Shorts vs. Leggings For Running

Shorts vs. Leggings For Running: Pick the Right One


When you choose the right attire for your running sessions, the age-old debate of shorts vs. leggings running arises. Both options have unique advantages and drawbacks, and the choice ultimately boils down to your personal preferences and the conditions you plan to run.

When choosing your running attire, comfort should be a top priority. Whether you're preparing for a marathon or working on your cardiovascular fitness, the last thing you want is clothing that feels bulky or constricting. Interestingly, despite the perceived advantages of leggings in terms of athleticism and coverage, many runners opt for shorts because they find them more comfortable.

In this blog, we'll delve into the pros and cons of leggings and shorts for running to help you make an informed decision. 

Running Shorts vs. Tights - Who Wins?

The perennial debate of running shorts vs. tights continues as different runners have strong opinions. Both options have their unique advantages and drawbacks, and the winner ultimately depends on individual preferences, running goals, and the prevailing weather conditions. In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of running leggings and wearing shorts here. 

Running Shorts:


  • Breathability: When you wear shorts over leggings they are breathable, making them the excellent choice for warm-weather running. They keep you cool and comfortable all day.
  • Freedom of Movement: One of the most significant advantages of wearing running shorts is the freedom they provide for leg movement. This unrestricted motion is favored by sprinters and those who require maximum leg mobility during their runs.
  • Quick-Drying: Shorts tend to dry quickly when exposed to moisture, which can be advantageous during rainy runs or intense sweat sessions.
  • Variety: Running shorts come in various styles, including loose-fitting, split-leg, and compression shorts. This variety allows you to choose a style that suits your running preferences and conditions.


  • Limited Coverage: Shorts leave your legs exposed, which can be a downside in cooler weather or on trails with overgrown vegetation, potentially leading to scratches and scrapes.
  • Chafing: Without the coverage that tights provide, some runners may experience chafing, especially during longer runs or in humid conditions.
  • Sun Exposure: Since a run in shorts will expose your legs, you'll need to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. 

Running Tights:


  • Coverage and Compression: Tights provide full coverage for your legs, offering protection from cooler temperatures, wind, and sun. They also offer a degree of compression, which can reduce muscle fatigue and improve circulation.
  • Warmth: Tights are a great choice for cold-weather running wear, as they help retain body heat and keep your legs warm and comfortable.
  • Protection: A pair of running tights can protect your legs from scratches and abrasions, making them suitable for trail running and rough terrains.


  • Heat: A pair of tights can feel uncomfortably warm in hot and humid conditions, potentially leading to overheating.
  • Restriction: Some runners find tights to be restrictive, especially if they are used to the freedom of movement that shorts offer.
  • Style Limitations: Tights are less versatile than shorts in long runs, so they may not double as casual wear as easily. 

Which Is the Superior Choice for Running: Wear Shorts or Leggings? 

Generally, it depends on the personal preferences of the running athlete whether he is comfortable in shorts for running or leggings.

The superior choice of leggings vs. shorts for running is not universal and depends on various factors, including personal preferences, weather conditions, and the type of running you're doing. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for different situations. Let's examine when each choice might be superior: 

Wear Shorts

Wearing the right shorts for running is essential for comfort and performance. Here are some tips on how to choose and wear a pair of shorts effectively:

1. Fabric: Look for running shorts made from moisture-wicking materials such as polyester or a blend of synthetic fibers. These fabrics help wick sweat away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable during your run.

2. Length: Running shorts come in various lengths, including short, mid-length, and long. The choice of length largely depends on personal preference and the type of running you're doing. Shorter shorts may provide more freedom of movement, while longer shorts can offer additional coverage and sun protection. Experiment to see which length feels most comfortable for you.

3. Fit: The running shorts fit is important. They should be snug enough to stay in place during your run but not so tight that they restrict your movement or chafe. Most running shorts come with an elastic waistband and drawstring, allowing you to adjust the fit to your liking.

4. Chafing prevention: Chafing can be a common issue while running, especially on longer runs. To prevent chafing, consider loose shorts with features like built-in briefs or compression liners. You can also apply anti-chafing products like Body Glide or Vaseline to areas prone to chafing, such as the inner thighs.

