8 Performance Running Shorts That Are Super Stylish

Let's face it: Running shorts aren't exactly known for being items with high-style bona fides. That's why you wear them when you're running (and don't care if they get utterly drenched in sweat). Thing is, guys, by falling back on standard-issue nylon shorts, you're missing out on a world of amazing style. Here's just a taste.

Black running shorts by the north face photo

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The North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts

What's better than running naked through the woods? Well, have places to store all of your stuff—gels, keys, ID—for starters, especially when you're going long off-grid. Built for hungry trail runners on all-day missions, the breathable Long Haul snugly stows a veritable buffet in more than a dozen seam-stretching pockets (most of them in the wide waistband), all without causing the kind of unwelcome bounce that might knock you off-balance in technical terrain. Like the rest of the Better Than Naked collection, these are lighter and more free than you'd expect from a 7-inch short. ($65; thenorthface.com)

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white running shorts with a black racing stripe from rabbit photo

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Rabbit Daisy Dukes 2.0

It takes no small amount of confidence to rock these 3-inch-short Dukes. Named for the cutoffs-wearing cousin of The Dukes of Hazzard, they toe the line of scandalous, even as you toe local start lines. As shorts go, though, they're every bit as fast as they look, with a split-leg design that grants rippling quads the freedom to roam during hard workouts and race efforts alike. Bonus: the secure rear zip pocket—big enough to hold all but the fattest of phablets—is a welcome upgrade over most race splits, as is the made-in-California label. ($50; runinrabbit.com)

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sky blue running shorts from janji photo

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Janji —Transit Tech Short

Boston-based Janji made this run/casual mashup versatile enough that you can knock out some intervals before meeting a friend at the bar. Plenty of run-friendly ingredients—three zippered pockets, an elastic hang loop for carrying your shirt, and four-way stretch and 2-inch splits side that let give quads plenty of room to gallop—are disguised by the attractively heathered woven softshell. Be warned, though: Transit Tech is liner-less for "unbounded pursuits," so you may want to invest in merino briefs for pursuits (hard intervals, technical trail runs) where excessive bounding could get, um…uncomfortable. Also: 5 percent of all proceeds from this short help fund clean water projects in Cambodia. ($68; runjanji.com)

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black short running shorts photo

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La Sportiva Tempo Short

The 4-inch Tempo is fast and light, but also hauls plenty of cargo for free-ranging trail runners, with a zipper pocket in back and four lower-profile storage compartments folded into the waistband. While it seems like a lot of cash for a little bit of shorts, these come with Sportiva's particular brand of attention to detail, including a soft, laser-cut brief lining and Polygiene's stay-fresh anti-odor treatment. ($89; sportiva.com)

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red running shorts by salomon photo

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Salomon Sense Short M

Here's a super simple, minimalist short made with a couple of wonky design features—no drawcord and a unique elasticated waistbelt with minimal stitching—that combine with advanced fabrics to make it lightweight (just 3 ounces!) and incredibly airy, given its generous, 7-inch inseam. An inner brief minimizes chafing, while the fast-drying, water-repellent outer helps you keep your cool during those blazing-hot summer sessions. A large, quick-access mesh pocket rides just below the waist in front (another oddity, but it's easy-access and doesn't bounce or bother) to store bulkier gear for long runs. And if you want more storage but don't need this much short, upgrade to the Sense Pro Short for $10 more. ($90; salomon.com)

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Product image of American flag men's short shorts photo

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BOA Stretch 1" Elite Split Shorts

Fly your freak flag—or your state, country, or even pirate flag, for that matter—when you run in these ridiculously skimpy, wildly fun printed race shorts. BOA's made a name for itself with barely-there short shorts that stand out from the pack with silly, Technicolor designs (choose from among junk food, surfboard, dinosaur, and taco themes). Made in the USA with soft, incredibly lightweight four-way stretch material and backed by an ironclad lifetime warranty, these elite shorts have style and substance. (From $29; boausa.com)

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blue running shorts from SAXX photo

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SAXX 2N1 Pilot Short

From the company that turned comfy, tight underwear into a cultural phenomenon comes a running short that feels nearly as lightweight and airy as your skivvies, despite a generous knee-length cut. The breathable, quick-dry liner features the famous mesh-paneled SAXX hammock to prevent chafing, and a featherweight shell doesn't get in the way, even at speed. While it's no surprise that the Pilot is comfortable, it's shockingly fast on those days when you feel like you could soar. ($65; saxxunderwear.com)

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black running shorts from Altra photo

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Altra M Performance Short 2

Holy pockets! For a short designed primarily for roads and racing, the Performance 2 has an impressive range of storage options, including two interior slide pockets in front that are perfect for cards and keys, two small exterior gel pockets in the wide waistband, and two pockets in the back (one of them zippered). These shorts are so light and airy, though—with lightweight, wicking fabric and perforated panels that run across the back and down either side—that it'd be a shame to load them down too much. An anti-bacterial brief keeps everything in place, and cuts down on post-workout funk, so you can always put your best foot forward. ($55; altrarunning.com)

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