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The 5 Best Exercise Shorts for Women

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One of the elements I’m looking at is size inclusivity. To determine whether sizing is inclusive, compare the maximum waist size of the leggings to the average waist measurement of North American women. I consider the sizing inclusive if the maximum waist size is 4 or more inches above the average.

For reference, the average North American woman’s waist is 38.7 inches.

From Tosca

Shorts can keep you cool and comfortable while you work out.

When I’m working up a sweat, the last thing I want is to feel like I’m being smothered. Sometimes, pants are just too much for a high-intensity workout. I think many people, particularly women, picture activewear shorts as either the practically knee-length bike shorts of the 80s and 90s or the barely-there micro shorts you might see on Tik Tok. There are other options.

I hope you find a pair of shorts that keep you comfortable and cool on this list.


BMJL Women's Running Shorts

BMJL Women’s Running Shorts



  • Built-in briefs
  • Zippered pockets
  • Sweat-wicking


  • Only accommodate waists up to 38 inches

These shorts are the ultimate in functionality without sacrificing style. With a high waist, relaxed fit, and tulip-cut legs, they give you an impressive range of motion. Plus, the pockets have zippers for extra security.

Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Shorts

Dragon Fit High Waist Yoga Shorts



  • Large side pockets
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Inexpensive


  • Only accommodates waists up to 31.4 inches

The Dragon Fit yoga shorts sit smoothly against your skin for a perfectly fitted look. This high-waisted option features extra support for tummy control and a pocket on each side. Various color options make the Dragon Fits super versatile.

High Waist Biker Shorts

BALEAF Women’s High Waist Biker Shorts



  • Accommodates waists up to 44.5 inches
  • Longer than many gym shorts
  • Moisture-wicking
  • 3 pockets


  • May ride up with activity

These biker shorts come in 3 different lengths, so you can get the fit that looks and feels best. In addition to the side pockets, these BALEAF shorts also come with a hidden pocket that zips shut. With multiple colors, lengths, and comparatively inclusive sizing, there is a pair of shorts for practically everyone.

AUTOMET Women‘s 2 in 1 Flowy Running Shorts

AUTOMET Women’s 2-in-1 Flowy Running Shorts



  • Come with attached biker-style shorts
  • Lightweight
  • Drawstring for secure fit


  • Only accommodates waists up to 35.8 inches

If you like the feel of bike shorts but not the look, give the AUTOMET 2-in-1s a try. Their flowy design looks almost like a skirt, but they’re lined with bike shorts for your comfort. They come in a wide range of colors and perfectly walk the line between activewear and loungewear.

Colosseum Active Women's Running Short

Colosseum Simone Cotton Blend Running Shorts



  • Breathable cotton blend fabric
  • Fully lined
  • Soft fabric


  • Only accommodates waists up to 38-inches

The Simone cotton blend shorts are a modern take on an old classic. They’re cut like 1970s basketball shorts but come in several colors and patterns. The cotton-blend fabric makes the Simones unbelievably comfortable and breathable.

Buyer’s Guide

What to Look for when Buying Exercise Shorts

Your comfort is the top priority when it comes to shorts or any activewear, for that matter! Remember to consider these 3 things when buying new workout shorts.


There is no “right” or “wrong” length for you. It’s just a matter of what you’ll be most comfortable with. Remember, shorts may ride up as you move, so it doesn’t hurt to err on the longer side.


Some people want loose-fitting shorts so they don’t feel restricted. Others want shorts that feel like a second skin. Take a moment to consider what you’ll feel most comfortable in, physically and mentally.


Pockets are already hard to come by in activewear—they’re even rarer in shorts. If you decide you don’t need pockets because you wear a waist bag or a jacket with pockets during your workout, you may have an easier time.
You can still find options with pockets. But make sure you look at the pocket dimensions, so you know you’ll be able to fit whatever you need to carry.