5. Pockets: If you need to carry items like keys, gels, or a smartphone while running, choose shorts with pockets. Many running shorts have small pockets in the waistband or larger zippered pockets on the back or sides.

6. Reflective elements: If you run in low-light conditions, look for shorts with reflective details. These will help make you more visible to motorists and other runners. You can wear running shoes along with it.

7. Compression shorts: Some runners prefer to wear compression shorts as a base layer under their regular running shorts. Compression shorts can help reduce muscle fatigue and improve circulation. They also provide extra support and can help prevent chafing.

8. Weather-appropriate shorts: Consider the weather when choosing your running shorts. In hot weather, opt for lightweight and breathable mesh shorts. For colder conditions, you might need longer or thermal shorts that do not allow airflow and keep your muscles warm.

9. Hydration: If you plan to carry water with you during your run, look for shorts with built-in hydration systems, like small pockets for water bottles or hydration bladders. Staying hydrated while running will maintain the stability of increased blood flow. 

Wear Leggings:


1. Coverage and Compression: Leggings offer full leg coverage, protecting you from cooler temperatures, wind, and harmful UV rays. They also provide a degree of compression that can reduce muscle fatigue and improve circulation.

2. Warmth: Leggings or tights are well-suited for cold-weather running, as they help retain heat and keep your legs warm.

3. Protection: They offer protection against scratches and abrasions, making them suitable for trail running and challenging terrains. 


1. Heat: Leggings can become uncomfortably warm in hot and humid conditions as they provide an extra layer of protection, potentially causing overheating.

2. Restriction: Some runners may find leggings restrictive, especially if they are used to the freedom of movement that shorts provide. So, the selection between shorts vs. leggings running gives the win to shorts.

3. Style Limitations: Leggings are primarily designed for running and may not be as versatile for casual wear as shorts.


How to Choose Running Wear - Shorts, Leggings, Compression Tights?

When it comes to choosing the perfect running gear, there are several key factors to consider. Instead of looking for shorts vs. leggings running attire, let's delve into the essentials of picking the right running wear here. 

1. Material:

Shorts, Leggings, and Tights come in two primary materials: cotton and synthetic fabrics. 

  • Cotton offers excellent breathability and is a go-to choice in hot weather to get extra warmth. Although it may be slightly heavier, it excels at not retaining excess moisture. However, if you opt for cotton running shorts or leggings, ensure they have integrated liners to prevent sweat absorption.
  • On the other hand, synthetic fabrics like nylon are more durable and dry quickly when wet. While they outperform cotton in terms of moisture management, they may be less breathable and form-fitting. When choosing synthetic materials, prioritize those with moisture-wicking linings such as lycra or spandex. These linings keep sweat from being absorbed into your attire, reducing the risk of chafing and discomfort, especially in hot conditions.

2. Weather:

Select your running attire based on the prevailing weather conditions.

  • In warm climates, shorts with liners are an excellent choice. They offer breathability and sun protection while allowing your skin to stay cool.
  • For cooler temperatures, consider full-length leggings with pockets. They provide warmth while still permitting air circulation, ensuring you stay comfortable during your run.

3. Fit:

The right fit of the clothing apparel is significant to have a good running experience. Explore the various styles of running apparel available today to find your ideal fit.

  • If you're just starting your running journey, shorts with built-in underwear are recommended. They help prevent chafing and discomfort during movement.
  • For experienced runners who prefer shorts without added layers, consider performance leggings as an alternative. These leggings offer excellent leg support and posture improvement. With high elastic panels at the thighs and knees, they also reduce muscle fatigue and promote smooth movement, potentially enhancing your running speed. 

Are You Prepared to Rock Your Cozy Gear on the Runway?

YES!! Explore a diverse range of running essentials for both men and women at Clifford Lenox. The collection includes hooded jackets, shorts, tights, and leggings designed to enhance your running experience. Our running gear is crafted with lightweight, sweatproof, and water-repellent materials, ensuring you stay comfortable no matter the weather. Our commitment to high-quality fabrics guarantees that our activewear and sportswear products remain cozy, even during the most intense workouts.

But that's not all! Clifford Lenox also offers a fantastic selection of running accessories, and hats, tees, tanks, and other accessories to complete your running ensemble. Whether you prefer shorts vs. leggings running attire, we are your go-to destination for all choices.

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