17 Pairs of No-Chafe Workout Shorts That Take (Some) Agony Out of Exercising

Bonus: They won't ride up, either

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no-chafe workout shorts in periwinkle, pink and black

It’s a glorious summer morning. You grab your favorite sports brasneakers and headphones and rush out the door. You feel the wind on your face and remember how good it feels to break a sweat. Then your thighs decide to pick a fight with one another, and you’re forced to do a weird sort of crab-walk back home so that the chafing won’t get any worse than it already is.

Don’t let angry thigh chafing get in the way of your workout. You want something that’s comfortable, moisture-wicking and won’t show your cheeky underwear when you do goblet squats at the gym (the Nike One Mid-Rise Biker Shorts, $30, fit the bill).

But one size doesn’t always fit all. Whether you’re taller or curvier, shorter or more petite, the best no-chafe workout shorts for you are ones that won’t make you feel like you’re running in a corset or that rides up and fails to offer proper coverage (the Lululemon Track That 5-inch shorts, $68, are a favorite among curvier ladies). We won’t limit ourselves to just those picks—we’ve got 17 options that will prevent chafing, no matter how many miles you’re logging today.

The Best No-Chafe Workout Shorts at a Glance


Best High-Rise Bike Shorts

Girlfriend Collective High-rise Bike Shorts

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Best 2-in-1 Shorts

Athleta Mile Marker 2-in-1 Shorts

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Most Comfortable Shorts

Nike One Mid-Rise Biker Shorts

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Best Track Shorts

Lululemon Track That 5” Shorts

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Best Nylon Shorts

Tracksmith Allston Shorts

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Meet the Experts: 

  • Cat Kom is an ACE-certified personal trainer and the founder and head trainer of Studio SWEAT onDemand, a fitness app with a diverse array of workouts that helps foster an inclusive community that’s accepting of different body types, ages, and experience. 
  • Sami Clarke is a California-based fitness instructor and co-founder of FORM, an app offering virtual fitness classes that also focus on mental wellness. She has amassed nearly one million followers on Instagram and YouTube for her positive perspective toward staying healthy. 
  • Debra Jaliman is a board-certified dermatologist in New York, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book Skin Rules (St Martin’s Press). 
  • Heather D. Rogers, MD, is founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care and sees patients full time at her practice, Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. Through Instagram (@drheatherrogers), YouTube and her blog, she empowers people to confidently meet their skin’s needs by knowing what to use, when to use it, and most importantly, what to avoid and why. She refuses payment for endorsements but will wholeheartedly recommend any product that meets her criteria. 
  • Dr. Robert T. Brodell is a Tenured Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and past Founding Professor of the Department of Dermatology. He went to medical school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, followed by residency and fellowship training in dermatology and dermatopathology at Washington University in St Louis. After 27 years in private practice in Warren, Ohio, he has spent the last 11 years in academic medicine at the University of Mississippi.
  • Steve Daveluy MD, FAAD is an associate professor and program director in the Wayne State University Department of Dermatology. He specializes in medical dermatology, particularly hidradenitis suppurativa, cutaneous lymphoma, mind-body medicine and integrative dermatology.

What Type of Shorts Prevent Chafing?

Chafing is an irritation of the skin that occurs when, in the case of shorts, skin from one leg rubs against skin from the other or rubs on irritating clothing. Add sweat and moisture from working out into the equation, and it’s a recipe for irritation. The friction can cause your skin to turn red, sore and irritated, even resulting in blisters, pain and inflammation. 

Dr. Jaliman says that shorts made of high-tech fabrics that fit snugly against the skin are best for reducing chafing. If it’s a fabric that wicks away moisture, even better. “Many of these shorts,” she explains, “are made of nylon and spandex and dry quickly.” She cites brands like Nike, Lululemon and Jockey as being known for their high-tech fabric shorts that reduce or outright eliminate pesky chafing.

It's a sentiment echoed by Dr. Rogers, who recommends looking for polyester blends and technical fabrics. “These materials help to keep the skin dry by wicking away sweat and moisture, reducing friction and the likelihood of chafing.” She also says seamless designs from brands like Athleta and Sweaty Betty eliminate the seams that can rub against the skin in the first place, helping minimize those friction points. Longer inseams or longer leg length overall, she adds, can reduce friction between the thighs by offering more coverage.

