What Shorts to Race In?

For a long, long time I ran in soccer shorts. Because I played soccer and soccer shorts were comfortable and running shorts were weird. Running shorts had that gross liner inside them that looked like an adult diaper. But, sometime in college someone explained to me that everyone cuts the liner out of running shorts. So, when my soccer shorts finally lost so much elasticity they wouldn’t stay up anymore, I bought a standard pair of Nike running shorts and cut the liner out.

Nike running shorts, the gateway drug of running clothes.
Nike running shorts, the gateway drug of running clothes.

The Nike Tempo short is easily their most popular running short. Possibly the most popular pair of running shorts period. Everyone owns like five pairs (I have them in blue, yellow, and custom-Oregon green/yellow) and yet everyone I know cuts the lining out, which causes you to have this weird band of lining around the edge when you roll the top over — because everyone rolls the top over, duh. And, which sort of suggests that perhaps Nike ought to make a version without the lining.

See, weird cut off lining sticking out of the top of the shorts. (Ignore the laundry behind me.)
See, weird cut off lining sticking out of the top of the shorts. (Ignore the laundry behind me.)

But, for the most part, I love these shorts. And, most importantly, I look a lot faster than when I wore boys’ soccer shorts. And, as we all know, looking fast is just as important as going fast. So, for a few years, they were my race shorts.

Race shorts are different than running shorts. Obviously. I have lots of regular shorts. But, you need special shorts for races. And, no, I don’t race in tiny spandex. I mean I have – I did a few weeks ago – but I don’t enjoy it.

Then, like four years ago, I was given a pair of Lululemon shorts and a tanktop after doing a wear test for them, which I never would have bought on my own because the shorts were like $54 and that seemed crazy at the time (oh, how the times have changed). But, I adored the Lululemon Speed Short, which I did not cut the lining out of because it was all soft and comfy. They became my race shorts, until they started to lose elasticity and get all worn down and rub. So, last year, as my pre-race Oakland Marathon purchase, I bought new Lululemon shorts.

I have the all black now. Like a panther.
I have the all black now. Like a panther.

They were fine. I wore them for that race and a few other races and had no problems. But, I didn’t love them like I loved the old Lululemon ones. And, then, they started to chafe — and as we all know, chafing is like the kryptonite of running. A couple runs, I got crazy cuts on the inside of my legs from them. I went back to the old Lululemon shorts and they chafed too. (Yes, easy joke about thighs rubbing together, but I’m not going to do the easy thing and make it, so there.) I decided it was a sign that I shouldn’t be wearing them anyway, because Lululemon is crazy and expensive and possibly evil and, really, all I ask for in a company is that it not be all three.

That meant I needed new race shorts for Chicago, so I went with some boring Brooks ones. (I think it was these ones.) I also, bizarrely, kept the lining in these ones even though it was that weird granny diaper lining. And, they’re ok, but they were 1. not flattering and 2. had no real pockets except on the sides, so then you’re cramming gels in the sides of your shorts, which is also not flattering and makes you paranoid they’re going to fall out the whole race and 3. sort of bunched weird and sometimes chafed.

Not even sure what I'm trying to hard to do here.
See, is that flattering? No, obviously because of the shorts.

So, I’ve been on the lookout for new race shorts for a little while. Something like the Lulu ones, but not them. And, then, when I was at Sports Basement, using my gift certificate I won at the Hellyer 10K — no matter what race you do anywhere in the Bay Area you will probably win a Sports Basement gift certificate (amazing) — I found out Nike has just released some new shorts like the Lulu ones, but not them.

*voices singing, lights coming down from above*

And, after a whole thing — I bought the mediums because they didn’t have the small in the color I wanted, but then medium was too big, so then I went back but they didn’t have small in any color and XS was too small, so then I got my money back and went to the Sports Authority Elite but they didn’t have them at all, so I went on Nike’s website but that website is ridiculously bad and it was possible either they didn’t have my size or that they just were directing me in circles, so then I finally went on some super sketchy RunningWarehouse.com site — I now have in my possession new shorts. That I’m really hoping are my new racing shorts. Testing them out today.

Behold, the Nike Rival Shorts. I have a good feeling about these.

Race shorts. Make you go faster.
Race shorts. Make you go faster.

What are your race shorts?

18 thoughts on “What Shorts to Race In?

  1. You are like the first person to admit to not liking Lululemon (besides me) – I remember reading that article and they are totally crazy, but I didn’t like them even before that because of their outrageous prices. Probably I was jealous of everyone who could afford the stuff, but geez I got tired of everyone crowing about that place. Anyways, I got a pair of Moving Comfort shorts (also $50, sheesh) with a gift certificate and I really like them. It might be these, but their website makes it difficult to tell http://www.movingcomfort.com/Momentum-Short/300501,default,pd.html

    I do like those Nike shorts, so I guess at some point I will suck it up and buy a pair, since I’m going to wear these out very soon, probably.

    1. Well, I really liked their clothes, but, yeah, the company is nuts. And, you can’t draw lines everywhere, but why not there.

      Those shorts are cute, too. Will keep in mind.

  2. ha, I totally just went through the same thing, I don’t want to buy Lululemon anymore so I picked up two pairs of Nike Rivals. They’re great!! I sized up because my normal size was too small in the thighs. The bigger size is a little looser in the waistband than my old Lululemon Speed Shorts, but it’s totally fine. The material is thin and super lightweight, and they have pockets galore. I balked at the price but broke down because to be honest, running shorts last forever.

  3. Break free of Nike and big brands. Go over to GoLite! They’re a triple bottom line company that makes awesome products for great prices. I did a whole post on the company themselves.

    Or, you could always go for a sport kilt. 😉

      1. Triple bottom line means that the company is focused on three things: People, Planet, and Profit.

        Since people often say that companies only care about the bottom line, people came up with the expression “triple bottom line” to refer to companies who care about more than just profit.

  4. Pretty much the best article I’ve ever read about shorts (or maybe I’m just in a fragile mental state right now). I obsess over what tops to race in. I’m doing a half marathon in a week and I think I mail-ordered (and returned) close to 6 tops in search of the perfect one. Then found it at the local grocery store… don’t ask.

  5. Even yoga can not fix that problem.Do you have any other tips to share with our readers about staying healthy and fit as a busy mom on the go?

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