As someone who typically runs daily, it’s probably no surprise that I have a solid drawer-full of running shorts. They all tend to share one vital characteristic, though—they’re loose fitting.
Nope, I am not a spandex running shorts fan. I’ve tried several pairs in the past, and no matter what, they tend to start that ever-uncomfortable journey north as soon as I get a few strides in. That means I spend way too much during my run yanking them down into place, only for them to ride back up a few seconds later.
I love the look of tight-fitting workout shorts, though, and often wear them for strength training—while riding up can be a problem there too, it’s not as big of an issue since you’re not moving around as much. So I’m not against spandex running shorts, I just never could find a pair that worked for me.
So when the Patagonia Endless Run Shorts came across my desk, I was eager to give them a shot. After running, walking, lifting, and riding in them, I think I’ve finally found a pair that works for me. Read on to learn why these shorts were a winner in our 2020 SELF Certified Sports Bras, Leggings, and Shorts Awards.
How I Tested the Patagonia Women’s Endless Run Shorts
I normally run every day, but have been recovering from a stress fracture, so I haven’t been able to run as I do normally. I tested these shorts on a quick 20-minute run before my injury and a 25-minute walk-run while rehabbing. In between I also wore them during (virtual) indoor cycling classes up to 60 minutes long, and upper-body and lower-body strength training sessions of 45 minutes. When testing these shorts, I used the expert-led criteria for buying and testing the best workout leggings and best running shorts created for our SELF Certified Sports Bra, Leggings, and Shorts Awards.
I’d consider the Patagonia Endless Run Shorts a low-rise fit—they came up to about an inch and a half below my belly button. The band was comfortable and non-binding, and it also has a hidden drawstring to customize the fit.
Immediately after I put these shorts on, I could tell the fabric was high quality. It’s thicker than most legging/bike short material, though it still has a formfitting fit. The fabric has a good heft to it but doesn’t feel overly heavy. It passed the squat test with flying colors—nothing to see there.
While the fabric seemed smooth and comfortable, I do have to note that I ended up chafing on one thigh after a particularly humid and drizzly run. (I’m prone to chafing, and usually use BodyGlide as a preventive measure, but didn’t apply it before that run since it was only for 25 minutes.) So I would recommend anyone with any chafing history to apply a similar product beforehand.
This is where the Patagonia Endless Run Shorts really impressed me: I did not have to pull at these while I was running, which was a brand-new and much appreciated experience. The same applied to strength training. While I would sometimes readjust them after certain lower-body exercises like glute bridges, they would then stay where I put them.
As for fit, the shorts do run a little big. I’m usually between an XS and small in spandex shorts or tights, and the small I tried was slightly big. The XS probably would have been perfect.
The shorts are a recycled polyester-spandex blend, which can account for some of their will-not-ride-up power, but I’d attribute a good chunk of it to their length as well. The shorts have a 4-1/2 inch inseam, which is longer than most spandex workout shorts I’ve seen. (Most seem to be in the 3-inch range, unless they’re being advertised as Bermuda or bike length.) For me, the length is a happy compromise—they look like regular short-shorts (I’m 5 foot 0, and they hit just above my fingertips), but the additional length makes them less likely to ride up.
Added bonus: While I often wear spandex shorts in the gym, I’m self-conscious about ones that are too short. I’d feel perfectly comfortable (and confident) wearing these in the gym, whenever I am ready to go back.
Some spandex can require acrobatics to get on and off, but I can say with certainty that these shorts don’t fit that bill: They slip on and off with ease.
Thanks to their black color and hefty weight, visible sweat stains are not an issue with these shorts. They’re also quick-drying too—after a heavy-sweat indoor cycling class in the morning, I was able to put them back on a few hours later to flush out my legs for a 10-minute spin without feeling like I put on a soggy diaper.
Spandex shorts that have (substantial) pockets might be even more a rarity than ones that don’t ride up. The Patagonia Endless Run Shorts deliver on both; they have two large pockets on each side that can fit a cell phone or some on-the-run fuel, along with a mesh center pocket along the back for added storage.
The Bottom Line
The longer length of these shorts, coupled with the fact that I didn’t have to spend my workout tugging at them, made me feel super confident. The shorts are flattering too, and they’re something I’d be perfectly fine wearing in public even when not working out.
These are marketed as running shorts, but I recommend them for a whole bunch of workouts, from running to walking to indoor cycling to strength training. Their most surprising benefit, I think, was how they held up during lower-body strength training workouts: Once I get back to the gym, these will definitely be my shorts of choice.
But they can really work for any kind of workout, and I’d happily choose them for whatever’s on the docket that day. Basically, any pair of shorts that doesn’t make me tug at my crotch in public is a huge win in my book.