Lycra is also a good fabric to consider to prevent chafing, since it’s breathable for workouts and is form-fitting. Materials like micromodal and bamboo, meanwhile, are also both moisture-wicking and have the added benefit of helping to regulate temperature, Dr. Daveluy says. That can be a lifesaver if you’re working out outside in the colder months.

It's also worth looking into rayon fabrics (lyocell and modal fall under this category, Dr. Daveluy says).It’s breathable and resistant to moisture, but it generally isn’t as durable as other types of fabric and can sometimes stretch or shrink in the wash. Polyamide can be another great option, since it’s durable and is very water-resistant, but it can be prone to pilling and bubbling, so you’ll want to take extra care when washing shorts made of this material.

More generally, Kom and Dr. Rogers suggest that if you want to prevent chafing, avoid loose-fitting clothing that would allow your legs to rub together. “You want to find something snug, but not too snug to prevent your shorts from bundling up,” Kom says. 

What Fabric Is Worst for Chafing?

Avoid cotton, all of the experts told us. “Cotton soaks up that sweat, which makes it more likely for you to get chafed legs,” says Kom.  

Whichever type of workout shorts you choose, Clarke says to seek out something that provides stretch and comfort. She also advises that having the right fit is important, too. “You’ll notice,” she explains, “that shorts ride up more when they are too small or tight on you.”

Do Compression Shorts Reduce Chafing?

Compression shorts are usually designed to “move as the body moves without rubbing the skin,” as explained by Dr. Brodall, MD. This, naturally, can be useful in helping to prevent chafing.

Kom thinks compression shorts can be “the best type of shorts to reduce chafing,” but also recommends shorts with compression liners, which can help reduce chafing while still providing some loose coverage. When choosing compression shorts, she says to go with fabrics like polyester, nylon and spandex.

 Compression shorts might not work for everyone, Dr. Rogers says—some people actually find that they exacerbate chafing “due to the tightness and increased heat retention.” So, try one pair before committing to more.

How We Chose These No-Chafe Workout Shorts

After talking to the experts, we scoured the Internet for the top-reviewed no-chafe workout shorts. We looked at the brands the experts mentioned as well as workout shorts made of the materials they discussed, and that fit snugly. We also considered different styles. We selected shorts that are long enough to prevent the legs from rubbing together, including ones for both taller and shorter women. Sizing is also important: We wanted workout shorts that come in a variety of sizes, including plus sizes. Finally, price was a factor, with options that are affordable as well as higher-end apparel for serious fitness enthusiasts who are willing to spend a bit more. 

The Top No-Chafe Workout Shorts to Consider

Best High-Rise Bike Shorts

1. Girlfriend Collective High-rise Bike Shorts

Girlfriend Collective

  • What We Love: lots of sizes, lots of colors, environmentally friendly option
  • What We Don’t Love: needs to dry flat
  • Material: 79% recycled PET, 21% spandex
  • Size Range: XXS-6XL

Looking to feel held in while you complete your HIIT workout? These shorts have you covered. They’re made from a compressive blend of RPET (recycled material from plastic water bottles) and spandex that feels snug, yet comfortable on the waist and thighs. With more than 20 pages of five-star reviews, it’s no wonder these shorts are so often sold out across multiple sites. Oh, and did we mention they go up to size 6XL?

Best 2-in-1 Shorts

2. Athleta Mile Marker 2-in-1 Shorts


  • What We Love: made of recycled materials, more conservative look, resistant to wrinkles, snags, and tears
  • What We Don’t Love: relatively short so not great for taller women with longer legs
  • Material: 86% recycled polyester, 14% spandex
  • Size Range: XXS-XL

If you don’t love the totally fitted, compressed look, preferring something a bit more casual and conservative, you can opt for two-in-one shorts. These have tighter-fitting compression shorts with lighter, breezier shorts on top. These ones are ultra-lightweight and breathable, offer UPF 50+ protection, dry quickly, and are totally relaxed so you can move with ease and confidence. 

