Why Are Running Shorts So Short? Do Short Shorts Look Funny on You?

Why Are Running Shorts So Short? Do Short Shorts Look Funny on You?

As the name indicates, running shorts are specialized short shorts used mainly by runners.

Running shorts are so short to allow free leg movement and better ventilation.

Length can vary from short (3 inches or less) to medium (4-6 inches) and to long (7 inches and more). Each length has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • 4-inch shorts are suitable for most runners for training runs.
  • They do not restrict your movement, and they keep you cool.
  • They are long enough to prevent exposure when jogging in public.

Why Are Running Shorts So Short?

Longer shorts with all the extra fabric will restrict your movement when sprinting.

The three main reasons why running shorts tend to be so short are as follows:

1. Prevents Chafing

The primary reason that runners wear short shorts is to avoid chafing when running.

The more cloth there is, the more friction there is. 

This is exacerbated by a greater cadence, stride length, time spent running, and the outside temperature.

As a result, the less cloth you can use, the better. As a result, both men and women runners should wear short shorts.

2. Regulates Temperature

Running may be a perpetual fight between being too hot or too chilly.

If you’re out jogging in temperatures of 80 degrees or more, you will become overheated.

The quicker you run, the hotter you become. So why not let the legs breathe?

Even when it’s chilly outside, your legs are the only part of your body that keeps warm.

Marathoners are frequently seen running in shorts with arm sleeves and/or gloves especially on days with an earlier and colder start. They may readily peel the top layers while moving.

3. Appearance

There is no shame in showing off the toned legs you have worked so hard for. A nice pair of short running shorts are perfect for that.

You can complete the look with nice running shoes and a breathable top for the best running outfit.

Different Lengths Of Running Shorts

Why Are Running Shorts So Short? A Guide To Running Short Lengths

Running shorts are measured by the inner seam.

1. Short Length (3 inches or less)

Shorts that end high up the thigh give the most ventilation and range of motion when running. These are preferred by most competitive runners.

They’re perfect for sprinting and long-distance road running (such as a marathon), thanks to their construction, lightweight design, and non-restrictive cut.

Examples of short lengths:

2. Medium Length (4-6 inches)

When a short length is too short, and long ones are too long, the medium style is your best (and only) alternative.

This approach is also appropriate for various activities, particularly for runners who frequently switch from trail to track training.

Examples of medium lengths:

3. Long Length (7 inches and more)

A longer short is frequently preferable for shorter running distances.

These shorts are ideal for jogging in inclement weather and off-road, providing protection from dirt and plants.

However, check that the material does not retain heat or moisture and interfere with your comfort. Look for sweat-wicking materials and ventilation to ensure your performance is not hampered.

Pockets are also more likely to be found at this length (although you can find them at medium length too).

Examples of long shorts:

How Different Short Lengths Fit?

Why Are Running Shorts So Short? A Guide To Running Short Lengths

Unfortunately, there is no assurance that the running clothes you buy online will appear precisely as they did on the model.

This is because running shorts with the same inseam length do not always terminate in the same place on your thigh.

There are three major aspects that will determine how running shorts fit you: the type of garment, your height, and the length of the rise.

Because of the obvious cut on the exterior, V-notch and split types will often appear shorter.

The length of the incision also influences how exposed it is. In contrast, compression shorts do not feature a cut. Consequently, less flesh is exposed.

If you’re short, a medium-length garment may not seem too short on you. In comparison, if you’re 6-foot tall, a 5-inch short will undoubtedly appear shorter.

Finally, the rise is calculated by measuring the distance between the waistband and the bottom of the crotch.

Despite having a 3″ inseam, the greater the rise, the longer your running shoes will appear.

Running shorts - inseam measurement diagram
Inseam refers to the length of the garment, from the crotch seam to the hem.

On the other hand, running shorts with a lower rise will appear shorter.

How Long Should Your Running Shorts Be?

The length of your shorts is entirely up to you.

If you have just begun to run, go for 4 inches for women and 5 inches for men.

That is short enough to allow you a full range of motion. It is modest enough to run anywhere (especially if you are not used to wearing short-length shorts).

You may have observed that professional marathon runners wear 3-inch split shorts (or even shorter). They are cooler and lighter and provide the largest range of motion.

On the other hand, running in 3-inch split shorts outside of a race may appear too exposing to others.

Why Are Running Shorts So Short A Guide To Running Short Lengths

The Bottom Line

Running shorts are as short as they are to allow for a lot of movement and ventilation.

When it comes to choosing the best short length for you, it all comes down to personal choice.

Running shorts are available in a variety of lengths, beginning at 1″ and reaching 7″. The distinction is in the inseams, which are the length of the shorts.

What’s so good about having various lengths of running shorts is that there is something on the market for everyone.

If you’re looking for new running shorts, note that there are lined and unlined types. We have another whole article about the benefits of lined and unlined running shorts.

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