacle of Trust at 2:59 PM on May 2, 2015

Best answer: I borrowed these shorts from my husband for a recent 5k. I put my phone (HTC One M7 in an Otterbox Commuter case - i.e., quite a bit bigger than a regular iPhone, smaller than a 6+) in the back zip pocket, and it worked great. Felt secure, no bouncing. The shorts are close to your price range and well within it on sale, however they are not cute or tailored to show off your body. The are shorts for dudes who run.
posted by jeoc at 5:35 PM on May 2, 2015

Like Sleddog_Afterburn, I prefer a SPIbelt if I need to carry my phone when running. The elastic on the belt keeps it firmly in place. If you sweat a lot, put the phone in a baggie, since the SPIbelt isn't waterproof.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:01 PM on May 2, 2015

My solution to this problem has been running skirts with built in undershorts or capris, which have both good pockets and headphone holes.
posted by bq at 7:45 PM on May 2, 2015

2nd-ing monotreme on the RaceReady recommendation!
posted by shrieking violet at 7:47 PM on May 2, 2015

I haven't tried the SPIbelt, but I have this belt and like it.
posted by whoiam at 10:50 PM on May 2, 2015

My new Nike Dri-Fit shorts have a smartphone pocket.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:53 PM on May 3, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks to all for your comments! I marked a couple as the best because they best fit what I was looking for, but I appreciate all the answers. I will keep the belts in mind if the shorts I ordered don't satisfy me.

FWIW, I ordered the Pearl Izumi Ultra shorts. Other reviews online agreed that the back pocket held phones comfortably and it was easy to get the phone in and out.

I also stumbled across and tried on the Brooks Run 7" Short, which has very roomy front pockets that are sewn to the short exterior so they stay in place. I jogged around the dressing room a little and found those pretty comfortable as well. Might pick those up later if I'm unhappy with the small-of-back pocket style.
posted by mandanza at 1:30 PM on May 10, 2015

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