Most Comfortable Shorts

3. Nike One Mid-Rise Biker Shorts


  • What We Love: machine washable, moisture-wicking, non-sheer, highly rated
  • What We Don’t Love: some might not want mid-rise
  • Material: 78-79% polyester, 21-22% elastane
  • Size Range: XS-XL

Considering fitness is her life, we’ll take Kom’s word for the best no-chafe shorts, and she singles these workout shorts out as one of her faves. She says the 7-inch inseam is the perfect length for her. “I love wearing the Nike One biker shorts!” she enthuses. Designed to fit comfortably on any body type and shape, they also fit snugly to prevent nasty chafing. They wick away sweat to keep you dry thanks to Dri-FIT technology and even have two hidden pockets, including one at the back (with a cool V-shape to complement your bod) that’s big enough to hold a phone. 

Best Track Shorts

4. Lululemon Track That 5” Shorts


  • What We Love: longer inseam, extra-wide waistband, large zippered pocket, quick dry, wicks sweat, tumble dry
  • What We Don’t Love: not fitted, expensive
  • Material: 86% polyester, 14% Lycra
  • Size Range: 0-20

For those who prefer a true track short over a biker style, this Lululemon pair has a longer inseam (five inches) than most, giving your thighs extra protection while you’re on the move. They’re also built with an extra wide waistband for support, and there is a zippered side pocket large enough to fit your phone so you don’t have to mess around with a running belt. And while we love the range of pretty colors and patterns, we’re even more excited about the fact that these shorts go up to a size 20, and seem to do a great job prevent chafing. “As a girl with curves and big thighs, these are amazing,” one reviewer, who’s a size 16, wrote. “They don’t ride up and plenty of room in the thighs that they aren’t tight.”

Best Nylon Shorts

5. Tracksmith Allston Shorts


  • What We Love: three colors, perfect Goldilocks length
  • What We Don’t Love: must line dry, no extra-large sizing
  • Material: 57% nylon, 42% elastane
  • Size Range: XS-L

Tracksmith is swiftly becoming a must-have brand among runners, both casual and serious. It is focused entirely on the needs of runners, and as such includes some really smart details in its various designs. Case in point: The free-cut hem on this pair of shorts (which came recommended by six different people polled for this article), which allows for a seamless fit that won’t ride up no matter how hard you go. The five-inch inseam is long enough to prevent your inner thighs from rubbing together, but not so long as to look like Bermuda shorts on those with shorter legs. The luxe Italian nylon fabric has enough hold to make you feel secure without compressing too much, and dries super-fast, too.

Best Budget-Friendly Shorts

6. Old Navy Powersoft Side Pocket Shorts

Old Navy

  • What We Love: lots of colors and patterns, regular, tall, and petite sizes, affordable
  • What We Don’t Love: larger sizes often sold out
  • Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex
  • Size Range: regular XS-4X, tall S-XXL, petite XS-XL

For the fitness fanatic on a budget, we cannot recommend these Old Navy bike shorts enough. They’re incredibly soft, as the name implies, and the material is thick enough that it won’t go sheer even on the deepest of squats but not so thick that you’ll overheat on a mid-summer run. 

With pockets on both hips, you have plenty of storage space for all your needments. There are lots of cute seasonal colors and patterns to check out, in addition to the classics (black, navy, gray). In fact, one PureWow editor and avid runner owns these shorts in five different hues. “I stocked up once when they were on sale, and I am now fully obsessed,” she shared. “I love that I don’t need to be precious with them and trust they’ll hold up even through multiple super-long marathon training runs.”

Best Patterned Shorts

7. Afitne High-Waist Running Shorts


  • What We Love: so many colors and patterns, built-in pocket, moisture wicking, nice tummy control
  • What We Don’t Love: can fit snug
  • Material: 75% polyester, 25% spandex
  • Size Range: XS-XXL

These shorts come at the recommendation of commerce editor Olivia Kappler...and the nearly 6,700 people who felt so compelled to leave 5-star reviews at Amazon. “The material is a little slippery, so your thighs glide easily and don't cause any pilling,” says Kappler. “They also have pockets on both sides which is handy to hold your phone or keys or whatever you need.” The lightweight material is designed to wick away excess moisture to keep your skin happy during even the most humid workouts. 

