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Which Nike shorts are best?

Whether you’re into running, jogging or lifting weights, a reliable pair of Nike shorts can keep you comfortable and mobile while exercising. This reputable brand offers a variety of high-quality shorts, ranging from those with Dri-Fit technology, which wicks away sweat, to those with discreet pockets. For the best shorts, check out Nike’s Dri-Fit Tempo Track 3.5 Shorts, which have mesh panels on the sides for breathability. 

What to know before you buy Nike shorts


Nike is known for its athletic wear. It offers a wide selection of shorts, including:

There are also two-in-one shorts that have a fitted inner layer and a looser outer layer. The inner layer, or liner, is most commonly found in running shorts, as it helps prevent chafing and doesn’t restrict movement.

Every garment is designed to be breathable and keep you cool and dry while working out. Some have Dri-Fit technology, which keeps sweat or light rain from sticking to your skin.

Depending on your preference, you can find baggier or more form-fitting shorts. They also come in different designs, ranging from solid bright colors to darker tones. All contain the recognizable Nike logo.


The inseam refers to the length of the shorts. You can calculate this by measuring from the crotch to the base of the shorts on the inner side. Inseam is not just important when it comes to how long your shorts are, but it also makes a difference in what you plan to wear them for.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Training: For training, go with a longer inseam, around 10 inches.
  • Basketball: For sports that require a lot of jumping and moving around, opt for an inseam that’s about 11 inches.
  • Running or cardio: If you plan to run or jog, go with a shorter inseam. This ensures there won’t be any extra material below your knees to hinder mobility. Most running shorts have an inseam that’s between 3 and 8 inches.
  • Yoga or Pilates: These shorts often have a shorter inseam ranging from around 5 to 9 inches. This makes them more flexible for performing all the necessary poses.

The inseam you choose ultimately depends on your preferences, height, and the activity you’re most likely to do while wearing them. When in doubt, try out different options until you find what works best. Alternatively, measure the inseam of an existing pair of shorts you own and go from there.


Most Nike shorts have drawstrings or an elastic waistband, though some have both. Yoga shorts, for example, typically use an elastic band to keep them in place. Running shorts often have drawstrings.

Since these garments are meant for physical activity, zippers and buttons aren’t very common. Shorts that do have these features are usually designed for everyday use. They’re often less flexible and can dig into the waist when worn for moderate or intense exercise.

What to look for in quality Nike shorts


Several materials are used in Nike shorts, but most are lightweight and moisture-wicking. Common options include:

  • Recycled polyester: Breathable and lightweight, polyester is durable enough to withstand even the most strenuous exercise. Nike Dri-Fit technology uses polyester to wick away sweat and keep the wearer dry.
  • Cotton: Although it’s not as absorbent, cotton is also lightweight and comfortable to wear.
  • Nylon or spandex: Flexible and stretchy, these materials are ideal for most activities, including yoga, running and training at the gym.

Nike often uses a combination of synthetic and recycled materials in its apparel. Many of their shorts and other athletic attire use a blend of synthetic and natural fibers such as cotton and polyester. These blends are specifically chosen because they are flexible enough for physical activity, provide excellent moisture-wicking, and reduce chafing.


Most Nike shorts follow the same sizing conventions, which you can typically find in the item’s description. Sizes generally range from extra-extra-small to extra-large, but there are also plus sizes available. Some shorts are designed for taller people and have longer legs to accommodate them.

If you’re not sure which size to get, measure around the narrowest part of your waist and the widest part of your hips. Then, refer back to the sizing chart for the closest match.

If you’re in between sizes, you can go down a size for a snug fit, or you can size up for a looser fit. Be aware that if you size down, the shorts might limit your mobility and be uncomfortable for certain activities, such as running or stretching. However, they could be too loose for intense activities if you size them up. In that case, choose a pair that has both a drawstring and elastic waistband closure to keep them securely in place.


Most Nike shorts are either high-rise or mid-rise. 

Rise refers to how high the waistband sits compared to the seam around the crotch. For example, high-rise shorts have a waistband closer to your belly button. On the other hand, mid-rise shorts fall somewhere between the navel and the hips.

If you’re looking for something with more coverage, high-rise shorts are a good option. But if you want something that flatters your figure while still being comfortable to wear, consider mid-rise shorts instead.


Not all Nike shorts come with pockets. Those meant for yoga and similar activities sometimes feature a small side or waist pocket. Shorts made for running or sports typically have two deeper side pockets to store personal items such as a phone, wallet or keys.

Other designs also have pockets at the rear, similar to most jeans. In some cases, the pockets will have a zipper to keep your belongings secure.

How much you can expect to spend on Nike shorts

Depending on the style and materials, a pair of Nike shorts usually costs $25-$45.

Nike shorts FAQ

Should you wear underwear with shorts that have an inner liner?

A. If your shorts have an inner liner, you don’t typically need to wear underwear. If you do wear underwear, there’s a higher risk of chafing as the extra fabric can rub against your thighs and inner legs while moving, especially when running.

Do Nike shorts have belt loops?

A. Some Nike styles have belt loops, but most use a drawstring or elastic waistband to keep them securely in place.

What are the best Nike shorts to buy?

Top Nike shorts

Nike Dri-Fit Tempo Track 3.5 Shorts

Nike Dri-Fit Tempo Track 3.5 Shorts

What you need to know: These shorts are ideal for people looking for something to keep them cool and comfortable while running.

What you’ll love: Made with polyester, these shorts have a 3-inch inseam that gives the wearer complete mobility while on the move. The material also helps keep you dry even during more intensive workouts. The shorts have a drawstring closure.

What you should consider: They run small.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Nike shorts for the money

Nike Dri-Fit Training 9-Inch Shorts

Nike Dri-Fit Training 9-Inch Shorts

What you need to know: These shorts are thicker and feature Dri-Fit technology to keep the wearer dry and comfortable.

What you’ll love: They have vents to help you stay cool and active for a long time. They also have an elastic waistband with a drawstring for a better fit and zippered pockets to help keep your belongings secure. They are available in four colors.

What you should consider: Only some styles offer zippered pockets.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Worth checking out

Nike Dri-Fit Icon Basketball Shorts

Nike Dri-Fit Icon Basketball Shorts

What you need to know: These shorts are perfect for taller individuals who love to play basketball and similar sports.

What you’ll love: Available in 14 colors, these shorts have Dri-Fit technology to help keep moisture off your skin, so you stay dry for longer periods. They use a drawstring and elastic waistband to keep them in place and have two pockets. Made from polyester, they’re also lightweight and breathable.

What you should consider: They may fit a little small at the waist.

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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