I’ve been regularly running since 2014, and even though it’s been six years of running at least weekly, I’ve hesitated to invest in more serious running wear. My exercise clothing largely comes from whatever is on sale because I figure, What difference will fancy shorts and leggings really make? Why invest in higher-quality workout wear? Shorts are shorts, right? You sweat, they get wet and gross, and that’s just the deal. But then I met the New Balance Q Speed Track Shorts, and my mind totally changed. Here’s why they’re a winner in our 2020 SELF Certified Sports Bras, Leggings, and Shorts Awards.
How I Tested the New Balance Q Speed Track Running Shorts
These shorts were tested as part of our aforementioned 2020 SELF Certified Sports Bras, Leggings, and Shorts Awards, the criteria for which were developed by running and fitness experts, and which I used to help determine the best running shorts. I wore these shorts during several three- to five-mile runs (plus squats and lunges) over the course of a month, during which the weather fluctuated from swampy summer to cooler fall. This was handy for my testing, so that I could see how the shorts held up during different temperatures. With each run, I kept in mind how the shorts fit, felt on my body, and handled sweat. I wore the shorts for about an hour following each run to see how they dried. Above all, I considered how I felt in them.
These track shorts fit true to size. I wear roughly a size 6 in bottoms and a medium in these. They’re mid-rise, with an elastic band that hits across my belly button. They are incredibly airy and soft. Unlike literally all of the other track shorts I own, these feel practically invisible. They don’t squeeze my waist so that I’m conscious of my stomach. Honestly, it’s almost unnerving how lightweight and not-there they feel, but very freeing, once I adjusted to the lack of a restrictive band.
The shorts’ fabric is soft and light, made of polywoven nylon, polyester, and spandex. The material is water-resistant and breathable, and though they have ample stretch, the shorts still hold their shape, even after several washes.
If you don’t like showing a lot of leg, these shorts aren’t for you. They’re track shorts, designed to keep your legs free, so the back of the shorts covers my butt, and that’s it. The built-in underwear lining prevents anything I don’t want to show from showing, even during lunges, but it did take me a few runs to adjust to having my thighs pretty bare.
I love, love, love how cozy these are to wear. Beyond runs, I wear them around the house, while working (from home, that is), and even to bed. That’s how comfy they are. It’s effortless to slip them on and off, so I expect in chilly months I’ll still wear them.
Thanks to the built-in underwear, slits, and water-resistant fabric, these shorts vent really well. Air rushes up into them as you run, effectively cooling and drying in tandem with your workout. A lot of shorts I’ve owned stay sweaty for at least an hour after, but these are basically dry as soon as I wind down, which is lovely.
In order to keep these shorts light, their design lacks baggy pockets. Nicely, there is a small pocket along the back waist line that fits a credit card and keys. If you are someone, however, who prefers deep pockets for phones or other accessories, you’ll want a belt or additional armband.
The Bottom Line
I have absolutely no complaints about these shorts. I feel like I’m floating when I run in them, and though they’re short, I find myself checking out the line of my legs when passing reflective windows. They’re minimal enough for the most serious of runners and ridiculously comfortable enough for us all.