Best Short Shorts

8. Adidas Techfit Short Leggings


  • What We Love: matching sports bra, lots of colors, keep dry technology
  • What We Don’t Love: very short, especially on taller women, lots of sizing sold out, tends to fit tight
  • Material: 73% recycled polyester, 27% elastane interlock
  • Size Range: XS-XL

Look, while longer biking shorts are better for reducing chafing, if you have been working so hard on those gams, why not show them off? Go ahead and rock a pair of these while doing squats, lifting weights and tackling other exercises that might not be as troublesome for chafing. While Kom says they fit snugly, she loves that they offer a ton of flexibility. They’re also a high-rise fit, giving you tummy control while you show off your lengthy gazelle-like figure.

Best Running Shorts

9. Nathan Sports Front Runner Shorts

Nathan Sports

  • What We Love: multiple colors, lots of pockets, reflective logo on legs
  • What We Don’t Love: the look isn’t for everyone
  • Material: 88% nylon, 12% polyester outer short, 82% polyester, 18% elastane inner short 
  • Size Range: XS-XL

Nathan Sports has long been a favorite for running, hiking and cycling accessories (like portable water bottles, reflective lights and other gear), but it recently launched a line of workout clothing, too, and we must admit, the pieces are good. “These are some of the best running shorts I’ve ever tried,” raved one avid PureWow runner. “The material is extremely light with a barely there feeling and the waistband does not budge, but also doesn’t dig into my skin.” And while Nathan does make a pair of shorts with no inner lining as well, we prefer the added anti-chafe protection (and coverage) included in this two-in-one pair.

Best Lightweight Shorts

10. Brooks Chaser 7’’ Shorts


  • What We Love: material won’t cling, multiple colors
  • What We Don’t Love: look is not for everyone, might look too long on shorter women
  • Material: 89% recycled polyester, 11% spandex
  • Size Range: XS-2XL

Brooks is one of our favorite running apparel brands, so we totally trust them when it comes to creating a high-performance pair of shorts. The length is a great middle ground between a truly short pair of shorts and a Bermuda short, and the roomy style allows you to go from squats to lunges without having to readjust. (Psst: The lightweight fabric was chosen specifically to minimize chafing thanks to its non-clinging quality.)

Best Shorts to Keep Cool

11. Under Armour HeatGear Armour Bike Shorts

Under Armour

  • What We Love: machine washable, designed to keep you cool, moisture-wicking, available in extra-large sizes
  • What We Don’t Love: not as stretchy as others
  • Material: 100% polyester
  • Size Range: XS-3X

Not only are these shorts super affordable and from a top brand in the biz, they come in tons of colors. Under Armour’s HeatGear technology is designed to keep you cool when it’s extra hot and humid outside, so go ahead and run in the middle of the hot summer afternoon. This, combined with its moisture-wicking, fast-drying material, is a recipe for zero-chafe during that lunchtime 5K. The high-rise waistband offers supreme coverage, and the front pocket can even hold your phone. 

Best Moisture-Wicking Fabric

12. Outdoor Voices Move Free 6” Shorts

Outdoor Voices

  • What We Love: can be tumble dried, breathable fabric, good for high sweat activities
  • What We Don’t Love: only one color, sizes often sold out
  • Material: 72% nylon, 17% lycra, 11% polyester
  • Size Range: XXS-XXXL

The soft, lightweight TechSweat fabric is made specifically for high-intensity (read: super-sweaty) workouts, meaning you’re guaranteed to stay nice and dry, no matter what type of class you’ve got coming up. And you never have to worry about hiking these shorts up between sets of mountain climbers—Outdoor Voices engineered the waistband to stay put no matter what. The six-inch length ensures that these babies hit at mid-thigh and don’t ride up your leg, even when you’re doing a stair circuit.

