Best of Spring 2019: Running Shorts!

I’ve been fortunate enough to test out a number of new pieces of running apparel from a variety of the major brands. In this post I’ll highlight the new, and one old pair, of running shorts that have stood out to me so far in 2019. 

rabbit FKT 5″ Short

Perhaps my favorite new short I have tried in some time. This short now rivals my beloved Patagonia Strider Pro 5″ (last year’s version) as my go-to. The rabbit FKT 5″ short (men’s and women’s – note: the women’s version is called the mountain climbers and comes in a 2.5″ inseam) ticks all the boxes: wide and soft waistband, 5″ split leg design so the short moves with you, and a solid pocket setup. The short also comes in a 3″ split design as well for those who really believe in the ‘sun’s out, thigh’s out’ mantra.

With three colorways on offer for both men’s and women’s ranging from boring (black) to loud (‘hulk green’) there is a color for everyone. And at $65 MSRP for the men’s short or $60 MSRP for the women’s short it’s not crazy expensive. My only nitpick? While the pocket setup is solid I would love to see the space between the back pocket and the hip pockets used. It would be easy to put one more pocket on each hip to use the wasted space there.

The rabbit FKT 5″ short is rad

La Sportiva Medal Short

I’ll be honest, I did not expect to like a short with an 8″ inseam. I normally prefer a 4-5″ inseam length in running shorts. However, the La Sportiva Medal Short immediately stood out to me after trying them on. The wide waistband combined with the boxer brief liner and baggy fit makes for a comfortable short for everyday runs. Plus, the Opal / Apple Green colorway is sick! (I know, I know – function over form 😉 One caveat: the pocket setup is not perfect as I wish they had 1-2 stretchy hip pockets on each side. 

The La Sportiva Medal Short is a good-looking, comfortable, everyday running short.

Icebreaker Cool-Lite Impulse Running Shorts

If you have read or listened to any of my reviews in the past you already know I love merino wool tops and baselayers. And I think Icebreaker is the leader in technical merino wool clothing. However, as a heavy sweater in my umm…’lower back area’, I have shied away from using anything merino wool in shorts or liners. I was missing out. The Icebreaker Impulse Running Shorts (men’s and women’s) are REALLY soft and comfortable.  The outer ‘body’ of the short is made from Pertex Quantum Air nylon while the liner is made from Icebreaker’s Cool-Lite fabric (a combination of merino wool, TENCEL, and nylon). This combination is pretty amazing. They are without a doubt some of the softest running shorts I have ever worn.  

The Icebreaker Impulse Short is a go-to short now and a pair I always try to have clean for weekly runs or gym sessions.

One caveat: the price. As comfortable as these shorts are it’s tough to justify a $90 MSRP men’s and $80 MSRP women’s pricepoints. However, I’m already seeing the women’s on sale for $39 online – that’s a steal!


Another longer coverage short I did not expect to like based on first impressions. However, the GORE WEAR R7 Shorts (men’s and women’s) are surprisingly light and breathable. These 10″ inseam shorts are for folks who like the longer coverage and/or want to look like Courtney Dewaulter or Francois D’Haene. The pocket setup is good and the citrus green / deep water blue colorway makes you nice and visible on the trails or roads.  GORE also makes this short in a 2in1 style with a half-tight liner for folks who prefer that style. Also of note, you may need to size up one size from your normal running shorts size as GORE sizes tend to run a little small.

The GORE R7 Shorts have a wide, comfortable waistband combined with a fast-drying nylon outer body.

No Patagonia Love?

Patagonia updated my absolute favorite running short of all-time again for 2019 in the Patagonia Strider Pro 5″ Short. And unfortunately this update has not been a good one. If you still have any of the ‘second’ version from 2017 or 2018 I’d highly recommend taking good care of them to make them last as long as possible. Hopefully until Patagonia reverts back to the previous design with a fourth update soon!

Purchasing Information

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these shorts please first check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.

If that’s not an option we would love it if you could use one of the provided links above. Thank You!

Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf

I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running, biking, skiing, or snowboarding around the local trails in Marin County, California or the Lake Tahoe area. I also love talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company or Alpenglow Sports community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last five years.

Disclaimer: These products were provided to URP/me for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are my own and no compensation was offered nor received.

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