These 10 Running Shorts Are the Secret to a Chafe-Free Workout

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Running isn’t always easy, but there’s definitely something rewarding about having sore muscles the day after hitting a new PR, or being drenched in sweat after pushing yourself to go to the gym. Thigh chafing, on the other hand, is more frustrating than motivating, especially when you have to keep stopping in the middle of your run to readjust your shorts.

Chafing happens when your skin rubs together and the repeated friction causes skin irritation, according to Cleveland Clinic. It most often occurs in warm, moist areas, so it’s a risk that unfortunately comes with the territory of exercise — and running, especially.

Yes, chafing is caused in part by your inner thighs coming in contact with each other as you run, but there’s a lot more that factors in, says Brett Durney, running coach, personal trainer, and cofounder of Fitness Lab. “Factors contributing to chafing also include moisture, heat, improper clothing, and prolonged or intense activity,” Durney explains. Luckily, you can keep some of those things under control with the right pair of running shorts.

How to Pick Running Shorts That Don’t Chafe

When shopping for anti-chafe running shorts, Durney says there are four aspects you’ll want to evaluate: type of material, breathability, seams, and fit.

  • Material: “Look for shorts made of synthetic materials like polyester or nylon,” Durney says. These fabrics wick away moisture and sweat, reducing the amount of friction (and therefore chafing).
  • Breathability: A breathable design with features like mesh lining is always a plus. “Opt for shorts that allow airflow and ventilation to keep your skin cool and dry during exercise,” Durney advises.
  • Seams: Bulky seams are a red flag. Instead, look for shorts with flatlock seams — or better yet, no seams at all — to keep irritation to a minimum, Durney says.
  • Fit: Durney recommends compression- or liner-style shorts, but stresses that you don’t want anything to fit too tight or too loose. “Loose fabric can create excess friction, while overly tight clothing can also cause irritation,” he points out. A fit that’s somewhere in between is ideal.

It can also help to wear shorts long enough to cover the areas where you chafe, but contrary to popular belief, length alone isn’t always enough. For full protection against chafing, it’s best to look for a pair of shorts with at least one of the special features Durney mentioned.

If you’re still not sure where to go from here, don’t stress, because we’ve got you (and your thighs) covered. Ahead, you’ll find some of the top-rated running shorts that prevent chafing, including a pair from Durney’s favorite brand.

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