Best High-Waisted Shorts

13. Alo Yoga Catch The Light Shorts


  • What We Love: multiple colors, including limited editions, sculpting fabric
  • What We Don’t Love: no pockets
  • Material: Airbrush fabric (similar to cotton)
  • Size Range: XXS-L

Another two-in-one short, these feature a high-rise waist and hem that hits mid-thigh. The Airlift fabric is engineered to sculpt, smooth and support your bum and thighs, and the translucent overlay adds a street style meets fitness kind of vibe. Reviewers love the not-too-short-not-too-long length that stays put and doesn't run up as you try and hit your daily step count.

Best Shorts For Taller Women

14. Sweaty Betty Power 9" Biker Shorts

Sweaty Betty

  • What We Love: three inseam options, including 9-inch, moisture wicking, side and zip back pocket, adjustable drawcord, stretchy
  • What We Don’t Love: no sweet spot 7-inch seam option
  • Material: 62% polyamide, 38% elastane
  • Size Range: XXS-XXL

If you’re over 6 feet tall or close to it, you might find that even the longest biking shorts ride up on you or end up looking like booty shorts. These shorts come with a 9-inch inseam so they’re perfect for taller gals. Available in a wide range of solid colors and funky designs to liven up your workout wardrobe (and make for killer Insta pics!), they wick away sweat and even help sculpt your bum. Your over-the-shoulder pic game will kick up a notch in these shorts! If you aren’t super tall, don’t worry, as these come with 4- and 6-inch inseams as well. 

Best Bike Shorts

15. Zella Studio Lite Bike Shorts


  • What We Love: can be tumble dried, moisture wicking, built-in pocket
  • What We Don’t Love: runs small, can fit tight, best for skinnier legs
  • Material: 79% polyester, 21% spandex
  • Size Range: XXS-XXL

Lunge-proof, squat-proof and supremely comfortable, Zella's Studio Lite Bike Shorts are praised by buyers for their buttery soft fabric and fit that doesn't move a muscle. "I wear them for everything from HIIT and Peloton workouts to errands around town," one reviewer says. "Came back and bought two more colors. Fantastic find." It's important to note that some of the reviewers claim that these tend to run small, so it may be best to size up.

Best Recycled Shorts

16. Athleta Ultimate Stash 7" Short


  • What We Love: made using recycled materials, lots of sizes, stash pocket
  • What We Don’t Love: expensive at full price
  • Material: recycled polyester, lycra
  • Size Range: XXS-3X

As the name implies, stash your phone, credit card, keys, whatever you need into the hidden side pocket of these shorts that have a 7-inch inseam and are made from materials that help pull sweat away from your body. They dry quickly, too, while the high-rise waistband helps offer great tummy control. We love that these highly rated shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and fit true to size. One reviewer even says she wears them under skirts and dresses while traveling, too. ACE certified personal trainer Cat Kom loves the Athleta Stash Pocket line, finding these shorts “super soft and supportive,” with the side pockets a nice plus. 

Best for Short Women

17. Lululemon Wunder Train Shorts


  • What We Love: lots of colors, three different lengths, can tumble dry
  • What We Don’t Love: size can fit small, sweat shows through
  • Material: 77% nylon, 23% lycra elastane
  • Size Range: 0-20

If you're a shorty, you know the struggle of tracking down bottoms that don't ride up. We come bearing good news: The Wunder Train Shorts (specifically the ones with a 6-inch hem) were practically made for those with smaller frames. They'll hit at that *just right* spot on the thigh, and thanks to the Everflux fabric that has built-in Lycra, these puppies retain their shape well no matter how much they stretch. But if you're looking for a second opinion, one happy customer raves, "So incredibly soft but still provide shape and support. The legs don't roll up, so I don't have to constantly adjust them—I love them!" Kom appreciates that they come in three different inseams and have an elastic waistband that keeps them in place while you work out. 

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Why You Should Trust Us

Christine Persaud is a freelance writer who started her career at a consumer tech magazine where she worked her way up to editor-in-chief. Shifting to freelance in 2013, she continues to work as a writer and editor, writing about, researching, and reviewing all types of products in tech, home and lifestyle, appliances, and more. She’s also a fitness buff who works out daily and has a pretty ample collection of workout gear, and has learned over her three-year fitness journey what to look for, and which ones fit and feel best.

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.



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